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Pico American Dream top boat in Silver Cup competition

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The 1994 Miss Bud sits looking pretty while waiting for its turn to race. The boat is owned by Harry Gatjens of Edmonds.

GRANGER - They came from all over, the Tri-Cities, Seattle, Portland and other places to compete in Granger, at the 2006 Oh Boy! Oberto Championship Series Silver Cup.

The R/C Unlimited Club boasts more than 100 members in two states and 23 club members showed up in Granger to compete for the Silver Cup. The Silver Cup is the club's second oldest race. The club formed 33 years ago and the Silver Cup competition has been going strong for 32 years. This is the first time the club has raced in Granger at Hisey Park.

The miniature hydro-planes used are exact replicas of the real thing. On display and competing in the race Sunday were the 1994 Miss Bud, the 1995 Pico American Dream, the 1985 Squire Shop, the 1986 Mr. Pringles and the 1972 Notre Dame, as well as many other replicas.

Drivers raced in four rounds with six heats per round. At the end of the day, the top six scores were put in the final. The next six scores were put into a consolation race. The winner of this race would move up to the finals for a total of seven boats.

The next six best scores raced in the second consolation race. Boats received points for how they did in the heats. A first place finish earned the driver 400 points, second place received 300 points, third place garnered 225 points and fourth place was good for 169 points.

Dave Brandt, the current 2006 points leader and four-time season champion, had two boats he was running. In the fourth round his boat, Pico American Dream, lost its propeller and went dead in the water after coming from behind to lead the race. This put his boat in seventh place and in the first consolation race. His other boat, the Squire Shop, did well enough for him to be named in the top six and a finalist, so Brandt pulled the Squire Shop out of the final, which moved the Pico American Dream up in the finals.

This move allowed brothers John and Harry Gatjens to compete in the first consolation race together, both vying for the win that would put the winner into the final.

Harry Gatjens, driving the Miss Bud, crossed the starting point too soon and received an extra lap as a penalty. This enabled his brother, John, to advance to the finals.

"I overstarted but I can't be too mad because my brother got in," Harry Gatjens said.

This set the stage for the finals, with Pico American Dream, Roostertail, Squire Shop, Executone, Lincoln Thrift, Notre Dame and Mr. Pringles all competing for the cup.

The race got a good start with everyone well behind the line when the whistle bell sounded. Shortly into the first lap two boats, the Executone and the Squire Shop, collided, sending debris everywhere. On the next lap, Notre Dame, driven by Bill Brandt, hit some of the debris and his boat went out of commission. Soon the Mr. Pringles and the Lincoln Thrift were floating upside down in the water as four boats raced on for the prize.

The Pico American Dream, driven by Dave Brandt, crossed the finish line first, followed by Roostertail, 13 seconds later.

This was Brandt's 49th win on the circuit, a club record and his sixth victory of the year. He is currently the points leader for the season.

"My boat was running a little lean so I didn't accelerate," he explained. "I babied my boat and it ended up at the finish line first."

After Brandt crossed the finish line his boat also died in the water.

All the racers were happy with the conditions at Hisey Park. "On a scale of one to ten I give it an 11," Chet Lepinski, organizer of the event, said. "I was very happy with the course. We will be back."

The club takes a break next week but resumes racing in two weeks near Wenatchee.

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