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Smith, Vielhauer Rise In Tough 350 Hydro Class

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Hydroplane 350 is one of the deepest classes in the American-Canadian Hydroplane Association.

That depth produces a wealth of contenders from regatta to regatta throughout the season.

“This class is without a doubt the most unpredictable,” says Caroline Courchesne of the Communications and Promotion department of the ACHA.

Ogdensburg’s Bill Vielhauer and Ogdensburg native Derec Smith who now resides in Oswego are both making late season runs with strong showings at the last two regattas.

Smith as a driver of “Bad Influence” and Vielhauer as the owner of “Last Minute Again”.

The ACHA circuit came stateside over the weekend with racing at Tonawanda near Buffalo.

Strong winds cancelled Saturday’s complete race program but perfect weather allowed for the entire program to be presented on Sunday.

Samuel Page-Morin in the H-16 raced away to top honors and scored 55 points to take a 338-325 points lead over Kent Henderson heading into the ACHA season finale at Beauharnois, Que. on Sept. 6-7.

Smith drove the John Mcdonald and Mike Grendell owned H-79 “Bad Influence” to 51 points after a 74-point weekend at St. Felicien to move into third place with 305 points.

Smith took second to Page-Morin in the final after placing second and first in two qualifying heats.

At St. Felicien, Smith ran seventh in the finals after winning two qualifying heats.

Vielhauer’s No. 8 “Last Minute Again” has enjoyed two strong outings after extensive repairs to the body of the boat in an airborne 360 crash at Valleyfield.

Vielhauer’s brother, Tom Vielahuer who now lives in Syracuse, has shared the driving with Steve Armstrong as the boat scored 64 points at St. Felicien and 31 points at Buffalo.

Tom was driving the boat in Valleyfield when airborne creating a YouTube instant classic. He escaped without major injury and the damage to the body of the boat was repaired by Bert Henderson of Brockville, Ont.

“Tom lost the engine to his boat and has been driving mine since Valleyfield,” he has been driving really well.

“At St. Felician he started in the sixth lane and after the first turn he was in third,” said Bill Vielhauer.

The boat stands 16th in the season point standings with 204 points.

At Buffalo Tom Vielhauer drove to a third place and second place in two qualifying heats. Armstrong went behind the wheel in the final and placed sixth.

At St. Felicien, Vielhauer placed fifth and first in two qualifying heats.

Armstrong took over the helm of the 2013 Valleyfield, North American and Canadian Championship craft and ran fourth in one qualifying heat, won the second consolation final and then took third in the finals.

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