from the past
Cooper Motorsports boat
retains nostalgic sounds of past
boat is the only piston-powered
Unlimited left in series
(June 27, 2008) Undaunted by a series of incidents
that resulted in a disappointing finish in 2007, Cooper Motorsports
U-3 Unlimited hydroplane will be a major competitor for the 2008 ABRA
Unlimited Hydroplane Series season, team owner Ed Cooper Jr. said. The
team spent the offseason repairing and replacing broken equipment, which
contributed to its lackluster finish in the National High Points standings.
The U-3, whose home turf is Evansville, Ind., will be one of 10 boats
competing in the annual Madison Regatta, scheduled for July 4-6 in Madison.
The U-3 hopes to bring home a victory in the Indiana Governor's Cup.
by Don Ward
U-3, whose home
turf is Evansville, Ind.,
will be one of 10 boats
to compete on Unlimited racing circuit this season.
Last year, the boat
finished fifth at the
Madison Regatta after
a tough day. Things
grew only worse later
in the ABRA season.
We had a rough end to the season because of accidents
and broken equipment, said Cooper. We cured most of those
problems over the winter, and we are ready to race this year.
Cooper owns the U-3 hydro, a second-generation unlimited racer. It is
boat left powered by an Allison V-12 piston power plant, an engine that
makes that traditional roar of the bygone-era unlimited hydroplanes.
The Allison V-12 was a motor originally used in World War II fighter
planes. The rest of the unlimited hydroplanes switched years ago to
turbine-powered engines that are quieter than the piston-powered boats.
While some people think the turbine-powered boats are faster than the
piston-powered, thats not true," said Cooper in a late June
telephone interview. When our engine is running right, we will
absolutely be in the race. The biggest difference between his
Allison V-12 and the turbine-powered boats is the reliability, according
to Cooper. The turbine engines have better longevity and a more
reliable record. Thats why the airline industry switched over
to them years ago.
Cooper, who retired from teaching several years ago, began his racing
career with his father in the 1960s. Both of them were crew members
for the Miss Madison. Since that time, Cooper has turned in several
firsts on the ABRA circuit.
In 2002, his boat was the first with a reciprocating engine to complete
a lap at over 160 mph. In 2003, he made history again when his crew
became the first non-turbine winner since 1983 to claim the American
Power Boat Association Gold Cup. In 2006, the U-3 team finished third
on the circuit.
In 2007, the team started out with a third place in their hometown Thunder
on the Ohio, in Evansville. That finish included a pair of second-place
heat finishes and the top time in the second heat of the race.
At Madison, the team finished in fifth and garnered a
seventh-place finish in Detroit. In the rest of the races of the season,
the team failed to qualify for the final heats. For the season, the
boat finished in the top two in nine of its 17 heats entered. Despite
the dismal second-half of the season, the boats pair of top-five
finishes helped it finish in seventh place in the ABRA National High
Point standings for the season.
The Cooper Motorsports boat has been piloted by Jimmy King of Memphis,
Mich., for the past four years. Although King has not been able to capture
any victories yet for the U-3 team, he is a well-decorated Grand Prix
Class driver with three National Championships, three World Championships
and three Detroit Silver Cup victories.
With more than 14 years of experience in driving unlimited hydroplanes,
King was named Rookie of the Year in 1994 on the circuit.
King is fiercely competitive in a quiet way, said Cooper.
He doesnt get mad, and he doesnt get shook; thats
why he is a perfect fit for our racing family.
Cooper felt Kings experience in Grand Prix piston-powered boats
was a real plus for driving the U-3. Our boat is a
bit more complicated than a turbine-powered boat, he said. You
have to get a feel for it and learn how it runs.
by Don Ward
oversees his teams
work in the pits at
the Madison Regatta.
King, a masonry expert who operates his own company, had
actually retired from boat racing in 1994. Cooper contacted him with
the offer to drive the U-3, and he felt the team would be wonderful
to work with. I am very happy where I am at; we have the best
team possible, and I feel like I have truly found a good home with the
King is ready for the 2008 season. We resolved the issues that
caused the conflicts, and we are very optimistic going into the season,
he said. When we were up and running last season, we ran well.
He said Madisons Indiana Governors Cup race is always a
favorite of his. It is a great town to visit and a challenging
race course. The course is long and narrow, and you really get to see
who is on their game.
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