For the brave and the bold, Saturday’s near-zero temperatures and rain that felt like hail in the driver’s seat of a jet boat were actually welcome.
A weird and wacky welcome for the 23 boats the lined Peace Island Park from Sept. 2-4 for the fourth annual Taylor Flats 200 and organizer Trapper Wolsey said the weekend was one of the biggest turnouts on the season despite rain turning some spectators away Saturday.
“Really good, despite the weather (Saturday). We had 23 boats show up, guys from Prince George and Alberta. (Sunday) the crowd showing up it was really good,” he said.
“Last year, we had the worlds and we were only here for two days so it was kind of rushed. This year was a hit. You know with the economy and the slow down we weren’t sure it was going to be a good turnout. We had the most boats at all the races this year.”
Wolsey added that the rain all week and into Saturday made the river conditions a bit tricky to navigate, but the cold weather was welcomed in terms of how the boats performed.
“High and dirty, lots of debris,” Wolsey said about the conditions on the water. “In dealing with the rain, racing in it… boats run better when it’s colder, besides from us freezing and navigating, it’s good.”
Wolsey, from Fort St. John and a member of the Peace Country River Rats finished third in his class in his boat “Leroy.” His total time in the five legs was 1:48.37.
Just behind Wolsey was first-year driver Travis Pattison of Fox Creek in “Fast Forward,” who said it’s been a thrill to learn the sport this year and added the weird weather just added another element of excitement.
“It’s exciting, it’s awesome. I’ve been following jet boat racing for a lot of years and finally decided to try it out. Figured I could do it. I like the water and the speed is pretty good,” he said. “(The weather) wasn’t too bad, just made sure the rain-x was on my visor so the water beads off. (Sunday) morning was bad because it was foggy.”
Wolsey also noted that Sunday, Sept. 4, the crowds were out in droves and the River Rats were happy to see there continues to be big support for the sport in the region.
“People love loud engines and fast boats, so it’s good. Great turnout,” he said.
Chad Burns of Grimshaw in UlM1 “Bad Habit” had the fastest time overall of the weekend in five legs with 1:24:33. Ryan Rogers of Clarkston, USA, in “Pure Insanity,” was second in 1:34:13. Felix Bergeron of St. Isidore in “2 Apples Tall” was third in 1:40:16. Former world champion Gord Humphrey of Charlie Lake finished 11th overall in 1:50:18.
2016 Taylor Flats 200 final overall results
Chad Burns (Bad Habit, Grimshaw)- 1:24:33
Ryan Rogers (Pure Insanity, Clarkston)- 1:34:13
Felix Bergeron (2 Apples Tall, St. Isdore)- 1:40:16
Bryan Austin (Dirty Sanchez, Onoway) - 1:41:13
Randy Tinnant (Anger Management, Whitecourt)- 1:41:31
Jeremy Hand (Easily Influenced, Peace River)- 1:43:57
Tim Greber (Aquaholic, Hythe)- 1:45:04
Trevor Provost (Still Poppin, Nampa)- 1:45:17
Stephen Ford (Runn’n Loose, Prince George)- 1:46:37
Trapper Wolsey (Leroy, Fort St. John)-1:48:39
Gord Humphrey (Unnatural Disaster, Charlie Lake)- 1:50:18
Travis Pattison (Fast Forward, Fox Creek)- 1:50:34
Clayton Wolsey (Dirty Harry, Charlie Lake)- 1:52:30
Randy Hough (Touchan Chew, Whitecourt)- 1:52:47
Regan Redick (Miss Dee Dee, Edson)- 1:56:33
Nathan Mcleod (Surface Tension, Little Smoky)- 1:59:21
Barry Fenton (Backdraft, Grovedale)- 2:08:23
Rick Serhan (Rough Rider, Peace River)- 2:08:40
Chase Bagan (Distracted Sinner, Peace River)- 2:12:33
James McKennith (Last minute, Whitecourt)- 2:13:23
Colton Houston (Helluva Time, Peace River)- 2:17:35
Darin Cage (Slough Shark, Carvel)- 2:19:53
Brian Yacke (Rock N Rolla, Edson)- 2:26:10