Situated in southwestern Quebec this community of 40,000 sits on an island in the Saint Lawrence River. The Saint Lawrence runs along the north shore while the Beauhamois Canal runs along the south with the Port of Valleyfield being part of the canal.
The “Salaberry” part of the name comes from Colonel Charles de Salaberry – an office in the British Army during the war of 1812. “Valleyfield”is named after the Valleyfield Mills – a paper mill south of Edinburgh, Scotland. The pulp and paper mill that originated the community was named after the Valleyfield paper because at the time the highest quality paper came out of that Scottish paper mill.
Since 1938 Valleyfield has hosted international hydroplane races under the name, Les Regates de Valleyfield. And for the years 2010 and 2011 we were fortunate to be invited to watch the race from a private riverside garden hosted by a friend of ours and his family.
One of our favourite classes is the Grand Prix (GP) which is a class that run supercharged big-block motors. The are between 23′ and 26′ long, the motors produce up to 1500 hp and they can get up top 170 mph on a straight stretch.
Our favourite boat in that class is GP59 or Baby Doll, piloted by Mario Maraldo.
Baby Doll III was built by the owner and crew between 1993 and 1998 – first run in 1998.
Mario is the world’s oldest Grand Prix driver.
2001 – Eastern Divisional Champion – Cambridge Maryland
2002 – 1st Place – Hydro Super Series
2004 – High Point Champion
2011 – Summer Nationals Champion
Colours and designs emphasis the action of the sport. Boats have great paint jobs and the teams always look great. Even when they’re standing in the pits waiting for their boat to come in.
These three shots really tell the story of dedicated fans. The real hydroplane racing fanatics get as close to the waters edge as possible. Our host is in the green shirt on the right. He is able to tell which boat is coming at him – what position it’s in for the heat – it’s chances of winning – and all it’s history.
|Here They Come|
|There They Go|
This is what Hydroplane Racing is all about. Speed, skipping, floating and sometimes flipping across the water. No race is complete without a lot of spray in every corner.
“A hydroplane is, quite simply put, an airplane with its wings removed. As the craft skims along, air enters the tunnel – the empty space between the two pontoons – and lifts up the boat so that the only components touching the water are (or nearly so…) the propeller and pontoons.” Event Profile
|One For The Money|
|Two To Get Ready|
|Three For the Show|
Not all the boats that race in Valleyfield are Hydroplanes.
Other classes include:
Jersey Speed Skiffs
Originally used for rum running during prohibition.
These boats are more affordable for the average boat racing enthusiast offering a lot of fun. They also provide a lot of entertainment for the audience since they can be very unpredictable.
The boats are 16′ long and can get up to about 80 mph.
This is one of the “Runabout” classes these boats used big block engines that run on gas – very competitive and get over 100 mph.
Pro Stock Runabouts
This “Runabout” class moves into modified 500 cubic inch motors running on methanol, aviation fuel and plain old gas. They reach speeds over 120 mph.
|Go Cat …..|
And when you come out for a day of racing – don’t forget to dress your part!