Tag: Joe Turner

2007 ULHRA Desert Thunder

by Walt Ottenad on May.20, 2007, under Boat Racing, Howard Amon Park Hydro Course, Unlimited Lights Hydroplanes

Walt Ottenad's gallery of the 2007 ULHRA Desert Thunder held on Sunday, May 20, 2007 in Richland, WAWalt Ottenad’s gallery of the 2007 ULHRA Desert Thunder held on Sunday, May 20, 2007 in Richland, WA

Although you can read a review of the race on ULHRA website, I will always remember this race as the last for “Jackie’s Purple Thunder”…

Joe Turner started the day really well, finishing second in his first heat of the day, but losing the engine cowling in his second heat. The UL-18 started its last race at the rear, but was running well when, at the entrance to the north turn (150 feet away from me, as I was on a course boat taking photos), the boat hit hard, shredded the right sponson into what seemed like a million pieces of fiberglass, wood and foam, hooked left, then stopped right in front of us. We saw the hatch open a few inches, then the boat immediately took on massive amounts of water and went under within seconds, with Joe inside. We manuevered over to the boat and its huge debris field, waiting for what seemed like two or three minutes for Joe to get out, but he didn’t come up until the divers retrieved him. Joe surfaced and got into the rescue boat, seemingly none the worse for wear! After a quick checkup to make sure he was OK (he mentioned to Lisa that his blood pressure was higher during his physical than it was after the crash!), Joe made his way to the pits to await the remains of the boat.

As the UL-18 came out of the water, it was obvious that the right sponson had broken off, taking the entire right side of the boat with it, almost to the transom. The nose of the capsule was gone, exposing the cockpit, and the force of the river water exiting the motor was enough to blast a four inch long chunk out of one of the header tubes! Joe joked at the awards ceremony that at least now he “won’t have the oldest boat in the fleet at the next race!”.

Unfortunately, the boat is a total loss & not worth rebuilding, but obviously way more importantly, one of the nicest guys I’ve met in this series, Joe Turner, is alive and well…

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