Oberto/Miss Madison appeal upheld, San Diego win reinstated

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By Dave Taylor

Mark down another win for driver Steve David and the O Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison Racing Team!

This triumph came not at the end of a checkered flag with roostertails flying on the water, but rather during a conference call of the powers that govern Unlimited hydroplane racing. The board of directors of H1 Unlimited voted last week to accept the recommendation of the committee hearing the appeal of the outcome of September’s San Diego Bayfair to allow the appeal and reverse the disqualification of the Oh Boy! Oberto and reinstate that team’s victory.

A controversial finish to the Sept. 16 race that took well over an hour of tech inspection before H1 officials declared Jimmy Shane and the U-5 Graham Trucking hydroplane the winner of the championship final. Shane had driven the U-5 to a second place finish behind Steve David in the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison but H1 officials disqualified David after determining there had been a flagrant fuel violation by the apparent winner.

At issue was H1 Unlimited’s fuel flow monitor on the low-pressure side, David said after the protest was filed. “Our N2 was fine, under 110 percent, and our high fuel flow appears okay,” he said.

The Oberto team then filed a protest and Chief Referee Mike Noonan ruled that all of the equipment involved in the decision would undergo testing to verify the findings and the result.

In a letter to H1 Chairman Sam Cole explaining the decision, appeal committee chairman Fred Hauenstein wrote, “The hearing committee met by telephone conference and heard input from parties directly involved with the appeal as well as technical experts. As a result, the committee unanimously agreed to allow the appeal. In other words, recommending reversal of the DQ at the San Diego Final Race.”

In explaining the committee’s decision, Hauenstein said, “The H-1 rules require that the low pressure flow rater data ONLY be used to judge legality of a contestant. However, in the final heat, the U-6 low pressure flow rater data was judged to be in error. There was an unacceptable amount of “noise” in the signal and the high pressure flow rater data was consistent with previous heats in which the low data was legal.”

Hauenstein concluded by saying the committee was encouraged by the fact that steps were being taken to alleviate some of the problems which led to the situation.

“This has been an involved process and I want to thank Fred Hauenstein, and his committee for their efforts,” Cole a Madison native said. “As we stated from the beginning, our goal was to apply the necessary time and effort needed to come to an accurate assessment of the equipment involved and the decision that had been reached as a result of the readings at the conclusion of our San Diego event.”

“On behalf of my team and me personally, I want to thank the H1 appeals committee for their considerable research and deliberations resulting in their unanimous vote to support our appeal and thus the H-1 Board vote to reinstate the Oh Boy! Oberto as the winner of the 2012 San Diego Bayfair race, and the Peters and May North American Championship,” David said in a statement issued to fans on Facebook. “I also appreciate the H1 efforts to enhance the governing aspects of the waterside of our sport to reduce tensions, give you our fans immediate decisions, and provide the very best competition our sport can provide. We look forward to fierce and fair competition in January at the world championships in Doha, Qatar and throughout the coming years.”

“We can now put this event in our rear view mirrors and move forward to the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar in January and the continued growth of the sport,” Cole said.