HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY)- Eighteen year old New Jersey native Hanna Clauss is a rookie racer. Hanna and her father Jody enjoy quality weekend time together chasing speed on the water. “It is thrilling. Right now I stick to the outside a little more, but last race me and Caitlyn got to go neck and neck. Girl Power. We have similar speed boats so it was kind of cool being out there on the water,” said Hanna Clauss. “Of course I am worried about her, but so far her and Caitlyn have driven within their skill level. We set the boats up for them where it is comfortable for them to drive it,” said father and crew chief Jody Clauss.
Jacob Licone’s Jersey Speed Skiff reaches speeds between 70 and 80 miles per hour. He gets to enjoy the race sitting alongside his wife. “Its a fun and unpredictable ride. The Jersey Speed Skiff is a two-seater, navigator and a riding mechanic and actually my wife rides with me. It works out really good because we both have the same interests and she keeps me straight on the track,” said Licone.
This year, the Hampton Cup Regatta plays host to the Eastern Nationals, with more than 75 hydroplane boats and Jersey Speed Skiffs expected to compete. Some of these nautical rockets reach speeds of 150 miles per hour. “The United States is divided into 4 regions. We are region 4, but we do have drivers from all over the country here this weekend. There are regional and national points that are available,” said race director Lisa Adkins.
This event dates back to 1926 and while today’s water rockets are completely different, it’s the tight-knit racing community that remains constant year after year, plus they love the track at Mill Creek. “I like the fact that it’s a protected course. A lot of the courses we go to are not protected and the water is garbage.Its a record course. We are hoping to get a record this weekend. Whether it happens or not we do not know,’ said Duff Dailey.
Racing gets underway at noon on both Saturday and Sunday and it is free to the public.