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Hanson’s Oh Boy! Oberto hydroplane wins Albert Lee Cup at Seafair title
Federal Way High School graduate Mike Hanson had one of the best seats on Lake Washington Sunday.
Hanson works as the crew chief for the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto hydroplane, which won the annual Albert Lee Cup at Seafair for the second time in the last four years.
The driver of the Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, drove what he called the race of his life to hold off Dave Villwock. David used the inside lane to hold off Villwock for five close laps to win the 60th running of an unlimited hydroplane race on Lake Washington.
The win also gave Hanson a 1979 Federal Way grad, and the Oberto team a commanding lead in the national points race heading into the final race of the season in Qatar in November. The Oh Boy! Oberto has won the last two national points titles.
Hanson stepped into the crew chief position with the Miss Oh Boy! Oberto following the 2003 season after 23 years piloting a hydroplane.
Now, instead of rolling across the water at 200 mph, Hanson sets up the boat and tunes the turbine engine to produce the most horsepower possible.
Hanson got into the hydroplane business as a youngster when his family would make its way over to the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities to watch the Atomic Cup race.
But it wasn’t until his junior year at Federal Way that Hanson took his love of the boats to another level. That’s when he purchased a junior, small-class limited hydroplane and started working for renowned boat builder Ron Jones after his class made a field trip to Jones’ shop.
Hanson’s driving career included four wins on the national unlimited hydroplane circuit. The biggest of those victories came in 2001 on the Detroit River when Hanson won the prestigious Gold Cup — a title most drivers will say is the most important race of the season.