Hydroplanes: Hanson hoping to lead Oh Boy! Oberto to another victory

Mike Hanson and his U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto unlimited hydroplane will be in Seattle this weekend looking for their second straight win on Lake Washington in the Albert Lee Cup at SeaFair.

Hanson, a 1979 Federal Way High School graduate, is the longtime crew chief of the Oh Boy! Oberto after moving out of the cockpit. Hanson is the only former unlimited hydroplane driver to take over as a boat’s crew chief. He oversees the hydroplane’s set-up, race strategy and communicates with current driver, Steve David. Hanson stepped into the crew chief position with the Miss Oh Boy! Oberto following the 2003 season after 23 years piloting a hydroplane.

The Oh Boy! Oberto is coming off a second-place finish at the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities last weekend and has won the last three national high points championship.

Hanson got into the hydroplane business as a youngster when his family would make its way from Federal Way 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.

The Albert Lee Cup at SeaFair, which started back in 1951, will include testing and racing from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7. The final race is slated for 4:40 p.m. Sunday on Lake Washington. The racing will be broadcast on KIRO-7.

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