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Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Hydroplane racing a Bruns family affair

By William Kincaid

Mike Bruns, Celina, owner and co-driver of the Quantum Leap - a five-litter hydr. . .

It's summer, and the Bruns family of Celina have taken their boat and crew on the road for another season of racing in the American Power Boat Association (APBA). The trips run from May to October
And although the Quantum Leap - a five-litter hydroplane boat - will race in this weekend's Governor's Cup Regatta on Grand Lake, Mike Bruns and his wife don't think they will make the finals because of the formidable competition.
"I guarantee it won't be us. I only say that to be a realist," Mike Bruns, both the owner and co-driver said, pointing out his boat, to be driven this weekend by his wife Chreyl, faces 19 other top drivers from throughout the U.S.
But since they began racing in the APBA a few years ago, Mike and Chreyl have only missed the finals once. Their team, which consists of their son, Aaron, 10, and Celina High School students, Will Hartings and Jericho Steinke, have modest goals.
The Quantum Leap team strives to stay ahead of boats near the back of the pack and go after those in the middle, especially drivers with faster boats.
"We continue to get better. As long as there's somebody behind you, you have someone to race against," Bruns said.
Unlike some of the top teams in their tier, which Bruns said have mechanics, big pockets and better equipment, the Bruns family doesn't have as many crew members or, frankly, the budget.
"It's a hobby that's very time and labor extensive," Bruns said.
Each year, the team's goals include consistent racing, making the finals at each event, finishing in the top five and improving the boat - through engine and propellor modifications.
"We're finding more speed with our setup combination," he said.
This summer, the team has raced at a few events in Region Six, including Waterford, Mich., where they scored a fourth place finish. They will also race at Celina; Hillsboro; Stoney Creek, Mich.; and Clarksville, Va.
The crew has also been to Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, among other states, in past years. Next year, they plan on racing at Cambridge Mass.
The Bruns' have about nine sponsors, mostly local, including Mercer County Economic Development Department. While traveling throughout the U.S., team members distribute pamphlets and other information about the Mercer County area.
"We're always open for more sponsors," Chreyl Bruns said. But Mike Bruns doesn't want any partners with the Quantum Leap.
Mike Bruns - who has been in the boating business his entire life - said his family looks forward to the Regatta race each year at Celina. Many in the racing community, including both fans and drivers, enjoy the racing because of the ample-sized lake, and the friendly treatment they receive from locals.
Besides the hydroplane racing, Mike Bruns also has been a Celina firefighter and paramedic for 151/2 years, has co-owned boats in the past,
Mike and Chreyl take turns driving at various events. And they even plan on allowing 16-year-old crew member Hartings to drive during a few test runs soon. Hartings said he dreams of being a driver someday, while crew member Steinke said he would like to own a boat someday.
Both boys said they have learned much about boats and racing under the guidance of the Bruns.
Additional online story on this date
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
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