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Monday, August 24th, 2009

Kanfoush wins Governor's Cup for second time

By Gary R. Rasberry

Fans line up by Grand Lake in front of the "Big Bob" fish float in anticipation. . .

Knowing that he had to win his final heat to stay in the running for the 2009 Governor's Cup, Dan Kanfoush needed a big run after Jim Martin went 4-0 in the 5-Litre division.
Kanfoush got the win in his final heat of the 1-Litre boat class to join Martin at 4-0, meaning the Cup would come down to who came closer to breaking their division's competition world record.
Martin came within four miles per hour of breaking the 5-Litre record. Kanfoush was within two miles per hour, allowing him to have his name etched on the Cup for the second time, having won his first in 2006.
Kanfoush, from Niagra Falls, NY, becomes the first Hydroplane driver to win two Cup titles since the Regatta returned in 1995 and the third in the history of the Regatta, joining J.D. Smith (1965 and 1966) and Tom Skelly (1962 and 1968).
"This is a great race," said Kanfoush after the awards presentation along Grand Lake. "The Race Committee does a fantastic job. It seems like they have overwhelming support with the local businesses.
"When I was running 2.5 (Litre) Stock, I tried for years to win this thing. There was always something to trip me up. I sold my equipment in 2006 and started driving for Jim Sechler. I'd like to take all the credit, but I can't. Jim puts a great piece of equipment under me."
When the final heats of racing took place on Sunday afternoon, Kanfoush knew what he would have to do since the 1-Litre would be the final race of the day. Martin's 5-Litre race took place in the middle of competition, which he won easily.
Kanfoush got out to the lead in his final heat after taking the prime inside lane one. By the end of the race, he had outdistanced the field and made a run at the world record time, just barely missing.
"In our first heat, we were about 10 seconds off our record. We knew Jim was about eight seconds off the record," said Kanfoush. "We knew we had to run fast in the qualifier this morning. I was actually running over our class record at the end of the third lap (out of five). I just about spun out and hit a buoy. We're very fortunate to be standing here."
With both drivers having gone 4-0 in qualifying groups, the calculations by the American Power Boat Association in seeing who got closer to their class' record time came in big, with Kanfoush edging out Martin.
Kanfoush had plenty of praise for Martin.
"What makes this weekend special for Jim and I is that we're running New Power in the boat this weekend," said Kanfoush. "Totally new architecture. Our first weekend running it. It's fast out of the box.
"Jim Martin is a great guy. We're real good friends. We were actually in the water together wishing each other good luck. It's all in fun and we're going to enjoy the win."
Numbers denied defending Cup holder Brandon Kennedy a chance to repeat. Kennedy won all four of his races in the 1.5-Litre Stocks, but the boat class was one boat short of the required five boats needed to qualify for Cup contention.
Other boat class winners were Jimmy Deel in the Grand National Hydroplane, Jack Meyer in National Modified, Mike Monahan in the 2.5-Litre Modifieds, Mark Johnson in the 2.5-Litre Stocks, and Jacob Zirkle in the J Stock Division.
Brandon Kennedy, Kanfoush and Monahan set course records during hot-lap racing over the weekend.
In addition to the competition boats, 21 vintage boats took part in the Jim Cunningham Memorial this weekend, taking trips around the one-mile tri-oval course during the weekend.
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