Monday, August 29th, 2011
By Gary R. Rasberry
Kanfoush makes history
2011 Governor's Cup Regatta
CELINA - The name of the trophy may be the Governor's Cup but Dan Kanfoush could claim the title "King of Grand Lake."
The Niagra Falls, NY native made history on Sunday by becoming the first person to have his name inscribed on the Governor's Cup trophy three times, defending his title from 2009 - the 2010 Regatta was cancelled - and having won it for the first time in 2006.
"I've come to Celina since one of the first events in the early 2000s," said Kanfoush, who had a perfect 4-0 weekend in the 1-Litre division. "We love it here. The community support here is fantastic."
To win the cup for the third time in the "Fast Eddie Too", Kanfoush had little room for error in the final of four weekend heats as he had company going for the Cup.
Bobby Kennedy entered the final heat at 3-0 in the 2.5-Litre stocks, while veteran Calvin Phipps was also perfect on the weekend in his Grand National Modified.
The 2.5 Stocks got the call for the first of the final heats on the day. Things got interesting from the start as Kennedy came very close to crossing the starting line before the cannon, which would have resulted in a one-minute penalty and wash out his chances for the Cup. The review of the start camera showed Kennedy was safely - but close - behind the buoy. The heat itself wasn't of concern as Kennedy, ironically using a Kanfoush-built engine, finished first by a wide margin to keep his Cup hopes alive.
Kanfoush then took his turn in the 1-Litre final heat and dominated the course from the get-go to take the win and set himself up for the final. Kanfoush knew he needed a spectacular race to stay with Kennedy.
"We knew we weren't even close to the tiebreaker going into the last heat," said Kanfoush. "I was struggling in my starts this weekend. ... Jim (boat owner Jim Sechler) and I talked going into the last heat and we said we would press the start as hard as we can. We jumped and pretty much nailed a perfect start."
Phipps had an interesting run in his final GNH race as veteran Steve "The Irishman" Kuhr snagged the favored inside lane in the pre-race jockeying, putting Phipps in the third lane at the cannon. Phipps moved into second at the start and stayed there until the halfway point of the five-lap race before going ahead and keeping his lead until the end to join the battle for the Cup.
The tiebreaker came down to who either broke or came closest to breaking the competition course record over the weekend. Phipps bowed out at that point, leaving it up to Kanfoush and Kennedy. Kanfoush came within 2.767 miles per hour of setting the record while Kennedy was 2.956 mph, a difference of 0.189 mph, giving the Cup to Kanfoush.
"That's fantastic. You look at the list of people who have won in the past, there are some top drivers there," said Kanfoush, who received the trophy from Miss Ohio Ellen Bryan. "To be even included with those people once is fantastic. I'm just fortunate I drive one heckuva boat. Jim Sechler from Farmington Hills, Mich. puts one heckuva boat underneath me. I drive it as hard as I can.
"I have a lot of respect for Bobby. When Bobby started racing in about 2000, he was in the 2.5 Stocks, which is where I came from. He and I raced three years in a row for the High Points championship. We know each other well. Now he drives for Mike Grendell and I build Mike's motors. I really couldn't lose this deal, unless Calvin won."
Saturday's heats counted toward the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) World Championships. In addition to Kanfoush, Kennedy and Phipps winning UIM titles on Saturday, Tom Thompson (2.5 Modifieds), Joe Less (5-Litre) and Tom Hines (National Modifieds) picked up victories.
Thompson repeated as division winner from Sunday's races in 2.5 mods and added the National Mods title. Brandon Kennedy, 2008 Cup champ and cousin to Bobby, won the 5-Litre award on Sunday.
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