Dillon Racing News

April 11, 2011

Todd Huber of Lake Charles, Louisiana has been busy lately, and he's been sending pictures. You can see his Pro Vee project in Customer Projects.

Tony's Pro Tunnel, ready for plywood
April 7, 2011

Latest update: Tony Fortuna's Pro Tunnel.

Spring is making an occasional appearance in the North. I'm starting to make some progress on my Mini Tunnel reinvention project. You can see that project HERE. More photos to come soon.

March 28, 2011

I've added a new page: Bob's Projects. Not much really new here, just an index to a bunch of pages that are already linked to from one page or another. The only things that are new are an old page about building the Mini Tunnel which had gotten kinda lost, and I made a brand new page about some rebuilding I'm doing on the original Mini Tunnel.

I just thought it might be helpful to bring these links together in one place.

Here's a sneak peek at a video project Tony Fortuna is working on. Just a little racing "propaganda." Go Tony!!

March 14, 2011

We have a new builder in the Customer Projects section. Todd Huber is building a stretched version of the Pro Vee in Louisiana, and doing a nice job by the look of it.

Follow his, and other's projects, in Customer Projects

March 11, 2011

The TCPBA March meeting was held last night in Blane, MN.

Big news for GT Pro fans: GT Pro has been invited to the OPC Nationals in Kankakee, IL on Labor Day weekend. There are six or seven of us who will probably be able to go, hopefully a few more. We want to make a big splash at this major venue.

I've updated the tentative race schedule. You'll find it in the middle of the home page. Everything's in place for Crosby; Detroit Lakes, Champlin and Pine City all look really good; work continues on the others.

Gas prices may be a major participant in all these events, but finger crossed we'll have fun anyway.

February 23, 2011

10x18 chopper from Ron Hill

Tony Fortuna continues to work on his Pro Tunnel. See his progress HERE.

I bought a new prop from California prop maker Ron Hill. It's a 10"x18" chopper. Eighteen inches is a lot of pitch for our little motors, but maybe it will work. I thought it was worth a try. I'll be driving my Mini Vee in GT Pro this summer, and choppers are generally good v-bottom props. It may well be fast, but slow to get going. Can't wait 'til spring.

February 12, 2011

We had our TCPBA monthly meeting on Thursday -- this time at Carbone's Pizza in Blaine, MN. We had lively discussions regarding single-event membership fees; SKR-70 racing rules; and possible upcoming races.

I've summarized the race schedule "Wish List" about halfway down the HOME page. If all of these came to be, I'm not sure I'll be at home at all next summer. Well, they won't ALL happen, but we have the makings for a very busy season.

SKR ("Ski Race") -70 is a new Sportsman class the club is working on. Basically, production molded v-bottom boats powered by 49 cu. in., 70hp Johnson and Evinrude motors. This can be a VERY inexpensive class to get into. The Hydrostreams, Allisons, Checkmates, PaceCrafts and other boats that this class is designed for were built in the 1970s and '80s, as were the motors. This equipment is not very popular among the general boating puplic, so they can often be acquired for very little.

SKR-70 actually ran its first races last September in Pine City.

February 7, 2011

I've been building a new Mini Vee this winter, and it is now for sale. It is only available to someone who will race it in Mini GT in 2011. More about it HERE.

Two Mini Vees await the start of a Mini GT race -- Crosby, MN, 2010
February 6, 2011

I will soon have a brand new Mini Vee bare hull for sale. It will be available at a VERY reasonable price to anyone who will complete the boat and then race it in our Mini GT class here in Minnesota.

Mini GT uses 2-cylinder, 25hp Johnson and Evinrude motors with aluminum propellers for very economical racing in the 40-42 mph range. It is open to drivers as young as 12-years-old, and there is no maximum age limit.

Please contact me if you (or your son, daughter, wife, girlfriend...) are ready to start racing with the Twin City Powerboat Association.

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year, everyone.

Here's my suggestion for a New Year's resolution: Build a boat in 2011. Ok, I'm biased on this subject. But you'll have fun building it, then more fun playing with it. Even if, heaven forbid, you build from someone else's plans (I've done that myself).

Powerboat, sailboat, rowboat, canoe. Build a boat this year. You'll be glad you did.

December 20, 2010

Away from my computer for a few days. I will fulfill all orders next week.

I will still have access to email if you have any questions or requests.

Merry Christmas; Happy Holidays; Happy New Year.


December 5, 2010

No TCPBA meeting this month. Meeting are normally held the second Thursday of the month. Locations vary, but generally every other month it's held at Broadway Pizza in Minneapolis, alternating with a slightly more northerly location for those of us up here in the stix. Our new commodore (Howard Pipkorn) will likely favor the Ham Lake VFW, but we'll see.

Meetings are open to all. If you want to attend, contact me, or any other club member to find out the time and place. The information may also be available on the TCPBA website.

November 22, 2010

We had our annual TCPBA Awards Banquet on Saturday.

Of particular interest among the highpoints winners: Drake Halver in Mini GT (Mini Vee); and Steph Hansen in GT Pro (Racemaster).

I took home third place trophies in both classes -- I'm officially mediocre. But in the special award category, I was honored to receive the "Commodore Appreciation Award." The club hasn't given this award out in recent years, but Commodore Jeff Larson dusted it off and chose your humble servant. My thanks to Jeff.

Also in special awards, Korgen Halver, besides taking second place in Mini GT, was named Rookie of the Year. Way to go Korgen!!

I was also re-elected to the Board of Directors. And Jeff Larson handed off his duties to our new commodore, Howard Pipkorn. At our last monthly meeting, I agreed to continue as Class Captain for both Mini GT and GT Pro -- not so much an honor as a duty, and a pretty light duty at that, but someone has to keep the troops informed.

Winter is tumbling down outside my windows. Racing seems a long way off. And yet, when spring arrives we'll all scramble to get out stuff ready to go. Well, that's racing!

November 15, 2010

Drake Halver, 2010 Mini GT Highpoints Champion

Below (on the Home page) you will find the tentative race schedule for 2011, also known as our "Tentative Wish List," as named by Howard Pipkorn, who compiled it and handed it out at our last TCPBA meeting.

Detroit Lakes and Crosby are actually pretty good bets already. The rest involves places we're looking at, old venues that need to be re-signed for future races, and some sites we're just hoping may come through some day.

I'll update the list as necessary.

At right: The original Mini Vee, now owned by Drake Halver, still knows how to win. Photo taken in Pine City, MN, September 2010.

November 2, 2010

Another new entry in the Customer Project section. Nick Wright is building a Mini Vee in Sydney, Australia. He plans to race his boat in the 70 mile-long Hawkesbury Bridge to Bridge race in May, 2011.

October 17, 2010

More news from the Customer Project section.

I was really pleased to get video yesterday from Don Slomke, a Mini Vee builder from the Project pages. You can see the video on Don's Page. The boat looks great. Nice job, Don!

Tony Fortuna is back. Fresh off his rookie year racing his Mini Vee, he has launched into a new project, a Dillon Pro Tunnel. He's just getting started, but I'm expecting great things, and some really stiff competition in GT Pro next summer.

The Mini Vee racing GT Pro in Pine City, MN, 2010

October 5, 2010

I recently added two new projects to the Customer Projects section of the website.

Matt Giani of Alaska is making quick progress on a Mini Vee, while David Patience is getting started on a Pro Tunnel in Missouri.

I expect to add another Pro Tunnel project soon, from a builder/racer already featured in Customer Projects. Stay tuned.

October 2, 2010

A week ago, perfect weather descended on Pine City, MN, and two beautiful days of racing ensued.

I brought my Mini Vee for both Mini GT and GT Pro. Engine troubles pushed the boat to the back of the pack, but it still managed to run four races.

On Saturday, Karilyn Doehling drove Mini GT. Cody Johnson drove on Sunday.

Megan Halver moved from her beloved Kober Cat into the original Dillon Mini Tunnel, which the Halvers acquired last summer. Megan won the race on Saturday, her first win in four years of racing. That should also be enough to nail down second place in 2010 highpoints. Nice work, Megan!

September 22, 2010

The weather reports for Pine City this weekend are warm and mostly sunny. Only the wind is an unknown at this point.

New Paint for the Mini Vee

I will using my Mini Vee in two classes this weekend: Mini GT and GT Pro. The Sport GT tunnel boat is going back to Sport C in 2011 and already has the Nissan on its transom. You can read a little bit about the Sport-C-to-GT-Pro-back-to-Sport-C story HERE.

Recongizing my Mini Vee's new dual role, and with no racing since the first of August, I decided the boat needed new paint job.

September 13, 2010

Finally, a race to look forward to. Pine City came through afterall. In less than two weeks, September 25-26, we'll be racing on the north end of Pokegoma Lake, right in front of our sponsor, the Lakeview Supper Club. There'll be a pig roast, live music, contests and prizes. Come on out one and all, encourage Lakeview to invite us back again next summer.

This is most likely the last hurrah for 2010. Let's make it a great weekend.

September 3, 2010

Pokegama Lake, Pine City, MN, 2009

Well, the Pine City sponsor just wouldn't commit, and prospects for a race there this year seem to be zero. There's still some talk, and hopefully some action, for a driver-financed race in Minneapolis, or maybe some other city. We should know soon, if there is going to be anything at all.

August 19, 2010

The latest word is that Pine City will be signed this weekend, and we will be racing there September 25th and 26th. I should know for sure early next week.

Also, there is still an effort underway to sign a race in Minneapolis, tentatively for the first weekend in October. This will be a racer-funded event, with the expressed purpose of enticing an invite to Aquatennial next summer.

August 8, 2010

Still waiting to hear if we will be racing in Pine City, MN, next month. We're looking, probably, at the last weekend of September. The problem is getting the would-be sponsor to commit.

If we can't get a sponsored race set up in Pine City, there's the possibility of running a club-financed race. Sites in Minneapolis and Plymouth are being scouted. St. Cloud and Little Falls may also be on the table.

Stay tuned.

August 6, 2010

The Sport GT in the lead. But Steph Hansen, in hot pursuit, would prevail

Although we didn't get to race GT Pro on Sunday due to the weather, we did race on Saturday.

In heat #1 I took the lead, but Stephanie Hansen was right on my tail. She remained there until I took the last bouy just a little too wide and she shot into the gap. We raced to the finish line, side-by-side, and she won.

Heat #2 found Steph in the lead followed by Drake Halver in Jeff Larson's Pro Tunnel, and me chasing from third place. Drake eventually passed Steph on the outside to win the heat. But Steph won the race, to the delight of her "hometown" crowd (she's actually from nearby Bay Lake).

If she hadn't already, Steph has surely secured her grip on the highpoints championship for 2010. We will hopefully have two more races in September (in Pine City), but that won't be enough for anyone to catch her. Congratulations, Steph!!

August 4, 2010

While we are hoping for one more racing event this year, the fact is the 2010 season may already be over. And it ended on Sunday under cloudy skies full of thunder and lightning, with three classes unable to run, including GT Pro. As they say -- in order to smooth over a host of ills -- "That's racing."

In these economic conditions, it's harder than ever to find sponsors, or keep them once they've signed on. Our would-be sponsor in Pine City, MN, is definitely interested, but it is yet to be revealed if they can up with the money for two days of racing, or only one day, or anything at all. Stay tuned.

On a brighter note, Mini GT had a very successful weekend with two brand new drivers taking turns in the #212 Mini Vee.

Cody Johnson will have to pour it on to catch Drake Halver

On Saturday, 12-year-old Cody Johnson took the Mini Vee for a test run and was ready to go out and race later in the day. Cody's dad, Tim, is one of our VP75 drivers, and his green and orange Pace Craft is usually at or near the front of the pack. He was very anxious to get Cody involved in the sport, and it looks like it just might happen for next summer.

On Sunday we talked a very reluctant Karilyn Doehling into a test ride. She came back to the trailer all smiles and ready to race. Her first race took place in a light rain, but it didn't matter. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it looks like she, too, will be racing next summer in her own boat. Karilyn's husband, Kevin, races Formula V in the famed Hydrostream Viper "Zebra Boat."

So we are hoping to have at least five boats -- five Mini Vees! -- in Mini GT next summer. It's good to have this great class back in action.

July 28, 2010

Especially for those keeping track, please scroll down the HOME page to the TCPBA schedule for some changes.

St. Cloud will not be happening this year, due to bankrupcy of our sponsors corporate owners. But we're optimistic for next year.

Also, Pine City keeps moving farther into the future. But it should take place in September, at least a one-day event and hopefully two.
Comment/Question? July 26, 2010

More racing coming up this weekend, July 31-August 1. We'll be back on Serpent Lake in Crosby, MN, maybe our very best racing venue.

We always set up a dog-legged course in Crosby. As the boats come down the front straightaway they are heading right for the spectator beach. Then they make a slight but significant turn directly in front of the crowd. The result is fun for the spectators, and sometimes a real headache for the racers.

Bring your lawn chairs. Food and drink are always available. Come spend an afternoon in Crosby.

At right, VP75, a wild and crazy v-bottom class for the budget-minded.

July 21, 2010

The Halver boys did in fact make it to Hastings, so Mini GT was on the program. We were hoping to have one more boat, but that didn't happen. So it was Drake, Korgen and me. Drake won the first heat; Korgen won the second, and won overall. Yours Truly brought up the rear.

July 18, 2010

At Hastings yesterday, bad luck continued to haunt the Dillon Sport GT. I drew the pole position for heat #1, but when I hit the starter not much happened. Dean Hansen reached down from the dock, pulled my starter rope and I was off, but dead last. I managed to pass one boat before the heat was over.

Second heat, I kept my motor running, in neutral. When the flag dropped I shifted and was off and running. I was using a 10.5x15 Ron Hill, Yamaha-style cleaver that gets the best acceleration of the props available to me, has reasonable top end, but poor holeshot. Still from the far end of the line I took up the third position behind Steph Hansen and Jeff Larson. When Jeff's motor took a dive I was in second place and on a mission to track down Steph. I pulled up beside her on the white flag lap, then again as we charged for the finish line. I still don't know which of us won the heat. But Steph won the race; Jeff took second; and I got third.

July 11, 2010

Finally getting ready to race again. Next Saturday we'll be in Hastings, MN, for a one-day event. The Coast Guard has given us control of the water from 10:00am to 3:00pm, so racing starts early.

I'm not sure if Mini GT will be running since the two Halver boys are at Boy Scout camp this week. Though late word is they may leave camp a day early to come to Hastings. If so, Katie Sellner will also join us in her Uncle Jerry's Yamato v-bottom, which is a hot little boat.

Also looking for Tony Fortuna to be back on the water with a "new" engine and some bottom-work done -- seems a little delamination was happening under there. Anyway, with the new motor and the same Ron Hill prop I ran on the Pro Vee last summer, he should be running up near the front of the pack. If all goes well, anyway.

Come on to Hastings, just west of the Bridge. Saturday, July 17.

June 16, 2010

Sunday, June 13, we raced on the Mississippi River in Champlin, MN. The Sport GT was back on the water with a patched bottom, but my trim switch quick-fix (foolishly, I never revisisted the problem) quickly failed and I had to run the entire race at a too high trim angle. A last place finish for #212.

Jeff Larson was back with the Pro Tunnel. Jeff won the race, with Steph Hansen (Racemaster) taking second. Steph's brother Jeff took a step down from SST 60 and drove the original Dillon Mini Tunnel (now owned by Dave Halver) to a third place finish.

Tony Fortuna (Mini Vee: see Customer Projects) suffered engine failure in the warm up laps and didn't race. But he had aquired a new motor the day before the race, so he won't be down for long.

In the first heat, Megan Halver (Kober Cat) and Kris Bjork (Racemaster) collided in a corner. Both continued racing, but Megan's boat was damaged and was taking on water and had to be quickly loaded on its trailer after the heat was over.

It went worse for Chris Miller in VP 75 who barrel rolled a Glastron owned by Howard Pipkorn. Chris wasn't hurt, but the boat sunk in a couple of minutes and wasn't found until the next day. The boat looked pretty rough, but the 70hp Johnson was running within an hour.

June 15, 2010

The 2010 racing season started in Detroit Lakes, MN, on June 5th and 6th.

Mini GT made its comeback with three Mini Vees. I drove my Mini Vee on Saturday. Drake Halver won the race. On Sunday Jade Hedlund drove the #212 Mini Vee for his first ever race. Korgen Halver got the win in his second race.

A trip to the scales Saturday morning showed me the new tunnelboat, the Dillon Sport GT, is at least 50 lbs. overweight, way more than I had anticipated. On the short course that we run, I had no time to build up the speed that this boat is capable of. Still, I took second in the first heat behind Steph Hansen.

But a broken wire in my trim switch left me without trim in heat two. A poor start and difficulty getting through the turns.

But I got second place overall. Steph won the race. Jeff Larson did not have his Dillon Pro Tunnel ready and did not race.

On Sunday I spun out at the first turn and ended up in sixth place. Worse, at the end of the heat I realized the boat was listing; I was leaking. I gently beached the boat, and once on the trailer found a crack in the starboard sponson pad.

Steph Hansen won again!! Congratulations Steph on a big weekend.

June 3, 2010

The 2010 racing seasons kicks off this weekend in Detroit Lakes, MN. It's been a long fall, winter and spring, and we're all ready to get back at it.

Come see us on the north shore of Detroit Lake, on the south edge of town. We'll have eight classes racing, from 40 mph Mini GTs to 120 mph Formula 150s.

Mini GT has been away for two years, but it comes back this summer. We have three Dillon Mini Vees and one Yamato v-bottom. Not a lot of boats, but similar hulls should provide us with some close racing.

The "Dillon Sport GT" is ready for its first race. It will be particularly interesting to see how it stacks up against Jeff Larson's Pro Tunnel.

And remember, the original Dillon Pro Vee is still for sale -- too late to set up for this weekend, but there are lots more races to come.

May 9, 2010

Jeff Larson has finally been able to nail down a couple of days of racing in Cumberland, WI. Nice work, Jeff. It will be a very busy late July and August, followed by (hopefully) a trip to Kankakee in early September.

I don't think the Isanti, MN, "Ice Breaker" is going to happen. And last I heard Pine City is still uncertain. But the rest of the schedule (on the HOME page) seems to be in place.

Kankakee update: Last summer, then-OPC Chairman Mike Weinandt invited GT Pro to the 2010 Nationals. But Mike has since been ousted as Chairman, and has not been invited back as Nationals Race Director. I have been in contact with Great Lakes Boat Club commodore Dee Berghauer, and the subject is going to be raised with their board. Still waiting to hear back from Dee.

May 3, 2010

Customer Project update. Tony Fortuna launched his Mini Vee this weekend for its first tests. Results were good and a direction was established to race-ready condition. See his boat on the go HERE.

April 29, 2010

A new builder joins the Customer Projects section. SK Yeoh, currently working in China, has made a good start on his Pro Tunnel. See his progress HERE.

I took the "New Tunnel" (gotta come up with a name) out for another spin yesterday. A bit breezy, so I had to go a little easy coming into the wind.

This boat did not start out to be a GT Pro, so I've been thinking of it as a sort of orphan design. But now I'm wondering if I should work up the plans and offer them for sale. And maybe try it again myself for Sport C, its original purpose. We'll see how it goes once the racing season gets underway.

April 28, 2010

Finally, the new tunnel boat is rigged and has been out for its first test. Awesome! Over 48 mph with a home-modified OMC prop.

See the latest pictures HERE.

Also, a new Ron Hill prop is on the way, an honest-to-goodness pointy-eared cleaver, 10x17. Should be here first thing next week, and I'm very anxious to try it -- and pass it around to others in the class as well.

April 17, 2010

The new GT Pro tunnel boat is all painted. This is the converted Sport C project, originally built three years ago, and now re-imagined for its new class.

And I have a camera again, so I've added pictures to the page linked to above.

Maybe ready to test in a couple of weeks.

April 5, 2010

Work continues on converting my Sport C project to GT Pro. I don't have any new photos because my camera bit the dust. Hope to have a replacement soon.

Spring is galloping along in unprecidented form. The lakes are already open, a good three weeks ahead of average. I'm usually sitting on shore with a boat ready to test, waiting for the ice to go out. This year the lakes will have to wait for me.

The original Pro Vee is still for sale. Here is an opportunity for someone to step into racing with a winning rig. I'm not selling a motor with this boat, but you don't need anything special to make it go. Just a good-running 30hp or 35hp (they're the same) Johnson or Evinrude. Or pick up a 20hp or 25hp and make the simple conversion to 35hp.

This is a fast boat with two high-points championships to it's credit.

March 23, 2010

It's time again for the "World of Wheels" in Duluth. And when you think of wheels, you naturally think of racing boats.

I'm bringing my Pro Vee (which is for sale) and my Mini Vee. There will also be a V-6 powered SST 120 tunnelboat on display.

And of course a lot of really cool cars that all those other exhibitors will be showing.

The show runs March 26-28, at the DECC. See you there.

March 20, 2010

Tony Fortuna sent the latest pictures of his Mini Vee project today. He's done a beautiful job on his boat. And he's in the final stretch, rigging it to race in GT Pro.

Thank you, Tony, for all the updates.

Take a look at the new boat in Customer Boats.

March 15, 2010

Spring is coming early to Minnesota. The snow is just about gone. But winter is likely to have a few tricks for us in the next month or so.

It was warm enough to work outdoors yesterday. I got a bit of work done on my "new tunnelboat."

Work also continues on the Mini Vee project. I'm still hoping someone will come forward to buy this boat and get started finishing it for racing this season.

You don't have to build your own boat to get started in racing. My original Pro Vee is still for sale. This is a fast boat which won two highpoints championships in two seasons of racing.

February 22, 2010

Lately I've been keeping an eye on a race that is developing in Parker, AZ. For the last few years they've run an endurance race, the Blue Water Resort and Casino 300 Enduro, which is for larger boats, both inboard and outboard. Now Ron Hill is attempting to expand the idea to a "Mini Enduro."

In this case "mini" refers to the size of the boats, not necessarily the severity of the endurance. The rules are only a proposal at this point, but they seem to offer some possibilities for small tunnel and v-bottom boats.

Division I is any 30hp outboard on a v-bottom boat. That sounds to me like a Mini GT boat with a carburetor (and propeller) upgrade. Division IV is any 2-cylinder outboard on any boat. Maybe a Pro Tunnel with a Sport C motor (40hp Tohatsu) could run here. Or with a Yamato (Division II).

The 300 Enduro doesn't seem to allow homebuilt boats. No mention of that for the Mini Enduro, but I'm hoping. Anyway, I'm probably just daydreaming. I don't know if a race 2000 miles away is in the cards for me this year.

Tentative date is October 31st, the day after the 300. Keep and eye on the Mini Boats section at Boat Racing Facts.

January 30, 2010

Returning visitors will notice some changes. Nothing sustantive, just a face lift. Although maybe I've made some things easier to find. Or, since it weren't broke perhaps I shouldn't have fixed it....

It's cold, cold, cold here in north-central Minnesota. But as aways we have boats and racing on our minds. The first boat show of the season has already come and gone. The Twin City Powerboat Assoc. had a few boats on display, including a couple of Dillon Tunnels. You can see some photos HERE.

The latest Mini Vee project is coming along slowly. I'll have more to update on that soon.

January 16, 2010

The Mini Vee I started last fall has been completed to a bare hull, and the Halvers came to pick it up last weekend. They will be finishing and rigging the boat for Mini GT. Some notes on the project HERE.

I've made a start on the next Mini Vee. This one should be ready by the end of March, and it still needs a buyer. It is available to any current or future TCPBA/APBA member who will complete the project and race it in Mini GT next summer. The price is very reasonable, and the cost to make it race-ready is not excessive.

Contact me if you are interested.


January 14, 2010

Rod Muller, from Australia, test-launched his elongated Mini Vee. Just to see how she floats for right now. Check it out HERE

I also recently added China to the list of countries where my plans have been sold. The sale was complicated by the inability to access Paypal from China. So he had a friend in Singapore make the purchase and pass them along. It is indeed a tiny planet.

January 1, 2010

What happened to 2009? It was here a minute ago....

Coming up for 2010: A new tunnel boat to race this summer; a Pro Vee to sell; another Mini Vee to build this winter; a Yeeha Sport C boat (belongs to a friend) to work on in the spring.

And maybe a new tunnel boat design to unveil. Hopefully I'll have more to say about that this year.

Happy New Year!