Tim Parent, executive vice president of Boone Homes, has been involved in real estate and homebuilding for almost 20 years. Aside from homebuilding, he has always been drawn to anything that goes fast, which is where his passion for Hydroplane boat racing developed. Tim joined the Peters and May U-11 Hydroplane Racing team in 2012 as a one-race volunteer in Detroit. He was instantly hooked and has been a part of the team ever since.
For you to understand what the excitement is about, you need to understand a bit about the boat itself. A modern Unlimited Hydroplane is the world’s fastest racing boat, capable of speeds in excess of 200 mph. It represents the product of more than 100 years of evolution in race boat design and incorporates the most powerful engines (3000 HP), the most advanced construction techniques and the best safety systems available in boat racing today. All Unlimited Hydroplanes are a “three point” design, meaning they are designed to only touch the water at three points when racing: at the rear of the two front “sponsons” (the projections of the hull in front of the driver cockpit), and the propeller at the rear of the boat. “Runners” under the sponsons and “shoes” at the rear of the boat are generally all that touch the water during race conditions. The boat is mostly constructed of lightweight metals, carbon fiber and fiberglass.
In 2013, the U-11 Team had a major accident, resulting in the boat flipping nearly being ripped in half at the World Championship in Doha, Qatar. Most importantly, the driver was safe but the boat was nearly destroyed. Being that it would take almost four months to get the damaged boat back from the Middle East, the dedicated owners, Scott and Shannon Raney, had the vision to buy back an older boat they had sold that was a record-setter in years past. This boat needed almost as much work as the boat that was recently destroyed, but they could start working on it right away to make the current season racing schedule. Scott and Shannon purchased this boat knowing it was going to be a challenge. When Tim heard of this challenge, he wanted to partake instantly and his wife Tammy just smirked and said, “GO!” as she saw the excitement in his eyes. Tim booked a flight to Seattle and spent about eight days with the team to lend as much help as he could to the team. Scott and a few other team members showed Tim some tips on how to work with carbon fiber and fiberglass to help rebuild the damaged sponson. These types of long days and working with his hands are the experiences that Tim thrives on.
Tim was fortunate enough to really have the time to bond with the team during this trip, and they surprised Tim to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Aaron Salmon, one of the full-time team members and championship racer, let Tim race one of his smaller class hydroplane race boats! This was truly an experience of adrenaline and something Tim will never forget. He has plenty of experiences being on pleasure boats, but nothing as serious or fast on the open water.
After the week of repair work and the opportunity to race, Tim has been completely in love with the sport and has a newfound family in the racing world. Tim stated, “I have never felt so close to a group of people over such a short period of time. The Raney’s are the most welcoming and family-oriented people I’ve met in a long time.” Tim continues by saying, “The sport is truly about being a family. They let me be a part of something that is their passion and everyday life but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me in my world!” Tim, having three beautiful children and a wife at home, also stated, “I am truly lucky to have a wife that understands my passions for mechanics and the hobbies I enjoy. I am lucky to have her by my side.”
Tim now works on the boat when he can with the media team when in Richmond, Virginia with his amazing family of five. He hopes his children will want to get involved when they get older, too.
Keep up with the Peters and May U-11 Racing team by liking the Facebook page at www.u11racing.com.