Champions crowned at Lake DePue races

DEPUE — There were a number of champions crowned at the Lake DePue PRO National Boat Races this past weekend.

Drivers Pete Kelly of Lakeland, Fla., Derek Gesler of Belle Plane, Minn., and Doug Hall of Dekalb, Md., were crowned on Sunday.

Hall took the main event in his 1100cc canopied hydro.

“We were a bit surprised,” Hall said, adding he was using a new boat. He also said they were making changes after every single heat throughout the weekend.

“I’m not 100 percent confident in (this boat) as I was in my old one,” Hall said. “It was driveable but not raceable. We made some (repairs) Friday to redo the hood … We made changes after every single heat. After practice, we made changes. Yesterday it ran a lot better. This morning, we (were working on it)." Hall had used his former boat for 10 years.

Gesler won a title in his 1100cc runabout boat. He is the team’s driver and engineer. His co-pilot, Derrick Cox, who has to steady the boat by leaning out around curves, said he does not mind. Gesler said he was confident in the boat.

Kelly captured his championship in the 125cc class Sunday, besting competitors Brian Palmquist and Kristi Ellison who finished second and third.

Kelly said, “We took a vacation to Constantine, Mich.,. to do a race, and then we stayed all week here to tweak. And we figured it out. Our propellers, we could not pull for some reason. Our throttle was sticking, and we changed the pipe on it. And, we used the week to work on it.”

In prior races, youngster Bryanna Payne won her first national title in the K-Pro hydro races that took place on Friday. Chris Hellston finished first in the 250cc hydro, and Richard Krier placed No. 1 in the 350cc runabout in Sunday’s finals.

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