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August 13, 1997     West Seattle Herald
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August 13, 1997
 

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| 4 Wednesday, August 13, 1997 West Seattle Herald/White Center News ' ~:~ ~ili i ~ .... !i~i~!~ ~ili ~ ? ~, ~ By Eric Francis HERAU>NEWS While the National Championships may not have been kind to West Seattle outboard racer Jon DuVernet-Steen, the rest of the sea- son has been nothing short of spectacular. DuVernet-Steen, a Highland Park resident, is currently leading the nation in D Stock Hydro racing, having won seven of the nine races he has entered. There are 15 races in the season, which is now two-thirds finished. Each race consists of three or four laps, with each lap ranging from three-lburths to one and two-thirds mile. The typical races lasts between seven and 10 minutes. The National Championship race in Hin- ton, W.Va., was much shorter than that for DuVernet-Steen, because of a pre-race "acci- dent." "As we were milling out to start, I was taken out," DuVernet-Steen said, shaking his head. The racers begin jockeying lbr position in the three minutes before a race, trying to hit the starting line moving at full speed at the moment the race begins. The National Cham- pionship never began lor DuVernet-Steen, as another racer intentionally knocked his out- board motor. This in a sport that is usually good spirited, DuVernet-Steen contends, at least in the Northwest. "There's a lot off camaraderie with the out- boards. All three (stock, modified and pro) are fairly tight knit. It's much more cutthroat back East." Despite the setback, which forced him to take no points for the event, he still has 3,650 points, 351 more than No. 2 in nation Brian Palmquist from Ohio. Teammate Roy Yager is second in the region and fifth in the nation. Last year, DuVernet-Steen finished second in the nation with 4,757 points. He won Region 10, which is Washington, Oregon and part of Idaho. DuVERNET-STEEN was bitten by the racing bug as a youngster, watching the Fourth-of-July hydro races around Vashon Island. He began racing in his early teens. aMy neighbor helped me purchase a little Jon DuVernet.Steen's craft goes airborne during a D Stock Hydro race earlier this year. round-nose hydro," DuVernet-Steen said. you can become a national champion. Most net. "That's where the madness started." of the guys are just running for national Even noW, He raced the round-nose hydro around points," DuVernet-Steen said. "Since we Vashon when he was 13, and hasn't stopped build and repair these, that saves some to a since. Now 33, he has been involved in orga- expense. The rest of our money is from jobs. "When nized racing for a dozen years. It's not super expensive once you get the you He also builds his own boats. His compa- equipment. Then most of the money is in up- "You're ny, JDS Extreme, builds and repairs the keep and travel." moneyandC team's boats, as well as creates vehicles for THE BOATS are I 1-feet long, weigh The other drivers. DuVernet-Steen's success on about 125 pounds and, with a 50 horsepower er, bulkier the tour has led to increased demands for JDS engine, can reach speeds in excess of 80 mph. that boats. Unlike bigger hydroplanes, a D Stockerup on the Doing the work saves DuVernet-Steen and Hydro's features an outboard motor. But for his teammates the expense of paying for "They're not like a hydroplane in that Hydro repairs, in what is a truly amateur sport, they're built differently and they turn really attention. "It's one of the few amateur sports where hard. These do more of a glide turn," DuVer- is Aug. 23 ,S '(i Aaron Barnes wins the IK kids dash, grabbing his ribbon as he crosses YMCA Family Fun Run and Walk at Alki Beach Saturday. Bruce Savadow/staff the finish line at the Baseball was my game when I was growing up. I played whenever I could, then ran home to watch the pros on television. Everything stopped when there was a game. Baseball doesn't always seem like a game anymore. What kind of game do peo- ple refuse to play unless they're paid more than the next guy? What kind of game cancels a season over money? Part of what made baseball special to me died during the 1994 strike. What's left dies a little every time a free agent takes more money from a big-market team, or a player is sold off to cut payroll, or a team threatens to leave town. When the Mariners went on their remark- able streak at the end of 1995, I knew I would have appreciated it more a few years ago. I was cheering out of habit, not love. I found that love again this summer, and it wasn't because of the great team in the teams WeeS Colt about Sitting game, For lion or the about been ia You There at egos struck could- So, to the you. to why