He brought a boat that had to be sitting in a shop to the track. He has transformed this boat from a boat that was also run into one of the fastest boats in the sport. The sport’s winning driver was pulled out of retirement. And it gave one of Seafair’s old boat sponsors a place to put his name.
She’s Miss Bacon Plumbing Under 40, and was the second fastest qualifier during a refreshing Friday at the Home Street Bank Cup in Seafair. Dave Villwock drove the boat on Lake Washington to the 151.076 mph mark, second only to U-1 Miss HomeStreet (153.539).
Kelly Stocklin, who owns Snohomish-based Bucket List Racing with his wife Sharon, is a longtime collaborator with Villwock where the two flatboats have been racing together for 30 years. They had long had an understanding that they would work together if Stoecklen ended up with a new boat.
The opportunity came when they bought the boat from Greg and Brian O’Farrell of Go Fast Turn Left Racing, who had a new boat that debuted in 2019. The old boat, often run as the U-21 Lakeridge Paving, was available.
“It was never really the case to get the band back together,” Stocklin said. “The band is back on its own.”
The boat was purchased before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, giving the crew plenty of time to work on it. The crew was a group of veterans, many of whom had worked with Villwock for decades. Dan Walters worked with Filock when he led the circus circus early in his career in the 1980s. Bob Borks was with the Elllstrom Racing team, his first stop after his Miss Budweiser days (after 2004).
It is clear that they gained some knowledge during their time in the sport. The boat was never a contender prior to last season. Now it is one of the fastest in drilling.
“It’s just a lot of small details,” said Velok. “…You are only a short distance from things.”
Not that it was the beginning of the story book. When the four-race 2021 season opened, Miss Beacon earned the DNS (not started) in Heat 1B. By the time the season was over in San Diego, a penalty was all that prevented the boat from winning the final. She ranked fifth in the national high score rankings.
“We went from not being able to answer the bell at Guntersville to being second fastest,” said Stocklin.
They even kicked off a busy week as Villwock and U-40 flipped last weekend in the Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities. The boat was ready when it rushed into the hole on Thursday.
In Villwock’s long career, he holds records for most race wins (67), national titles (10) and the most wins in Seafair (10). The only record he doesn’t have is a Gold Cup win, which Chip Hanauer (11 to 10) still holds.
If he finishes the season and races in San Diego, he will also break the record for the oldest driver of an unlimited seaplane. According to numbers put forward by H1 Unlimited, Walt Cady was 68 years and 212 days old when he raced the Sweet Thing in Detroit in 1972. Filock, who lives in Monroe, will pass by the time the San Diego Bayfair turns next month. .
Dave found these stats amusing, but said they weren’t something that meant much to him. He has no plans for how long it will take him to do so.
“As long as I do well,” he said, “I will continue to do so.”
Last season, the Bucket List was a two-boat team with 440 led by Dustin Echols. The team announced pre-season that they will focus on the U-40 and that Echols remains part of the team.
The U-440 was never intended to be a contender. It’s a converted G-class seaplane and was the smallest in the pits. Nor does it have an engine that can keep up with the rest of the field.
Stocklin is still thinking about what to do with the boat. He may still be racing it, but he wants a better ride for Echols. He can use the boat as a way to train new drivers, something the sport needs.
“This boat is not ready to race with these boats,” said Stocklin. “And the [Echols] I knew, and so did I.”
Once they get on the boat, Villwock and Bucket List are still looking for their first win together. And the first Unlimited Bucket List team win.
“It’s fun,” Filock said. “It’s a special little group that we’ve put together.”
- Each boat only got one chance to qualify on Friday, a shorter session than in past years. There will be another testing and qualifying session on Saturday morning.
- The Match Race will begin at Seafair on Saturday. The five boats will be ranked based on qualifying speeds and placed on a bow. These sessions are at 10:55 AM and 4:30 PM
- A popular addition to the vintage seaplanes that are part of every Seafair is the Squire Shop, the iconic boat from the 1980s.