by Tammy Wolf
With only one race under her belt, rookie Canadian Formula 2 pilot, Tammy Wolf entered the 27th annual Bay City River Roar with hopes of not only surviving but excelling in the rough Saginaw River and that’s just what she did.
Bay City 2013 action
The River Roar is the crown jewel of tunnel boat (a.k.a. Formula) racing in the United States. Every year North America’s best team’s gather in Bay City, Michigan to test there skills and equipment and every year even the best team’s and equipment fail in the wicked Saginaw River. The course is exceptionally challenging due to the strong current, holes in the water and wind racing down and across the course.
This year, Bay City hosted two separate championships; the Central Divisional Champion on Saturday and Formula 2 Bay City Championship on Sunday.
Tammy, a crowd favorite, is the only female Formula two pilot in North America and races both in the USA and Canada. In 2012, the team received a second place finish in Formula three, with Mercury Marine as the teams’ primary sponsor they formed an aggressive new racing program for 2013 in Formula 2. The team is powered by a low-emissions Mercury OptiMax engine, racing a 16-feet wood Pugh tunnel boat, reaching speeds of 115 m.p.h., these boats can do four g’s of centrifugal force in the turns. The team was guided by retired powerboat driving legend, Ted Gryguc and his exceptional high-performance engineering staff from SpeedMaster Marine, Ltd in Canada.
Central Divisional and Formula two Bay City Championships
This was the teams’ second Formula two event, Tammy Wolf (number 88) took full advantage of Friday’s two testing session. The goal was to find a propeller that worked well on acceleration in the rough conditions. The team believed they found the optimal propeller to power the Pugh tunnel hull, however, during test session two, the boat rounded turn one and started to have severe vibration. When the boat returned to the pit area, the team discovered a broken blade and damaged mid-section caused by the dislodged blade. The best prop was gone and the team was forced to use a back-up, luckily Dave DeWald of DeWald Propellers was on hand to help with propeller selection. With a back-up propeller the team battled to a fifth place finish during the one-lap time trial and fourth place finish at the 15-lap Central Divisional Championships.
Sunday, the team prepared for a 30-lap final race, the wind and rough course had picked up from Saturday’s events. As the yellow flag dropped to signify the beginning of the race, the number 88 had a very bad jump off the dock but by the commitment buoy caught half the field of Formula two boats. At the end of the race the team fought there way to a very respectable fourth place finish at the hardest and most demanding course in the USA.
Tammy and the number 88 Formula two Mercury Team’s next event will be at the 75th annual Valleyfield Regatta in Quebec, Canada. The Valleyfield Regatta is held July 12th, 13th, and 14th, and hosts over 200,000 spectators. The team Valleyfield schedule includes Friday, July 12th testing at 12:30 and Heat one racing at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, July 13th two heats of racing at 12:30 and 4:00 p.m., Sunday includes 2:00 heat 4 and 4:30 final.