Shane has raced around the country as part of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane league, but this weekend it becomes more personal as he gears up to drive for the U-1 Miss Madison Racing Team in the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup on Lake Washington.
Hydroplane racing is a family affair for Jimmy Shane. It always has been. And he’s hoping it always will be.
Shane, a Maryland native who now resides in Covington, began racing boats at age 8. He’s a second-generation pilot, his father and mother also having raced throughout their lives. The Shane family — his sister also raced — traveled together to races throughout Shane’s childhood.
It was never really an option for Shane. But he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I was basically born into it,” he said. “I associate spending time with family with hydroplane racing.”
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Shane has raced around the country as part of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane league, but this weekend it becomes more personal as Shane gears up to drive for the U-1 Miss Madison Racing Team in the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup on Lake Washington.
He’s a local guy. He and his team are sponsored by HomeStreet Bank, a Seattle-based company. And, most importantly, he has something to prove on his home turf after last year’s agonizing defeat.
Exactly one year ago, Shane crossed the finish line first at Seafair.
But on further review, he was given a one-minute penalty for encroachment on the final lap of the race, pushing him to sixth.
So now, with a victory already under his belt this season, Shane will look to redeem himself in Seattle.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” he said.
“Representing a company that’s based in Seattle is a big pride thing. You want the sponsors to feel like they’re performing well on their home soil. For us it’s an extremely big weekend to perform the best we can for our sponsor.”
Shane is no stranger to the Lake Washington course — he has raced here since 2007. But the 2-mile course, the shortest on the H1 Unlimited circuit, presents its own sets of challenges each year, which can make for an unpredictable outcome.
Shane, however, feels he has an advantage over other drivers because he used to build his own boats.
“I know how adjustments and changes to the boat could make it better or worse for handling on the water,” he said.
Because of its length and location on Lake Washington, the Seafair course creates what Shane calls “parallel rollers.”
The wake the racing boats make hits the boats tethered to the log boom, then rebounds back onto the course, creating extra turbulence for the racers. There’s certainly more air-time, Shane said.
After Miss Madison’s previous sponsor ended its partnership with the team in 2015, HomeStreet CEO Mark Mason saw an opportunity to latch on to one of the top drivers in hydroplane racing.
Teaming with Shane is also a way for HomeStreet to stay connected to the local scene.
“Hydroplane racing is an exciting sport that really represents the Pacific Northwest,” Mason said. “Jimmy is a fan favorite and one of the most talented drivers in the sport today. His record speaks for itself, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as our driver.”
Shane is committed to the family environment that was so prominent for him growing up.
His parents and wife and two young sons often travel with him to races.
His sons will grow up in the same racing atmosphere. But whether they’ll create a third generation of Shane racers is their decision.
“That will be totally up to them,” Shane said.
“I’m not going to force it, but it’ll be really hard growing up in this environment, just like it was for me, to not get into racing.”