Hydros ready to roar for Diamond Cup

SPOKANE, Wash. - Hydros on Lake CDA

The roar of hydroplanes on Lake Coeur d'Alene returns this weekend, and Diamond Cup organizers are expecting the three-day event to draw crowds of more than 50,000 people.

Thursday the hydro started getting lined up along the water's edge in preparation for Friday when all 28 racing teams will slip their boats in the water, fire up the turbines and open up the throttles.

Billy Schumacher knows the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene well. He's the reigning Diamond Cup champion, having won the race in 1968.

"The race has always been good in Coeur d'Alene," Schumacher said.

Schumacher has returned to North Idaho, now as the owner of the U-37 hydroplane.

"The waterway looks wonderful as far as smoothness goes, I think it's going to be great for viewing," he said.

But the U-37 Schumacher Racing team has some steep competition, including Jimmy Shane, piloting the U-5 Graham Trucking hydroplane, which won at Seafair earlier this month.

"You do come into the next race weekend with a lot of confidence, and we are definitely going to keep our heads on a level tilt," Shane said.

Shane, who started racing when he was 8, is excited to race in the Lake City for the first time.

"It's got a lot of rich history here, it's very picturesque, unbelievably beautiful," he said.

Diamond Cup president Doug Miller worked five long years to bring the hydros back to Coeur d'Alene after a 45-year absence. Now his work is paying off.

"To be honest with you it was pretty emotional for me, to see the boats and the cranes," he said.

Schumacher is looking forward to the action this weekend at the Diamond Cup. He's not the 25-year-old driver behind the wheel anymore but, at 70 years old, he still has that competitive spirit and wants to blow the competition out of the water again.

"We are looking forward to this race, because I would like to win it as an owner now," he said.