J. Michael Kelly wins 2016 UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest

DETROIT — The UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest celebrated 100 years of racing this weekend on the Detroit River.  This represents the oldest active trophy in motorsports.  Yes, the Gold Cup is back.  The day was hot and muggy, yet fans came out in groves to see the races.

The opening ceremonies began with the singing of the national anthem.  Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, said a few words and introduced Keith Crain, who was the grand marshal of the 2016 APBA Gold Cup race.

J. Michael Kelly won the 2016 Gold Cup driving the U-5 Graham.  “I didn’t think I’d ever win one,” says Kelly.  His average speed was 150 miles per hour, even though the river was choppy.

J. Michael is a third generation racer.  He used to watch his dad race when he was a kid.  The first time he raced a boat was when he was nine.  He has three boys, one who is 17 years old, one who is seven and also a newborn.  The oldest is already itching to race.

The Hydrofest weekend began with Free Friday starting at 1 p.m. for the fans to watch high speed boat racing and also be in the pits.

Next up: The APBA Racing Series heads to the Powerboat Nationals at the Grand Prix of Louisiana on Saturday, Sept. 3rd.


J. Michael Kelly’s race team and his No. 7 GRAHAM Trucking hydroplane. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan welcomed everyone to the Hydrofest. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


One of the Sunday’s heat races on the Detroit River. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Keith Crain served as grand marshal of the 2016 APBA Detroit Gold Cup. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


A hydroplane boat on the Detroit River during the 2016 UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest. (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Local band Redemption Road performed live on Sunday afternoon. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

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