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Detroit hydroplane champ needs last minute boost

Bell racing in 2004

Bell racing in 2004

Jerry Bell

Jerry Bell

Champion hydroplane racer Jerry Bell is trying to raise the last funding he needs to race in this year’s American Power Boat Association’s Gold Cup races July 11-13. Bell, who began racing in 1995, was trained by the first Black hydroplane racer, Terry Dudley.

“I am appealing to the community and to businesses for additional sponsorship,”Bell said, having recently recovered from serious injuries sustained in 2010, during a robbery while working as a cab driver.

Bell commands a small 19-foot boat that can achieve speeds surpassing 120 m.p.h.

“This is a very highly competitive and exciting class,”Bell said.  “The racers jockey with each other for lanes unlike the bigger boats, giving spectators true thrills.”

In 2008, students from the Detroit Public Schools Golightly Career and Technical Center made up Bell’s crew for the 100th running of the Gold Cup, but their hopes were dashed when the automotive-powered boat class they were registered for was eliminated.

In 2008, students from the Detroit Public Schools Golightly Career and Technical Center made up Bell’s crew for the 100th running of the Gold Cup, but their hopes were dashed when the automotive-powered boat class they were registered for was eliminated.

If Bell can get sufficient sponsorship packages together by 11 a.m. July 9, he will be racing in the 5-Litre Class on July 12, beginning at 2:20 p.m. on the Detroit River between Belle Isle and the river’s north shore. To sponsor Bell’s racing team, call 313.549.4187.

Detailed spectator maps and race information are available at www.gold-cup.com.

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