MICHIGAN CITY | The Great Lakes Grand Prix has become Dan Davies' favorite event on Super Boat International's schedule -- and for good reason.
In 2009, it was the location where Davies, a Lombard, Ill., resident, cut his teeth racing for SBI, and he turned out to be a world champion racer in the Manufacturer Production 2 class along with throttleman Martin Sanborn.
So, it is without question that Davies was looking forward to a return trip to the second annual Great Lakes Grand Prix at Washington Park -- in a city that's become a favorite destination for him and his family.
"This event is really special to me," Davies said. "It's really close. I have a lot of friends that come out here, and we have a lot of support."
Overall, Davies -- who owns and drives the yellow Fountain No. 47 boat (nicknamed Global Warmer, a local fan favorite) -- had a successful return to Lake Michigan. He finished first in the Manufacturer Production 1 class and second in the Superboat Vee Unlimited Class, overcoming the choppy water of Lake Michigan in the second race of the day.
"It was typical Lake Michigan water, and the guys who haven't raced it before really can't believe what it's like out there," Davies said. "We ran really well, and (Sanborn) had to do a lot of work today."
Though she's just 18 years old, Denver resident Maddie Janssen made an immediate impact in the first SBI race of her life. As the throttleman for Watch Your Back, a Superboat Vee Limited class boat, Janssen won her class along with driver Brian Forehand. Sunday's race was also her first trip to Indiana -- and her first race in Lake Michigan.
"It was definitely deceiving," Janssen said of the water. "It was pretty rough today. I had to prepare to bounce around and know what's going to happen before it happens.
"It definitely feels good to win. The city was great, and people kept saying ‘How do you like the lake?' I kept thinking it was an ocean with the beach and everything."
Popeyes boat throttleman Stan Ware, a New Orleans native, along with driver Lisa Matthews, had to be rescued by the SBI medical team after 32 minutes of racing when their boat capsized while driving 110 miles per hour. Ware escaped unscathed, but Matthews was taken to St. Anthony Memorial Hospital for precautionary reasons after nearly drowning.
"It was the first time I had Lisa in the boat, but she's a good driver. There was no driver error," Ware said.
"I've raced the Great Lakes since the '70s, and it's always a surprise. We went straight up (and tipped over). (Matthews) got tangled up in some lines, and I was pulling her out. We're fortunate to be here. It was a scary moment. The medical team is great. Without them, it wouldn‘t be like this right now."