Shane ready for pressure of Seafair weekend

It’s a huge weekend for Jimmy Shane.

The Maple Valley resident — with a day job as an engineer for Blue Origin in Kent — will be out on Lake Washington piloting the Miss Homestreet Bank in front of friends and family. For a few days, he’ll trade in the slightly slower pace of work at the company owned by Jeff Bezos, for the 150 mph power of a hydroplane.

“It’s a very big event for all of them,” he said, “because they feel like they’re a part of it, knowing me, knowing the team.”

With the hydroplane looming large behind him, Shane signed autographs and chatted with passersby at Westlake Park on Thursday to drum up interest ahead of this weekend’s Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup.

“I think this is it,” Shane said. “I think this is the pinnacle of all of our races all year long, just because of the pressure, and what’s involved in performing for a hometown sponsor.”

The team is coming off a frustrating weekend in the Tri-Cities, where an apparent victory at the HAPO Columbia Cup was overturned after race officials reversed an earlier ruling, and found Shane at fault in a collision with the U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto and driver Jean Theoret. Before that, the Maryland native was sporting a four-race winning streak.

Shane was at the helm of a “pepperoni-powered” hydro during his 2013 Seafair victory, and through last year, before the Oberto family decided to end its sponsorship of the boat (the company announced its partnership with the U-16 late last month). When they pulled back, Seattle-based Homestreet reached out to take over sponsorship of the community-owned U-1 Miss Madison.

“That’s a very unique situation to be in,” he said, “when you have a company come to you, and say, ‘Look, I want my name on your boat.’ We couldn’t turn them down.”

Of course, that makes this weekend a bit more important.

“This is huge for us, and the team, to perform very well for a local sponsor,” said Shane, who leads all drivers with 12 race victories.

But beyond that, there’s the added weight of knowing that the Emerald City is hydroplane racing’s biggest market.

“We really have to do a good job of taking that and running with it to other markets, and trying to expand the sport,” he said. “That’s what makes Seafair so special to us as a boat racer.”

The boats will be out on the water on Friday for testing from 9 to 10:15 a.m., and qualifying from 4 to 6 p.m. Testing runs from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, before heats 1A and 1B, starting at 11:35 a.m. Races start up against just before 11 a.m on Sunday, leading up to the finals at 4:45 p.m.

“It is a really fun experience, it’s unique,” Shane said. “You got to come out and experience it at least once.”

For more information on the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup, visit To learn more about Shane or the Miss Homestreet Bank, go to