By CORNELIA KUFFNER
The Orange Leader
ORANGE, TX — “Formula light drivers you now have 20 seconds, 20 seconds and the flag is up!”
Joe is lying on the pier and holds the 44 cubic inch motor with both hands while John holds the ring behind the cockpit of Hans’ boat with a long pole in a slight diagonal position. At any second, the yellow flag will drop and then the colorful SST 45 tunnel boats will fire up and thunder over the green water of the Sabine River between the Louisiana and Texan border.
It’s Sunday and the final will start within any second. Hans, the 21-year old blond, and his 10 contenders have already closed their cockpits, ready to flip the start switches. All are sweating in the narrow space of the safety capsules, strapped in with racing vest, helmet, and some with fire-retardent safety suits, microphone head set and even a few with oxygen masks. Moments of intense expectation. No time to breath.