Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


Sahara Pizza and their hydroplane go to Doha, Qatar


Contributed Photo

Local hydroplane racer, David Warren, use to be a hydroplane rescue driver. That was over ten years ago. He was always drawn to hydroplanes and when he was asked to help out a crew that worked on an Unlimited Light 929 Hydroplane, he couldn’t resist. The boat belonged to Vince Xanudro, and Microsoft was his sponsor. Warren worked his way up to Crew Chief and was able to travel all over the U.S. It was Xanudro who first got Warren to drive a hydroplane light series, which can travel up to 135 mph!

That’s when Warren knew….he was born to be a hydroplane racer.

Approximately ten years ago Warren purchased his own Grand Prix Hydroplane. He ran his own racing program and began establishing himself as a solid racer. Warren said he would also show off his boats by participating in parades big and small. He has even had his hydroplane in the Aquafest Parade.

It wasn’t long until people started calling on him to race their Boats. Warren had done exactly what he set out to do. So he sold his two Hydroplanes and stepped up his racing career. Last year he qualified to race the Unlimited Hydroplane Series. Warren said, “it’s a real honor to qualify in the highest class of racing”. To qualify the driver must be able to complete 10 laps at 130 mph, and another 5 laps at any speed. Each lap is 2.5 miles and takes a little over one minute going 130 mph. Warren completed 16 laps and said he was faster than any other Unlimited qualifier to date.

Warren has been an Unlimited Hydroplane racer for one year. This past year he set his goals high again. He was trying to score enough points to be one of ten Hydroplane race drivers to compete at the UIM, Union Internationale Motonautique, World Championship. On September 14th he received the good news, his racing scores, this past year, qualified him to compete at the UIM in Qatar.

With this great news Warren called his good friend and sponsor Tom Wartinger, of Sahara Pizza. Wartinger has known David Warren since 2005 when they met at Seafair.

Warren had been looking for a boat, (hydroplane), sponsor and Wartinger was interested in becoming a sponsor. The two hit it off and soon found out they both lived in Lake Stevens. The rest is history according to Tom Wartinger. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in Hydroplane racing; the excitement is literally contagious, he told the Journal. “It’s so cool to have a boat,(hydroplane), racer who actually lives right here in Lake Stevens!” said Wartinger.

As one of Warren’s better sponsors Tom Wartinger was also invited to Doha, Qatar to watch Warren compete in the Oryx Cup World Championship. This is where the rubber hits the road, or the hydroplane doesn’t hit the water! That’s when it’s fastest, said Warren. Although Wartinger was unable to attend, he’s excited that his good friend, whom he helps sponsor, gets the chance to race against the best of the best.

Wartinger will be cheering from his Lake Stevens sideline. “I can’t wait to see the Miss Sahara Pizza’s flames light up the waters in Qatar.  And, I can’t wait to see David (Warren) win the World Championship”, said Wartinger

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