The river came up overnight and the number of boats competing at the 35th Annual Salmon River Jet Boat Races dropped off, from 10 that started and finished all of the first day’s legs, to four that successfully zipped through the Island Bar-Lightning Creek stretch both Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.
Ross Schlotthauer, driving the unlimited boat No. 377, had the fastest overall time, completing the first six legs in 28:26 Saturday and the final four in 22:04 Sunday, for a finish in 50 minutes, 30 seconds.
Two A-class boats completed the 80-mile time trial 16 seconds apart, with No. 12 Ryan Hudson setting the pace 36 seconds faster than the No. 121 matched Saturday, and with the gap narrowing by 3-7 seconds per leg on Sunday. In 2018, which saw flows of sub-20,000 cfs, Hudson had covered the Saturday legs in 35:09. He finished the first six in 38:26 this year, and all 10 in 1:04:48.
In the CX class, No. 212 Jake Barney finished in 1:03:24.
Regionally, about seven-tenths of an inch of rain fell during a 24-hour span that began at about 9 p.m. last Friday, April 19. When racing began in Riggins the next morning, the Salmon River was flowing about 20,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) according to the White Bird stream gage, and the main stem flow swelled to more than 30,000 cfs by midday Sunday. The Little Salmon River pushed up to about 3,000 cfs at about the same time.
With waters still rising Sunday morning, none of the FX racers gave it a go, so Saturday’s fast time – the 36:20 by No. 180 Chuck Thompson – remained about 72 seconds ahead of the rest.