Fu­eled by a dream sea­son

Lo­cal driver Owen Hen­der­son named rookie of the year

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - JONATHON BRODIE

Owen Hen­der­son wasn’t go­ing to be­lieve it un­til he ac­tu­ally saw it.

The lo­cal teen hy­droplane driver was sent a mes­sage by some­one he knew in Seat­tle ask­ing him if he heard who won the Amer­i­can Power Boat­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s (APBA) rookie of the year award for the east coast. The 15-year-old Hen­der­son had no idea, but that friend had al­ready re­ceived a let­ter in the mail list­ing all the win­ners and they told the TISS stu­den­tath­lete his name was on it.

“I said, ‘No, I’ll be­lieve it when I get the let­ter,” Hen­der­son said. The next day that let­ter came. The rookie of the year ac­co­lade caps a dream sea­son that never crossed Hen­der­son’s mind at the be­gin­ning of the year. He went into his first-ever in-board sea­son with­out any ex­pec­ta­tions and he just wanted to race, Hen­der­son said. The lo­cal driver ended up winning the APBA’s U.S. na­tional cham­pi­onship in the 1.5 Litre di­vi­sion and he was named the high­points champ at the Hamp­ton Cup Re­gatta two weeks prior to that.

Hen­der­son is hold­ing off on the cel­e­bra­tions for now. He’s wait­ing to let loose at a year-end cer­e­mony in Or­lando, Fla. in Fe­bru­ary. The lo­cal teen will get a jacket and a tro­phy at the event for winning the rookie of the year award, as well as a ring for claim­ing the U.S. cham­pi­onship ti­tle. Hen­der­son’s fa­ther, Bert, de­scribed the piece of jew­elry as be­ing like a “Su­per Bowl ring.” The price of the ring has Hen­der­son plan­ning to only wear it at con­ven­tions and other na­tional cham­pi­onships, oth­er­wise it’ll be an, “Or­na­ment for my bed­room,” he said.

Hen­der­son is al­ready sound­ing like a sea­soned veteran in in­ter­views with the way he makes sure to in­clude all the peo­ple that have helped him up to this point – “Ob­vi­ously my dad, Mike Mon­a­han, the Shaw fam­ily be­cause they’ve been a big help be­cause I wouldn’t have raced this year if it wasn’t for them, the Thomp­sons…”

The see­ing-is-believ­ing mind­set is also how Hen­der­son looked at his fu­ture for the up­com­ing sea­son. Hen­der­son said he heard ru­mours he was get­ting a boat gifted to him by his fa­ther, but, once again, he wasn’t go­ing to be­lieve un­til it was ac­tu­ally given to him.

“It’s al­most be­come a thing that you’ll be­lieve it when you see it be­cause peo­ple say a lot of things in the boat rac­ing world,” said Hen­der­son.

Bert sur­prised his son with a 2.5 Litres boat. His new hy­droplane, in some ways, is a fam­ily hand-medown – which is a much bet­ter sec­ond-hand gift than your brother’s old sweater. The boat was built by Bert for Kent, Owen Hen­der­son’s un­cle. Kent won a cham­pi­onship in the boat.

Hen­der­son is hop­ing to hit as many races as he can in the 1.5 Litre class, but he’s go­ing to make the Hy­droplane Rac­ing League’s (HRL) 2.5 Litres di­vi­sion a pri­or­ity next sea­son.

Hen­der­son will be the youngest driver in the 2.5 Litres di­vi­sion. The next youngest is 18-year­sold.

The stars have aligned for Hen­der­son to make the move to HRL. The min­i­mum age to race in HRL’s 2.5 Litres di­vi­sion is 16-years-old. Hen­der­son will turn 16 on July 1, the same week­end the 1000 Is­lands Re­gatta and Fes­ti­val is usual held in front of Block­house Is­land on the St. Lawrence River. So, there’s a good chance Hen­der­son will make his HRL de­but at home.

“In front of my home­town,” pointed out Hen­der­son.

Hen­der­son’s move to the HRL will ef­fec­tively turn the league into a full-fledged fam­ily af­fair with Tyler Kad­datz, Owen Hen­der­son’s un­cle, com­pet­ing in the For­mula 2500 di­vi­sion, Kent Hen­der­son in the Hy­dro 350, and Bert in the Grand Prix.

“He’s fol­low­ing in my foot­steps. He’s work­ing in the shop, he’s a very bright young man that’s turn­ing into a very good young man,” said Bert. “It’s real spe­cial for me that we can do it as a fam­ily, like the en­tire fam­ily – broth­ers, un­cles – and the fact we’re all in this to­gether it makes it that much more spe­cial. It’s hard for my mother. Grand­son and all three boys are do­ing it. She’s a ner­vous wreck.”


Lo­cal teen Owen Hen­der­son was named the Amer­i­can Power Boat­ing As­so­ci­a­tion's rookie of the year for the east coast for 2018 af­ter a sea­son where he won the U.S. na­tional cham­pi­onship in the 1.5 Litre di­vi­sion.

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