Drag boat races at Lowell marina: a speedy affair

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By JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  There was an enormous crowd at the Lowell Marina for the Columbia Drag Boat Association’s Races the weekend of July 14th-16th. I was fortunate to have been extended an invitation to the races by Robert Philips, Oakridge’s Rim Nam Thai restaurant owner. Robert is well acquainted in boat racing circles because of his previous business of selling large boats in the Southern California area prior to moving here to Oakridge.

Rim Nam Thai restaurant an avid sponsor

Chris Irick and Robert Phillips next to Chris’s dragster boat. Joy Kingsbusy photo

Robert’s Rim Nam Cafe is a sponsor for Chris Irick, who is a member of the Arizona Drag Boat Association. The Irick’s traveled with their racing boat from Lake Havasu, AZ, to Lowell to take part in last weekend’s racing event on beautiful, normally placid, Dexter Lake. Chris was the favorite to win, and, that he did! He took the race at 175 miles per hour In 5.20 seconds to go 1320 feet. That is some feat! I, for one, cannot imagine being in anything but an airplane at that speed.

Chris is dressed in protective gear, and encapsulated in the drivers seat. He is then towed to the starting line, where he revs the boat engine with a mighty roar.  awaits the green “go” signal from the countdown timer. He then takes off at what seems like the speed of light for the race.

The Boat is equipped with a parachute that deploys to stop him and his boat. Irick is in the lead for points to the Championship for the State of Arizona as well as winning the race here.

Drag boats is a family affair for the Iricks

The Irick’s enjoy coming to this area for races. They love being in the green hills of this part of Oregon and enjoy the friendly and welcoming hospitality of the City of Lowell. This is their second time at Lowell Marina races. They were here in 2021 as participants. They have a family of three, Cole, the eldest, already has his own drag boat for racing and participates in his class of racers. He is leading by four points, and has won point places twice. Cole’s class has a ceiling of a thrilling 145 miles per hour for his boat.

Chris and wife Candace, are dental prosthetic technicians and work for a large dental lab in their part of the world. Their hobby that keeps the family together and busy with fun and travel is their boats. The family loves being on the water anywhere they go. The children are all acquainted with the lingo and inside stories of the boat racing world.

The Iricks moved to Lake Havasu City from Glendora, CA some fifteen years ago. They love living in Arizona with Lake Havasu so handy. As an aside, I learned that Chris’s Grandmother died recently. She was also a great fan of boat racing. To honor her life on the water, they plan to put her ashes in the parachute and allow her the freedom to remain on the water which she so loved in life.

An Oakridge connection

The Irick family became acquainted with Robert Philips when they lived in Southern California. Robert Philips was then working for a large boat manufacturing company. Robert was well known in the boating world and had many client’s including the lricks. When the boat business sold, Robert and family came to Oakridge and opened the Rim Nam Thai restaurant. Robert has many friends and former clients who respect his 18 years of expertise in racing boats. He keeps his “toe in the water” of the boat racing world.  The Phillips continue to maintain those relationships through sponsorship.

Joy Kingsbury is an Oakridge resident and regular contributor to The Herald. Joy Kingsbury photo

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