Derec Smith started racing in 1994 when he found a boat, sitting in disrepair, on a back road. Luckily, his father knew the gentleman (Bob) that owned the boat and contacted him to inquire about it. After hearing of his interest in racing Bob offered to lend them the boat saying, “fix it up, go have fun, and bring it back when you’re finished.” Have fun they did, with Derec competing in four events that season.
After graduating high school Derec joined the army but maintained his interest in boat racing throughout his four years of service taking his leave each year to go to the Régates de Valleyfield in Quebec, Canada. On his first day home from the army, eager to climb back into a boat, Derec visited his friend Jack who was also into racing to inquire about any boats that might be for sale. Hearing that he was headed off to college with little money to spend Jack generously offered to lend Derec his own boat, an old Staudacher that he had raced under the name “Mistify Mee,” giving the now familiar advice to take the boat, have fun, and bring it back when he was finished. Grateful to Jack and thankful to once again have a boat, Derec and his father fixed up the old boat, repainted it, and went on to race it for three seasons while Derec completed college.
After graduating from college Derec got a job as an electrician for an aluminum company called ALCAN. Now employed and making a good living he decided it was time for his own boat. Hearing that Bert Henderson was going out on his own building boats Derec gave him a call and ended up ordering one of the first new Henderson hulls. Grateful to Jack he returned the old Staudacher hull and in the spring of 2002 received his new Henderson/Arlt hull and named the boat “Adrenaline Rush.” Derec raced “Adrenaline Rush” for 10 years, and in 2011 shared some of the driving duties with Paul Barber, who also built his motors for the 2011 season. That year, Derec, along with Paul, headed into Wildwood, NJ leading the Canadian High Point Series. He emerged from the weekend victorious having won both the Canadian High Point and North American Championships.
While racing in the summer of 2012 Derec met Mike Grendell, whose team had been running the GP 79(formerly Miss Stuart) sponsored by EMS, after Chuck “Rookie” Woodruff tragically passed in a vintage hydroplane accident. For the 2013 season Derec’s cousin Joe Sovie was chosen to pilot the GP79 and in early spring, partners in the then newly formed Bad Influence Racing, John MacDonald and Mike Grendell asked Derec to join the team. That season he ran his boat with the Bad Influence colors and during the last race of the season it was decided that the team would fully sponsor Derec moving forward with a new boat formerly piloted by Jonathan Abbott. The new boat was a Jones hull which had been upgraded with Henderson’s latest sponson design. It too received a new paint job and ran the 2014 season as the Bad Influence H79. With Derec in the driver’s seat the H79 won several heats and weekends and dominated the weekend in Wildwood.
Ahead of the 2015 season, inspired by the work of Dr. Jag and the spirit and tenacity of their Business partner in Heartland Energy Group and friend Kiers Rowley in fighting Stage IV lung cancer, John MacDonald and his wife Charlene formed Team H8 Racing with Derec as the foundation. Running now once again as the H13, and wearing a new Team H8 Racing paint scheme, Derec will campaign in the 2015 season fighting for victory not only on the race course but also against cancer. Opening the Team H8 Racing season in Lakeland, Florida Derec was just one second off from setting a new world record. With a renewed purpose and a few tweaks to the already fiercely competitive boat, this is looking to be a fantastic season for Derec Smith and Team H8 Racing.
Date of Birth: May 1st, 1976
Hometown: Ogdensburg, NY
Years Racing: 21
2018 Classes: Hydro 350
2015 Series: ACHA, APBA
Team Owners: John & Charlene MacDonald
Team Manager: Dave Binion