Miss SupertestWorld's Fastest . . .
It took Art Asbury a scant three minutes of boat wheeling down Long Reach near Picton, Ontario, on the cold, misty dawn of November 1 to bring five years of effort and trial to a successful climax.
At 8:35 that morning the Jim Thompson-owned Miss Supertest II from London, with Asbury driving, flashed past the buoys marking the entrance to the trap of a Canadian Boating Federation approved kilometer course laid out last winter by officials of the Prince Edward Yacht Club. In slightly less than 12 seconds Miss Supertest had covered the distance (approximately five-eighths of a mile) leaving behind a 600-foot rooster tail of flying water and spray that at its peak reached a height of nearly 60 feet. Speed for the run was 186.4 mph.
At exactly 8:38 a.m. Miss Supertest entered the trap from the opposite direction running against a slight head wind. On this run the Bulova Sportimers in the hands of the six officials timing the trials recorded an average time of 12.275 seconds, a speed of 181.8 mph. A new world's record for unlimited class propeller driven motor boats had been established.
Subject to official confirmation of the Union of International Motorboating, Canada now held the world's record at a speed of 184.494 mph., breaking a U.S. hold on the title that dated back to 1952 when Slo-Mo-Shun IV of Seattle set the old mark at 178.997 mph.
The record holder was built at Sarnia in 1952 for Jim Thompson and his father Colonel J. Gordon Thompson, well-known Canadian businessman. They had previously bought the Miss Canada IV and V [correction: Miss Canada III and IV LF] from Harold Wilson to experiment with high speed boats. Les Staudacher designed the 31-foot Miss Supertest II which has gone through a number of design changes and rebuildings as the result of damages from accidents while racing. The hull is of plywood with an aluminum bottom. For power she has consistently used a 2000 hp. Rolls Royce Griffon engine driving a specially-built propeller through a gear box designed and built by Bruce Wells of London, Ontario.
In 1956 Miss Supertest challenged for the Harmsworth Trophy held by the United States, but was beaten in the three race series after winning the second race. Later that year she was seriously damaged after smacking into a swell at an estimated speed of 196 mph. 200 yards from the completion of a mile run in an attempt to break the world record. The year previous to that near tragic attempt Miss Supertest created a new Canadian record of 154.854 mph.
Art Asbury has been driving class boats in competition and speed tests for the past ten years. He campaigned in the United States as well as Canada with Art Hatch's famous race boat fleet of 225 and 266 class boats, and more recently drove for Bill Hodgson, owner of another previous holder of a class world record, the Miss O'Keefe. Art owns his own 225 class racer, but for the past year has been too occupied with the Miss Supertest crew, doing most of the test running and competitive driving, to compete with his own boat.
(Reprinted from Canadian Boating, October/November 1957, p.17)
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