Hydro Past Recalled : A Preview of '62
By John Owen
A glistening curtain of spray will rise on Lake Coeur d'Alene next month, revealing two new challengers and a revitalized veteran of the unlimited hydroplane wars.
Scheduled for initial shakedown cruises during the July 21-22 Diamond Cup Regatta are the new Miss Bardahl, latest creation of Seattle designer-builder Ted Jones, and the recently completed $ Bill, product of the world's other leading hydro designer, Les Staudacher of Bay City, Mich.
Returning to action after a year's absence is Austin Snell's Coral Reef of Tacoma, which will have a new power plant and a new driver handling it. Norm Evans, who just a year ago was near death from injuries suffered in a dry-land accident, will attempt to prove that a Daimler-Benz Mercedes engine can outrun the conventional unlimited powerplants, the Allisons and Rolls Merlins.
Among the other Northwest hydros now being primped and primed for the Diamond Cup are Bill Muncey's sweetheart, Miss Century 21, which won the national championship, Gold Cup and Diamond Cup last year, among other accomplishments; Miss Seattle Too, which will again be piloted by Dallas Sartz; Tempest, with Chuck Hickling back in the cockpit; Bob Gilliam's two Fascination boats; and Miss Everett.
Work on the hull and tail section of the new Miss Bardahl is virtually complete and the boat may hit the water for first tests about July 10, which is cutting it a mite close. A hydro must have completed one heat of racing to be eligible for the Aug. 5 Gold Cup classic in Seattle. Thus, if Bardahl can't make it in time for the Diamond Cup, it'll also miss the big one. However, owner Ole Bardahl, driver Ron Musson and new crew chief Leo Vandenburg plan to make all of the races this year, including the first one.
Rex Manchester, former Miss Spokane driver, will join owner Lawrence Schuyler in Coeur d'Alene the first week in July for initial tests on the $ Bill of Lompoc, Calif. Manchester said yesterday that former Miss Spokane crew chief Kent Simonson will assist in preparing $ Bill for the forthcoming campaign. The boat will remain in Coeur d'Alene until race time and the citizens of that community are planning christening ceremonies for the craft, which is similar in design and structure to Nitrogen Too.
Snell plans to test Coral Reef on Lake Chelan before heading for the Diamond Cup. He has three of the Mercedes engines -- same powerplant used in the German Messerschmitt fighters -- in racing shape.
Another possible starter in the Diamond Cup is the former Miss Tool Crib, which before that raced as Miss U.S. Harold Schneider has purchased the hull from Dave Johnson and is presently seeking a sponsor, a driver and a name for the new craft, which is berthed at Jett's Marina. Schneider says he plans to completely renovate the boat.
"We'll run on a stock Allison, but we plan to add something to get a little extra boost," he said.
(reprinted from the Seattle P-I, Sunday, June 24, 1962)
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