Hydros Begin 1963 Campaign

It appears that gold is beginning to flow from the Gold Cup and that there may be a silver lining in those rooster tails of the big unlimited Hydros. Total prize money for the 1963 racing calendar could reach better than $130,000.

This kind of money would indicate that unlimited hydroplane racing has come into maturity as a professional sport rather than a rich man’s hobby and several owners who have been struggling along with taxes, high costs and modest prize winnings can now better afford to help improve the competition.

The roaring hydros begin their season at Guntersville, Alabama June 22-23. The Gold Cup at Detroit is next July 7 and is followed by the Diamond Cup at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho July 27-28, the Seafair Trophy at Seattle August 11, the Governor’s Cup at Madison, Indiana August 31-September 1, the President’s Cup at Washington, D.C. September 14-15 and Harrah’s Tahoe Championship at Stateline, Nevada September 28-29.

A total figuer of $1111,500 has been already pledged by the various sponsors: $15,000 at Guntersville, $36,500 for the Gold Cup, $10,000 for the Diamond Cup, $25,000 for the Seafair Trophy, $10,000 for the Governor’s Cup and $15,000 for Tahoe.

Lee Schoenith, vice president of the APBA Unlimited Racing Commission said that all seven of the events will count toward the season high point championship which last ;year was won by Bill Muncey in Miss Century 21.

Muncey will be back again this year with the boat returning to its former name Miss Thriftway. She will be the boat to beat. After the record Muncey set up in last year’s circuit he’ll be difficult to defeat but all hands will be shooting the works to do it. In addition to being crowned King of Hydro Racing for ’62, he was named Seattle’s Man of the Year in Sports.

Bill won’t take all the credit, however. He says that without an owner like Willard Rhodes, without a crew chief like Jack Ramsey and his boys, and without a boat such as Miss Thriftway, he couldn’t have done it. He’s reached his pinnacle hub hydro fans can rest assured he’ll be fighting for a repeat this year.

One of the strongest contenders will be Ole Bardahl’s Miss Bardahl with Ron Musson driving the winner of the Gold Cup in 1961. Old favorites from the east will probably include the Gales, Miss Detroit, Such Crust and Miss Madison. Dollar Bill will no doubt be in there from California and six or seven boats from the Northwest can be expected.

Newest entry in this rugged competition will be Miss Exide, sponsored by Exide Batteries of Cleveland and owned by Milo and Glenn Stoen of Seattle. Designer and builder was Ted Jones whose boats have won 12 Gold Cup races. Ted says she was designed to set a new speed record and "will handle better, turn better, and accelerate better than any boat I’ve ever designed."

Scheduled to make her debut at Guntersville, Miss Exide is 30 feet long, 12 wide, weighs about 6700 pounds and is powered by a Rolls Royce engine. She will carry the Exide colors — orange hull, black cowling, white sides with the Stoens retaining their personal trade mark of the orange and white checkered tail.

The 1963 Hydro season bids fair to be and exciting one. With new boats and new drivers spurred on by the bait of bigge4r prize money and the ever-present hope of dethroning the reigning champs and the veterans more determined than ever to hold position, the hydromaniac fans across the country should see plenty of action. It’s a thrill-packed sport from start to finish and its fame generates more interest every year.

(Reprinted from Seas and Pacific Motor Boat, June 1963, p. 56)


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Leslie Field, 2000