1956 Sahara Cup
Lake Mead, Nevada, October 13-14, 1956


Hawaii Kai Nabs Cup -- Miss Seattle 2nd
by John Romero, Review-Journal Sports Editor

Hawaii Kai III, Edgar Kaiser's Rolls-Merlin powered hydroplane, won the first annual Sahara Cup today, (held on Lake Mead, Nevada) but the engine-to-engine test between the Kai and the Allison-powered Shanty I still has not been settled.

Driver Jack Regas, a chopped-haired youngster from Livermore, California, shot the Hawaii Kai III to victory in Sunday's Sahara Cup finale as Shanty I, the early leader languished helplessly on the sidelines with a blown supercharger. The two boats made a shambles of the opposition working their way up to finals, each winning two heats.

Another problem - will Kaiser give up the Kai and boat racing completely as he had previously stated before the race, or would he now continue? The Sahara win Sunday, some observers thought, might convince him to stay in the sport.

The problem nobody worried about today was the success of the Sahara Cup Regatta. It was astounding. Sid Street, a Kansas City 266 cu. in. hydroplane driver summed it up for everyone: "I've been to a lot of regattas in my time, but believe me, this is the best I've ever raced in."

The box score for the two days of racing included three - count 'em - three - world records in the limited divisions, plus a new competition record for unlimited hydroplanes on the 2 1/2 mile course.

It may be the only 2 1/2 mile record ever established, because drivers voted Sunday for a three-mile course next year, and the Sahara officials said they would comply.

This morning, Bud Saile's Miss Wayne was scheduled to try for Stan Sayres' world prop-driven water speed record of 178.497 m.p.h. on the same course approximately, that Donald Campbell used last year to set a new unrestricted water speed mark. The Hawaii Kai III, originally scheduled to run for the record, withdrew because of engine difficulty which occurred in the last two laps of its winning effort Sunday.

Behind the Scenes:

Sahara Cup Summaries:

Heat 1A (Saturday October 13, 1956)

Heat 1B (Sunday October 14, 1956)**

1. Shanty I Russ Schleeh 1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Miss Seattle Norm Evans 2. Miss Wahoo Mira Slovak
3. Miss Thriftway Bill Muncey 3. Tempo VII Bill Cantrell
    4. Miss Wayne Bud Saile

**Heat 1B was run on Sunday (October 14) as well, because during the first running of 1B on Saturday (October 13) one of the boats "broke" one of the buoys so they stopped the Saturday 1B and reran it on Sunday morning.

Heat 2A (Sunday October 14, 1956)

Heat 2B (Sunday October 14, 1956)

1. Shanty I Russ Schleeh 1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Tempo VII Roy Duby DNF Miss Thriftway  
3. Miss Seattle Norm Evans DNF Miss Wahoo  
4. Miss Wayne Lee Schoenith DNF Miss U.S. I  

 

Final Heat (Sunday October 14, 1956)

1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Miss Seattle Norm Evans
3. Tempo VII Roy Duby
4. Miss Wayne Bud Saile

Note: Maverick with Bill Stead at the wheel placed 2nd in the final heat, but was running for exhibition only. Points and place did not count. See related verbiage under "Behind the Scenes".

Final Points

Hawaii Kai III 1200
Miss Seattle 825
Shanty I 800
Tempo VII 694
Miss Wayne 464
Miss Wahoo 300
Miss Thriftway 225

 

(Transcribed from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Monday - October 15, 1956)

* * *

Water Speed Attempt Here by Saile Fails

The 1956 Sahara Cup Regatta was officially ended today and the only thing which failed to make the event an overwhelming triumph was the unsuccessful Monday try of Bud Saile, Jr. in his Miss Wayne to shatter the world unlimited hydroplane record on Lake Mead (Nevada).

Officials blamed calm waters for the failure. A slight chop is considered ideal for record conditions and Lake Mead yesterday looked like a shiny glass surface with very few ripples. Sunday night after the "main event," won by Edgar Kaiser's Hawaii Kai III, Saile installed a new engine in his Detroit-based craft - the only boat among the unlimited entries with twin Allison engines.

The record for the one-mile straightaway course was set in Seattle four years ago by the late Stan Sayres in his Slo-Mo-Shun IV when he was timed in 178.497 mph. Donald Campbell of England holds the jet mark in his Bluebird of 225 mph and was clocked in 216 mph on Lake Mead last year.

Saile and alternate driver Lyle Ritchie made a half dozen trail runs shortly after noon, just waiting for a slight breeze to ruffle the water, but to no avail. He turned in 124.423 and 121.580 performances in two laps through the measured mile, according to Kent Hitchcock, regional representative of the American Powerboat Association, which sanctioned to attempt.

Shortly before sundown, Saile turned over the driving chores to Jack Regas who successfully piloted the Hawaii Kai III to victory the day before. Regas' best clocking was 163.8 which lesser runs of 156.8 and 145 mph.

After two tries, Saile said Miss Wayne, who has done 165 mph under racing conditions, was "sticking" to the surface of the calm lake and required some choppy water to get off and reach greater speeds. Miss Wayne, who compiled 464 points in Sunday's race to finish in fifth spot, will now head back to Detroit.

The Detroit-based entry was the only craft to attempt to break Sayres' record yesterday after Hawaii Kai III was withdrawn at the last minute because of engine troubles encountered in its 98.684 record victory Sunday over a 2 1/2 mile course.

(Reprinted from Las Vegas Review-Journal, Tuesday, October 16, 1956)

[Thanks to Ted Shenenberg for help in preparing this page]


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