1957 Indiana Governor's Cup
Ohio River, Madison IN, September 28-29, 1957

Hawaii Kai wins Governor’s Cup to Clinch U.S. Hydroplane Title

Regas Pilots Airplane Engine-Powered boat to Race Record on Ohio River –
Miss Thriftway Wrecked

Madison, Ind., Sept. 29 [1957] (AP) — Hawaii Kai III, piloted by Jack Regas of Seattle, clinched the national unlimited hydroplane championship today with a Governor’s cup victory. The craft had already won the President’s Cup and the Silver Cup.

The Washington boat ended the day with 1,994 points and cannot be caught by second-place Miss Wahoo, another Seattle boat. Miss Wahoo, has 1,394. A maximum of 400 can be earned in the final race on Lake Mead in two weeks.

The Governor’s Cup event for the big airplane-powered boats on the Ohio River was marred by the wreck of another Seattle hydro, Miss Thriftway, in an elimination heat.

Bill Muncey, the pilot, escaped with a bruised shoulder when his craft hit the wake of another boat while speeding at an estimated 160 miles an hour. Miss Thriftway bounced about ten feet into the air, and then crashed.

The boat was the winner of the Gold Cup races the last two years. Muncey had set a 15-mile heat record of 108.129 miles an hour yesterday.

Regas hung up a race record of 106.636 miles an hour for the three heats, erasing the mark of 103.123 set two years ago by Dan Foster of Detroit in Tempo VII.

Mira Slovak of Seattle, the Czech who flew a planeload of refugees from behind the Iron Curtain two years ago, dived into the river to rescue Muncey after the wreck, Slovak then finished second to Regas in a trial heat. Slovak's Miss Wahoo, lost a propeller and failed to finish the final heat.

Finishing Order

Third Elimination Heat

1. U-8 Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas Seattle 106.930
2. U-77 Miss Wahoo Mira Slovak Seattle 105.058
3. U-2 Miss U.S. I (2) Fred Alter Detroit 99.337
4. U-54 Wildroot Charlie Bob Schroeder Buffalo, NY 94.836
5. CA-1 Miss Supertest II Bob Hayward London, Ontario 92.847
6. U-222 Breathless II Jay Murphy Lake Tahoe, Cal. 86.261

Final Heat

1. U-8 Hawaii Kai III     103.132
2. U-54 Wildroot Charlie     99.704
3. U-2 Miss U.S. I (2)     97.968
4. U-222 Breathless II     89.760
5. CA-1 Miss Supertest II     70.899
Miss Wahoo lost her propeller and failed to finish


1. Hawaii Kai III 1,200
2. Miss U.S. I (2) 694
3. Wildroot Charlie 694
4. Miss Wahoo 600
5. Breathless II 489
6. Miss Thriftway (1) 400
7. Miss Supertest 396
Miss U.S. second on basis of elapsed time

(Reprinted from the Associated Press September 29, 1957)

Thumbnail of Miss Thriftway (I) at '57 Madison (1) (4547 bytes)
Thumbnail of Miss Thriftway (I) at '57 Madison (2) (5050 bytes)
Thumbnail of Miss Thriftway (I) at '57 Madison (3) (5339 bytes)
Thumbnail of Bill Muncey at '57 Madison (7514 bytes)
Thumbnail of wreckage of Miss Thriftway (I) at '57 Madison (8402 bytes)
Thumbnail of Mira Slovak at '57 Madison (7683 bytes)

A Racing Boat Goes to Pieces

Miss Thriftway, which most racers consider the greatest hydroplane racing today, was speeding at 160 mph down the Ohio River near Madison IN , leading the field in the Indiana Governor's Cup event. As Jim Harlan of the Louisville Courier-Journal aimed his camera to take pictures of the big boat skimming past the judges' stand, Miss Thriftway suddenly jumped in the choppy water. Soaring 10 feet, it burst like a clay target. Apparently it caught a swell and the force of the bounce split the boat from bow to stern, demolishing the entire left side. While a crowd of approximately 50,000 looked on in amazement, Mira Slovak, driving hard in second place, stopped his boat, jumped into the water and helped rescue Bill Muncey, Miss Thriftway's driver.

(Reprinted from Life Magazine October 4, 1957)

In the first heat of the Governor's Cup, run on the Ohio River, which divides Indiana and Kentucky, Bill [Muncey in Miss Thriftway] had a tremendous speed duel with Mira Slovak in Miss Wahoo. Slovak was a Czechoslovakian airline pilot who had commandeered a plane over the Iron Curtain in a much-publicized flight to freedom. The man was fearless, and he proved it on the race course each time he drove.

Muncey went on to win the opening heat, with Slovak finishing a game second.

In the second heat, run the following day, Thriftway and Wahoo were again pitted in a deck-to-deck speed show at the start. Once again, Muncey broke on top and opened a slight lead over Slovak. Moving off the final corner of the first lap, Bill straightened the Thriftway out and pushed his foot down on the accelerator. In no time, he was hitting 170 plus miles-per-hour coming down the Indiana shoreline. Suddenly, the left sponson of the U-60 began coming apart. Pieces were flying everywhere. The water pressure tore the entire side off of the boat. Bill was blasted out of his seat by the force as the Miss Thriftway disintegrated under him. The water is like concrete at those speeds, and Bill hit the river full force.

When the spray and debris had settled, there was Bill Muncey, floating amid a literal ocean of plywood, oak and mahogany pieces. He was picked up by a course patrol boat and rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed as suffering from severe internal injuries. A few days later, he was transferred by plane to a Seattle hospital, and his friend Mira Slovak, the man he was trying to outrun at Madison, accompanied him all the way.

For the record, Hawaii Kai III went on to win the Madison Regatta. Miss Thriftway was a total loss.

(Reprinted from Bill Muncey : Boat Racing Legend by Stephen A. Garey)

1982 Steve Garey Unlimited. For reprint rights to the above article please contact the author at  sgarey34@aol.com.

Final Results
1. U-8 Hawaii Kai III
2. U-54 Wildroot Charlie
3. U-2 Miss U.S. I (2)
4. U-77 Miss Wahoo
5. U-222 Breathless II
6. U-60 Miss Thriftway (1)
7. CA-1 Miss Supertest II
DNF U-100 Bill-der
DNC U-80 Miss Ricochet

[Note: The Associated Press story (top) lists Miss U.S. I, second, and Wildroot Charlie, third, in the final results. Both Jim Sharkey's Hydro's Who's Who and Bob Burd's Racing Unlimited list Wildroot Charlie second and Miss U.S. I third. --LF]

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