1957 Indiana Governor's Cup
Ohio River, Madison IN, September 28-29, 1957
Hawaii Kai wins Governors 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  (AP) Hawaii Kai III, piloted by Jack Regas of Seattle, clinched the national unlimited hydroplane championship today with a Governors cup victory. The craft had already won the Presidents 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 Governors 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.
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|
|1.||U-8||Hawaii Kai III||103.132|
|3.||U-2||Miss U.S. I (2)||97.968|
|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|
|6.||Miss Thriftway (1)||400|
|Miss U.S. second on basis of elapsed time|
(Reprinted from the Associated Press September 29, 1957)
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 email@example.com.
|1.||U-8||Hawaii Kai III|
|3.||U-2||Miss U.S. I (2)|
|6.||U-60||Miss Thriftway (1)|
|7.||CA-1||Miss Supertest II|
[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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