1960 Reno Regatta (Mapes Trophy)
Reno Regatta To Hawaii Kai
With a predominantly western 13 boat field (only the two Nitrogens came from the East) racing just two weeks before the Gold Cup regatta, it was expected that the Reno event would be a try-out for new engine and fuel set-ups and that the drivers would be clogging it in an attempt to save their rigs for the big Gold Cup affair.
The Oct. 29th heats confirmed that notion with the same type of dull racing seen earlier this season at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. However, heat lA had the ingredients for some excitement and its winner, Nitrogen, driven by Norm Evans, screamed up a heat average of 108.036 m.p.h. But the possible duel with Thriftway did not come off when the latter went sour and turned her final lap at 30.095, against her second lap of 110.871 m.p.h. when she tried to catch Evans. The parade aspects of this heat are apparent in the average speeds: Bardahl-101.377; Spokane-95.308; Thriftway-70.911.
In the first running of heat 1B Nitrogen missed and circled to pick up a damaged buoy. This incident caused referee Harry Woods to declare a rerun. Hawaii Kai, with Ron Musson driving, won handily with a 105.722 m.p.h. average speed against Nitrogen Too (Norm Evans driving again) 99.785, and Coral Reef, Harry Reeves, 82.630.
Heat 1C brought Bill Brow in Bardahl first across the finish with a 104.343 m.p.h. average, followed by a surprising 102.098 turned in by Bob Gilliam driving KOLroy 1. Dollar Bill, scheduled for this heat, did not start, and Thriftway Too, after four erratic laps, conked out in the fifth. Major suspense of this heat occurred when Russ Schleeh brought Thriftway Too into the first turn on the inside lane, couldn't or wouldn't turn tight against the buoy, slammed full bore through Bardahl's rooster tail and into the path of KOLroy's outside turn. Somehow, collision was avoided and Thriftway Too followed KOLroy the remainder of the laps.
Sunday began with most camps still caught in the mood of a tune-up race, but once on the course a change took place. Six boats came out for heat 2A but only three finished with Miss Spokane averaging 106.328 m.p.h. closely followed by Nitrogen, 106.320, and Thriftway, 105.505. So competitive was this heat that in the north turn of the second lap Nitrogen suddenly flipped up to within five degrees of a vertical position as she came into the turn too hot. Spokane ran her fifth lap at 110.102 to win the heat from Nitrogen by one-fourth her deck length.
Heat 2B saw Hawaii Kai average 107.002 m.p.h. with Ron Musson driving. Bardahl followed with 103.503 and Nitrogen Too with 97.458 while a sick KOLroy cruised in with 66.969.
The final heat brought seven boats to the course and saw seven finish. It also saw a new lap and heat record established as Miss Thriftway and Bill Muncey were up to their old winning tricks again. Battling the challenge of Hawaii Kai every lap, Thriftway won the heat with an average of 110.087 m.p.h., the new heat record. Kai, which lost a portion of her left sponson, managed 107.752 for second place, and Spokane followed with 106.975. Then came Bardahl, 103.124; Burien, 97.087; Nitrogen Too, 94.132 and Nitrogen, 91.350. The sight of two world speed record holders, first the Kai with Thriftway on her hip, then a reversal of this situation, brought the Reno regatta to a conclusion with no accidents, no protests and two new course records.
Kai won it hands down with 1,100 points for the full race. Bardahl had 869 points; Spokane, 850; Thriftway, 794; Nitrogen, 771; Nitrogen Too, 620; Burien, 427.
(Reprinted from Yachting, December 1960, pp. 45, 171-2)
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