1961 Seafair Trophy Race [World
Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington, August 6, 1961
Miss Bardahl Wins Seattle Hydro Race
When the roar of the Rolls and Allison engines had quieted and the rooster tails had settled back into Seattle's Lake Washington, Ron Musson in Miss Bardahl was the winner of the World's Championship Seafair Trophy Race. Popularly dubbed the Green Hornet [sic], the big unlimited hydro had garnered two firsts and a fourth for a total of 1054 points and $10,000 in prize money.
Also flying to victory in the other two races of an action-packed afternoon were Marion Cooper in Miss Madison for top honors in the Seattle Trophy Race and Bob Gilliam in Fascination to win the Queen's Trophy Race.
While the glory and honors are justly due the winners, the real story of this afternoon of racing is the new vitality breathed into an ailing sport by Stanley Donogh and his new set of rules. Every one of nine heats for three races was run off precisely on the minute scheduled. Not a single boat expected out for any one heat failed to get started and cross the line. When it was all over, the winner was definitely known and announced at once.
This is a "new look" in unlimited hydroplane racing that is probably destined to change the sport for all time to come. The quarter-million "hydro-maniacs" who jammed the shoreline or watched from yachts tied to the log boom were practically unanimous in their praise for the system that had given them a most exciting and satisfying spectacle.
Gone were the arguments, the long-drawn-out hassles and committee decisions that have taken two to three months before a winner is finally declared. The "Donogh Plan" aims at more racing and less talking. To achieve this, the referee is given full power to settle all disputes and protests at once, on the scene, and to announce his decision immediately. Simplicity becomes the principal element in this new look, and there were three winners rather than one.
Another point the fans liked was a whole week of competition before the actual races. Prize money was set up for each day during the qualifying trials, and any boat could try every day to better its previous time and perhaps take home more of the $3,525 pot.
Three heats for each of the three races gave the fans nine separate heats of action, scheduled every half hour. Assignments to the three races were based on qualifying times, with the seven fastest boats pitted against each other in the championship event, the slower boats racing their equals.
All in all, the Donogh plan and perfect weather combined to provide a large and enthusiastic crowd with top thrills in the exciting racing, a program well conceived and competently executed, and an event devoid of protest or argument.
This doesn't, of course, imply that everyone was completely happy. Bill Muncey in former Miss Thriftway, now named Miss Century 21 for Seattle's 1962 World's Fair, came up with a third in the first heat, a fourth in the second heat and finally got back into form in the final heat with a first and a top speed of 111.111 mph to take second.
And both of the boats from Detroit, Miss U.S. I and Gale V, were eliminated in the first heat of the championship race. Gale V, with Bill Cantrell driving, had turned in several excellent trial runs, but blew her supercharger in the second lap. Miss U.S. I. Don Wilson driving, suffered a broken gear box in the same lap. Neither returned to race.
The richness of the purse proved an attraction to five boats from other parts of the country. Besides the two Detroit boats, Miss Madison from Madison, Indiana, Miss Reno from Reno, Nevada, and $ Bill from Lompoc, California made the trip to Seattle. All three ended up in the money. Miss Madison with her first in the Seattle Trophy Race took home $3500; Miss Reno came in third in the Championship Race to win $3500 and $ Bill received $1000 for her third place in the Seattle Trophy Race.
|Seafair Championship Trophy Race|
|Miss Century 21||25:50.2||104.509||1044||6,500|
|Miss Seattle Too||26:21.0||100.427||716|
|Seattle Trophy Race|
|Queen's Trophy Race|
(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, September 1961, p.16)
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