1964 Seafair Trophy Race
Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington, August 9, 1964

Bardahl Over Exide By 2/10ths Second

At the end of 45 miles of racing on Lake Washington, Aug. 9, for Seattle's Seafair Trophy, Miss Bardahl and Miss Exide were tied with 1100 points each. Reverting to lowest elapsed time as the tie-breaker, the Bardahl entry edged Exide by exactly 2/l0ths of a second to take the trophy and $6,700 in prize money. There have been closer heat finishes but no record book lists a closer over-all race finish for unlimiteds.

Miss Bardahl jumped into the lead at the first turn of the initial heat and was never threatened as she posted the fastest five laps of the day. At an average speed of 111.065 m.p.h., Musson led 2nd place Bill Muncey driving Notre Dame by 15 seconds at the finish. Michelob (formerly Tempest) and Mariner Too trailed.

It took Chuck Thompson two tries to bring Tahoe Miss home the winner in heat 1-B. On the first start the Nevada entry was leading by a half mile when the supercharger blew in Gale V just as 21-year-old Jerry Schoenith entered the second turn of lap #2. A blazing bilge fire erupted at the same moment and the heat was immediately halted as flames enveloped the forward section of the craft. The patrolling Coast Guard helicopter plucked the uninjured driver from the tail of the hydro just as the fire boats arrived.

On the re-run, Tahoe Miss set a 110.429 m.p.h. pace for the five laps to lead second place Miss Madison by half a lap. Sarair's Mist placed third.

Before heat 1-C could be started, a storm hit, forcing a 90-minute schedule delay. Miss Exide then won it handily and in heat 2-A it was Miss Bardahl far ahead of the field.

Heat 2-B found Tahoe Miss again pulling away from her competition Harrah's entry turned the five laps ai an average speed of 109.914 m.p.h This was 16 seconds faster than sec and place Exide and 22 seconds ahead of third place Notre Dame.

Three boats entered the final heat with over-all race victory within them grasp. Miss Bardahl and Tahoe Miss were tied at 800 points on the basis of two heat wins each. Miss Exide was only 100 points behind with 1st and 2nd in earlier heats. Because a tie in hydro racing is broken and the winner determined by the fastest elapsed time, Tahoe Miss was in the best position. From the initial heats, Thompson led Bardahl by 14.6 sec. and Exide by 43.2 sec.

All six contenders throttled back noticeably before the start to avoid jumping the gun and when it was time to go it was again Exide's superior acceleration (attributed to the nitrous oxide injections to the engine's intake system) which gave driver Brow the advantage. Heading the pack out of the 1st turn, Miss Exide leaped to an impressive lead and interest shifted to the action behind her. On the 2nd turn Musson steered Bardahl around Notre Dame to take over second. Meanwhile, Tahoe Miss, trying to recover from a poor start, moved from last to 4th by passing Eagle Electric and Madison.

To assure victory, Thompson, Brow and Musson each had a different assignment. Thompson had to take at least second behind Exide. Musson would have to keep ahead of Tahoe Miss and close to Exide while Brow had to maintain his lead and win by a healthy margin.

On lap #2 Thompson piloted Tahoe Miss past Notre Dame and then around Bardahl to take second in a dazzling display of driving and speed despite the poor water conditions. His tremendous effort closed the gap on the leader. Finally, on the second turn of lap # 3, Thompson .pulled alongside Exide and it was a deck-to-deck duel for first. Just then, as the two entered the front stretch, Tahoe Miss threw a rod and Thompson's personal bid was over.

Entering his final lap, Brow lost all oil pressure as a faulty line began filling the hull instead of the engine. With time running out, and a necessary margin to be gained by Exide, injections of nitrous oxide poured into her power plant. At the finish she led Bardahl by a full turn.

—Bob Brinton

(Reprinted from Yachting, October 1964, pp.38, 161, 162)

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