1965 Lake Tahoe UIM World
Lake Tahoe, Stateline NE, September 25, 1965
California Big Boat Bash
California, whose long western shank offers a snug harbor for surfers, sponge hunters, tuna fleets, sail boats, pleasure craft of movie-TV stars, sandy "shooting" locations for Liz and Dick, and a graveyard for golf balls, is in the midst of a quiet revolution.
It's not a campus caper with placards and beards that's being brewed along Cal's briny, but a renaissance in boating which promises to put the Golden Bear State in the center of the big boat bash.
No less than five California-based unlimited hydroplanes plan to have a go in the Lake Tahoe World Championship Regatta. And there's little doubt it's the big race on Tahoe which has "hypo'd" California boat racing enthusiasts. "Drag" boating and small boat racing have long been popular in this race-loving state. Wood shavings started to fly in ship shops down the length of the state within days after the championship sanction for the Tahoe race had been announced.
Interestingly enough, unlimited boating veterans, upon taking one look at some of the young California boat pilots such as Rex Bixby and Bob Fendler, feel the California big boat revivification may not only succeed, but may turn the racing circuit's balance of power to the California-Nevada lake complex.
The Bill Schuyler boat, $ Bill, is the only one of the five California boats which competed in the unlimited racing circuit in 1964. The other four didn't get their sponsons wet until news of the world's title race here was flashed around Cal boat houses.
$ Bill, whose driver, Rex Bixby, is a slumbering giant of a kid, may enjoy a personal revival under the aegis of Schuyler-Bixby. Rex startled boating officials with a brilliant start in the first race he ever drove. The $ is out of Lompoc, the town immortalized in film when W.C. Fields lifted a snifter or two in the "New-Old Lompoc House."
New California unlimiteds are the Berryessa Belle, the Miss Sacramento, the Miss San Diego, and the Miss Stockton.
Berry-belle is the former Slo-mo-shun V, Gold Cup champion in 1951 and '54, and a boat with a heritage of greatness. She's owned by Ken Murphy, a Sacramento scale manufacturer.
Miss Sacramento, the former Fascination I, is a community-supported boat owned by Ron Kasper, a plumbing contractor. Kasper will probably pilot the craft under her new colors in the Tahoe race.
Miss San Diego is owned by young Southern California attorney Bob Fendler, a former track star. Fendler also drives the San Diego, which was formerly named the Coral Reef before Fendler had her reconditioned.
If Miss Stockton burned diesel fuel, her owner, Kaye Bingham, might love her more. He operates a crack diesel engine repair company. Stockton, named for the lovely city she represents, bears a lineage a Prussian count would have trouble duplicating in length. She formerly was run as the, hold your breath, Gale IV, Wildroot Charlie, What-A-Pickle, Miss Everett, Miss B & I, and the U-Owe-Too. In 1954, this colorful boat took the Indiana Governor's Cup inaugural in Madison, Ind. (and the President's Cup in Washington, D.C.).
All somebody said was, "Let's have a world championship race on Lake Tahoe," and the California big boat bash was on.
(ED. NOTE--The race, held at Stateline, Nev., was the last of the Lake Tahoe events, staged often throughout the 1950s and early '60s. Seventeen hulls answered the call and 15 of them wound up competing either in the U.I.M. World Championship event -- won by Miss Bardahl -- or the Ponderosa Trophy -- won by Miss Smirnoff -- or the South Shore Trophy -- won by Such Crust IV. The California revival wasn't any great shakes. Miss Sacramento, the 1956 Bob Gilliam hull, did not qualify and never raced again. Fendler's Miss San Diego ran second in the South Shore race, ahead of the $ Bill. The old Slo-Mo V was fifth and last in the Ponderosa Trophy event as the Berryessa Belle. Plans to revive the old Gale IV -- absent from the races since it was Cutie Radio in 1961 -- never came to fruition.)
(reprinted from the 1965 Lake Tahoe World Championship Regatta for Unlimiteds Program and the UHRA Thunder Letter)
* * *
UIM World Championship
|1||U-40||Miss Bardahl (3)|
|2||U-3||Tahoe Miss (3)|
|3||U-75||Miss Exide (2)|
|4||U-6||Miss Madison (2)|
|5||U-5||Miss U.S. 5 (2)|
|6||U-7||Notre Dame (5)|
|2||U-13||Miss Budweiser (2)|
|South Shore Trophy|
|1||U-70||Such Crust IV (3)|
|2||U-19||Miss San Diego|
|3||U-21||$ Bill (2)|
|DNF||U-99||Mariner Too (2)|
|Did Not Qualify|
|DNQ||U-88||Tri City Sun|
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© Leslie Field, 1999