1966 British Columbia Cup
Lake Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada, July 17, 1966
2.5 Mile Track Hinders Fast Entry into Course
Normally, the most important minute in an unlimited hydro-plane race is the 60 seconds before the heat begins.
On three-mile courses, the unlimiteds feature a running start; all boats try to hit the starting line at peak speed — 180 miles per hour and more.
The two and one-half mile course here makes the running start impossible. Experts claim also more interesting.
On-course competitors are given a five-minute warning before the official start. This signal is a yellow flag flown from atop the official barge; a yellow light on the official clock also is turned on, and a warning cannon fires.
Drivers then start jockeying for position, keeping an eye on the huge official clock. As each minute elapses, a yellow dropboard disappears from sight atop the clock, denoting the minutes left before the start,
As the last of the four yellow markers disappears the cannon sounds again; the yellow flag is changed to white and the yellow light to green.
The large, electrically-operated clock also goes into operation, counting down the final 60 seconds.
As this huge orange face diminishes, drivers pace themselves so as not to cross the starting line before the clock blacks out, 'the starting cannon barks, the white flag, lowers and the green light turns off.
Should a driver jump the gun—cross the starting line before the final minute has expired—the penalty is severe. His boat must run an extra lap before being scored.
No flags are displayed when a race is in progress. A green flag will be displayed to each driver commencing his final lap and a checkered flag waved for the winner, along with a cannon shot.
Flags will be displayed from the starting buoy, identical to those flown from the official: barge.
A red flag, or red smoke, at any time during a race means the action is being stopped because of either an accident or debris on the course.
The timer used for the all-important one-minute countdown is the Martini and Rossi clock, presented to the American Power Boat Association by the vermouth importing firm.
The billboard-sized timer, mandatory at all unlimited races this season, can be assembled at a race site within a few hours. It was built by Joe and Don Less of Grand Island, N.Y., and was presented to the APBA last season.
(Reprinted from the Kelowna Courier, July 14, 1966)
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