1966 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington D.C., June 19, 1966
Prop Blamed For Mishap
Officials of the Kelowna Boat Racing Association yesterday paid tribute to three unlimited hydroplane drivers who were killed Sunday during the President's Cup race in Washington, D. C.
Ron Musson, 37, of Seattle, defending U.S. champion was killed when his rear-engined Miss Bardahl exploded after the craft's propeller shaft ripped a hole in the rear of the boat during the competition on the Potomac River.
Rex Manchester, 39, driver of Notre Dame, and Don Wilson of West Palm Beach, Fla., in Miss Budweiser, died in a later heat when their boats were involved in a backstretch collision.
"The deaths were just tragic and shocked the whole unlimited hydroplane racing world and the sports world generally," said Roger Cottle, chairman of the KBRA.
The KBRA and the B.C. Centennial committees are co-sponsoring an unlimited race on Kelowna's Okanagan Lake July 13-17.
Cottle said an official of the American Power Boat Association governing body of unlimited racing, told the KBRA Monday that between 15 and 18 unlimiteds will take part in the competition for the Brritish Columbia Cup.
"The risk in unlimited hydroplane racing is inherent, as it is in any sport which places a premium on speed. Unlimited drivers live with this risk and so do their crews, as well as boat owners and officials.
"Still when tragedy strikes it is terribly difficult to accept.
"We of the Kelowna Boat Racing Association offer our sincere condolences to the families of the men who died Sunday. We fervently hope such accidents will never occur again.
"Many of our KBRA executives had the pleasure of meeting both Musson and Manchester," Cottle said. "Manchester (also of Seattle) was of great assistance to us when we were applying for an unlimited race in Kelowna. His advice helped us formulate our proposal to the APBA.
"Musson was the same way. He told us he was behind our efforts and proved it by speaking up in out behalf."
Cottle said an APBA official referee's report gave this account of Sunday's accidents:
"Ron Musson's boat was equipped with a three-blade propeller and one of the blades broke off as he entered a straightaway. This threw the propeller shaft assembly out of balance and it started whiplashing, pounding a hole in the hull at the rear of the boat.
"Water jetted into the hole lifting the tail. The nose dug in and the boat turned over and exploded."
The report added that Manchester in Notre Dame was attempting to pass Wilson in Miss Budweiser when his boat became airborne. Notre Dame came down on its right sponson and, on impact, turned sharply to the left and collided with Miss Budweiser. Both boats disintegrated.
Manchester was awarded the race posthumously, based upon point totals recorded prior to the mishap,
The deaths were the first in unlimited racing since 1962, when Bob Hayward of Embro Ont., was killed.
(Reprinted from the Prince George Citizen, June 22, 1966)
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