1967 UIM World Championship
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 2, 1967
Miss Chrysler CrewTakes World Cup
Trouble bugs that had plagued Miss Chrysler Crew since Bill Sterett brought his twin-engine, automotive-powered unlimited hydroplane out in June, 1966, disappeared on the Detroit River July 2 when she won the World Championship. She took both heats and the final race for a perfect, 1,200 score. Always good in and out of the turns, she seemed more maneuverable than ever, and in addition, she had more speed and acceleration. Among other things, Chrysler's 427-cu. in. hemi-head motors had far more revolutions clue to an improved air mixture in carburetion, a "magic formula" hit upon three days before the race, Sterett said.
The other 17 hydros that participated in the qualifying trials, the championship and the Horace E. Dodge Memorial Race, used World War II war surplus Allison and Rolls Royce motors.
It would be talking mildly to say that Chrysler Crew's triumph jarred the unlimited hydroplane world.
An estimated 300,000-some, undoubtedly, morbidly curious-watched the races. A moderate breeze that shifted from southerly to northerly during the day, made the Detroit River fairly choppy, and drivers complained of the rough water near the Belle Isle Bridge at the lower end of the three mile course.
Miss Chrysler Crete won her first heat with a 100.671 m.p.h. average, with a best lap, the first, of 104.046 (the fastest of the day), the second in 99.410 and the final at 99.155. Jim Ranger with My Gypsy took two heats at 92.911 and 90.634 and placed second to Sterett in the windup with 94.011. Walter Kade, 63, driving Detroiter Mike Wolfbauer's Savair's Mist, won a heat at 90.909 and Bob Miller, brought in from Everett, Wash., by Wolfbauer to drive the latter's other hydro, Savair's Probe (she finished third), was the other heat winner at 93.945. Red Loomis, steering Ben Storms' Miss Wickman, took the Dodge Memorial consolation race with a 91.899.
Sterett let the multitude know he was playing for keeps on the first lap of his first heat against Bill Muncey with Miss U.S., Warner Gardner with Fifi Lapeer and Ed O'Halloran with Miss Madison. Bill Schumacher and Miss Bardahl were slated for this heat but failed to get going when the starter broke. Sterett took Miss Chrysler Crew into the first turn virtually flat out. This gave him the lead which he never lost. Muncey was a mile behind by the third lap and finished second. Gardner, third with Fifi, must be quoted. "Sterett hit the turn wide open. I thought he'd be killed," said Fifi's 54-year-old pilot. "Muncey backed off. That turn separated the men from the boys-call me son!"
Ideal racing water was available the first three days of the five for qualifying. After that the waters became rough. Schumacher qualified Miss Bardahl on the third day at 115.384 which gave him the top spot. Jim McCormick and Notre Dame with 114.164 and Chrysler Crew with 113.207 posted their runs the first day and left them unchanged. Muncey ran the first time the third day at 1 12.500. It was too rough, lie said, after that and gave up his idea of a 117 m.p.h. lap.
Jerry Schoenith, who failed to qualify the new 36, stepped-hull (four steps, a modification of the late John Hacker via Les Staudacher) hydroplane, Gale's Roostertail, was washed out and back in while making a turn. His slightly injured shoulder represented the only casualty of the week.
George E. Van
(Reprinted from Yachting, August 1967, pp.154-155)
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