1968 UIM World Championship
Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington, August 4, 1968


Miss U.S. Wins World Championship Hydro Race

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History of Thrills, Spills

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Gardner, Eagle Electric Miss Speed Record by Tick

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Muncey Qualifies Miss U. S. High on Ladder

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1968 Unlimited Hydroplane Roster

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A Persistent Game

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Miss U.S. Fastest Entry in 1B

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Bardahl, Eagle Electric in Same Heat

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Hydro Ladder

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Hydroplane Handicap

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Regatta Rules

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Time the Hydroplanes

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Bill Muncey Wins Hydro Title

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Muncey Luck Changes for Better

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Consistency Paid Off

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Feverish Battle Waged Backstage in the Pits

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Gardner Pushes Electric to Near-Record 120.267

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ĎMomís Going to be Upsetí But Wracked-Up Regas Wonít Retire

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Muncey, Simon Celebrate Miss U.S. Victory

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Patriotic Parable

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Steady-Running U.S. Hydro Champ

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Miss U.S. Wins World Championship Hydro Race

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It's Diamonds For Miss Bardahl

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Statistics

Before an astonished crowd of a hundred thousand or more hydro fans, a new world champion of the unlimited hydroplanes was crowned August 4 on Lake Washington in Seattle. Miss U.S. out of Detroit and piloted by Bill Muncey, veteran driver scored enough points to capture top prize in the race. For 15 years, George Simon, owner, and the crew have been trying to win a race on Lake Washington, but to no avail. Bill Muncey, too, hadn't had a winner since 1966, so it all added up to a thrilling day for the hydro fans.

From the start, the race was plagued with mechanical troubles. In Heat 1-A the two favorites, Miss Bardahl with Billy Schumacher and Miss Eagle Electric with Warner Gardner, just didn't have a chance against Harrah's Club with Jim McCormick. She took the lead from the start and kept it all the way ending up with a perfect score of 400 points. Miss Bardahl was second, and Notre Dame with Jack Regas finished third. Miss Eagle Electric, Smirnoff and Atlas Van Lines did not finish. In his pursuit of Notre Dame, Bob Miller in Atlas Van Lines skidded sideways and flipped over. He was thrown free but escaped with only minor cuts and bruises. Although Miss Eagle Electric failed to finish the first heat, thus no hope of victory, she went on to win the next two races, including the grand finale.

Luck was with Miss U.S. in her first time out. Miss Budweiser with Bill Sterrett was leading all the way in Heat 1-B and running six seconds ahead of Miss U.S. After three full laps, a coupling snapped on the water intake in the Bud giving Miss U.S. the edge. She roared past her to the finish, while Miss Budweiser limped in fourth. Others to finish were My Gypsy with Tommy Fults, second; Savair's Mist with Walter Kade, third; and Gale's Roostertail with Jerry Schoenith, fifth.

At the start of Heat 2-A, Muncey was again behind, with Budweiser, Eagle Electric and Smirnoff leading the pack. The picture suddenly changed. Budweiser expired coming out of the first turn, and Smirnoff expired on the fourth lap, allowing Miss U.S. to finish second behind Miss Eagle Electric. Savair's Mist finished third.

The most exciting heat of the day was 2-B. A duel was going strong between Harrah's Club, Miss Bardahl and Notre Dame.

Final Standings

 

Boat

Points

Purse

1

Miss U.S.

925

$6,500

2

My Gypsy

825

4,500

3

Eagle Electric*

800

3,300

4

Harrah's Club

800

2,200

5

Savair's Mist

619

1,600

6

Miss Bardahl

600

1,200

7

Notre Dame

394

850

8

Gale's Roostertail

381

550

9

Miss Budweiser

169

450

*(Placed 3rd on better time)

They hit the starting line almost together and went out of the first turn in a tight procession. Harrah's Club was first, then Notre Dame and third Miss Bardahl. Bill McCormick in Harrah's Club had the advantage after the first lap and appeared capable of keeping it. Billy Schumacher in Bardahl somehow or other had to get up there to at least second place if he wanted to keep in contention. He couldn't afford to stay in third place in this heat if he wanted to keep his title. So he went out after the lead. He crept up on Jack Regas in Notre Dame and as they crossed the line for the third lap, they were running neck and neck. Going into the south turn on the fourth lap, Bardahl was on the outside with Notre Dame hugging the inside. He hugged the buoys too close and spun out of line, and before he could get back on course, Schumacher was running free in second place and going after the lead. He was only one second away as he and McCormick headed into the final lap. McCormick had the advantage as he was on the inside, but as he came out of the north turn he swung wide and Schumacher pulled up even with him in the final stretch. McCormick was determined to win. he hit his nitrous oxide button to give his engine an instant power boost and he spurted ahead to a four-foot lead, and at that instant the engine exploded with :a bright flash of light. It lasted long enough for him to get across the finish line only inches ahead of Miss Bardahl. This was the thrilling moment of the day for all the fans.

An accident in the final heat of the day forced its cancellation and re-scheduling. Notre Dame apparently hit some heavy water on the north turn in the first lap, lurched violently and pitched Jack Regas into the lake. He was picked up by a helicopter and rushed to the hospital with a few broken ribs, a fracture and a dislocated shoulder. Notre Dame apparently was not too badly damaged.

With her leading rivals out of the race, Miss U.S. needed only to come in third to win the prize. National champion, Miss Bardahl was beached for the final heat, having thrown a rod when crossing the starting line; Harrah's Club, which had already won two heats, blew her engine in the second race so could not appear in the grand finale. Miss Eagle Electric did not have enough points to be in contention. The odds were definitely in favor of Miss U.S. She did finish third behind Miss Eagle Electric and My Gypsy. Savair's Mist and Gale's Roostertail came in fourth and fifth respectively.

And so another hydro race has been run in Seattle with a new world's champion. The race didn't disappoint the fans. It had plenty of thrills and excitement for all.

Aletha Smith

(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, September 1968, p.34)


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