1968 UIM World Championship
Bardahl, Eagle Electric in Same Heat
When you match a screaming eagle against a checkered lady almost any thing can happen — and it probably will at noon today on Lake Washington.
Miss Eagle Electric of Spokane and Miss Bardahl, the black-and-yellow-checkered pride of Seattle — the two pre-race favorites — will collide in what promises to be a spectacular opening heat of the World's Championship hydroplane race .
The draw for heats late yesterday afternoon came out of the hat like this:
1-A — Bardahl, Eagle Electric, Notre Dame, Atlas Van Lines, Harrah's Club, Miss Smirnoff.
1-B (12:30 p.m.) — Miss U.S., Miss Budweiser, My Gypsy, Gale's Roostertail, Parco's O-Ring Miss and Savair's Mist.
After five rounds of preliminaries, the six surviving boats will streak for the starting line in the final heat of the $35,000 speed derby. Barring mishap, the finale is set for 4 p.m.
The field became a 12-boat affair yesterday when Bill Muncey qualified Miss U.S. early in the morning and Walt Kade made it with Savair's Mist late in the afternoon. In fact, Muncey did in about 10 minutes what Kade had been trying to accomplish for three days.
Billy Schumacher took Bardahl, the defending national champion and current high point boat, out for a final test run yesterday and turned the course at more than 118 miles per hour. Yes, it was impressive.
Earlier, Warner Gardner tried to break the lap speed record but failed.
"I'll wager the leader in the first heat will average 117 m.p.h. on the first lap," Gardner said. And that was BEFORE the draw. "You'll have to go that fast to be ahead."
The confident Schumacher was pleased with the first heat draw, explaining: "I wanted to get in with Eagle Electric. I like it very much." His theory is that by beating his top rival he can keep Gardner from picking up valuable points.
Bardahl and Eagle each has won two races of four on the unlimited circuit this season. They rank 1-2 in the high point parade.
After his impressive qualifying run, Muncey was receiving some late backing on the beach. The only other boats given much of a chance of winning are an improved Miss Budweiser and the Notre Dame, whose driver Jack Regas is anxious to prove he's just as fine a driver as when he resigned from the cockpit of Hawaii Kai some years back.
Muncey, making his first appearance on the course this week, wheeled the Miss U.S. into action under over'-cast skies and with a chill breeze fluttering across the lake at 8:26 a.m.
Looking all the part of a strong contender, the Miss U.S. breezed through successive laps at 114.165 m.p.h. and 113.684 m.p.h. and the exacting Muncey said afterward he was pleased with the way the boat performed.
"It felt good. Most everything is working to make us competitive."
Race officials extended the qualifying time from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — then tacked on another half-hour when action was stopped to get a loose buoy back in place — and Kade was the beneficiary.
Shortly before 4 o'clock yesterday, he made it out and qualified with a speed of 103.053 m.p.h.
"We were just trying to add a little excitement," said Kade, the 64-year-old driver, mechanic and crew chief. "We switched engines twice today. We're just happy to be in the race."
It was a happy ending for the Savair's Mist gang who have toiled frantically for three frustrating days just trying to get into the race.
Harrah's Club, with Jim McCormick at the wheel, picked off the runner-up prize of $300 in the daily qualifying competition by boosting his speed to 111.340 m.p.h.
"It's a lot more respectable," McCormick said. "The boat's running a lot better."
The surfboard-shaped Atlas Van Lines, driven by Bob Miller, picked off the $200 third money with a time of 106.719 m.p.h. Miller tried a new rudder later in the afternoon in an at-tempt to make the boat steer easier in the turns. That it did but the Atlas didn't go as well as it had before in the straightaway,.
Eagle Electric took a run at the record of 120 miles plus but the water just wasn't right and Gardner settled for 115.880 m.p.h., fast but not an improvement from his previous qualifying speed so it didn’t count toward the cash.
Sterett pushed the Budweiser to a 113.684 m.p.h. — identical to his qualifying speed of Friday.
(Reprinted from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 4, 1968)
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