1969 Seafair Trophy Race
Kasper ‘Pitched’ Into Hospital
Ron Kasper, literally and figuratively, was "pitched" into Lake Washington yesterday.
Kasper, owner-driver of the Wanderer, an unlimited hydroplane, was trying to qualify himself as a driver and his boat for the Seafair Trophy race when he crashed on the south turn.
That Kasper failed both tests is obvious — he is in Virgnia Mason Hospital with a cracked hone in his back and his boat is lying at the bottom of the lake.
Kasper said last night that he is not sure, but thinks the accident was caused, at least in part, by the propeller on the boat.
"We changed props just before I went out," Kasper said. "We wanted one with less pitch.
"But the new one — the one with less pitch — it wasn’t giving me the lift it should have. It made the boat too heavy in the tail causing the bow to ‘kite.’ "
Kasper was in the first of two qualifying laps. He had taken a "flying start" in his effort to qualify himself and the boat in excess of the 100 miles an hour required.
"The boat was riding good down the chute," Kasper said. "I was in real good shape for the turn.
"But once into it I could tell that the tail wasn’t getting the lift it should have." Halfway through the turn he crashed.
"I just looked at pictures of the accident," Kasper said "and I guess I was thrown underneath the boat.
"No, I never was unconscious, but I sure was full of water."
Kasper, 28, a plumber from Sacramento, said the only other boat he ever owned was the first Miss Fascination he bought from Bob Gilliam.
"We didn’t have much luck with that one either," Kasper said.
(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 3, 1969)
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