1972 Seafair Trophy
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 6, 1972

Muncey Wins Easily
Atlas Routs ‘Broken’ Pride
By Del Danielson


Another Chapter Being Written in Seattle’s Hydroplane History

bullet Roostertail of Memories
bullet Muncey Wins Easily
bullet Atlas Crew Solves Engine Troubles; Sterett Criticized
bullet Hydro Standings
bullet Statistics

"When you’re hot, you’re hot, and today we’re not." Dave Heerensperger bridled his deep disappointment with the smile of a gracious 1oser. His record-setting Pride of Pay ‘n Pak was kaput in yesterday’s Seafair unlimited-hydroplane race.

Expected to battle the Atlas Van Lines for the top spot, the Pride "broke" twice and was not around for the final, won easily by Bill Muncey in the Atlas.

The race was supposed to be a two-man shootout. Billy Sterett, Pak driver, set a world record in qualifying the boat at 125.874 miles an hour. Muncey set 10-lap, heat and race records in winning five of six regattas going into the Seafair.

It turned out to be a one-man exhibition.

In the first head-to-head meeting (Heat 1B), Sterett sputtered through the first turn before the engine blew. Muncey went on to a second-place finish to sew up the national championship.

In Heat 2B, the Pak popped about 75 seconds before the start. Muncey waltzed home without a serious challenge.

In the final, the Atlas out-classed the Notre Dame, Van’s P-X, Budweiser, Pizza Pete and Lincoln Thrift. The real battle was for second. Dean Chenoweth in the Notre Dame edged Leif Borgersen in the P-X by less than two seconds and Terry Sterett in the Bud by less than three.

For Muncey, it was a sweet win — his 33rd career triumph and fifth on Lake Washington. He was not disappointed that the Pay ‘n Pak was not around to make a race of it. He said:

"What was it those guys said In Pasco? ‘We get three more shots at Muncey in Seattle.’ Well. I heard two of them out there today — boom, boom."

Two weeks ago, at the Tri-Cities’ Atomic Cup, the Pride was running well ahead of the Atlas and close to a final-heat victory when an accident stopped the race.

In the rerun, the Pay ‘n Pak "froze up" at the start and Muncey scored a second-chance win.

Heerensperger said at the time: "There is no doubt in my mind which is the faster racing boat. We get three more shots at Muncey in Seattle. That ought to prove it."

The Van’s P-X was the surprise of the day, winning the two "slow" sections and placing third in the final.

The race was run under the fan-plan format. The top five qualifiers were matched in a "fast" flight and the bottom five in a "slow" group. The top four from the speedier section and two from the second section were put in the winner-take-all final.

Borgersen held off a stiff challenge from Bob Gilliam in the pizza wagon in 1A. In 2A, Borgersen jumped to a 10-second lead after one lap and coasted in.

Bill Wurster, 48-year-old rookie, made a few points with his sponsor by winning the consolation race.

Wurster had the Valu-Mart running deck to deck with the Timex and was pulling ahead when Jim McCormick’s boat popped. Wurster was waved off the course after three laps and given the win. It was a gratifying moment for the Seattle driver, who got his first unlimited ride two weeks ago.

The season-ending race marked the end of a long career for Gilliam’s U-88. The hull will be retired after 12 years of competition, during which it carried 10 different names. This season, using one engine all season, the Pizza Pete completed 20 of 21 laps and made the final heat in every race but one.

As one wag put it: "It’s a good thing that boat never exploded. There’s so many coats of paint on it that we would have seen a rainbow."

Heat 1AVan’s P-X (Leif Borgersen), 102.195 m.p.h.(300 points); Pizza Pete (Bob Gilliam), 101.237 m.p.h.(225); Timex (Jim McCormick), 97.262 m.p.h.(169), Valu-Mart (Bill Wurster), 87.862 m.p.h.(127); Smoother Mover (Chuck Hickiing), 82.467 m.p.h.(95).

Heat 1BBudweiser (Terry Sterett), 110.159 m.p.h. (400); Atlas Van Lines (Bill Muncey), 110.024 m.p.h.(300); Notre Dame (Dean Chenoweth), 107.057 m.p.h.(225); Lincoln Thrift (George Henley), 106.299 m.p.h.(169); Pride of Pay ‘n Pak (Billy Sterett), Did Not Finish.

Heat 2AVan’s P-X, 104:043 m.p.h.(300); Pizza Pete, 99.962 m.p.h.(225); Timex, 96.188 m.p.h.(169); Valu-Mart, 91.587 m.p.h.(127) Smoother Mover, 87.633 m.p.h.(95).

Heat 2BAtlas Van Lines, 114.213 m.p.h.(400); Budweiser, 107.569 m.p.h.(300); Notre Dame, 96.531 m.p.h.(225); Lincoln Thrift, 92.529 m.p.h.(169); Pride of Pay ‘n Pak, Did Not Start.

ConsolationValu-Mart, 101.887 m.p.h.; Timex, D. N. F.; Smoother Mover, D. N. F. Race called after three laps.

CHAMPIONSHIPAtlas Van Lines, 113.876 m.p.h.(600); Notre Dame, 106.257 m.p.h.(450); Van’s P-X, 105.882 m.p.h.(338); Budweiser, 105.757 m.p.h.(254); Pizza Pete, 97.262 m.p.h.(191); Lincoln Thrift, 94.704 m.p.h.(143).

Final Season PointsAtlas Van Lines, 8,300; Pride of Pay ‘n Pak, 5,225; Budweiser, 5,023; Pizza Pete, 4,182; Timex, 3,097; Towne Club, 2,552; Notre Dame, 1,821; Go Gale (Atlas II), 1,694; Madison, 1,394; Lincoln Thrift, 1,358; Van’s P-X, 938; Valu-Mart, 648; Miami, 300; Smoother Mover, 190; Sweet Thing, 169; Country Boy 0.

Seafair prize moneyAtlas Van Lines $6,750, Notre Dame $4,700, Budweiser $4,250, Van’s P-X $3,250, Lincoln Thrift $2,800, Pizza Pete $2,350, Pride of Pay ‘n Pak $1,700, Timex $900, Valu-Mart $800, Smoother Mover $700.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 7, 1972)

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at wildturnip@gmail.com
© Leslie Field, 2005