1973 UIM World Championship
Borrowed Prop Pushed Remund’s Pak To Victory
Seattle’s longtime love affair with unlimited-hydroplane racing has survived another series of squabbles, and this time the favorite hometown couple marched to the altar.
Mickey Remund and Dave Heerensperger successfully combined something old, new, borrowed and blue and kept their vows to secure the World Championship race title for the Pacific Northwest.
Had it not been for the borrowed item, however, Heerensperger’s Pay ‘n Pak, piloted by Remund, might have wound up a bridesmaid.
The owner of the new turbine-powered U-95, Jim Clapp, contributed the borrowed part — the propeller that pushed Pay ‘n Pak to victory in yesterday’s final heat on Lake Washington.
"Thanks for testing my new equipment," Clapp told Heerensperger with a grin after Remund had nosed out Dean Chenoweth, driving the Miss Budweiser, at the checkered flag.
"You may never get it back," responded the Pak’s owner.
"We started the season with nine propellers," Heerensperger said. "I think we’re down to about three now. No, make that four, counting Jim’s."
The Pak’s propensity for dropping props cropped up again in yesterday’s first "hot boat" heat.
Remund, who had staged a five lap duel for the lead with the Budweiser in hydroplaning’s fastest heat ever, coasted across the finish line in second place. The Pak’s driveshaft had snapped, and the propeller was left to sink somewhere between the north turn and the finish line.
"That’s the finest race I’ve ever been in my life," said Remund. "A 125 lap, and no visibility."
He amended that later, saying that he could see far enough to grin at Chenoweth while skimming through the rain at 125 miles an hour.
"I had a big smile on my face — and I was running second," he said. "I looked over and said, ‘Hi, Deaner,’ I’m sure we weren’t more than three feet apart."
The closeness continued through the final beat. "You’re required to give him a 20-foot lane," related Remund. "But I wasn’t about to give him 21 feet.
"By holding my position, it meant Deaner had to turn a little tighter, and it cost him a couple of miles per hour in exit speed."
The Bud remained in challenging position however, and made a final attempt to overtake Remund on the last lap.
"I knew I had one shot left, so I floorboarded it," said Chenoweth.
Remund, advised he had won by less than a boat length, said, "I didn’t know he was that close. I thought I had about three or four boat lengths on him. Things get a little hectic out there."
The "old" item was the Pak’s engine, which held up through three hot heats while the power plants of other boats faltered and hastily were replaced.
"I would have changed it," Heerensperger said. "But Jim made the decision."
Jim Lucero, Pay ‘n Pak crew chief, said he was confident the motor would last. "I’m just glad a Seattle boat won it," he said with a sigh.
"You’re going to send some people back to the drawing boards," an admiring spectator told Lucero, referring to something new — the Pak’s horizontal stabilizer.
The Remund-Heerensperger courtship started last November.
"Ron Jones told me three years ago that Mickey was the guy I oughta have," Heerensperger said. "I first talked to him in November, but he’s a hard guy to convince. I didn’t get an answer until February."
Remund, a former limited-hydro champion, insisted he was not wooed into the unlimited ranks. "It was the other way around," he said, indicating he had to convince Heerensperger that he should pilot the Pay ‘n Pak.
Why, then was the owner left waiting for an answer? "Well, that’s what you call negotiatons," Remund said with a smile.
Jones, the unquestoned leader in designing unlimiteds, was the day’s "best man." He conceived the new-look craft which won, plus the second-place finisher.
Some soggy spectators were chilled almost to a blue hue, but the bluest of the blue was Lee Schoenith.
"I still don’t like the fan plan," said Schoenith, the Seattle dew dripping off the Detroiter’s Stetson. It’s not fair for the spectators who come out here all week and . . ."
Few were listening. Schoenith’s week-long complaints about the race’s format had been drowned out.
But the Detroit-Seattle stew still simmers.
Asked if he had seen Bill Muncey, who drives the Atlas Van Lines for Schoenith, during yesterday’s final heat, Remund wryly replied:
"Yeah, I waved at him before the race started."
(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 6, 1973)
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