1975 Desert Thunderboat Classic
Phoenix AZ, September 14, 1975
From The History of Big Boat Racing in Arizona
In 1975 at the Desert Thunderboat Classic, held on Firebird Lake near Chandler, Arizona, a series of head-on "match" races was held until the top four point-getters -- in two rows of two boats each -- were pitted in the final heat. Miss Budweiser, driven by Mickey Remund, was the winner. In the aforementioned final heat, the Budweiser and Miss Weisfield's, driven by Billy Schumacher, earned a front-row start. In a second row, 300 feet back -- or the approximate length of a full roostertail spray -- were Milner Irvin in the Lincoln Thrift and the Miss Hamms.
Miss Weisfield's gave the Budweiser all it wanted in the five-lap finale, but drifted wide on the final turn when a rudder came loose -- allowing Remund to charge inside and win a dash to the finish line. About 10,000 spectators attended the race -- the only such incidence of two-boat match racing in unlimited history until 's Gila River Casino Unlimited Cup.
(Reprinted from the Electronic URC Hydroletter, Vol. 1, no. 4)
From Out of the Pages of Hydro History . . .
(by Unlimited Hydroplanes executive secretary John Crouse)
PHOENIX, Ariz. (Sept. 14, 1975) -- Bernie Little's famed Miss Budweiser, which will reportedly be replaced by a new hull in 1976, showed plenty of class in the twilight of her U.S. unlimited hydroplane racing career, when driver Mickey Remund out-muscled Weisfield's ace throttleman Billy Schumacher to win the Desert Thunderboat Regatta today. The Bud victory signalled the end of defending national champion Pay 'N Pak's four-race win streak and moved Leslie Rosenberg's Weisfield's back into the lead for the U.S. national championship. With only 249 points separating the Pak and Weisfield's, the stage is set for a classic showdown when unlimited hydros wind up the '75 season with the Weisfield's Trophy race on San Diego's Mission Bay next Sunday, Sept. 21. Certain to go down in thunderboating annals as one of the sport's most gripping battles, the San Diego race culminates a power struggle that saw Weisfield's jump into the lead with a win in the season opener at Miami in May. The Seattle-based team kept its grip on the front-running spot until George Henley captured the prestigious APBA Gold Cup race at Tri-Cities, Wash., July 27 and moved the Pak into the lead for the national championship. Thunderboats set a precedent in Phoenix, running on Firebird Lake's tight 1 2/3 mi. course . . . the smallest track in the sport's modern era. The unique layout tested crews' selection of propellers and new gear box modifications while drivers had their hands full mastering the narrow turns. With 10 boats qualified, a series of five, two-boat heats and a redraw for five more heats saw the field matched for some thrilling four-lap deck-to-deck duels. Weisfield's, Miss Budweiser and Hamm's Bear all scored double wins to earn 800 points, assuring them of a berth in the final heat. Pay 'N Pak and Lincoln Thrift tied at 700 points with Bob Fendler's Lincoln Thrift edging the Pak in total elapsed time and thereby earning a spot in the lineup with the Pak on alternate status. The four-boat final heat saw a two-row, staggered start based on elapsed time with the front inside pole spot held by Remund in Miss Budweiser and Schumacher on the outside in Weisfield's. Hamm's Bear lined up inside in row two with Jerry Bangs driving and Miamian Milner Irvin chauffeured Lincoln Thrift in the outside lane. Remund ran the heavy weighted Beer Wagon on a rail, cornering smoothly, but unable to shake Billy Schumacher in a deck-to-deck duel that ended only when Weisfield's missed a beat coming off the last turn in the final lap, giving Remund just enough room to hit the finish line first. It was Bernie Little's third win in Phoenix . . . a town where no other thunderboat has won a race. Bill Sterett, Sr. opened the Budweiser desert country dynasty in 1968 and last season, rookie of the year Howie Benns added another victory. Budweiser mentor Bernie Little announced that the current U-12 hull has been sold to Australian Norm Putt and that he has purchased the brand new Ron Jones cabover design ordered by George Walther but never campaigned this season. Final standings: Miss Budweiser 1200, Weisfield's 1100, Lincoln Thrift 925, Hamm's Bear 800, Pay 'N Pak 700, Miss Vernors 600, Sunny Jim Jam 600, Atlas Van Lines 400. Course marks: U-55 Lincoln Thrift (Milner Irvin) 114.510 miles an hour over 1 2/3 mi. lap in competition; U-55 Lincoln Thrift (Irvin) 111.76 miles an hour over 6.66-mile heat on 1 2/3 mile course; U-12 Miss Budweiser (Mickey Remund) 109.706 miles an hour for 21.665-mile race on 1 2/3 mi. course.
(Reprinted from the Electronic URC Hydroletter, Vol. 1, no. 6)
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