1975 Seafair Trophy
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 3, 1975

Lee ‘Bites’ Again
Detroiter, Lambastes Hydro Course, Seafair Director
By Chuck Ashmun

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Leave it to Lee.

One look at the Seafair Trophy Race site yesterday, and Lee Schoenith unsheathed his verbal scythe, cutting a swath through Seattle, its City Council, Seafair, those responsible for the course location and configuration and the local press.

"What is it with Seattle?" asked Schoenith. "Why is it you people always have to be different?"

"Rougher than Detroit," he said about the north turn of the new Lake Washington course for unlimited hydroplanes.

"Something’s rotten in Denmark," he said about the Seafair-City Council hassle over public-services costs for Sunday’s race.

"Here you’ve got the whole lake to work with and you come up with this!" he snorted, waving at the race course.

"Why is it you people out here always go out of your way to cause controversy?"

Schoenith’s rapid-fire barrage has become almost an annual event at Seafair. The Detroit boat owner seems to come up with a different reason for fanning the dying embers of a Detroit-Seattle hydro feud each time he heads this way.

"It’s going to be a mess! Schoenith said of the 2˝-mile race course. "I just hope someone doesn’t get hurt."

Pointing toward the north end, situated near the Mercer Island Floating Bridge, Schoenith said:

"You put six boats out there with that log boom and the rollers coming off that bridge, and that corner down there will be rougher than Detroit on Sunday."

Referring to the Seafair racing commission disagreement over whether or not to race at Sand Point this year, the Seafair struggled to acquire additional city money to stage the race and an argument between the boat racers and Seafair over racing under the fan-plan format, Schoenith snorted:

"I think Arden Aegerter is a little shaky about his job and needs something to build a controversy up. I need Arden Aegerter like I need a fifth wheel."

Aegerter is Seafair’s managing director.

"I think Seattle is really going to like this course," said a Seattle driver, Jerry Bangs, in almost direct contradiction of Schoenith’s statements.

"It’s going to be a very safe course. You’re far enough away from the bridge that there shouldn’t be any backwash. It’s a nice course," concluded Bangs.

"The people on the beach couldn’t be much closer to the action. Some of them may even get some spray from the outside boat.

"It’s not really a good course for our boat, but some of the others are really going to smoke this course. You’re apt to see some records."

Generally, comments from other owners and drivers concerning the course were of the wait-and-see nature.

But Schoenith had seen. He couldn’t wait to say something.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 1, 1975)

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