1976 Seafair Trophy
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 8, 1976
Comeback Kid Pilots Bud to Win
By Bill Knight
On a drab, chilly afternoon meant for mulled wine or hot rum, Budweiser ruled the day on Lake Washington.
And the beer flowed and the celebration continued long into the night after Bernie Little slipped the rest of the unlimited fleet a Mickey yesterday and went home with the Seafair Trophy.
Mickey Remund piloted the Miss Bud to victory in the winner-take-all final heat and ended a season of frustration and despair.
To Remund, Little, the owner of the gold and red hulled Miss Budweiser, and their crew, it didnít matter that the Seafair race was a fizzle artistically. They could have cared less that the threat of rain cut the size of the crowd drastically.
After two crashes and a series of mechanical failures, Miss Budweiser was a winner for the first time this season.
The manner in which Remund accomplished this first victory provided the only touch of suspense in a day of racing which generally matched the overcast skies.
Hell, there wasnít even a bikini in sight on the beach.
After breaking the driveshaft and losing his best propeller on the third lap of the opening heat of the day, Remund went into his comeback routine and barely made into the finale.
Under pressure to win his second heat or retire for the afternoon, Remund won wire-to-wire and the 400 points got him into the winner-take-all showdown
Streaking down the straightaway for the start of the final heat, Remund got the Miss Bud in front on the inside. The boats had hardly crossed the finish line when the engine in Bill Munceyís Atlas Van Lines blew about 50 different directions.
Before the end of the second lap, his other premier challenger, Billy Schumacher in the Olympia Beer hydro, stopped abruptly, smoke pouring from its engine.
By then it was only a matter of outlasting Tommy DíEath in Miss U.S. and the impressive rookie, Johnny Sanders, in Sunny Jim to claim the Seafair prize.
He coasted home.
"The feeling about finally winning is hard to put into words," Remund said later. "You have a race boat like the Budweiser which has been extremely fast every where itís raced. But itís had two crashes and one driver (Howie Benns) injured. You can feel the frustration. At Pasco we had the race won in a record speed and then lost a battery cable. Iím so tickled we could finally do it.
"I was beginning to wonder if we were going to win anything this year, the way things were going.
Asked what he felt was the decisive factor in the Miss Budís Win, Remund was precise: "You have to finish to win."
Skies were overcast and there was a cold breeze blowing across the lake as the smallest crowd to watch a Seafair race on this course in many years ó perhaps as few as 50,000 ó huddled on the beach.
Still, it was a big day for beer there as well as on the water.
Remundís domination of the starting line began with Heat 1-A when he led Muncey and Schumacher across. His first lap of 118.110 m.p.h. was the dayís fastest. It was a race until the Miss Budís shaft broke and Remund turned onto the infield on the south turn. Muncey, seeking his fifth straight win after having already clinched the national point championship, won handily ahead of the Oly.
The Miss U.S. dominated 1-B as DíEath led all the way over Sanders and Sunny Jim.
Jerry Bangs, the Seattle attorney who has been insisting the Vernorís boat can run with anything afloat, grabbed the inside and the lead in heat 2-A, clocking a swift 116 plus first lap before blowing a turbocharger. The patient Muncey stayed close, then took over when the Vernorís faltered for the Atlasí second straight heat victory and 800 points.
All the pressure was on Remund in 2-B. He had to win and then hope he could slip into the finale with 400 points. "There was as much pressure in that heat as there was in the final heat," he said. "The final is where all the marbles are but you have to get there first."
Remund had to back off just slightly at the start but still broke the clock and had the lead over the U.S. on the inside with Olympia third. Schumacher made a bid to catch DíEath on the north turn of the third lap but took a good bouncing in the U.S. boatís roostertail and couldnít squeeze inside. Meanwhile, the Bud won handily.
Miss Lynnwood ended up fourth, one spot shy of what driver Ron Snyder needed to go with his third in 1-B to squeeze Miss Bud out of the finale.
As the boats milled for the start of the final heat, the Vanís P-X fizzled on the north turn.
There was minor confusion on the official tower when ammunition used in the starting gun failed to fire and there were no one-minute or starting gun blasts.
Remund was in front and Muncey was in pursuit when the Atlas suffered a rare mechanical failure. The engine threw a rod and "there were pieces flying all over the place and flames coming out of it," Muncey said later.
On the backstretch of the second lap, the Olympiaís engine popped and both theí U.S. and Sunny Jim went flying past. That was the order of finish with the Miss Bud pulling away each time around the course.
The Olympia had the closest brush with trouble on an accident-free day. Schumacher was taking on water and almost sank just off the pit area before a crane snatched the boat out of the water. "I donít know why but the boat was full of water," Schumacher said. "The line on the boat pulling me snapped and we would have been in trouble if our crew hadnít come out with another line."
This was Remundís second win in Seattle. He drove the Payín Pak to victory in 1973, the only other time heís finished a race on Lake Washington.
Recapping the Seafair Race
HEAT 1-A ó Atlas Van Lines, Bill Muncev, 107.759; Olympia, Billy Schumacher, 105.733; Vanís P-X, Jack Schafer, Jr., 87.311; Miss Vernorís, Jerry Bangs, 57.64. Miss Budweiser, Mickey Remund, DNF.
HEAT 1-B -- Miss U.S., Tom DíEath, 105.695; Sunny Jim, John Sanders, 99.845; Miss Lynnwood, Ron Snyder, 95.017; Barney Armstrongís Machine, Chip Hanauer, 91.997.
HEAT 2-A ó Atlas Van Lines, 104.129; Sunny Jim, 97.975; Vanís P-X, 94.103; Barney Armstrongís Machine, 91.631; Miss Vernorís, 67.210.
HEAT 2-B Miss Budweiser, 112.444; Miss U.S., 108.906; Olympia, 105.683; Miss Lynnwood, 97.108.
FINAL Miss Budweiser, 114.040; Miss U.S., 110.521; Sunny Jim, 99.807. Atlas Van Lines, DNF; Olympia, DNF; Vansí P-X, DNS.
FASTEST HEAT, Miss Budweiser, 114.040; Fast lap, Miss Budweiser, 118.110; Best average speed for race, Miss U.S., 108.307.
POINTS ó Miss U.S. 1,000, Atlas Van Lines 800, Miss Budweiser 800, Sunny Jim 825, Olympia Beer 525, Vanís P-X 450, Miss Lynnwood 394, Vernorís 338, Barney Armstrongís Machine 338.
NATIONAL POINTS ó Atlas Van Lines 8825, Miss U.S. 6100, Olympia Beer 5871, Miss Budweiser 5402, Miss Lynnwood 4074, Ms. Everett 1894, Miss Vernorís 1744, Sunny Jim 1669. Vagabond (U-66) 1257, Probe 694, Such Crust 450, Miss Vanís P-X 450, Barney Armstrongís Machine 338, Spirit of Dayton Walther 300.
(Reprinted from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 9, 1976)
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