1985 Miller High Life Trophy
BudWins Battle, Miller Takes The War
Since the 1981 opener salt water has been identified as an enemy of the turbine engine. This year's curtain closer at San Diego did nothing to change that fact as Miller American developed a compressor stall (caused by the absorption of salt on the compressor fans) during lap two of the final heat. Afterwards Chip Hanauer said that he had been aware of the developing problem long before coming to a halt.
Still the Miller American adored enough points to walk off with the high point title. For Hanauer it was the third time in the last four years that he has emerged as top scorer among the drivers. As a result this was only the second victory the U-1 picked up.
Nine boats came to the pits on Mission Bay. Six, Miller American (Hanauer), Oh Boy! Oberto (Jerry Hopp), American Speedy Printing/The Ching Group (Andy Coker), Executone (Scott Pierce), Miss Pride Air (Todd Yarling) and Miss 7-Eleven (Steve Reynolds), had made the entire circuit.
The Miss Budweiser team appeared at every race, but used last year's hull in the Mid-West. Victory at San Diego was accomplished by something of a hybrid hull: this year's hull ran with the wing of last year's standard bearer.
Coors Light wound up making the final four events this year as did Jim Grader's U-33 which became Handyman on Sunday. Jack Barrie attempted to to drive the latter on Friday, but later gave way to Ron Snyder. Several attempts to qualify ended in failure. Drivers for the U-1 and U-100 were Jim Kropfeld and Mitch Evans.
All eight race participants qualified on Friday, led by Miss Budweiser (still sporting the Delta wing) at 132.509. The next day Miller American dashed once around the course at 137.531 before breaking a propeller blade.
Throughout the regatta sunny conditions persisted. Also in evidence was a northwesterly breeze which increased during the day.
Miller American secured her season-honor with a wire to wire victory in 1-A. Executone was a steady second , while the Miss Pride Air, on the outside, passed Coors Light during the fourth lap. The U-100 later lost her right wing support.
Miss 7-Eleven set a course standard in the first lap of 1-B — 137.362. Reynolds completed one more circuit and then conked out. Miss Budweiser coasted to first place and Oh Boy! Oberto was the only other finisher. American Speedy/The Ching Group returned to the pits in the first lap.
The prospective turbine matchup failed to materialize in 2-A as Miss 7-Eleven did not appear. Hanauer then ran behind Evans for all five laps with Hopp third. The wingless Coors Light ruined an oil tank in winning the section. In addition the cowling blew off as Mitch was clearing the upper turn on the second go-around. On the previous circuit the hood flapped high, but then settled back in place. Kropfeld and Pierce were one-two in the B section. Pierce made one serious bid, but the margin at the end was just a bit more than a roostertail. Yarling had the misfortune to lose a propeller at the end of the final backstretch and Coker ran into difficulty shortly after departing the pits.
Miller American ran the first lap of the final at 134plus. Miss Budweiser was close behind. After Miller American conked out the A-B boat had an easy time. Executone was second again. Oh Boy! Oberto and American Speedy/The Ching Group were in the midst of another duel when the former slowed and fell to fifth. Miss Pride Air, running without her wing moved into fourth. Sadly Coors Light could not replace the ruined oil tank and had to sit the race out.
Thus the 1985 racing season came to an end . Coming up is the annual APBA convention in Las Vegas. At that time the plans for the 1986 season will become more evident.
(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, September 1985)
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