1986 Columbia Cup
Columbia River, Tri-Cities WA, July 27, 1986

Hanauer Wins Third Straight Columbia Cup
By Bill Curry

Chip Hanauer in the Miller American avoided a near collision in the Final Heat with The Squire Shop, driven by Tom D'Eath, to come from behind and win the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup.

Hanauer and the Miller American turbine had another impressive race as they took top qualifying honors, 144.485 mph, and won all three heats. It also marked Hanauer's third victory of the year.

The Squire Shop took the lead at the start of the winner-take-all championship heat and held it through the first turn of the first lap. Miller American pulled even as the two hydros sped up the backstretch.

The two boats nearly collided in the second turn as Hanauer swung wide into D'Eath's path. Hanauer then pulled away and Squire Shop gradually lost ground over the remaining four laps. Hanauer's final margin of victory was about a quarter of a lap.

Both Squire Shop driver D'Eath and owner Bob Steil protested the incident but got nowhere with race officials.

"We have a helicopter up there, judges out there and a chief referee, and none of them reported any infraction," said Don Jones, URC Commisioner. "They just saw it as a very competitive move."

The two drivers had a quick and heated verbal exchange after the race, but Hanauer shrugged off the incident saying, "that's boat racing. He had an arc and I had an arc."

D'Eath was most upset. "If it hadn't been for 29 years of driving experience, I would've been T-boned right in the cockpit," he fumed. "I don't think we bumped. I turned right to avoid him.

"If they are not going to enforce the rules, then take them out of the book. It's driving over your head and it's stupid," he said. "They have one set of rules for him and one set of rules for the rest of us."

D'Eath, who announced before the race he would quit racing unlimiteds after Seattle's race, said afterwards that incidents like the near collision were one of the main reasons he was leaving.

Squire Shop took overall second-place honors. Third place went to Steve Reynolds in the 7-Eleven. Milner Irvin placed fourth in the Frank Kenney, racing in only its second race of the season. Fifth place went to the Miss Madison, driven in the Final Heat by last year's pilot, Andy Coker, who filled in for a still-recovering Ron Snyder. Snyder, who was pitched from his boat in Evansville two weeks earlier, drove in the two preliminary heats.

Sixth place went to Jack Schafer in the Tempus, which was the alternate boat going into the Final Heat. Schafer, who broke down in the final go-around, had the opportunity to race when the Miss Budweiser would not start due to a faulty fuel solenoid. Hanauer averaged 129.931 mph in the Miller American in the championship heat.

Eleven boats went fast enough to race on the 2-mile Columbia River course. The twelfth hydro in the pits Horizon Air, driven by Jerry Hopp wasn't able to make the minimum 105-mph lap to qualify.

Preliminary action opened with a victory for Hanauer in the Miller American in Heat 1A. A sore Ron Snyder finished second in the Miss Madison after giving chase early in the heat. The only other finisher was Jack Schafer, who brought the Tempus home third in its first heat of racing. Scott Pierce in Mr. Pringle's gave chase to Hanauer before blowing an engine and failing to finish. Rookie Mike Hanson, in his first unlimited heat, failed to finish in Fred Leland's U-100 due to engine problems. Also failing to finish was Todd Yarling in Cellular One. Average speed for Miller American was 123.873.

Heat 1B saw a problem with the starting clock, but Jim Kropfeld was able to take Miss Budweiser to a win. Tom D'Eath gave chase in the Squire Shop but had to settle for second. D'Eath felt he might have done better if the starting clock had worked correctly. Milner Irvin took the Frank Kenney to third place. Steve Reynolds had to run an extra lap in his 7-Eleven for destroying a course marker but still was able to finish fourth. George Johnson finished a distant fifth in Oh Boy! Oberto. Average speed for Bud was 121.832 mph.

Hanauer and D'Eath dueled deck to deck for 2 laps in Heat 2A before Hanauer pulled away to win in the Miller American. D'Eath finished second in the Squire Shop. Pierce again gave chase in the Mr. Pringle's but hit several turn markers and had to run an extra lap, dropping him to fifth for the heat. Irvin again ran third in the Frank Kenney. Snyder finished fourth in the Miss Madison. Schafer ran a distant sixth in the Tempus. Average speed for Miller American was 125.335 mph.

Action in Heat 2B saw Kropfeld win his second heat of the day in Miss Budweiser. Reynolds was runner-up in the 7-Eleven. Yarling in Cellular One was third, while Oh Boy! Oberto and the U-100 both failed to finish. Bud's average speed was 123.442 mph.

The beer-turbine hydros have won all races so far for 1986 Miller three, Bud two. The national points race is becoming interesting - Bud 5,800, Miller 5,259. And unless both Miller and Bud break at the remaining five regattas, none of the other unlimiteds have shown the ability to win.

Columbia Cup
Final Standings

Miller American



The Squire Shop



Miss 7-Eleven



Frank Kenney



Miss Madison






Miss Budweiser



(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, August 1986)

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