1996 Bill Muncey Cup
Mission Bay, San Diego CA, September 15, 1996


Controversy started right from the first turn of racing in San Diego. In Heat 1A, Mark Tate jumped out front at the drop of the green flag in the Smokin' Joe's, but Dave Villwock took the lead in the PICO American Dream at the entrance buoy. Coming out of the turn, the PICO took a bad hop and beared out into lane number two. The officials decided it was a significant infraction and penalized the PICO one lap. So, despite a near-record heat with an average in the high 150 mph range, the top qualifier ended up fourth. Mark Tate, who stayed within a roostertail for a lap and appeared to be making up ground when Villwock had to lap (officially, pass) the U-19 Kona Kai Presents Appian Jeronimo and Mitch Evans, won the heat despite being physically outdistanced by the PICO. Mike Hanson in DeWALT Tools was a steady second, Steve David a steady third in the Harvey Motorsports. Mitch Evans struggled, gave up his pace boat position, started late, and ended up fifth in the Appian Jeronimo. Upon returning to the dock, Villwock stated, "I think the officials are trying to change the outcome of the race. Normally, that might have been a $100 fine. But, we'll live with it." Tate did not feel he had been encroached upon, giving his standard, "That's boat racing."

Heat 1A (11:10)

Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
2  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate       1/400/400     151.122
3  U-6    DeWALT Tools             Mike Hanson     2/300/300     138.946
4  U-2    Jim Harvey Motorsports   Steve David     3/225/225     131.741
1  U-100  PICO American Dream      Dave Villwock   4/169/169 %   (N/A)   #
5  U-19   Kona Kai/Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans     5/127/127      83.503

%  - Physically won; penalized one lap for bearing out in the first turn
#  - Fast Lap:  U-100 (1st), 159.422

*  *  *

The race in Heat 1B took place prior to the start, as Ken Muscatel stalled in his U-14 Allied Telesyn Presents Computers and Applications. After struggling to get on a plane again beside the pace boat (the U-3 Chelan's Mill Bay Casino and Todd Yarling), he died again for the heat. Then, with Yarling out of position, the officials told him to cut the course, and he lost power while avoiding cutting in front of the field. That left a parade led by Mark Evans in the Miss Budweiser first, Scott Pierce in Miss Von's second, and Mike Jones in Miss Exide third. The driver's meeting was more interesting than usual. Nate Brown chose lanes for Ken Muscatel since he was busy fixing his boat and took lane 4 to leave the inside lanes open for the "big three." With Todd Yarling and the Coopers busy fixing their boat, Mitch Evans consulted with Ed Cooper Jr. and took lane five for them. He then picked lane 1 for his own boat, prompting Bo Darling to ask, "Do you have a preference for the U-2?"

Heat 1B (11:30)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans      1/400/400     149.450 #
2  U-99   Miss Von's               Scott Pierce    2/300/300     140.903
4  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones      3/225/225     121.378
3  U-14   Computers & Applications Ken Muscatel    DNS/0/0
5  U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino Todd Yarling    DNS/0/0

#  - Fast Lap:  U-1 (1st), 150.587

*  *  *

The draw for Heat 2:


Heat 2A (12:10)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-100  PICO American Dream      Dave Villwock
2  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans
3  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate
4  U-14   Computers & Application  Ken Muscatel
5  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones

Heat 2B (12:30)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-19   Kona Kai/Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans
2  U-2    Harvey Motorsports       Steve David
3  U-99   Miss Von's               Scott Pierce
4  U-6    DeWALT Tools             Mike Hanson
5  U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino Todd Yarling

The race started in the pits with both the U-14 Allied Telesyn Presents Computers & Applications and the U-100 PICO American Dream late to start. PICO literally had about ten seconds to get on a plane before the officials planned to raise the white flag. When everything was lined up, Mark Tate in the Smokin' Joe's got a great jump on the start and led into the first turn. However, Dave Villwock used his inside advantage in the PICO American Dream and moved side-by-side in the turn and took the lead down the backstretch. Tate refused to give up, flying his boat around the course and taking advantage of a bad hop by the PICO to move nearly side-by-side on the backstretch of lap number two. It seemed like the Smokin' Joe's had top end speed on the PICO, but not enough to overcome the advantage of the inside lane. After swinging wide on the final turn, the PICO ran away to victory. Tate settled for second. Mark Evans faded early in the Miss Budweiser, eventually cutting inside but never making up very much ground on the leaders. Muscatel was a steady fourth in the U-14 Allied Telesyn Presents Computers and Applications, while Mike Jones trailed in the Miss Exide.

Heat 2A (12:15)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-100  PICO American Dream      Dave Villwock   1/400/569     152.470 #
3  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate       2/300/700     150.890
2  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans      3/225/625     147.429
4  U-14   Computers & Application  Ken Muscatel    4/169/169     125.967
5  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones      5/127/352     118.628

#  - Fast Lap:  U-100 (3rd), 155.604
*  *  *

A second competitive heat in a row looked like it wasn't going to happen when Mike Hanson got a good jump on the start as the pace boat in the U-6 DeWALT Tools. Hanson led by a half-roostertail into the first turn. With an inside lane, Steve David was not about to give up and gave chase in the U-2 Harvey Motorsports. In the first turn of lap number two, he pulled even, and had about a tenth of a second on Hanson in the Guaranteed Tough boat completing lap number two. Two more solid turns gave the unsponsored boat the victory, a significant morale boost for the Jim Harvey camp after a week of systems trouble. Owner Harvey practically skipped from his trailer down to the dock to greet his victorious driver. In a joint interview with Thunderboats on the Air reporter Bob Flajole, Mike Hanson and Steve David both expressed a lot of respect for the other's camp, and said they couldn't wait for the next chance to race. "We're just evenly matched," said Hanson. Scott Pierce fell behind early but managed a solid third in the U-99 Miss Vons, while Mitch Evans showed somewhat better speed in placing fourth in the U-19 Kona Kai Presents the Appian Jeronimo. The Chelan's Mill Bay Casino stayed on the beach changing engines.

Heat 2B (12:35)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
2  U-2    Harvey Motorsports       Steve David     1/400/625     149.386 #
4  U-6    DeWALT Tools             Mike Hanson     2/300/600     147.153
3  U-99   Miss Von's               Scott Pierce    3/225/525     136.568
1  U-19   Kona Kai/Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans     4/169/296     122.583
5  U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino Todd Yarling    DNS/0/0

#  - Fast Lap:  U-2 (2nd), 153.633
*  *  *

They'll get a chance to race each other again in Heat 3. The draw:

Heat 3A (1:30)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver
-------------------------------------------------
1  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate
2  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans
3  U-99   Miss Vons                Scott Pierce
4  U-19   Kona Kai/Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans
5  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones

Heat 3B (2:00)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver
-------------------------------------------------
1  U-2    Harvey Motorsports       Steve David
2  U-6    DeWALT Tools             Mike Hanson
3  U-100  PICO American Dream      Dave Villwock
4  U-14   Computers & Applications Ken Muscatel
5  U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino Todd Yarling

Earlier, Mark Tate established himself as a strong contender in the U-10 Smokin' Joe's with a wire-to-wire victory in Heat 3A. Mark Evans challenged briefly but suffered from a less-than-perfect boat ride and decided to settle for second. Ken Muscatel was a steady third in the U-14 Allied Telesyn Presents Computers and Applications, while a good battle developed for fourth. Mike Jones stayed wide in the U-9 Miss Exide, allowing Mitch Evans to stay close in the U-19 Kona Kai Presents Appian Jeronimo. However, Evans could not find the speed to actually pass Jones and settled for fifth.

Heat 3A (1:30)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate       1/400/1100    157.367 #
2  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans      2/300/925     150.730
3  U-99   Miss Vons                Scott Pierce    3/225/750     138.230
5  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones      4/169/521     124.164
4  U-19   Kona Kai/Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans     5/127/423     121.985

#  - Fast Lap:  U-10 (2nd), 158.792
*  *  *

During the warmup for Heat 3B of the 1996 Bill Muncey Cup at San Diego's Bayfair, the U-6 DeWALT Tools, driven by Mike Hanson, went out of control and rolled over. It was not clear what caused the incident, in which the U-6 spun around to its left, scratching the U-2 Harvey Motorsports boat, then flipped over and landed upside down. Driver Mike Hanson suffered only a contusion and a minor concussion from the accident, and will be taken to the hospital for observation only. The remaining four boats will re-run Heat 3B about 2:45.

The rerun of Heat 3B turned out to be equally as significant as the first. Dave Villwock won a wire-to-wire victory, but suffered severe damage to the right sponson of his PICO American Dream and had to withdraw. A great battle ensued for second, with Ken Muscatel using his inside advantage in the U-14 Allied Telesyn Presents Computers &Applications to pass Steve David in the U-2 Harvey Motorsports completing lap number one. However, David pulled away from there, and Muscatel hit a buoy in the final turn and incurred a one-lap penalty, allowing Todd Yarling to gain third in the U-3 Chelan's Mill Bay Casino.

Heat 3B (2:45) RERUN
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-100  PICO American Dream      Dave Villwock   1/400/969     143.540 #
4C U-2    Harvey Motorsports       Steve David     2/300/925     138.800
3  U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino Todd Yarling    3/225/225     122.775
2  U-14   Computers & Applications Ken Muscatel    4/169/338 %   (N/A)
-  U-6    DeWALT Tools             Mike Hanson     WD/0/600 *

C  - Moved from lane 1 to lane 4 by the officials because of left-side
     damage in first running
#  - Fast Lap:  U-100 (1st), 149.046
%  - Penalized one lap for destroying a course marker (buoy)
*  - Rolled over on warmup prior to the start of the original running
*  *  *

PROVISIONAL - A two-boat race turned in to a cakewalk when Todd Yarling found the U-3 Chelan's Mill Bay Casino unable to get on a plane. When he parked his boat in the infield, Ken Muscatel needed only to run a single lap to earn the trailer slot in the final.

Provisional Heat (3:25)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos  Speed
----------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-14   Computers & Applications Ken Muscatel    1    Untimed
2  U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino Todd Yarling    DNS
*  *  *
FINAL LINEUP:

Final Heat (4:13)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver
----------------------------------------------------------------
1  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate
2  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans
3  U-2    Harvey Motorsports       Steve David
4  U-99   Miss Vons                Scott Pierce
5  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones
6  U-19   Appian Jeronimo          Mitch Evans
T  U-14   Computers & Applications Ken Muscatel

San Diego Final Results

SAN DIEGO (September 15) - It seems that the key to winning in San Diego is to suffer adversity, but not so much adversity to be bumped out of the race. In 1993, the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes had its worst day of the year in the preliminaries, having to enter the final through the Last Chance heat, before winning. In 1994, Dave Villwock exploded a motor in the preliminaries but went on to win in the PICO American Dream. Last year, Mark Tate repeated that scenario with an engine fire in Heat 3 leading to a race victory.

In 1996, it was the Miss Budweiser that managed to have a day just bad enough to come back and win. The week started with Mark Evans the fastest qualifier on Friday, but by the time qualifying had ended, the Bud had dropped to third. After facing little competition and winning in the first heat, Bernie Little's "big red boat" was outclassed by both the PICO American Dream and Smokin' Joe's in the second heat, and by the Smokin' Joe's in the third.

But San Diego is not a location where momentum carries through to the final. Mark Tate tried to make it happen, leading through the first turn in the Smokin' Joe's. On the outside, Evans trailed by a few boatlengths. By the end of the backstretch, the boats were almost side-by-side. A good turn by Tate gave the Camel-powered boat a small lead down the main straightaway, perhaps four boatlengths at the completion of the first lap. The beerwagon had a great first turn on the second lap, however, and came out nearly side-by-side with the cigarette box. Tate held a very slim lead down the backstretch, but couldn't force Evans wide and the boats came out of the second turn together. By the completion of lap number two, the Budweiser held a slim lead. Another solid turn by Evans and the Budweiser started to pull away. By the first turn of lap number four, Evans had a big enough lead to shut the door, and the race was essentially over.

Meanwhile, Steve David had established a solid third in the U-2 Harvey Motorsports, with Scott Pierce staying about a buoylength behind in the U-99 Miss Vons. Ken Muscatel came up from the trailer position in the U-14 Allied Telesyn Presents the Computers and Applications to challenge the U-19 Kona Kai Presents Appian Jeronimo and Mitch Evans before expiring, leaving fifth for the yellow boat. Mike Jones died in the first backstretch in the Miss Exide.

The win was the first victory for Miss Budweiser during the entire Ralph's Thunder Tour '96 Presented by Las Vegas. Said owner Bernie Little as the boat pulled into the dock, "He drove a hell of a race. It is trendemous to have the Miss Budweiser on top again." Evans, waving to the crowd all the way back to the pits, had an even bigger smile on his face than he always have after achieving his second victory. In winning the race, the Budweiser set a course record for a 12.5 mile heat with an average of 151.425 mph, breaking a mark set by Dave Villwock in the PICO American Dream in 1994. The victory was also crew chief Ron Brown's 50th as a big wrench.

Some consolation for the Smokin' Joe's camp came from the fact that Mark Tate set a record for the 35-mile race, at 151.256 mph. However, the big disappointment for the Steve Woomer camp is that losing the final heat meant the end of their quest for the O'Doul's National High Point Championship.

That title went to Dave Villwock in the PICO American Dream. Despite having to withdraw after the third heat with severe damage to the right sponson, the Fred Leland team's 1009 points on the day were enough to clinch the National Title. The PICO boat will wear the U-1 banner in 1997, the first boat besides Miss Budweiser to display that number since the Miller American in 1986.

The day was also marred by the rollover of the U-6 DeWALT Tools in the warmup to Heat 3B. Driver Mike Hanson suffered only a concussion and some memory loss and the boat only sustained relatively minor damage, but the team from Madison IN was through for the day.

Next stop on the Ralph's Thunder Tour Presented by Las Vegas is an exhibition next weekend on Lake Mead near Las Vegas, followed by the season finale in Honolulu HI in October.

Final Heat (4:13)
Ln Boat # Name                     Driver          Pos/Pts/Tot   Speed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
2  U-1    Miss Budweiser           Mark Evans      1/400/1325    151.425 R#
1  U-10   Smokin' Joe's            Mark Tate       2/300/1400    148.099
3  U-2    Harvey Motorsports       Steve David     3/225/1150    139.658
4  U-99   Miss Vons                Scott Pierce    4/169/919     136.641
6  U-19   Appian Jeronimo          Mitch Evans     5/127/650     128.881
T  U-14   Computers & Applications Ken Muscatel    DNF/0/338
5  U-9    Miss Exide               Mike Jones      DNF/0/521

#  - Fast Lap:  U-1 (4th), 155.524
R  - Course record.  Old 12.5 mile heat record 149.330, set in 1994 by
     Dave Villwock in the PICO American Dream

EVENT POINTS:
Boats:
U-10   Smokin' Joe's            1430
U-1    Miss Budweiser           1348
U-2    Harvey Motorsports       1150
U-100  PICO American Dream      1009
U-99   Miss Vons                 932
U-6    DeWALT Tools              617
U-19   Appian Jeronimo           550
U-9    Miss Exide                521
U-14   Computers & Applications  348
U-3    Chelan's Mill Bay Casino  225

Driver Hurt Slightly in Pre-Race Crash
By Bill Center

Unlimited hydroplane races are given to their share of thrills and spills.

But most crashes happen during a race.

Mike Hanson's DeWALT Tools and Steve David's Jim Harvey Motorsports tangled yesterday before the start of a heat.

David was running in the inside lane and Hanson was just to his right as their boats entered the last turn of the staging lap to heat 3B.

Either Hanson turned left too early or David was too hot into the turn and unable to turn.

Whatever, David's right sponson clipped Hanson's transom.

The DeWALT boat spun left, then right and did a side cartwheel flip -- landing upside down.

Rescue crews got to the boat quickly and Hanson climbed from the cockpit. He was hospitalized for observation of what was said to be a mild concussion.

(reprinted from San Diego Union-Tribune, September 16, 1996)


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