Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 75

Thread: Jimbo McConnell--The Wizard of OZ

  1. #1
    Team Member Jeff Lytle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Toronto-Canada
    Posts
    708
    Post Thanks / Like

    Thumbs up Jimbo McConnell--The Wizard of OZ

    I only had the priviledge of meeting him a few times when he came to race (Dominate!) in Canada. He always took the time to speak to me, and never seemed rushed to finish our long conversations. I was in my teens, and am ever impressed by this man, and his racing ability.
    I took this picture in Picton, Ontario, Canada after Jimbo had single handedly whipped Team Mercury's best by a full straightaway. He had the race clearly won, but never lifted untill the checkered, and when it did, he pulled out an American flag from his boot and flew it proudly in front of the croud, judges stand and pits upon his return.
    I had a pic of that--It was so good I sent it to Propeller and they printed it. Wish I could find it now!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 01-27-2019 at 10:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Tustin, California
    Posts
    8,337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default I could write a book about Jimbo....

    I could write a 500 page book and never cover half of the things people would be interested in about Jimbo McConnell.

    Few would know that we were having a race in Needles, my brother's late wife, Judy, was Chief Scorer. This kid came up to her and said, "He's just sold his motorcycle for $25 and he thought he'd try boat racing."

    Well, Judy was a school teacher, and taught me a lot about many things, besides how to be a good teacher....She looked at Jimbo and said, "You're in luck because it will cost you $25.00 to race." (Which even in those days wasn't that cheap...but Judy knew a smile when she saw one and figured this kid Jim might like to race)..

    Jimbo had an AU, a Kean Craft (No relationship to McKean in Texas, Ray McKean in fact was the builder...)..lime green same as his El Camino. Jimbo wasn't called JIMBO by anyone, in fact, he was called Jim...His brother's name was Bubba, and still is...called Bubba by everyone...

    Jimbo ran last I think, but was determined to run the Colorado River Marathon that October...

    Jimbo's mom was full blooded Cherokee Indian and his dad was full blooded Irish... Sue McConnell and Mac McConnell....How they ever got together, I don't know, but they had been divorced for many years, when I met Jimbo in '59.

    Mac had had several drinks the night before the Marathon and was going to paint something like Jim's boat on the side...But he didn't plan ahead...and only got JIMBO on the side, big red letters with big drips...Lime '59 Chevy green boat, red letters is how I remember it...it wasn't pretty and didn't run fast...but eveyone loved JIMBO and he's been JIMBO ever since...

    I spent a lot of time at Jimbo's house on Route 66. His brother, Bubba "Pete", had a "T" Roadster which was loud and fast, we seemed to always have girl friends when we drove that Roadster...

    Mac owned a couple of MOTELS in town and people would leave cars there....Jimbo and me, well, were figured that someone left them because something was wrong with them...

    Usually, we'd figure out what was wrong the hard way...like we'd jump the battery, and get one started only to find out she didn't have any brakes...

    Jimbo's mom owned the Shamrock Cafe and she had a new Cadillac Eldorado, and Jimbo had the El Camino, but wasn't supposed to drive it much...so our favorite car was a '52 Chevy with Powerglide...because we could get her stopped by throwing her in reverse.....and the emergency brake worked GREAT!!!

    Jimbo had this Indian Motorcycle, why I decided to paint it white, I have no clue, but I did, tires and all...I was only 16 and didn't drink or do drugs...just seemed like I should paint it...didn't run anyway...Jimbo was mad at me for painting his motorcycle. I told him, "Hell it don't run anyway." He said, "It'll run." Well, for the next two or three days we tried to get it running.

    Finally, (Jimbo and me could have been BRAIN SURGEONS, if we didn't race boats)...we decide, it has gas, it has compression and it has fire, the SOB HAS to run. We decide to pull it with the '52 Chevy. We take Bubba's ski rope out of his boat...(We didn't ask because he'd have said NO!!!)...

    So, Jimbo gets on the INDIAN and ties a knot that only kneel down boat racers could understand...(One that is huge and takes 15 minutes to untie...)...I pull Jimbo about block and all of a sudden that MOTHER lets out a huge BANG and a cloud of smoke that covered Jimbo and the sky....I see Jimbo coming for the car, so I floor it, it is clear to me we are in real trouble, because he is going a lot faster than the Chevy and the ski rope ain't THAT LONG, he passes me like Jack the Bear and he's trying to untie the rope while he'd driving. I'm gaining speed but he coming to the end of the rope fast....I figure, when he gets to the end of the rope he's going down, I'm trying to figure how I'll miss him...All of a sudden the rope goes slack and Jimbo disappears down the street, the smoke is still coming out of the exhaust....

    I lose him, so I go back to the house...The motorcycle is there, not running, not sure if it ever ran again....Jimbo just said, "See I told you it would run." Both of us knew, we were about as lucky as anyone can get, without getting killed...

    We got in the Chevy to go get an A and W Root Beer, Jimbo asked if we're still dragging the Bubba's ski rope, rope...I say I don't think so...Jimbo stops the car and gets out to see, the car starts rolling (no brakes remember)...Jimbo had left the door open, he starts running for the car, I don't see him running, I pull the emergency brake and Jimbo is running with his head down trying to catch the car and his head goes through the closed window...we still laugh about the day Jimbo rode his motorcycle...glass went everywere.

    In '65 when Jimbo went into the Army and was heading for Vietnam, the weekend before he left, we rode motorcycles all day Saturday and Sunday with just our bathing suits on, we went almost to Havasu on the old dirt road... we drove like crazy guys, racing by laying down and pointing our toes...Jimbo and I figured if he got killed here, at least he wouldn't die in Vietnam... Monday, he on the bus...it was a sad day for me...I wondered if we were doing right in Vietnam... and was it fair that COLLEGE students, like me didn't have to got...

    Jimbo enjoyed Vietnam, actually..he drove trucks loaded with bombs... He turned a truck over once, said he "Dug a sponson" another time some Viet Cong were shooting at him, so he hid behind some bombs...all in all it wasn't that bad, he did want to get back to the USA to race!!!

    JIMBO's 1959 ElCamino, and a Armstrong BSH, with full length aluminum air traps, my trailer and 1-C Morehouse, A-B Sid on top!!!

    Jimbo told me this is the only picture he has of his mother's house in Needles....Christmas, 1960.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 07-21-2010 at 07:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Tustin, California
    Posts
    8,337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Jimbo had a lot of boats...

    Jimbo bought my brother's Big Bee Swift...He bought the Perely Gates, a BU. When he was living at my parent's house, Jimbo won the Needles Marathon in BU and I won in DU, 1962, that was...

    This is a picture I always like of Jimbo, I'm pretty sure I took it myself. This is a Ted May, May Craft boat, and the last race we ran this cowling on our Evinrudes... We had a HYDRO marathon this weekend...I just gottne back from the Hudson River Marathon where I'd spend about three days with the Berghauer Boys (Denny and Dewy)...They told me what they did to their Sid Carfts to make them fast....didn't believe them, but went home and did it to my Sid, didn't test it, just put a six gallon tank in the boat and raced. I won the D Hydro marathon... Jimmy Dawe was second, Jimbo or Ted was third...only D hydro race I ran with that boat after I changed it to what the Berghauers told me...

    This picture was of Jimbo after he won the OPC part, 1968. Pretty sure this was the race I promoted, where Ed Lane got his arm hurt driving Jim Johnson's Carlson..
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 01-04-2007 at 08:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Team Member Miss BK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    986
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Lauren getting advice from Jimbo..wow, how cool is that!

    I'm so glad to see Jimbo and Cathy are getting back into boat racing. The boat racing world sure has missed them. A few years back I got to write up a story for Hot Boat mag on Jimbo McConnell. Unfortunately, I didnt get to do the interview, but Hot Boat sent me the tapes and I got to transcribe them. What a rush it was to turn on the recorder and hear Jimbo's voice after all these years, telling a funny story about when he asked Bill Seebold to give him his belt at a drivers meeting... And then, Bill actually gave it to him!

    Jimbo wore that belt for years....was even wearing it at what would be his final race.

    The emotions flowed when Cathy retold the nightmare story of that horrible, horrible day in Sacramento.

    But then an even bigger surprise came at the annual Bowden pit party at the San Diego Unlimited/Champboat races in 2003. I saw Jimbo and Cathy strolling through the crowd! That was way too cool! Glad I had my camera with me
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Miss BK; 12-12-2004 at 10:51 AM.

  5. #5
    Team Member Miss BK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    986
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Last year, the OMC racing fraternity had a get-together in St. Louis on the same weekend as the Champ Boat races. The event was called "OMC LEGENDS". And sure enough, Jimbo McConnell was there along with a flood of OMC celebrities (but where the heck was Ron Hill and Ted May?)

    Here's a couple of those "Legends" who will be remembered for eternity: Jimbo McConnell and Mike Downard, August 2004
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    AeroMarine Research Jimboat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    42
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Jimbo - a true boatracing gentleman

    I too, had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jimbo on several of his many visits to race with us in Canada. I can honestly say, that I have never met a man that is more of a gentleman than Jimbo. He certainly did what ever was necessary to win on the race course - but always had time to spend with anyone and everyone on the shore. He is a legitimate hero. Here is a pic that Massimo Scotti (Cesare's son) gave me of Jimbo driving the Scotti with the Rotary in Paris 1974.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    AeroMarine Research Jimboat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    42
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default one of my favorites...

    This is one of my favourite pictures of Jimbo..
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Team Member Miss BK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    986
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    one from the past
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Team Member Miss BK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    986
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    From Havasu
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Mark75H; 07-14-2005 at 06:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Team Member mintominto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    110
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Jimbo

    Here's a pic of Jimbo I'm guessing it's about 1974
    Attached Images Attached Images

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •