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Thread: Ron Hill Family: Hill Marine and Signature Propellers

  1. #321
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Parker enduro story 1978 by ron hill

    1978 Parker Enduro: Questions were asked about the start and the wreck at the start.
    I have written about my experience winning the 1978 Enduro with Fred Hauenstein and myself:
    Sent: Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 02:10:20 PM PST
    Subject: Parker 1978

    1978, was some what the middle of the Outboard Wars. Team Mercury had their big semi race trailer, with four Factory boats, but they also supported many teams. OMC had a team that wasn't as visible.
    My sponsor, for 1978, was Brad Miller owner of Crazy Horse Campgrounds and 92 Del Taco Fast Food Restaurants. I had built Brad some great V-Drive Inboard Propellers and he decided he wanted to win the Parker Enduro. Brad raced GN and had re sold some of my props to Rocky Aoki owner of Benihana Restaurants.
    I had explained to Brad that to win Parker you needed an Evinrude and a Molinari. Brad wanted a Mercury and Seebold.
    It was President's Day, 1978, three weeks before the Enduro when Brad called me. I went to his office and he explained he wanted to win Parker. I said, "I hope you don't think you can drive a tunnel." He said, "No, I'll drive the Del Taco Express GN."
    I called Gary Garbrecht, from Brad's office and old him I wanted to buy a Seebold and a Merc. Gary said, "Christ, Ron! If you'd of called me a week ago I'd have given you a boat, but I don have anything. I have ten or twelve boats in that race."
    So, I called Jack Leek. He said he had a Triple C Evinrude in the box and Bob Hering Paris Boat he could sell.
    Brad sent Chuck Newton out that day with a certified check to go get the boat and engine.
    Because Fred Hauenstein and I were friends, we had co driven at Parker 1968, 69, 70, 73, 74 and 75, plus me getting him his job at OMC, I called Fred and said, "We just bought a CCC Evinrude and Hering's Paris boat." Fred said, "I'll go get the motor and I'll make it run."
    The next week, Fred called me at John's Custom Marine and asked what I was doing. I said, "Flattening the bottoms on this Molinari." He said, "Don't fire the motor til you are with me."
    We got to Parker, I actually had not been in a tunnel boat in two years. Jim Nerstrom and Fred Hauenstein met me at Blue Water Marina. I took off out of the pits and headed for "Squaw Dam" I made the corner and headed up river when I thought the motor, "Stuck" a piston. I pulled in and put the boat on the trailer. I said, "I 'stuck' a piston, I'm sure." Jim Nerstrom pulled the cowling and looked at the plugs. He said, "You fowled a plug." I said, "Are you sure?"
    Jim changed the jets and I went back out...I made a few passes as they had asked me to to do, then I "Turned It On". My old Scotti would go 107 MPH and we had finished third in '75. By the Chevron gas sign, my Scotti would only be going 90 MPH. I had purchased a new 125 MPH Keller speedometer, when I made the corner at Squaw Dam, and turned it on, by the Chevron Gas sign, I looked down at the Keller and saw 122 MPH.
    I slowly backed it down and trailered the boat. I got out an announced to Jim, Fred and anyone else that would be listening, "I can win this race."
    John Stoker, Al Stoker and Chuck Newton had busted their asses getting the boat ready. I would be using their fuel dock. Al was driving with Earl McKinny in MOD VP.
    I really don't recall where we lined up at La Paz County Park, as this was the first year of starting down river. When the flag dropped, I did my usual for the Enduro. I had finished the last five Enduro's I had run, 3 seconds (9 Hours), a 7th a Overall and a 3rd overall, first in class.
    My usual was to get started and make sure the motor was running fine and let it warm up some. I was on the Arizona side, and just as I got going boats came flying from everywhere. The picture of Sutter, upside down, is imprinted in my brain, as I recall running to the left of him.
    What had happened, Renato Molinari and Bob Hering were Mercury's Hot Shoes, on Saturday testing they made wide corners to keep their speed up with their big props. Well, Sunday morning, the river was down probably two feet.
    Bob Hering took off and was just going to "BLAST" by everyone by going close to the California shore like he'd done all day Saturday. But on Sunday, he hit bottom and it ripped his transom off the boat and his boat spun like a top under the on going boats. Like I say, I don't recall how many guys crashed, but it was six or eight. I made one lap and they red flagged the race.
    Bob Hering broke his ankle or knee getting in the patrol boat when he slipped an feel. The only injury in this amazing crash!
    When they restarted the race, I took off and looked at my watch. An hour and a half later, I stopped for gas. John's Custom Marine Team fueled me in about 30 seconds, but they ran the tank over. When I hit the starter, the boat went up in flames.
    Bouncey, who currently works for Wilkes Marine, was working for Brad Miller at the time. He ran to get the fire extinguisher, John Stoker put the fire out and Al Stoker took the picture.
    John told me to get back n the boat. I said, "Hell no, it was on fire." He said, "Yes, but the fire is out get your *** back in the boat before I kick your ***." I said, "You aren't big enough...but OK, I'll make one lap."
    So, I made a lap and asked myself, "Why are you going to stop?" So I continued for another hour and half or so. I was wet to my arm pits, March weather is cold and the river is colder. When I stopped for gas, Fred Hauenstein was standing next to my dad with his jack and helmet on. Fred had had his own factory ride with Jimbo and OMC, but I knew he had broken down. I thought I was near the front, if not leading.
    I gave Fred the thumbs up, they carried him to the boat to stay dry!
    Fred jumped in and took off. I went to my motorhome to change clothes and warm up. I was seriously cold.
    My brother, the numbers guy said, "Well, George Osborne and Brett May are in second and Freddy is getting away from them. But you were a little slower than George. Freddy had been racing with OMC for the last two years, almost full time.
    When Fred stopped, we had about an hour and half to run yet. I yelled at Fred that Brett and George were coming and I may or may not be able to hold them off. Did he want to drive another leg? Fred said, "He was OK." Fred made two more laps, and the Mercury of May and Osborne blew a gearcase.
    Now all we had to do is last another hour or so.
    As it turned out we won overall with an Evinrude, Earl McKinny and Al Stoker won MOD VP, and Jimbo, who was co driving with Fred, before they broke down, drove Lee Holden's UJ Evinrude to first in class and third overall!
    So, Evinrude won all three outboard classes in 1978.
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  2. #322
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default 1968 Chevy Wagon Heading for Beloit, Wisconsin, August 1970

    Long story here, may tell it sometime!
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