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Thread: Australian Tunnel Boat And Powerboat Racing History

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    Thumbs up Australian Tunnel Boat And Powerboat Racing History



    PAUL PHILLIPS 1979 X CLASS AUSTRALIAN CHAMPION
    at the 1979 Australian powerboat championships Victoria Australia
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 04-02-2013 at 10:08 PM.

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    PAUL PHILLIPS 1975 going for it in a race at Port Macquarie NSW

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    PAUL PHILLIPS 1972 in his first race boat SEA EAGLE a Swift Craft Stilleto powered by a Chrysler 105 horse power engine

    The Sea Eagle boats were named after the Sydney Rugby League football team the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles who in 1972 won their first Premiership.

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    PAUL PHILLIPS 1975 in action on the Clarence River South Grafton NSW his home town. For many years Paul was commadore of his Club the South Grafton ex Servicemans Powerboat Club

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    SOLO SCORES AT YARRAWONGA 1975
    A mixed collection of racers tried to topple the mighty Solo at the Yarrawonga meeting, but no one came even close: Story and pics by Gordon Sinclair
    THE BIG Merlin-powered hydro Solo driven by Stan Jones in its second race since returning from its unsuccessful US tour, romped home at the annual New Year’s Day carnival at Yarrawonga. However, the outboard tunnel boats, running far the first time since Big Fox (Brian Gibbs and Sid Goldfinch) invaded this “Holy of holies”, certainly worried the inboards.
    The announcer was one who at first decried the little tunnel boats, Dragin Lady (Reg Sorensen) and Bert Hines’ Strangler IV. But after the first scratch race for outboards, won by Dragin Lady (Out to avenge his defeat at Griffith) in a faster time than any of the inboards that had run, including all the unlimited displacement and the 5-Litre boys, it was a different story.
    The big field caused the race to be run over two heats, with the fastest 10 boats going into the final. The first heat saw a field of six, come out to do battle over the four laps of the long course.
    Against the hot displacement boats, Ark Furn (Barry Chaplin), Kaos (Peter Smith), Mariah (Joe Cooper), Tiger (Ben Prajbisz), the hydro Super-Roo (Bert Brauman), Reg Sorensen and his Evinrude Strangler-powered Goat tunnel boat Dragin Lady came out to give challenge.
    From the drop of the flag Dragin Lady was right up there with them. Ark Furn on the inside hit the buoy first, with Tiger behind him. But right alongside Ark Furn was the tight-cornering Dragin Lady. Once round the corner it was Dragin Lady all the way. The further the race went, the further the tunnel went ahead.
    Behind the flying eggbeater the hollow logs were leaping about everywhere, up in the air and screwing around. On shore there was a strange quiet, apart from a crowd of SOC’s members and Victorian ORCV members who were loud in their appreciation. The Stephens-hulled Tiger seemed bent on destroying itself as on two laps it flew dangerously high. Bert Brauman fed the power into the big supercharged hydro to come through the pack and take up second place. Third was Ark Furn, which seemed to be handling the water better than the Gippsland flyer, Tiger. As Dragin Lady came ashore the crowd showed their appreciation of the outboard’s performance against the inboards.
    The second heat saw Solo come Out, keen to avenge her defeat on Boxing Day by Shadrack (Archie Robertson), the former Las Ramsay flier Cheeta. The field for the second heat read as follows; Solo (Stan Jones), Shadrack (Archie Robertson), Rebel (Geoff Lewis) Scorpio (John Dent), Tantrum (John Allen), Vulture (John Lewis) sporting a tri-tailed wing, and the other ‘Contemptible” Strangler IV (Bert Hines).
    Solo accelerated away from the pack at the drop of the flag, leaving them floundering in his rooster tail. While the big white-hulled hydro opened up a lead on the rest of the field, Vulture came through to take up second spot. Strangler and Shadrack were disputing third place for all the four laps, but the better-turning tunnel took out third slot in this heat. Throughout the whole heat the big Merlin in Solo never really seemed to get above an idle, but still had a handy lead over the rest of them. Solo and Vulture and no worries and they flashed across the line with the little tunnel boat in third slot.
    The field of ten boats for the final was Solo, Rebel, Vulture, Kaos, Tantrum, Tiger, Super-Roo, Shadrack and Dragin Lady and Strangler IV.
    But the story was the same in the final; the blistering acceleration of the big Merlin rocketed Solo out to a handy lead. The Gippsland flyer, Tiger, going a helluva lot better than in the first heat, was into second place. Round the first turn the cheeky little Dragin Lady slid through into third place. Behind the first three a lot of floundering hydros and runabouts were trying to overtake the eggbeater.
    Shadrach, winner on Boxing Day, was a long way back in the field, while the two other hydros Vulture and Rebel, driven by the Lewis brothers John and Geoff, were showing him the way. While Sorensen was holding a solid third place and riding easy. Strangler by comparison was making heavy work of it, behind Vulture.
    But there was no catching Solo; the motor hardly seemed to go above an idle at any stage. Jones was throwing the hydro through the corners like it was a little runabout, and giving the big crowd on the picturesque foreshores a white backdrop of rooster tail every time he came through the Mulwala bridge turn. Tiger tried to gain on Solo on every corner, hoping the big hull would slide wide enough to let him come through. But the big hull had too much speed and acceleration for him.
    On the second last lap Dragin Lady had closed right up on Tiger and tried to slip underneath him on the bottom. But in doing so Sorensen nearly came undone; the hull hit a big hole and flew into the air. Luckily it landed safely and Sorensen set off again, still holding down third place.
    Solo came down for his last lap and really poured the power on through the bottom corner, slipping out so wide he sent a couple of photographers scattering as he flew by the swimming pool.
    Vulture, lying in fourth place, nearly overdid it on the last lap and turn, going right up on his sponson, but he came down right-way up and carried on to take out the chequered flag. The sporting crowd at Yarrawonga gave almost as big anapplause to Sorensen (who’d done what he came to Yarrawonga to do, beat Hines).
    The two other main races on New Year’s Day by comparison were a little dull, mainly due to the lack of boats on the water. The entries received made officials split both the BP Trophy and the Frog Trophy into two heats, with the fastest ten boats going into the final. But unfortunately this wasn’t the case in both events, as most drivers seemed eager to save their boats for the big one. But those who came out put up their best performance.
    Run over four laps of the small course, the BP Unlimited Displacement looked to be sewn up by Keith Nankervis’ Scorpio driven by John Dent. Scorpio led for 3’/ laps from the hard-flying little 300 cu in Chevvy-powered Shadrach (Archie Robertson), as he chased the bigger 351 Cu in Ouggan-injected Ford.
    But after taking the yellow flag, Scorpio seemed to half-spin on the corner and the close-following Shadrach hosed him down. But Dent was refusing to give up, although Scorpio was way down on power. On the last cornier Apollo (R. Reid) slipped by to take over second slot and poor Scorpio, after leading until two buoys back, had to be content with third place.
    The Frog Trophy 5-Litre saw two heats with some farcical racing in one. The first heat saw the two Lewis brothers racing together. On the first turn Hiawatha (H. Hausotte) spun but this had little impact on the final result. Vulture assumed the lead with his brother’s colorfully, painted hydro running second. John Lewis apparently wanted to make it a family affair as he backed off and waited for his brother to come alongside. But his plan fell astray, as he let Rebel get ahead and then tried to out accelerate him to the finish line, but just failed. The runabout Hiawatha finished third in the first heat.
    In the second heat it was all displacement boats and Osprey (Neil Northfield) finished up winning from Apollo (R. Reid) and the high-flying Tantrum (John “Rockhopper” Allen).
    The final field looked interesting enough and although tightly-bunched into the first buoy it was soon Vulture who ran out an early leader. But his lead was all to no avail, as on the first turn he’d hit the buoy, earning a disqualification. ‘This meant that the second runner Rebel moved up into first place. Behind the two hydros the hollow logs were battling it out with Ospray doing the better of the pack, followed by the well-known Ski boat, driven by the old rockhopper himself John Allen.

    The big Merlin rumbles on; Solo didn’t need to get above an idle to keep the hounds at bay.

    John Lewis’ Vulture, sporting a new tri-fin tail.

    Shadrach, formerly Cheeta, couldn’t repeat her Boxing Day performance when she toppled the mighty hydro.

    Reg Sorensen proved the quickercornering outboards can beat a lot of the big inboards, to the extent of finishing third in the big race.

    Massed start; nearest the camera is record-holding M&O Marine.

    Story and pics by Gordon Sinclair - Modern Boating Magazine - Febuary 1975

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    HISTORY OF POWERBOAT RACING IN AUSTRALIA



    Early History of Australian competition in organised power boat racing appears to have originated from the activities of the "Motor Boat Club" formed in Sydney on the 6th July 1905. Many years later the "Power Boat Association of Australasia" was formed and had its first meeting on the 29th November 1929, at the Royal Motor Yacht Club - Rose Bay in Sydney, with the Club's Commodore, Mr Stuart F Doyle, as chairman. Victorian and Queensland representation attended the meeting and sub committee was appointed to draw up a Constitution and Rules for the purpose of controlling Championships in power boat racing.

    Prior to this, the first race for the Australasian Championship and silver Championship Shield, presented by Mr E C Griffith, was held during the 1909-10 season and was won by Mr A Davies' "Fairbanks". During the 1912-13 season, Mr Griffith presented a silver cup for the Australasian Championship and was known as the "Griffith Australasian Championship Cup".

    The first race was held over a course at Manly, NSW and was won by Mr A Hordern's "Kangaroo". After a spell of seven years, owing to the 1914-18 war, the race was again held, this time in Adelaide on 25th February 1922, being won by the Rymill Brothers' "Tortoise", the speed being approximately 33 mph. Another inaugural cup, the Albert Cup for the 151 cubic inch class, was donated and first competed for on the 14th March 1925 and was won by Mr J W Breckenridges' "Miss Brec". With outboard motors proving popular in the year 1927, the O'Donoghue Brothers presented the Australian Outboard Championship Shield, which was competed for on the Rose Bay course on 28th April 1928 and was won by Mr E A Williams' "Elto".

    The first race to be conducted under the control of the new Association was the "Eastway Shield" for the Championship of NSW and was held on the 28th February 1931 for which the Association Certificate No. 1 was issued. To encourage a championship for displacement boats, Commodore Stuart Doyle presented the "Stuart Doyle Gold Cup" in 1933. Ernest Griffith who had presented the "Griffith Australasian Cup" and had been Honorary Secretary of the Rose Bay Club for 26 years, died on the 8th March 1935. The late Mr Griffith was extremely active in the formation of the Australian Power Boat Association and became its first Honorary Secretary.

    During the 1930's an organisation of seven NSW Clubs formed themselves into an Association to promote State Competition, but after discussion, between this body, known as the NSW Motor Boat Association, joined forces with the Australasian Power Boat Association during March 1933. Member clubs at the time were Royal Motor Yacht Clubs - Rose Bay, Broken Bay and Newcastle branches, South Australian Motor Boat Association, Queensland Motor Boat Association, Australian Motor Yacht Squadron, St George Motor Boat Club, Cooks River Motor Boat Club, Deepwater Motor Boat Club, Jewfish Bay Motor Boat Club, Woronora Motor Boat Club and Georges River Motor Boat Club.

    The organisation grew steadily and slowly until the outbreak of war in 1939 when activities were suspended for some years. On the 27th November 1944, the Association Council met and prepared for post-war activities in Rule revision, etc. The policy of State autonomy was formulated and pursued by visits interstate and it was during 1953, that the first State Council, that of South Australia was established. All other States followed and on the 18th July 1955, at St George Motor Boat Club, an inaugural dinner was held, with some seventy Club Officers and Delegates attending, to launch the new organisation.



    The first National Executive consisted of President - Colonel R S Coates; Vice President - J T Stevens and Honorary Secretary - T H Felstead. Under the new procedures, Annual Meetings are now held and with over forty Clubs, a wealth of trophies and well-founded standardised racing rules, the sport has and will continue to benefit greatly, particularly from the efforts of those Association Officers and Delegates, all of whom spent much time and effort in the early stages, to bring about clean and keen competition for Australasian enthusiasts.

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    POWERBOAT RACING IN AUSTRALIA
    Post W.W.II
    By Graeme Morley

    Following the second World War, powerboat racing in Australia started to develop quickly as soldiers returned home and industry and the general economy started to prosper. Materials developed for the war effort were beginning to be used in boats and there was a great demand for motor vehicles that saw a large number of previously unseen engines coming into the country.
    Most of the imports were from either England, Europe or America. The English imports were powered by engines ranging in capacity from 75ci to around 225ci. Manufacturers were Austin, MG, Ford (England), Riley, Hillman and Jaguar. Some of these were side valve while others were OHV models.

    There were a few from France, mainly, Renault, and Fiat, which were of 50ci to 135ci.

    The American models came from Ford, GM, Chrysler, Dodge, Pontiac, Plymouth and Studebaker. The Fords were mainly SV 8 cylinders or SV 6 cylinder's, followed in the late 1950's by 272ci and 292ci OHV engines. The Chrysler and Dodge were SV 6 cylinder models with a few small hemi versions specially imported from the Plymouths and Studebakers that were either 6 cylinder or small OHV 8's

    Large capacity performance engines were not made available in large numbers as all were imported for special orders only. The largest engines available locally in numbers were either 351 Fords or 350 Chevs even through to 1960's and 1970's.

    A few people imported engines from Ferrari and Maseratti in the late 1950's and there also the surplus war engines from planes and tanks such as Rolls-Royce Merlins.

    The classes raced in Australia were intended to suit the engines readily available and were: 75ci, 95ci, 155ci, 266ci sv, 266ci ohv, 300ci and Unlimited (which were made up of anything and everything of more than 300ci).

    The local speed industry was built up around the large number of small capacity engines with most of the 8 cylinder equipment imported at high prices from the USA which saw highly modified small capacities run successfully against mainly stock larger American engines.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Classes/engines used in the 1950's and early 1960's:

    50 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were conventional 3 pointers powered by motorcycle engines from either Triumph or Norton pulling 7 ¾ x 11-½ propeller.

    75 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were between 12' and 13' long and powered by Ford Cortina or Coventry Climax engine adapted from fire fighting pumps used during the war.
    The Climax would use a 9 x 17 propeller, the Cortina either a 9x15 or 15 ½

    95 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were between 13' and 15' 6". Engines were Austin, MG or Ford Cortina/Consul range. The Climax also was used in a small number of boats.
    Propellers were 9x17 ½ or 10x14 with a 10% gearbox.

    155 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were 14' to 16' 6", mainly conventional. However, Australia's first successful Cab-overs were built for this class in the early 1960's. Ford Falcon and the Australian Holden (GM) were tuned to around 145 to 160 horsepower and used 10-½ x17 or 17 ½ propellers.
    V8 60's were also used in one successful hull.

    225 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were 17' long and used SV Fords, Studebakers and Jaguars running 11x17 direct drive propellers or 11 ½ x 15 with 10% to 15% in a gearbox.

    266 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were 17' to 18' and powered by Dodge, Chevs, and DeSotos, even a 3 ½ litre Ferrari. Propellers were 12x20 direct drive.

    300 Cubic Inch:
    Hulls were 17' to 19' long, used similar engines and propellers as the 266 classes, many races were full of 225 and 266 boats running out of class.

    UNLIMITED:
    Hulls were 17' to 19' in length and powered by Dodges, Chevs, Chryslers, Fords, and surplus war engines such as the Merlin. In fact, anything that had power potential was tried if available because unlimited was totally unrestricted as well. Propellers were usually 12x17 or 12x18 with gearbox ratios of 35% to 50%.



    SPEED TRIALS:
    The battle to clock 100 mph was as intense in Australia as America. The following list shows the first Racers to reach this speed in the 1950's Badge Name Boat Speed Date
    1. H. Troy Fleet wings 102.31 14/4/1956
    2. Mrs G Walker Dianne 105.2 31/5/1959
    3. H. Treloar Jag 106.52 28/11/1959
    4. L. Owen Hurricane 118.7 2/1/1960
    5. W. Rowe Do 103.09 3/1/1960

    As you can see the speeds put us well behind the USA at this time.
    HULL DESIGN:
    There were a lot of conventional Jones style boats following the importation of plans in the mid 1950's. The local builders designed their own hulls based on photos and their views on the Jones design. The quality local builders spent more time building Displacement hulls as this was where the market money was, Ski Boats were big time.
    Most Race Meetings ran Displacement hulls against Hydros in the main races and we had some very well designed Skiffs and Runabouts.
    The development of the hydroplane in Australia was more pronounced in Sydney where they formed the NSW Hydroplane Club separate to the normal boat clubs.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "scratch races" or "handicaps" based on lap times
    The population did not support the development you had state side. We had a number of classes developed from around 1947 on, previous to this, most racing was either "scratch races" or "handicaps" based on lap times.

    Classes were developed from 75ci to 300ci then to what was called "unlimited unrestricted" in which you could run anything the main issue was being fast enough to be competitive.

    This form of racing saw a mixture of both engine sizes and hull types in major trophy races, such as Hydros running against Displacement hulls. As engine sizes increased (e.g.. 350ci, 396ci, 427ci etc.) they developed classes for those sizes, however, any form or size could start in the Unlimited Unrestricted Races.

    Today, we have a limited number of true Unlimited hydros, only 3 or 4, with designs ranging from the 1950's conventionals to the cabovers from about 5 years ago state side. They race against a number of recently designed GP Hydros. The same as you have today, e.g.. Jones, Stadaucher, Lauterbach and the odd local design.

    This photo shows the two top Australian hydros lining up for the start of the A.E. Baker Championship in Sydney in 1972. Aggressor crashed after hitting a submerged object injuring both driver Dave Tenny and mechanic Les Scott. (Scott was crippled for life after spinal injuries). Aggressor was powered by a Merlin, while Air New Zealand was powered by a 350 Chevy. Both boats had recorded speeds in excess of 150 mph. (Aggressor is now owned by David Pagano. Air New Zealand is owned by Peter Griffin).

    The event in relation to the above photo was purely a Hydroplane Championship. The field was made up of a mixture of both hull and engine sizes from the Merlin powered Aggressor VS-50 to 350ci, 300ci, 266ci, 225ci even 155ci boats would enter this event at times.

    The race pictured is the 1972 event held on Hen and Chicken Bay, part of Sydney Harbour in NSW. (were the Olympic games were held in 2000). Air New Zealand had been brought to Australia by owners John and Keith McGregor to contest both the Australian Speed boat Championships and the Australian Hydroplane Championship, the A.E. Baker trophy race. Aggressor was believed to have crashed after bending it's rudder possibly by hitting a submerged object.

    Aggressor owner/builder/driver Dave Tenny received bruised ribs and a chipped spine in the incident and made a full recovery. Mechanic Les Scott was clinically dead when removed from the water. However, he went on to recover to the stage of being a paraplegic and is still involved in hydroplane racing to this day. As his son, who was only a few months old at the time of the accident, races a Jones designed 1.5 litre hydro with great success on the Australian circuit and father, Les, pulls the strings in the pits.
    Aggressor has been fully restored and is today owned by an historic boat collector just outside of Sydney. Further details are listed on the Classic Australian Wooden Boats web site.


    Air New Zealand went on to win the re-run of this heat comfortably, however, the motor blew up in the second heat and the trophy was won by a hydro called Ego, which was under 300ci capacity. Air New Zealand is also fully operational and owned by Sydney racer, Peter Griffin.

    This photo shows the hydro Air New Zealand in 1997 while racing under the name of Splitfire. This hull was designed and built by Frank Mcleod who is probably the most accomplished hydro builder in New Zealand.
    Speeds in excess of 150 mph were recorded using a 350ci Chevy for motivation.

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    'Avenger III' just before she kited on Lake Glenmaggie Victoria October 1973

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