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Thread: Hot-Rodding The Champion by Ralph DeSilva

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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Hot-Rodding The Champion by Ralph DeSilva

    Interesting article about the Champion Hot Rod and a DeSilva hydro.
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    Last edited by Ron Hill; 02-08-2017 at 04:47 PM.
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    One of the big names from your part of the world was John Alden, and I believe he was known for, among other things, his alky conversions of Champs. I'd be interested to see you or someone do a little bio sketch on Alden (I searched, found none). He evidently had talents beyond building racemotors; someone (Duane Wallick?) told me that Alden had found some new method of cutting diamonds that gave them extra sparkle and won him an award.

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    Thanks, Ron. My Search skills must be pretty poor. I like your sixth-grade drawing, nice detail on that Champ motor!
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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default BRF Isn't Really Very Friendly on Searching

    Thanks for the kind words about the boat of John Alden's. He used a Mercury tower and Mercury gearcase. If you look closely, there is a speedometer hose hooked to the sponson fin. It served to purposes, one it was a build in speedometer pick up, but when the speedometer quit working you knew the sponson's were top high.

    Also, "Full Length" air traps were quite new in this time period.

    I'm not sure what year it was, probably 1962, my dad was the motor inspector at the Western Divisionals. My dad disqualified John's Mark 20-H on a port measurement. John got quite "Vocal" with my Old Man and my dad punch John out.

    I'm pretty sure that was John's last Stock race. My dad wasn't much for taking **** about his work. As I recall, he even let John measure the posts himself and that was when the "Argument" took a turn for the worst.

    My dad gave Greg Selvidge and "Upper Cut" at the Winternationals one year. My dad told everyone at the driver's meet, "Top 5 gets money. So, come and get weighed." Well the boys from Seattle mostly ran "A Hydro" and making weight in "B Hydro" wasn't easy. So, they figure finishing 4-5, they'd be fine. Well, when they came to the awards, Greg had been DQ'd. So he said to my dad, "You're just he son of a bitch I herd you were." We wheeled around and started to leave and my Old Man kicked him in the ***. Greg turn around and lowered his head and charged my dad. My dad gave him and upper cut and knocked him on his ***. The Seattle guys got a "Kick out of it", said Greg was in the wrong.

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    Well, that's an official with enforcement powers! I don't recall any particular discussion of your dad up here, but I had the impression that Henry Wagner wasn't a favorite.
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    Default Henry Wager AKA "Wagner Static" 2/9/2017

    Henry was from Fresno and his son, Del Roy also raced. Henry owned an electronic business in Fresno. He was quite a "Ham Radio" buff.

    When Henry became an Official, I think he was very unsure of himself, but to cover for this, he acted "The Tuff Guy."

    We used to race "Up North" 2-4 times a year, many times Henry was the Referee, I never really had trouble with him. He and "JR." Hill had had a few words at different times. At Willard Bay, Utah, 1973. I was in a three boat "pile up" in the first turn and ended up in the water. I was back in the boat and running "Fairly" when the black came out. He would not let any of us three from the "pile up" restart. I argued, to no avail, that I was racing when the flag came out. I took his decision, and never hard any hard feelings about it.

    Henry had me work a C Service Wheel for him. I sent him a bill and he paid it. But he never mentioned the prop again.

    About 20 years later, maybe only 15 years later, Henry started being the motor inspector at the Havasu Classic. He and my dad were about the same age. Somehow, Henry took it upon himself to invite all the Hills and crew to Thanksgiving dinner at a local hotel. (We paid our share, but Henry always did the planning). We probably had at least six Thanksgiving with Henry and his wife Vera.

    One year, at Safety Inspection, Henry said, "Where is your Old Man?" I said he isn't coming. Henry said, "Is your dad sick?"

    We were winding down from Mod VP, Mercury had stacked the deck against our Yamaha's and the Old Man didn' want to run "Stock Blocks".

    The next summer, Jimmy Harris to my HST and Yamaha to Walker Lake, without me. He called me and said, "He'd won." I asked how did he do that, he said "Changed the heads." (We had to run stock heads under APBA's rules). And you passed inspection?

    Henry knew it was my boat and my Old Man's motor. Henry asked Jimmy, "Is that OLD MAN HILL'S MOTOR?" Jimmy said "Yes, sir."

    Henry said, "Well get it out of here" (without looking at it). As Jimmy got in his truck he said, to no one, "But I changed the heads."

    We quit Mod VP after that.

    I saw Henry later and asked, "How that C Service prop worked?" He said, "I never wanted to tell you but that was our best prop for about 20 years." John Laird, I think used to drive Henry's C Service Runabout.

    After Henry had passed on, his Ranchero was parked in the Hauenstein drive way for many years.

    Henry was a good old bird....we talked about camping out at Salton Sea, for the races in the late 1940's. Henry said, "Well Ron, we were ALL poor in those days. Henry was never as bad as his "BARK". He was a good official.

    I miss the OLD FART, he used to bring me home grown cucumbers to the Bakersfield races. "Burp-less, cucumbers he'd say!
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 02-09-2017 at 05:12 PM.

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    Default Old Man Hill was Kind of a Tough Bird

    Quote Originally Posted by smittythewelder View Post
    Well, that's an official with enforcement powers! I don't recall any particular discussion of your dad up here, but I had the impression that Henry Wagner wasn't a favorite.
    My dad's parent's divorced when he was 7. He then lived with his grand parents who were Christian Science Followers. My dad grand mother never like him. When his grand father dropped a bale of hay on his head and broke his neck and sat in a chair til he died six weeks later. My dad was 14, he went to the funeral, but never went back to his grand parent's home. He rode the rails for a couple of years. He met up with his brother in Denver, when he, my dad, was 16. His brother was 18/ They started a painting business.

    In those days you learned to fight or learned how to run fast as hell.

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