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Thread: Harry Bartolomei

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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Harry Bartolomei

    Harry Bartolomei....

    I first saw Harry at Hanford, California, 1957... The lake is gone, there is a Sprint Car track there now. Harry had what looked to be a Hal Kelly Runabout, all black, with a modified Hot Rod....I had never really seem a small runabout go that fast, I snooped at his stuff and wondered where he'd come from...not that I knew everyone, but didn't know him.

    Next time I saw Harry was at Long Beach Marine Stadium, seems J.C. Aggaginan
    (Same guy that owned Indy Cars) put on a race and Harry had come down from NorCal to run D Hydro. He had a new DeSilva "BULL NOSE" hydro with a Quincy cross flow...and that sucker really "ROCKED" Harry beat the field, by about a lap, mostly D Stockers, but I think the crowd was surprised how fast this outboard went....

    Harry never backed her down once and when he let off after the checkered flag, he threw and rod and cut that motor into about 400 pieces.

    Harry didn't seem mad, about totally ruining his motor....I thought, HELL HARRY, if you'd have backed off, that motor would have run all year...

    Harry got into Konigs, he ran the B when the pipes went out one way on one side and the other or the others...we called them "HORNS" because they looked like a bull coming at you...

    In 1962, I was Senior in High School and there was a race in Modesto I wanted to go to, but my dad didn't feel like driving up there as he'd broken his leg pulling a rolling scaffold.....So, old Val Sneed (Val married Ernie Dawe's sister....but they've been divorced for years...). and I decide to go, 350 miles away in my '53 Chevy. Lucky Grant from Modesto has us stay at his house....Seems his daughter and Deck Hogan's daughter, also of Modesto, thought we should cruise Saturday Night....

    Ron Howard and Dream Works (Steven Spielberg) guy may have written American Graffiti, but I lived it...there was nothing in that movie that didn't happen all the time in Modesto...probably still does....

    The next day Harry and Bill Jack Rucker Sr. line up for the start of DOH...Harry has a Quincy and Rucker has a Stevens and they both go at least 90, the field at the start looks they are going backward compared to Rucker and Bartolomei.....They are running neck and neck, Rucker's bow gets high and he jumps forward to keep it down but by this time Harry is about to the turn and starts his corner, when Rucker's sponson come down on Harry's sponson, Harry nose dives.....nothing is left of Harry's BULL NOSE DeSILVA....Harry gets in the patrol boat sill holding the throttle...he's stretched that throttle cable to about 60 feet long...took the cockpit side of the boat with him...

    Rucker and Harry had words about the wreck, but I never blamed Rucker....

    That fall we had another record race at Havasu Springs, I'm set to watch DOH with Rucker and Bartolomei...(I was on the side of the hill and I notice that Harry is lining up for the start heading for the 5 MPH buoy....(Not the first pin buoy).

    More Harry Bartolomei...
    And I look at Rucker and he's lining up with the exit bouy....I go, OH, this is going to be good they are going to run into each other.......Harry cuts to the right, Rucker to the left and they actually hit each other at the same time...both running 90 MPH or more...they bounce off each other, neither realized they are BOTH off course...they keep going and hit each other a second time, but this time they turn into each other and hit pretty hard, neither goes over ... when they recover they are way off course, which they were anyway...and they take chase of the field...

    When the heat ends, Rucker and Bartolomei get into the biggest fist fight I'd ever seen...Ralph DeSilva was referee (Of the race, not the fight) and he was about half the size of both. These guys knuckle each other up pretty good before people get them stopped...

    I tell Ralph I saw the whole thing and what happened....Rucker and Bartolomei ain't sure I'm right, but both admit, they thought the other was trying to kill him...

    They both got 30 days on the beach for the fight...

    But Harry got out of D Hydro, and Rucker ran D Hydro and F Runabout...

    1964, Harry got the first four cylinder Konig and Ted May put it on his Hydro and went 94 mph for a kilo record...

    Harry spilled at lake Lawrence and we shaken up, but his wife made him quit driving. He sponsored Ted May in C Racing Runabout...Ted is the only guy to go on the wrong side of the judgestand at DePue and he still won the heat...

    Harry had so much nitro in that Konig, that Ted couldn't make the bottom turn, so he just went on the wrong side of the judges stand... that was 1966.

    In 1967, I drove for him...We won the John Ward Trophy Race and D Racing Runabout at DepUe, I had 5 seconds... I ran every class that year...

    It was at the John Ward Race that I learned something about myself, from Harry.

    I brought my own Sid Craft and Quincy A to Valleyfield, even though I was racing for Harry.... I won the first heat, not because I was faster than Waldman and Herring...and Bob Henry....but my throttle stuck and by the time I got my goggles unfogged, and I started choking the engine, it was rough as heck, I was so far a head, I just left the throttle stay wide open...

    Then, the next heat was 500 CC, John Ward Trophy Race and I won that heat also...I was madly fixing my throttle for the second heat of A Hydro...when Harry said, "Go sit down and rest." "REST", hell I said, they're paying $100 Canadian for first place....." Harry reached in his pocket, pulled out 2 one hundred dollar bills and gave them to me and said "SIT DOWN"....

    It was right there that I learned I didn't race for money....I raced to win!!!!

    Harry was great for outboard racing, always buying the best and the newest...he wasn't always in to "SHOW" but he did like his stuff to GO!!!

    Harry was the first person I ever saw that ran a Konig 15:16 unit on a 75-H. I don't know how many records Harry had a hand in or set himself, but there were many. I broke the F Racing Runabout Record for Harry with his 75-H....13'6" DeSilva, Konig Unit, with a B Hydro Quincy Loop Smith Wheel!!!!

    ADD Harry Bartolomei Stories...

    From my dealings with Harry, he never "Saved" anything. When he came to a race, a Record Run or Kilo, Harry brought everything he had. When Harry was a driver, he was the last one to back down for the corners...and I never saw him back off on the straightaways...

    When we went to DePue, 1967, via Valleyfield... we had an A Quincy, a B Quincy, a four carb C Konig, a four carb D Konig, a 75-H, and a VC Konig C...plus my 55-H...We had a NEW 13'6" DeSilva, a 12' Desilva, a 1`3'6" Schultz and my D Sid Craft piled on Harry's 1967 Ford and this trailer....which Some friends and I painted, before we left, while drinking "Skip and Go Naked" drinks...something, I no longer make and have forgotten the recipe...

    In conclusion, had the McCullough F had the power, Harry would have put it out front....the motor was as much of a problem as the boat....but the problem was NOT "COCKPIT TROUBLE"...in my opinion...
    "Save the Mother Condor" was Bob Powell's cry....
    Last add: Harry wasn't very "PLEASED" with our paint job on HIS TRAILER...
    Here is Harry and I, with his son Lee...1967, Valleyfield...
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    Last edited by Ron Hill; 1 Week Ago at 11:07 PM.
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