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Thread: Midwest racer of the 1950's

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    Default Midwest racer of the 1950's

    3-12-2020
    There are many stories to tell, 1955,1956,1957,1958. All the fellowship was just great!! We all helped each other (but not the Factory teams). We loaned boats, engine parts, props, fuel, what ever was needed but we still kind of kept our “little” secret motor prep and set ups to our selves. That was kind of the fun of it trying to figure out what the other guy did to make his rig go better??
    I am going to try and re-live one my better race days now.
    It was at Harbor Lights Bend south of Peoria on the Illinois River. We had a two week lay over since the last race so I had plenty of time to work on “things”. I pulled my KG completely down including the reed valve cage. I put in new pistons with only one 1/16 ring and did my drilling of the skirts and balancing. I worked over the reed system in the engine and mumps and reset them.
    I pulled the lower unit apart and put everything needed in it also,bearings, impeller, seals whatever it warranted.
    I inspected the Ashburn ,which I had just bought from Art Kennedy,and made any needed repairs. I was ready for Harbor Lights! I had not got the time to repaint my Ashburn so it still had the old colors/numbers that Butch used. A few weeks later I got that paint and new V89X job done.

    There was a very large group of boats and one Merc Factory Team. I thought probably we would get ate up by them this time. The Kiekhaefer guys kind of walked around and maybe snickered a little under their breath seeing our makeshift set ups.
    A few laps of testing was all that was needed to keep my RPM under 8,000. Changed props, transom heights, motor angle and the correct fuel mix for this course. I was happy and ready!
    What a day I had, The redone KG and Ashburn really performed. All that work and money I had put into the rebuild really payed off.
    I won EVERY HEAT and the Final B Class race that day, just pulling away after the 3rd corner of the first lap. Corner torque was great, straightaway speed was super in fact half way down the back loop I could back off and no one, not even the Factory team could catch up. I backed down the RPM far enough sometimes that it four cycled on me. I was trying to save engine stress as it was not needed Al Ward, my crew man, told me afterward the announcer said it sounds like leader has engine problems!! The old motor and boat set up ran 48-49 MPH on choppy water and the new set up ran 53-54. I used a little more prop pitch to hold down the RPM's
    They say it always runs best just before it blows up!! Two Sundays later it kicked a rod out the side. I rebuilt the KG again but it never seemed to run as good after that???
    Some of my photographs will tell you that it has kicked rods out the side before!! Still liked the KG??? I guess when a guy cobbles various engine parts KG and 20H and two styles of ignition into one, these things happen!! I picked some random pics so not all at Harbor Lights Bend
    Old Bill
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    Team Member zul8tr's Avatar
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    What great pics and story of you time
    " Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead" Ben Franklin

    Location: SW Orlando, Fl

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    Thanks for reply. I am just learning about this site so will do next post as the instructions.
    Bill

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    Default Boat racer of the 1950's final review

    3-12-2020

    A few more photographs will be coming as I locate them.
    In 1957 I had a racing accident and ended up in the Pekin Hospital for a few days. I have carried this back injury with me all these years and needed major surgery in 2010. two 7 to 8 inch plates, twelve bolts, two new synthetic disc, and generator implant for pain control, now BIONIC!! I still don't regret my racing days and I would not trade that experience for a good back. My last summer 1958, was an abbreviated race schedule due to my finances. Not sure how many races but maybe only three or four that summer.
    We got married while I was in the Military so in 1961 we started our family. At that time I decided that my families well-being was first priority.
    I was working for an NAPA Parts Jobber and part time at a local Johnson Marine Dealer doing engine work in Red Oak, Ia.
    We traveled back to the farm near rural Pekin, Ill. and loaded the motor in the station wagon and put the Ashburn on top and headed back to Red Oak. I left the Boat Hauler in the garage at the farm. Bob Guengerich, my racing buddy came out and got it and used it as he kept racing. Bob did go to the NOA Nationals at Meyer, ILL. Bob and I are now searching for what happened to the trailer after that?? I put the boat and motor on display in the showroom at Red Oak. It was not long before a man from Red Rock Lake in Iowa stopped in to look at the rig. I had advertised it in the Des Moines Register.
    We took the motor off the Ashburn in the Show Room and I put a test prop on, put it in the test tank and mixed up a fuel mix and fired it up. It cackled and snarled at about 3,500 RPM and I gave it a few moments to warm up and make sure we were pumping water. I brought the R's up to about 7,000 so he could hear it scream. He smiled and said, I will buy your rig! He never dickered on my asking price!! He came back to Red Oak later that summer and said he was well pleased. I never heard from him again.

    I have been reviewing all my uploads on the NOA Forum and find some interesting things! At 84 years young I still recall events---where, with details and what , with many details but my “WHEN” has a PROBLEM. Could it be my AGE HA HA ??
    The more I review photographs and scribbled notes I wonder why I did not do this 30years ago? I did figure out my fuel details after looking at it for some time now have a typed “recipe”.
    It is still fun to go back in time and think about that particular“day” and what happened.

    PS: I am re-posting some photographs with ID's on them. Some will be duplicates!!
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    Default boat racer of the 1950's more pics

    some more potographs
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    Thanks Ron Hill thanked for this post

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    Great Pictures! Those were the days!
    Thanks Ron Hill thanked for this post

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