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Thread: Karl Williams to Ted Abel Part 1

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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Karl Williams to Ted Abel Part 1

    Photo is Bill Wells, London, Ontario, Canada at Valleyfield, Quebec 1956.
    Class “C” Hydro. Engine Johnson PR-65 on a boat of his own design and build. (Bill also designed and built a hydro for his brother George’s 4-60)
    Engine work by Blankenstein and Fuller. His PR had Johnson cylinders.
    Bill’s current age is 85 and has two collectible cars he shows during the summers - probably not this year
    Bill did not remember how he did at Valleyfield and said he was sure he did not win as one would remember winning Valleyfield as it was a far larger race than the CBF (Canadian Boating Federation) Nationals.
    At 24 years he was the youngest “C” Hydro driver to win the A.P.B.A. Eastern Divisionals.
    The day previous he raced at Arnprior, Ontario, Canada and led every lap up to approximately 200 yards before the finish line when the condenser wire broke moving Marcel LeBarge into the winners circle. LeBarge was the guy to beat from Quebec later after moving from outboards to inboards becoming the guy to beat in the 360 inboard class.
    Bill raced in U.S. states neighboring the province of Ontario.
    At a race in Pontiac, Michigan the first five boats were Milford Harrison, Mel Kirts, Dan Kirts (1st 2 cyl “C” Konig), Bill Wells and John Dertinger.



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    Default Karl Williams to Ted Abel #2






    Mon, Jul 27, 2020





    Before I get into part 2 I have additional information regard Bill Wells and Marcel LeBerge from Part 1.

    Attaching photos: Bill Wells testing on the Thames River in London, Ontario.
    Bill beside one of his collector cars
    Newspaper clipping from Saranac Lake, N.Y. the location Bill won the APBA eastern divisionals


    Marcel LeBarge - After leaving outboards Marcel pursued the 360 inboard class. A new class where the driver sat behind a stock Chrysler engine in these hydros. The idea was to have an inboard class with low entry cost. Well that did not last long before new driver in front boats and engine that cost a pile of money made their way in the class. In spite of all this Marcel plunged forward. At Valleyfield one year his engine blew up in the first heat. Marcel pulled the engine from his taxi cab and ran a respectable second in the second heat. Engine went back in the taxi and Marcel went to work. This story comes from a reliable source I have known for several years and have no reason to doubt the validity.


    Part 2:


    Nearly everyone is familiar with Wiseco Piston Company, Cleveland, Ohio. In the early days they made pistons, lower units and performed racing service to drivers running the C-Service Speeditwins and PR’s as well as pistons for other Evinrude, Johnson and Mercury engines. What most people did not know was Cavell Brothers, Cleveland, Ohio (Tom Cavell) made the pattern equipment for the pistons and lower unit for the PR’s. A few years ago at a race in Alexandria, Kentucky Tom Cavell’s grandson Allen Wieland brought these to the race and I had the privilege to see the original drawing for the PR lower unit designed by Tom Cavell. The drawing was dated 3/25/53. Tom had the parts cast and they were machined in Clyde Wiseman’s shop. They were friends and both raced with the Cleveland group of racers during that era.

    Attaching the front cover and inside pages from the Wiseco catalog (nothing printed on the back cover) Year approximately 1953. When you can buy a complete, ready to race, PR lower unit for $70.00 that’s a long time








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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default A Little History: Karl Williams to Ted Abel







    • For Part 3 I am going to take the easy road and use the information from Ted's emails in his own words. (results of working in the racing shop too late tonight)


      In future “a little history” series we may come back to Ted as he has covered a lot of ground in his racing career. I planned on doing this “a little history” series for awhile alternating Canadian and American drivers every other week. My concern was running out of Canadian drivers since I have been away from the Canadian racing scene for 45 years. Thanks to Ted he has come up with several names and contacts that known the history.

      Ted Abel: (2nd of 4 Generations of Abel boat racers)


      4 generations of Abel Racers Now including my Dad who Ran KG Johnson and Evinrudes in Tororto
      With Haryy “Red” Mitchell, Des Simonds and Charlie Turnbull all raced with the RCYC Yacht Club (Royal Canadian Yacht . Son Eric & Gary were both Racers Gary In JSH, Eric ASH, BSH, CSH, DSH nd now ASH Sdewinder. (He is fast and still going. Now teams with Ross Webster) Granddaughters Valerie Races ASXH, Tiffany 19 now ran JSH and now AXSH. Wife Jeannie ran JSH once in early 70’and won a basket of apples. Tiffany is one hell of a driver and pretty too. Eric also won CSH Kilos with a bandaged leg injured at Silver Lake New York when outfront in ASH his boat broached and caught live prop in leg from ankle to knee for 1.600 stitches. He has also won several CBF Nationals & High Points ASH
      Ran APBA Top 5 in USA in ASH. Ran offshore twice in Ontario Place Event and was also President of CBF.



      I don’t look back much but won NE Divisionals in CSH 10’ 6” Marchetti first time in 1967 at age 23 (17 firsts out of 21 races and missed a 1-Us by fractions. Should never have gone over 15 race limit. Also was Top 5 in USA for almost 10 years in CSH & DSH. I have over 43 CBF Nationals and High Point Plaques In Classes ASH, CSH, DSH including 4 Formula Grand Prix Titles (with a 55H Mercury that was fast) Usually always beat Rick Hall and Roy Alexander with it) I also drove Ray Ogier out of CSH with his Koenig with my Merc. I never lost much racing him. (He is still going and was Mike Lundy’s brother-in-law. I never raced Valleyfield as water was always rough with no relief. Was Director of CBF for over 40 years and
      President of CBF for 11 years and great friendships and business withMercury Legends Fred Hauenstein, Charlie Strang, Edgar Rose, Bob Wanamaker plus boat builders I raced with, mechanics that made me what I was etc. etc.


      So many gone now and miss Mike Lundy (wife Edith also gone) the most as he was like a brother to me and we travelled the APBA Circuit together for a long time. I can count over 125 racers that are gone and too soon. Always go to the Fishers Landing Race at Crystal Lake 2nd week of September every year when I can. Lots of old timers also show up. They always schedule Stock & Modified. Son Eric and Ross Webster travel a lot together so the tradition goes on. Still in weekly contact with Dick O’Dea and several US racers. Harry Bennett still alive at 91 and just lost wife Lois. Ruth Webster live 6 km from us. I do miss John a lot. Ron France still goes to races and 86 or 87.

      I started the CBF Hall of fame around 1990 as it was always a dream of mine. That and doing Para Mutual Betting and Racing like they do in Japan with 5 stadiums. (Never Happened) Revenue would have been fantastic and a fixed site would have done the trick.



      I now spend most summers at Island Cottage in Port Severn 90 miles from Toronto and would have only raced for 5 years but too much friction in the family in those days. Planning on going up this weekend as Virus Ban was just taken off marinas.






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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Karl Williams to Ted Abel Part 4.



    In the late 40’s and early 50’s the Johnson SR was primarily run on hydros. (“B” hydro) The SR on a runabout (“B” runabout) was never a class listed in the APBA books. The “B” runabout class in APBA shows up in the 1958 manual in very small numbers. In 1960 things got more serious as an Anzani set the first records.




    The SR on a runabout was a popular class in the Niagara Falls area wrapping around the lake to Dunkirk, N.Y.(45 miles from Buffalo) They had a lot of boats and racing seemed to be contained in that area. The top driver at the time was Bill Crawford, Niagara Falls, Ontario in his blue and yellow runabout followed by a lot of boats from the U.S. side of the Niagara River. Most notably was Bill Bond's lime green and black runabout towed by his late 40’s model Ford painted with the same lime green and black with trailer to match.( this was during the era when they did use lifejackets and helmets. Elimination heats did not exist. If 20-30 boats were in your class they all went out when the class was called to run) (off subject a little - John Laird sent me a magazine several years ago where it showed 200 entered in one class and they all hit the water at the same time on a river - East Coast)





    In about 1951 at St. Catherines, Ontario (32 miles from Buffalo, N.Y) a very different looking runabout showed up in the “B” Runabout class. This thin pointy nosed yellow runabout ran very flat (no bounce) and led the field without much effort. Bill Crawford was in second place and driving hard to move forward when his runabout went over backwards. The driver in the lead boat was Wallace Wood, Hamilton, Ontario not knowing for running alcohol outboard classes. Wallace went on to be Commodore of the Canadian Boating Federation 1960-1963. Sometime after Wallace Wood ran a “D” stock hydro.





    This boat was never seen in the area again. 37 years went by before another thin pointy nose runabout was seen at Green Bay ran by Lee Wanie. It was identical in appearance leading to the conclusion the boat Wallace Wood used must have been a Richardson Slipper. As far as where this real fast SR came from that still is not know for sure. Some 50+ years later I was told Paul Wearly had sold an SR in Canada. Paul may have been the one that told me about the sale himself - I don’t know. Regardless, this would explain the exceptionally fast SR showing up for the one race at St. Catherines. John Dertinger, Delhi, Ontario supplied the information that Wallace Woods had sold the boat/engine after that race. No one knows where the equipment ended up.





    I do remember Bill Crawford and his crew bringing the wet SR on an engine stand with the prop on, cranking to get the water out and finally starting it on the engine stand to make sure it was OK. (Bill eventually moved from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Florida. Possibly the Tampa Bay area owning/operating a model airplane shop)





    Some of the top drivers using the SR on a hydro were Chet Webb, Bill Jones, Bill Bond and Bob Glenney. Glenney moved to a “B” Konig before retiring.





    The SR “B” runabout went away as a class. The SR on the hydro lasted a little longer. The 1957 APBA Nationals at McKeesport, Pa. was probably the last serious effort for the SR on the hydro. The Merc's and Konig’s were faster.





    If anyone has any photos and information regarding the equipment and drivers using the SR on the runabout in the early 50’s I would appreciate hearing from you. We can always do an update later.

    Ron Hill add here: My dad was the motor inspector at the McKeesport Nationals, 1957.









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    Default Karl Williams Part 5 Westerman Jones



    • My plan was to keep these “a little history” emails fairly short. This is one guy a novel of 200 pages would not cover his life and accomplishments.

      The Jones family of wooden barrel makers came from England. The wooden barrel business in the U.S. did not last long and the family went into steam valves supplying the locomotive industry until steam locomotive went by the wayside. They next got into the ball valve business supplying the petroleum industry. Wes Jones sold ball valves to the petroleum industry with Sun Oil being one of his accounts. He also designed a special pipe and fittings to move cold crude oil.


      Wes graduated from Duke University with a business degree. The engineering part of his life was all self taught.


      His early years of racing was with 4-60’s on Jacoby hydros. He did not run any PR’s until 1950-51. His grinding/machine shop was not started until the late 40’s.


      During the early to mid 50’s he made the Jones - O’Dea Red Head for “B” deflector Merc’s in a joint effort with Dick O’Dea. This was approved by APBA and later disapproved. This did not set well with Wes and he dropped out of boat racing after this incident for several decades. At this time he also had just received a new Big “C” Neal that was never ran until his return to racing in 1986.


      Wes Jones was responsible for developing the Jones PR cylinders, Jones pistons, Jones PR heads, Jones carb cover and decades later re-designed my Hubbell pattern equipment for the rotor valve, crankcase, clamp bracket and swivel bracket. The shop also did a lot of cylinder grinding for both iron and chrome cylinders. He also worked with the people at Quaker Gear in developing the PR lower unit gear sets that would work in both the Hubbell and Starnes lower units. The PR rod retainer was a weak part in these engines. I asked Wes what could these be made from to avoid the continual breaking. His answer was Delrin. These have been used since the mid 80’s with far greater success than the steel retainers.


      Wes passed away in February 2000.


      Photos:
      top left - Jones family home and shop, Claymont, Delaware 1936 - 1939.
      top right - Wes’ shop inside the house. He still had the engine stand until his passing.


      row 2 left - Cylinders finished ready to ship
      center - Jones - O’Dea Red Head
      right - Wes with one of the many hydros, Barnstormer trailer/boats/van, Jones PR


      bottom - l&r - Jacoby Hydros price sheet




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    Default Karl Williams: Part 6

    I was at the Grove, Oklahoma boat races last Thursday - Sunday and was not able to email part 6.


    Addendum concerning the Jones - O’Dea Red Head kit: After communicating with Dick O’Dea with questions on this kit he suggested I contact John Schubert as he actually ran a Merc with the kit. The kit did include a block, head and hardware to use on the KG4 and 20H engines so the tank could be mounted on the KG4 and ready pull starter could be used on both. Here is what John had to say about the Red Head:



    Wow that was a long time ago. Yes, Dick did install one of his Red Head
    blocks on my #2 20H powerhead. I believe that it was 1954. We did not run it
    on alky just gas. Not sure that I raced it or just ran my standard 20H,
    leaning towards using it, in a race at Carlstadt, NJ. Vic Scott in a
    Jacoby/SR was out front heading to the first turn, I was on the outside
    catching him with my Jacoby/Merc when I blew over backwards. Had to make a
    hospital trip hurting my ankle but was OK.
    I don't believe that the block was even approved then, but do recall it
    getting approved then dis-approved. Commission was loaded with non Merc
    people & they were worried, but Karl, I was just 15 then & considerably
    older now.




    Re- Vic Scott being the guy to beat at the time - Yes Vic was . He was in c
    Camel cigarette ads won many races including some nationals & won the Albany to NYC marathon I believe twice. Very nice guy. We had several from NJOA. The Jacobys, Don Whitfield several time champ in M, Gibby Peterman won many races in A with a KR then in his later years with either a Yamato or Konig. Emil & Dotty Mayer, Eleanor & Henry Shakeshaft, George Andrews Sr. Dick O’Dea, John Covals who almost won the Albany to NYC marathon with a KG7H but they had a 30 minute head start. Dick McFayden M class & founder of the Aqua Meter speedometer & other gauges. And so many more including Charlie Strang.

    We only ran the Red Head once & as I said yesterday on gas. It was about the same as my stock 20H, but remember Dick installed it then we raced it. No testing at all.




    Grove, Oklahoma NBRA boat races June 13-14, 2020



    This race will fit easily in the category amount the best organized boat races. Over 50,000 miles round trip was driven by participants for this race. The 2.2 million dollar facility built to accommodate a 500 boat Bass Masters Classic fishing tournament came with concrete lighted parking/pit area along with food vendors, car show, bands, fiddle contest, helicopter rides and fireworks made for a well rounded entertaining weekend. The race course and pits were great. A lot of work by both doctors Leonard and Rick Miller made this possible. The number of entries as posted today on HydroRacer.Net by Hydro doc was 140.



    They accommodated classes they normally did not run like the “J” class for kids and antique C-Service and C Racing classes. Justin and Britni Gibson ran the PR’s in C Racing Hydro and this was the second time a man and wife ran together since Fred Mathews and his wife ran C-Service Runabout at the Tonawanda, N.Y. race (mid 50’s) where I was present. Britni's win and style of driving placed her at the top of the list for anyone requiring a driver. Busy weekend for Justin with 9 year old daughter Brie’s first race in “J” hydro and wife Britni’s first race in “C Racing Hydro.





    Pits and race course photos for Grove, Oklahoma:



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