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Thread: Part 27 - Willy Kersjes, Aylmer, Quebec, Canada (passed Aug. 2008)

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    Default Part 27 - Willy Kersjes, Aylmer, Quebec, Canada (passed Aug. 2008)

    Our Canadian for this evenings history will be Willy Kersjes. Thursday came up fast this week so I am going to take a story from the Spring 1970 issue of Hydroplane Quarterly magazine. Since 1970 Willy bought his fourth DeSilva a CRR powdered by a Crescent. With this equipment he did set the 5 mile competition record in CBF at 67.598 mph October 1972. Before buying the Crescent he had a two cylinder “C” Konig that was mounted on a A-B Butts hydro. (prior to pickle fork design) Willy bought this engine from Chuck Howgate after Chuck bought a 4 cylinder Konig with a lot more power/speed over the older Konig engines..This equipment was run in the CRH class and Grand Prix class where the winner got $500.00, 2nd $325.00 and third, I believe, was $100.00. The best this equipment ran was second in the Grand Prix class. Wayne LaRose’s 4 cylinder Konig did a lot of winning.

    Willy was a barber by trade and eventually invested in real estate including a sand pit that supplied all the sand for a major highway in Quebec. The lake produced from removing the sand, after several years, ended up being big enough for a boat race. Willy talked about this a lot. However, it never got off the ground.

    Willy sponsored an orphanage in Mexico. Unlike most of these places trades were taught and once you entered the working world part of your income was supposed to return to the orphanage to help keep it growing. I do not have any idea how many this helped get a better start in life but the number was fairly high. This started on an early vacation trip to Mexico. Willy came out of the motel/hotel and there was a four year old girl dirty and crying on the sidewalk. He went to ask her what was wrong when he was interrupted by a motel worker telling him to stay away as she had been probably abandoned by her parent(s). Willy asked who was going to take care of her and the guy said no one. This is the way it is and warned him not to go near the huts a few hundred yards off as those people will kill you for anything you have including your clothes. Willy did not venture toward the huts but made arrangements for the little girl to be taken care of as of that night. From that point the orphanage was born with a six figure endowment. This is the way the story was told to me if someone has anything to add/correct let me know.

    Willy was big on keeping his equipment clean and always dressed in racing uniform to keep things as professional as possible. He would come down on those that did not share that view and they understood fully even if his English was continually under improvement. When he arrived in Canada he could not speak any English. Over time he was able to communicate in both English and French as well as his native Dutch.

    Photos: Story from 1970 HQ magazine
    Willy from the same issue
    14” side DeSilva he bought from Bob Murphy 1968
    12” side DeSilva I believe purchased from Quincy Welding
    Willy after winning the Festival Canada race, center is Stan McDonald, Festival Canada director - name unknown
    Willy at Lakeland, Florida Feb. 8, 1975 with John Willan helping
    Willy at Waddington, N.Y. # 73, Fred Hagmann # 37 and Pat Casidy # 104
    Newspaper clipping used to promote the Quyon, Quebec race.
    Attached Images Attached Images         

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