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Thread: W Claude Fox

  1. #1
    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    Default W Claude Fox

    born October 20, 1908 in Andersonville TN, died December 1, 2007 in Knoxville, TN

    Mr. Fox is best remembered for starting, or restarting the National Outboard Association after the name and association went dormant for the duration of World War II.

    Prior to WWII there had been a truce between the APBA and other racers racing under the NOA banner combined under an umbrella sanctioning organization known as the National Outboard Racing Committee. After WWII, members reactivated APBA but not the NOA, nor the NORC. The original antagonists between APBA and NOA racers were Evinrude and Johnson ... since the mid 1930's both owned by OMMC. With that feud settled by both companies under one ownership (which was no longer interested in racing) there seemed to be no reason to reactivate the NOA and NORC ... until major the APBA underwent 2 major reorganizations one after another. The first change was to make APBA a direct democracy. Previously APBA was run by the member CLUBS, rather than directly by the individual members. Clubs sent delegates to the National Convention with one vote per club regardless of how many members they represented. This was a very streamlined method of organization, but not a democracy ... which millions of Americans had been told they were fighting the Great War for.

    The second major change was the introduction of classes for stock fishing motors run on common, plain wooden family type runabouts. These 2 changes brought APBA under the control or at least potential control of a completely new group of people. No longer were the honored club elite the rule makers; instead there were many newcomers with an equal say in things.

    Elected to be the first APBA Vice President representing all outboard racers under the reoganized APBA, was ... W. Claude Fox

    Within a year or two, Fox's home club the Knoxville Boat Club won the right to host the Outboard Nationals (1951-ish). At this time there were professional and amateur designations for drivers, but stock and alky were still under the single "outboard" division in APBA and all classes raced at the same event. In the course of the event, Kiekhaefer took advantage of a rule technicality to have many or all of the Johnson entries disqualified from their winning places in B stock and possibly other classes, leaving Mercurys as the almost undisputed winner in most of the stock classes. To further muddle the event, so many speed records were set, that the length of the course came into dispute; oddly enough the KBC somehow forgot to have the course resurveyed after the race and the earlier trumpeted records were all disallowed. Almost no one was satisfied with the result and hard feelings with a lot of public outcry ran rampant for the remainder of that year.

    Many racers, especially new members, greatly supported Kiekhaefer's contention that completely stock motors -exactly as shipped from the factory- with nothing added should be the only motors raced in the new stock classes. An almost equal number saw Kiekhaefer's claim as a sneaky way to throw out other makes from the winner's circle. Many began to call for the reactivation of the NOA as an alternate to the APBA, which they felt had fallen under the influence of Carl Kiekhaefer, the motor supplier of and champion of the new stock classes. Mr. Fox sat on the fence ... until presented with what he considered a bribe from Kiekhaefer. The bribe consisted of a promise from one of the Mercury Outboard Company executives to use the full persuasion of the company to see that Mr. Fox be elected President of APBA if he would go along with the Kiekhaefer Mercury view of things. Instead, Mr. Fox and some allies formed a new sanctioning body using the NOA name ... as a revolt against Carl Kiekhaefer and the perceived corrupting influence he and democracy had on APBA

    More on this story later tonight ....
    Last edited by Mark75H; 12-07-2007 at 07:12 PM.
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


  2. #2
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default Wow........

    ......What a thunderbolt Sam!



  3. #3
    Allen J. Lang
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    Thumbs up Very Interesting

    Bring on the REST OF THE STORY Sam.
    Ye Olde Desert Geezer Al

  4. #4
    Team Member epugh66's Avatar
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    Default

    Sam,
    Thanks for starting the thread. My memories of Claude are fond ones, he was the gentleman in the Jeepster that put on all types of races.

    Time permitting, I should go over to the Knoxville Boat Club and snap a few pics to post. The KBC land, and Claudes house are located on a very desireable stretch of water in west Knoxville.

    As I recall, the old judges stand in long gone, things can become a hazzard if not maintained. I'm sure Julie will allow me to tramp around, she is such a nice person!

    Years ago, when visiting with the Fox's, I was able to look through many, many photographs. Claude was a hobbiest photograher and had photos of everyone. He even took Gary and Beverly's wedding photos.
    Had I known 1984 was going to be my peak year, I would have tried harder
    Thanks Ron Hill thanked for this post

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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default A Man Named Jack Horsley: NOA Started by Claude Fox

    Dick O'Dea just sent me an E-Mail re the 1951 Nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee. I think he has the basic story correct but does not mention a man named Jack Horsley. Anyone ever heard of him? Did a Google search and they sent me to Boat Sport Magazine, but I never found his name in the magazine.
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 02-21-2021 at 01:02 PM.

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