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Thread: Where The Action Is

  1. #1
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default Where The Action Is

    Action shots of Lakeland, Fla 1993
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  2. #2
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default Where The Action Is

    PRO Nationals Hinton, West Virgina 1977.

    We were on the way to Hinton when Elvis died.

    There were a LOT of accidents at Hinton. Mel, Tom , and Jerry Kirts all were involved in accidents. Can't remember if Dan was. A couple of spectators in the pits figured this would cause some of the pit crews and drivers to go at it. In Mel Kirts' own words, this is what two spectators told him. "Goldarn it, we come down here to see some fightin' and you guys don't do nothin' but help each other out."
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    Default Where The Action Is

    Valleyfield, Quebec Canada 1976

    Jeff do you remember what happened to 94's helmet?
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  4. #4
    Team Member Jeff Lytle's Avatar
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    Default

    The only thing I can figure about the guy without the helmet is, in Valleyfield, when you win a heat, they make a really big deal about it. You are directed to an area after the race is over and you are recieved by the press, media, Queen----The works. I saw it happen a few times where the driver would leave that area and motor back to the pits afterwards without his helmet on........BUT there are some issues with that story.
    -I do not remember a Canadian winning any heats at that race.
    -I saw it done with boats in the Inboard division often, outboards, very seldom.
    Even if if did happen for that reason-----What would be the odds of the driver having his own rope, and the engine starting in the water. There was no beach area where they did these presentations.

    Other than that, there is a face I have not seen in a long time in those pics.
    Boat #53--Wendel Compo, a beef farmer from Lisbon N.Y. That was the last time I saw him race--I heard he died some years later.

    It's pretty easy to pick out the Canadian (Registered) drivers in the Alky Division, as we didn't have to have a State number like the American drivers do. Prefix numbers were there if yiu wanted to use them, but most did not.
    Last edited by Jeff Lytle; 04-04-2005 at 11:23 AM.

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    Default remembering bad news locations

    Quote Originally Posted by Master Oil Racing Team
    PRO Nationals Hinton, West Virgina 1977.

    We were on the way to Hinton when Elvis died.
    When ever I hear or read about Elvis's death, I automatically think of the 77' Hinton PRO Nationals. I can still remember the odd feelings one would get as your walking through the pits that day, people just weren't behaving the same (not much laughing, joking or small talk).

    I remember it was the same kind of environement at an Ocoee race (in the late 70's), when everyone found out that Walt Blankenstein (a true Konig Guru) had died. We knew something was wrong when we saw Cindy Hosler running past our motorhome sobbing.

    Isn't it odd how most people will remember what/where their exact locations were in their life when they had heard really bad news, but we rarely do the same for when we had heard really good news...


    Guy Conklin

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    David Weaver David Weaver's Avatar
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    Default Hinton 1977

    Here is some of what I remember about that race when I was 11 years old:

    1) My dad and Pop were the race directors (following their same responsibitly the year before with the stock nationals and 800+ entries).

    2) Charlotte Queen was the referee and would not let me be the flag person, as she felt I was too young. Nobody argued with her and I worked at inspection for four days, sitting in a truck with a CB radio right across from the judges stand across the lake.

    3)The Oak Ridge boys playing Fire on the Mountain during a big fireworks display.

    4) Tom Kirts blowing over his brand new runabout and leaving it (or much of it) on the far shore.

    5) Skip Birbare (SP?) losing his lower unit at the start of AOH and going out of control. Malcolm Hardin flipped in order to avoid hitting Skip. Mal missed the first heat re-start (referee's call), but won the second heat handily. Next day Mal destroyed his 500 boat trying to chase down the field after an off start. Nice barn fire later.

    6) Dave Augustine, jr. falls out of his V-bottm tow boat while it is running. The real rescue boat rams the V-bottom in order to save David. My dad announces over the P.A. "Sink that *%&#^*$ boat now!!". Later the SEC fines him......just kidding.

    7) My mom bites into a sandwhich on the scoring stand that unfortunately contained a yellow jacket. The pain made her forget how bad she had to pee (she was not found of the outhouse).

    8) The Yamato team, turns out they were really nice guys, not the evil enemy portrayed in all the war movies. Also, the first time I saw a Yamato 80 (Pugh's had one).

    9) A bad pile-up in 1100 hydro before the start, but the heat continues. Mel Kirts comes in to inspection with his arm bleeding. What a stud!

    10) First year that they paved the pit area with black top. Man did it get hot during the day.

    That's enough I am sure.

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    Default George?

    Is the J-1 boat George Andrews?

  8. #8
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default George Andrews, Hinton 1977

    Yes Peter, that's George Andrews.

    David, You were right about a lot of crashes at Hinton. The editor of Powerboat titled the story I wrote "PRO CRASH BASH". However, it was 700 hydro in which Mel had his accident.

    The river had a bend in it where drivers starting on the outside were wide when heading for the first turn. Unfortunatley, the course was not quite parallel to the river, and there was a slight dogleg around the starting line if you went too wide while looking at the clock. This resulted in a compression of boats at the starting line and being funneled into the first turn. Lots of riding up roostertails. It was too spooky for me outside so I started inside. I won the first heat,beating John Yale by 10 seconds, and had the fastest heat of the nationals.

    The second heat, Mel decided there was too much water for him so he started on the inside just to the right of me. There was much more water the second heat with all boats together. I think there may have been a gun jumper or two, because we hit the turn going much slower and there were a few boats to the right ahead of me. It was about as much water as I've ever encountered so once I cleared the first pin, I went into the infield. We were going so slow (relatively of course), that I was able to jog to the right and go around the next pin, then go back into the infield. I figured once we exited the final bouy I had enough acceleration to beat everybody to turn three. I just had to keep from being swamped by all the spray.

    Just then I saw a hole and punched it. Mel saw the same hole, but didn't see me. I got there first, but he came from behind a rostertail and ran up under my hydro. Something on my boat either punctured his arm or sliced it. I can't remember. But anyway my right sponson was on his deck pinning his throttle arm against the cockpit. He never backed off. I had no steering or any control since my lower unit was out of the water. I just backed off the throttle. When Mel began to accelerate out of the turn, my left sponson dug in and I spun out coming loose from Mel. I tried to keep my engine running, but no deal. Mel kept racing, and since no boat turned over, they were able to complete the heat. When Mel got back to the pit, or inspection area as you say, blood was streaming down the side of his boat.

    I won both heats of 1100 hydro later that afternoon by a half a lap each heat, but guess who finished second. Yep, Mel Kirts had changed his bandages four times before 1100 hydro and he still was competitive. The Kirts are a really tough and talented bunch of competitors. I look forward to them joining



  9. #9
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default PRO National Hinton 1977

    Hey Mike--look what I found. You were in the 2nd qualifying heat of 250 hydro. 44 entries. 10 to qualify & you made it to the finals on Sunday.
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  10. #10
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    Default Cool

    We had a great time at Hinton that year. I think I won my elimination heat in 250. The boat was the only 250 Andrews ever built. Long story on what it cost me. The big crash on the start in the finals was due to the down housing on Skip's boat breaking just above the gearcase. As he was crashing, I drove under him, real scarry. Bob Rusnak switched props after the crash and picked up a couple of MPH and just wooped us.

    I very much remember them taking Mel Kirts to get his arm taped up and going back out.

    I will never forget Malcom's crash in 500. It went on forever......

    Please keep the photos coming.

    Michael D-1

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