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Thread: OMC’s 4-Rotor Wankel Racing Engine - The Real Story

  1. #191
    - Skoontz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rotary John View Post
    The vehicle had 2 S/N tracks, not 6 wheels. It also had a very sloped front end ala a tank so it could climb over obstacles. It was made by Cushman, an OMC company at the time. They got out of that business due to a law suit where a doctor going down hill decided to throw it in reverse and the whole vehicle and doctor went *** over tea kettle, killing said doctor. His wife sued and won a ton of money for bad design and failure to warn ??? An interesting side bite; Ralph Evinrude got one of the first units and took it to his Fl home. He took it out in the front yard and had a ball spinning cookies etc. The result was a new sod job for his front lawn. Francis Langford, his wife, was incensed and the vehicle went back to Cushman.
    That's funnier than hell John! I thought they had 6 wheels like our Sidwinders and my Max did, but you would know best. I thought the cable steer kind of sucked too. Many of those things like the Terra Tiger would flip going down hill if you did stupid stuff with them....

    Oh well, end of an era....
    Bill Schwab
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gohr View Post
    The ATV's, the trackster's there are still some runnig around here, I think Gary Johnson has one, across the street from me they cleared 20 acres to build a school, they found one out in the shrubs we pulled it out.

    As far as Jet Skis, OMC didn't get in the Jet skis, However, they were going to get into the personal watercraft market. We had prototype hulls and I built the two prototype engines, they were 56cubers laid on their face with BN carbs on them, they were gonna be marketed as the "Shockwave" this was like in 93',94', but they never made it to market
    I'd love to see a photo of that.
    Whats are the issues when mounting carbs off centerline of the cylinder and which side should it be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Oil Racing Team View Post
    Yesterday I bought some storage boxes for magazines to organize them so I can find what I'm looking for easier. While going through 1972 through 1975 issues, I kept having to stop and read. You cannot imagine how interesting it was to read about Ron Hill, Jimbo McConnell, Billy Seebold, John Schubert, Jerry Simison, Bob Hering, Jerry Waldman, Lee Sutter, and on and on. I need to organize them so I can find stuff easier in the future. In my searching I discovered that Powerboat did indeed cover the Red Adair North American Championships. It was Western Editor Rod Flint who wrote the articles and took the pictures. I wish I would have introduced myself. I was in awe of his work back then.
    Wayne:
    I keep looking at the picture of Barry Woods above and I can't figure it out. To my knowledge, the first time Barry drove a rotary was at Provo, Aug '73. The other pictures and story seem to be from Galvaston. It would appear to me, the picture and story don't match. I distintly remember Woods at Provo, as he lead the race until he broke. When he got out of the boat after being towed in, his comment to Jack Leek was "what a ride!"
    John

  4. #194
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    Default Rotary P O W E R !

    Something that I THINK nobody has mentioned ; the rotary engines (omc race) must have been incredibly smooth running , I would think . Any comments from any of you drivers who raced ,using the rotary ?

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    I have to go back and recollect my thoughts John, and reread those articles. Provo was one of the venues I remember from when I first started racing, but I have never been there. I still have some B&W photos yet to post. Maguerite Woods ( I never met the Woods, and I don't think I spelled her name correctly....help me Ron) PM'd me when Barry was in Berlin to find out how to get to where the Berlin 7 Hour's was. Since I dind't race there, I wasn't sure if it was on the Oberhavel or where. By the time she got back with Barry it was too late. Barry called me later and I asked if he would sign one of the pics from when he raced the Rotary's and he said yes. Then my E mail crashed and I lost contact. Ron knows how to get ahold of him. Then we can figure out what's what.



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    Default Red Adair !!

    Where's he at now that we need him??
    I think some one would have to ask first , so forget that.
    Take it back, i don't know if that's a question or not...

  7. #197
    BoatRacingFacts VIP John Schubert T*A*R*T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rotary John View Post
    The vehicle had 2 S/N tracks, not 6 wheels. It also had a very sloped front end ala a tank so it could climb over obstacles. It was made by Cushman, an OMC company at the time. They got out of that business due to a law suit where a doctor going down hill decided to throw it in reverse and the whole vehicle and doctor went *** over tea kettle, killing said doctor. His wife sued and won a ton of money for bad design and failure to warn ??? An interesting side bite; Ralph Evinrude got one of the first units and took it to his Fl home. He took it out in the front yard and had a ball spinning cookies etc. The result was a new sod job for his front lawn. Francis Langford, his wife, was incensed and the vehicle went back to Cushman.
    Not quite what happened although going down hill & pulling the "T" handle towards reverse would throw the machine up on the forward angled track & could cart wheel down a severe angled incline. One reason OMC lost the law suit, although they sued the insurance Company who refused to settle & OMC won that, was the advertising claim stated " The Trackster makes the Impossible Passable". Which it didn't. THe real accident that killed the individual(not sure it was a Dr., but the skier Spider Sabich's dad was a passenger) was because there was a 6" vertical faced stick or stone in the path of one of the tracks. As the track passed over the virticle face it came down on the angled front track & cart wheeled. I was the OMC lead liason between attornies & employees and was very familiar with the law suit including post law suit training & product repurchase. During the law suit the engineer that worked on the design & my expert rider of the Trackster had to simulate the accident condition on a hill in California for the jury. They did & came down safely. The secret with the trackster, as I personally learned quickly, was not to pull back on the "T" handle when you thought that you were in trouble. You gradually pushed it forward so it wouldn't rock up on the front angled track. Back to the experts going down the simulated hill. They made it, then a jury member wanted them to do it again. The driver wasn't very happy, but did it a second time successfully.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Schubert T*A*R*T View Post
    Not quite what happened although going down hill & pulling the "T" handle towards reverse would throw the machine up on the forward angled track & could cart wheel down a severe angled incline. One reason OMC lost the law suit, although they sued the insurance Company who refused to settle & OMC won that, was the advertising claim stated " The Trackster makes the Impossible Passable". Which it didn't. THe real accident that killed the individual(not sure it was a Dr., but the skier Spider Sabich's dad was a passenger) was because there was a 6" vertical faced stick or stone in the path of one of the tracks. As the track passed over the virticle face it came down on the angled front track & cart wheeled. I was the OMC lead liason between attornies & employees and was very familiar with the law suit including post law suit training & product repurchase. During the law suit the engineer that worked on the design & my expert rider of the Trackster had to simulate the accident condition on a hill in California for the jury. They did & came down safely. The secret with the trackster, as I personally learned quickly, was not to pull back on the "T" handle when you thought that you were in trouble. You gradually pushed it forward so it wouldn't rock up on the front angled track. Back to the experts going down the simulated hill. They made it, then a jury member wanted them to do it again. The driver wasn't very happy, but did it a second time successfully.
    John: I'm sure you are right, as you had much better knowledge than me. I only heard the stories. My version makes a better story however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Oil Racing Team View Post
    I was not sure myself at first either Scott. The lighting changed quite a bit during the day because of a squall, and then I took some pictures from a pickup boat and depending upon the direction of the sun, some of the pictures don't look like they were taken on the same day or even the same place. I never went to the race course near Bayside or Bayshore??, but if you are thinking of LaPorte, I only went there once. I found my B&W contact sheets and they confirm that it was Clear Lake on August 2 and 3rd, 1975. It was the Red Adair North American Championships.

    This was the race I took that B&W picture of Ted May walking in the pits wearing his life jacket. Ted had wanted Ron Hill to come with him, but Ron had other committments. Bob Nordskog was there driving his diesel powered KM. Jimbo didn't show and it appears only Tommy Posey and Barry Woods were driving rotaries. I don't have a program, nor the results. I had only been dating my future wife Debbie for nine months and she came with me to the race. So I was preoccupied and didn't send anything to Powerboat. Maybe Mark Spencer was there, but I don't think so. I am not sure if this race got any national coverage although it should have judging from the talent that raced there.

    The other thing I discovered is that I apparently don't have any of the negatives from 1973. I only have pics of the September race at Galveston, but the rotaries didn't appear at that fall race. Some of these pictures have been posted before, but I had never paid attention to the date. I was always just going for the driver. In one of the pictures where they are getting the boats in position I enlarged the photo in the transom area hoping someone may identify crew members. More later with the B&W pics.
    Wayne:
    I can't be sure, but in looking closely at Posey's boat, it appears the bucket is silver, but the top is Johnson gold. That only happened 1 time and that was Windermere, England, '74. Posey co-drove with Mike Downard to win that race. Sanders broke during pratice and didn't start the race. Barry lead for awhile until he broke. I don't recall what happened to Jimbo, but I know he didn't finish. This was the race Strang got pissed at me because 3 of the 4 broke. I kept asking him "who won the race" and who cares who came in second. I'm surprised I still had a job after that.

  10. #200
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    I would like to thank John for all the info he has provided.

    I remember the Parker race very well, it was a sight to see them coming.

    Last time I was in Sturtavant a complet rotary was in the lobby, I lifted the cowl to make sure but I can't tell you if it was a newer version or not. I have some pictures of the lobby that may tell. I will have to dig them out.

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