View Full Version : Alexandria, LA Races

07-22-2005, 05:39 PM
The first picture of a start was on the cover of a program from Alex. Before there was a Southern or World Championship at Alex, it was a State Championship. Third picture is of the 1967 World Champions, next picture is the 1968 World Champions. The last picture is of Jack Marshall, Terry Rogers, Armand Hebert, and Deiter Konig. I know a lot of you have very fond memories of the races that we had at Alexandria. Hope that these pics bring back some fond memories and some of you will contribute some pics and stories. We can thank people like Cecil Johnson and Carl Rylee for the creation of Fort Buhlow. ;)

07-22-2005, 05:50 PM
This was a page in the program listing the brief history of racing on Buhlow.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-23-2005, 09:45 PM
Joe...this is the best racecourse for the smallbore outboards in the world. I love DePue for the draw of competition, but Alex always assurred the competitors of safe water for all out speed.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-24-2005, 10:39 AM
Check out all the heavyweights here.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-24-2005, 01:12 PM
NOA World Championships Alex, 1967

07-25-2005, 05:37 AM
wayne,I think some of these guys were pretty tuff on you in the early days.I am glad you stoped driving runabouts and Louis Williams quit the hydros.Louistold me to tie him to a tree if he ever wanted to drive a hydro again.Idont remember you saying any thing like that. joe

Master Oil Racing Team
07-25-2005, 07:26 AM
After I hit the bank and flew out of my C runabout on the Neches River I almost hit a big tree. That kindof put the idea in my head. I didn't need a rope to hold me back.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-25-2005, 02:01 PM
Part of the pit area north of the judges stand.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-25-2005, 09:47 PM
In 1967 we were pitted around the corner in a little cove left of the judges stand.

My Dad had some partners in the Aloe Vera business. It was in the early years of those kind of home treatments and a lot of people were skeptical They had 10,000 hectares of land in Mexico where the plants were being raised. They also manufactered a 99% pure product and some hand creams, etc. The shelf life turned out to be a problem and my Dad was tired of all the rat tests the government wanted so he got out. One of the products that went into the hand cream was the base oil used in the manufacture of MX-237. My Dad had some great chemists working with him to develope the Aloe products and the oil. The best chemist now has a very successful business in the manufacture of a wide range of Aloe products.

In the course of talking in the pits at various races, one of the drivers wanted to know if my Dad's chemist could get his hands on some exotic fuel additives. He checked with the chemist and George came up with hydrazine. It is a liquid fuel for rockets and I think it's primary purpose is an oxygen scavenger to get more air into the fuel. Some of the fuel experts out there could probably tell us how it works.

Anyway, I think it was Tommy Wetherbee that my Dad rounded it up for. We delivered it to Tommy? at the World Championships at Alexandria. He was pitted about two or three teams from us back toward the judges stand. The hydrazine came in a well built wooden box approximately an 18" or so cube shape. Inside it was filled with curly-cued wood shavings and in the middle was another box with a dark glass jar about pint sized. It was not anything like nitroglycerin, but it did carry shock warnings and also heat warnings. It warned about mixing with certain types of chemicals and also the percentage not to exceed when mixing with other solutions. If forget about all the different warnings that came with it. Of course you know it can get pretty hot in Alexandria in July, so I think Tommy had to go get a separate cooler and ice to keep it in. Other racers became curious as to what Tommy was fooling with and checked it out. Tommy was asking us how to mix it and what George might have said about it. We didn't know. Just told him to be careful with it. Before long we had lots of elbow room to our right and Tommy was just kind of isolated. The racers on both sides just quietly packed up and tried to find space somewhere else. There was a huge crowd that year so they didn't make the decision to move very lightly. Tommy never really found out if the hydrazine would have been any help or not. I think he ended up scaring himself out of adding enough to do any good. The best I remember was that he was supposed to use an ounce or two per gallon, but I think Tommy may have just used a teaspoon for the whole tank.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-27-2005, 07:49 AM
It full name is dimethylhydrazine and was a much more stable cousin of hydrazine the best I remember. Tommy kept the literature on hydrazine as that was the one he chose. Looking at the product information it shows that dimazine had flammability limits in air from 2.5 to 95%, so it would burn in just about any atmosphere of air. What I didn't realize is that with volatile chemicals, contaminants can turn them into being shock sensitive. These tests show that dimazine isn't shock sensitive even with deliberate contamination of rust, copper, magnesium or aluminum shavings. Don't know about hydrazine.

But the thing that got everyone scared was the flash point was so low. On Dimazine it is 34 degrees farenheit. I think it was probably the same on hydrazine. They probably thought it may spontaneously combust, as hot as it got at Alexandria. It doesn't do that until over 400 degrees (that's heat without a flame). I bet if someone sent methanol in a package like that and had all those warnings, you might think twice about how you handled that as well. Don't have my chemical handbook any more. Anybody know what the flash point of methanol and gasoline is?

Master Oil Racing Team
07-27-2005, 08:26 AM
This is a story about the 1967 NOA World Championships in Alex by Gina Mishey. Had no idea of some of the retired powerhouses there as spectators. Have to go to Corpus now. Will post photos and results by class of the top three later.

Miss BK
07-27-2005, 09:52 AM
It warned about mixing with certain types of chemicals and also the percentage not to exceed when mixing with other solutions. If forget about all the different warnings that came with it. Of course you know it can get pretty hot in Alexandria in July, so I think Tommy had to go get a separate cooler and ice to keep it in. Other racers became curious as to what Tommy was fooling with and checked it out. Tommy was asking us how to mix it and what George might have said about it. We didn't know. Just told him to be careful with it. Before long we had lots of elbow room to our right and Tommy was just kind of isolated. The racers on both sides just quietly packed up and tried to find space somewhere else..

On the APBA website in the Forms/Downloads section, is a listing of various types of fuel additives that have been used in racing. Hydrazine is one of them...Here is the MSDS data:


Master Oil Racing Team
07-27-2005, 02:42 PM
Thanks Val, We had no MSDS's in 1967, although the brochures had a lot of information. There have been a lot of tests and updates since then though. I was surprised to see there were no transport regulations. Looks like this was bad stuff. The diamzine was not shock sensitive but it shows the hydrazine could form an explosive mixture above 74 degrees if rust got mixed in it. Immediate hazard levels from breathing is only 80 parts per million. You can work for 8 hours at 10ppm of the deadly hydrogen sulfide. I think to get to the same danger level of H2S you go up to around 500 to 700ppm. It also says to store hydrazine in inert conditions and away from UV rays. Hard to keep away from UV at a boat race.

It must be the drag racers that use hydrazine. Very interesting info.........Val, Thanks.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-27-2005, 04:20 PM
Sure would like for other members to tell some stories or post pictures about the "67 World. How about it Clayton Elmer, Artie Lund, Jerry Simison, Ralph Donald. You guys have some good stories from Alex. Lets hear them.

Jeff Lytle
07-27-2005, 05:32 PM
Most of the ones you see these days are crammed with ads.......I know they have to be published and payed for, but CRAMMED!!

07-27-2005, 05:55 PM
No, thats not a race program ... its a few pages from NOA's version of Propeller mag ..."Roostertails" ... sorry :o

Master Oil Racing Team
07-27-2005, 05:56 PM
The last stuff I put up was from the NOA monthly newsletter of Nov/Dec 1967.

For those that didn't go to Alexandria in those days, there were two primary motels where the racers stayed. There was the Holiday Inn on the west side of McArthur and the Ramada Inn just across the street. They were about 10 minutes to Fort Buhlow Lake across the Red River in Pineville.

McArthur was wide and always had a lot of traffic. There was a lot of foot traffic between the motels too, as the racers went to and fro visiting one another. No traffic lights. When you walk or run across the street you just use proper timing and judgement to get across safely. That was usually used up by 10:00 PM. Don't remember anyone ever getting hurt, but I think there may have been some close calls.

Master Oil Racing Team
08-12-2005, 06:56 AM
Prior to race days, Red Pruett wanted Clayton Elmer to test and race Roland Pruett's Merc-Quincy F on Clayton's T-30 Morton hull. They floated it down to Pruett's pits and rigged up the motor. They had trouble with the steering due to the steering bar they had. In order to hook it up, they had to straighten out the S hooks a little (this was before S hooks were banned). Clayton made only one lap and came into the pits. The way the motor fit on the boat had it set with the lower unit right up against the bottom of the hydro. On the back straight at half throttle, it was all Clayton could do to stay in the boat. It was too wild and Clayton told the Pruett's there was not enough time to work out a set up he could race. So they took the motor off and hammered the S hooks back to their original shape.

They raced one heat Saturday and the second heat of each class Sunday. Clayton made a terrible start on the first heat of C hydro. He was dead last. He had a 4 carb Konig with the short megaphone exhausts on his Morton hydro. Jerry Waldman was on the inside when they got to the turn and he took the rest of the field way out. When Clayton got to the turn, there was enough room to broadside a tractor trailer through there. Clayton came out of the turn right there close to Jerry. They raced down the back straight and coming to the next turn Jerry had just enough room for an overlap. He came in wide and instead of tapping the center bouy, he left just enough room for Clayton to squeeze through. That Morton hydro of Clayton's would really turn, and when Jerry slid on out, Clayton nailed it and was gone. Jerry chased him all the rest of the way but couldn't retake the lead. Just as Clayton exited the last pin and raced full throttle to the finish, his hydro bobbled a little. It felt to Clayton like the nuts on the motor bracket were loose and the engine was loose. He kept the power on and when he crossed the finish line to look back at the engine, he saw the steering cable and pulley laying on the deck. "OH S#$&.....MAN!", he said to himself. He knew if he backed off quickly he would go on his head, so he tried to decelerate slowly. He got about 100 yards, which didn't take long at that speed, before the hydro flipped. The boat banged his leg pretty hard during the tumble.

The next day Clayton's leg was so swollen, he could hardly get around. He scratched all other classes, but he thought he would still win C Hydro. Boat owner/mechanic Jack Chance cleaned out the engine, patched the canvas deck and got things ready. For the first half of the race the motor didn't run like it did the day before, then it finally cleaned out. Clayton finished second and had enough points to claim the championship for C hydro.

08-12-2005, 07:36 PM
David, I think it was the Pitt Grill. The place I remember the most was "Herbie K's Oyster House and Lounge. They advertised the WORLD'S WORST SERVICE, and it was. Food was pretty good but the service was BAD.

Master Oil Racing Team
08-13-2005, 07:22 AM
There was a place about half a mile further south that was really good. Forgot the name, but the catfish was great.

Herbie Kay's did have good food, AND we did have the world's worst service there one night. They were very crowded, as ususal, and we were a party of around 15. They had a small meeting room off of one of the dining areas. One of those rooms that had the folding fan type doors. They stuck us in there and we waited patiently for 30 to 45 minutes for someone to take our order. We believed their slogan you know. Being by ourselves and clowning around while waiting, a couple of people in our party started dancing on the long table. A waitress was walking by and happened to look through a crack in the folding doors and did a double take. She came in and asked us what we were doing. We said we were waiting for someone to take our order. She asked how long we had been there and we told her. Don't know if we were assigned to her area or not, but she whipped out her note pad and took our orders. Shortly after that, the manager showed up with two complimentary bottles of wine. We thanked him and told him we just believed what the sign said.

Doug Hall Y51
08-15-2005, 04:09 PM
Wayne, I was reading the posts while sitting here at the fire station and I looked up the flashpoints of gasoline and Methanol. Gasoline is -45F and Methanol is 52F. We have some guys here that could have told you without looking anything up but I am far from knowing alot about Haz-Mat and plan to keep it that way.

Master Oil Racing Team
08-15-2005, 04:44 PM
Doug--Fire stations are a long way from us out here.

When you were here, I don't remember if my Dad still had those caliche rock planters or not. They were in a quarter round shape about 12' long and 18"-20" high on either side of the drive way. The rocks were only stacked. No mortar, and one cold winter some rats made a nest deep in the rocks in the one outside my room, which was an apartment off the garage.

We had some methanol left over from the previous season and my Dad decided that he could dispose of it by pouring it on those rocks and driving the rats out. He poured about 5 gallons all the way around the side where the rats were hiding. We knew they were there because his bird dogs would bark at them. By the time he finished pouring all the methanol out, some had already started to evaporate and there was no breeze to dispel the vapors.

My Dad was six or eight feet away when he struck a match and threw it toward the planter. A little more than halfway there, the fumes ignited. BOOM! and a couple of rocks blew out. Suddenly a rat came running out. You know how you can't see methanol burning in daylight. Well this rat came running toward us and we see the hair on his back curling up into little black balls, and an occasional speck of yellow flash. The rat saw us and headed back toward the planter, but when he felt the heat he turned left and was headed for cover toward my room. I don't know why, but I had left the door open and the rat was running toward it. My Dad and I ran to head him off, but he was dodging us pretty good and still zig zagging for the open door. Don't know what the result would have been had he made it and gotten under the bed, but I was able to kick him back toward the driveway. He found a corner of the rock pile that wasn't burning and made his escape. He didn't burn up because I found him limping around that afternoon, most of his hair singed off. I felt sorry for him and put him out of his misery. The next day the rocks were hauled down to the shoreline and placed as a barrier against erosion. Glad we didn't have any old leftover gasoline.

Jeff Lytle
08-16-2005, 07:16 AM
A bit off topic from the original Alex thread, but here goes:

My Dad and I had been to Valleyfield one year..........It's about a 5 1/2 hour drive from here, no sweat :D

We had a rotton weekend, I had engine gremlins, and when we finally worked them out, I got tossed out in the 1st corner of the final :mad:
To top that--We had rad problems on the way home. Bad enough that someone we knew stopped and took our trailer home for us. We finally pulled into the driveway about 5 AM............I had to get up for work at 7. We semi-unloaded-----Each one of us dragging as much as we could into the house in one trip. My load included a duffel I had my clothes and stuff in.

I slept with my door closed in those days. I remember getting up and heading for the shower. As I opened my door, I noticed a pile of sawdust along the width on the inside as I opened the door I knew I had a problem then. I closed the door behind me and went about my business.
I came back in with a cup of coffee and knelt down to see the inside edge of the door had been neatly chewed nearly the full width--and I had slept through it all. I got dressed and went to work, making sure the door was closed when I left.

After work, I knew I had to find this guy. I looked in all the obvious places, and then started to go through my drawers one by one. Literally got down to the last one, and opened it slowly. Sure enough, out sprang my friend the Valleyfield rat--I was kind of expecting him to be there--but nontheless, nearly crapped my pants !! :eek:

I found him hiding behind a dresser with his butt sticking out the side along the wall. Guess he figgured he couldn't ee me, so I couldn't see him. I found a large glass jar and placed it along the wall on the opposite end of the dresser. I then took a poke at Mr. Rat's butt to see what would happen.
They say they are super smart animals that use logic to fugure things out.....I guess I had one of the dumb ones, cause' he ran right into the jar. I capped it and took it outside.

We lived North of the city then, in a town called Unionville. Nice place, farms all around, clean air, anyway-----I take a walk with my pal up the street to let it go (Yeah, I know--stupid right?) I'm about 500 yds from home and figgure' it'll head for the hills when I open the jar >>>>>WRONG!!<<<<<
When I uncapped the jar, it took a right instead of a left, and ran up the street back towards my house!! I'm running down the street just to see it heading right towards my open garage!! Without a lie, it looked like it wanted to stay awhile, untill the last second, it took a quick right, and ran into my neighbours garage :) (I never really liked him anyways)

From what I can figure, Mr. Rat got into my duffel bag to take a nap and came home with us. I do remember the back hatch of the wagon was open for a time on the Sunday at the races, and I guess that's how he got in.

08-17-2005, 03:04 PM
Joe...this is the best racecourse for the smallbore outboards in the world. I love DePue for the draw of competition, but Alex always assurred the competitors of safe water for all out speed.

are "tentatively" set for Alexandria, La. ;)

08-19-2005, 07:21 PM
Here's a couple

Master Oil Racing Team
10-27-2005, 09:52 PM
Here is the roster of drivers to qualify for the event followed by the drivers qualified for the finals.

Master Oil Racing Team
10-28-2005, 07:32 AM
Championship heats C-1 Hydro and A Runabout. I guess the handwritten notes show the order of finish, but they're hard to read.

Master Oil Racing Team
10-28-2005, 10:28 PM
so I will do it this way. Qualifying heats followed by the list of drivers that made it to the finals. The next one up is B Hydro. The following is a list of BRF members that were in qualifying heats and several made it to the finals. How about some of you telling us about the races that year?

Ralph Donald, Kay Harrison, Dick Hoppenwrath, Reles LeBlanc, Don Nichols, Marvin Ogden, Louis Williams, Jr.

Master Oil Racing Team
11-01-2005, 06:58 AM
Qualifying and finals of C Runabout 1965. There were 13 records broken at this event. One of them in C Runabout. It's hard to read, but it looks like Freddie Goehl set the record in the first heat at 62.577. In A runabout Ted May set a record of 55.328 in the first heat. It's hard to read the side notes on B Hydro, but it appears the championship was decided in the first heat because ALL boat beat the gun in heat two. If I was to guess which alky class most consistently had the most gun jumpers, I would say B Hydro.

Here is C Runabout

Master Oil Racing Team
11-02-2005, 04:20 PM
The order of drivers in the finals is not in the same order as listed in the qualifying heats, so the order in the finals can probably be correlated to their finishing position in the qualifying heats. The year was 1965, not 62 (couldn't edit the headline)

Master Oil Racing Team
11-15-2005, 07:58 AM
The F runabout and A hydro were the final qualifying heats run on Thursday

Master Oil Racing Team
11-22-2005, 08:05 AM
Five more classes left. Here are B Runabout and C Hydro

It appears Billy Seebold was the champion and set a record in B runabout heat 1, to be broken by Jerry Simison in heat two. This look like the order or finish

1 Billy Seebold
2 Bruce Nicholson
3 Jerry Simison
4 Louis Williams

Jerry Waldman dominated C hydro and appears to have set a record.

1 Jerry Waldman
2 Armand Hebert
3 John Griffin

Master Oil Racing Team
12-26-2005, 11:03 AM
These are the qualifying and final heats of D Runabout, F hydro, C-1 runabout and X Hydro. Following the championship results are handwritten records. Some records broken in the first heat were broken again in the second heat. There were 13 records broken according to handwritten notes, and I think the six listed at the end were final results. The name on the C-1 records may be hard to read. It is Bud Cowdery.

Sure wish somebody that was there could tell us some stories about this big race. It was a who's who attendance in 1965. A lot of these top drivers drifted away from racing over the next several years. Just looked at a post at the beginning of this thread stating that there were 18 records broken and 475 boats. Thanks to Rog Dykehouse for these historical driver's list.

Master Oil Racing Team
01-31-2009, 08:57 PM
...that it had been this long since anything was posted about the greatest racing course in the world for the PRO division. I came across this pic and was looking for the Alex thread. It took awhile for me to find it and when I did, I read it from the beginning.

We were running very late this day to get everything in. I would have to check the schedule to be sure, but this is probably D runabout.

Allen J. Lang
02-01-2009, 10:57 AM
Hi Wayne- Looks great especially with the sun's colors on the rooster tails. :D
Ye Olde Desert Geezer :cool:

02-01-2009, 02:33 PM
I had this picture on my boat racing room wall until the sun faded so bad I had to remove it. It always brings back plenty of memories.

Danny Pigott
02-01-2009, 06:12 PM
Wayne, at the 77 world championship i think there were 36 drivers from Texas, where did they go.I guess they got old like me.That was something to have that many drivers from one state.It must have been a record at that time.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-04-2009, 08:50 PM
Danny..as far as driving goes, Alex wasn't far from Texas. And most of them lived only several hours away. For us it was about 8 hours. I'll see if I can dig up a roster. In Fact, those days Texans played a role in Alex races. Around then they started using our lone Star clock, and earlier may have used the electric scales.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-06-2009, 10:05 PM
You kind of threw me Danny and I had to look. There were several years between NOA and APBA that we didn't run at Alex. The first crossover was the 1973 APBA/UIM World Championships. We didn't run at Alex in 1977, but we did in 1978. I did not have a roster of all the drivers at the race...only the roster from the finals. I only found 20 Texans, but I guess more were there. That was a year when a lot of drivers were doing their second year of the Yamato 80 class. I think I will post some of those that I spied on the finals roster. In the meantime...here are some pics from one strip of a contact sheet.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-06-2009, 10:50 PM
I was looking at this one contact sheet deciding which pics to post. I was looking at it in the context of the days I originally took them. Since I also raced, I was usually stuck in the pits near our boats and had to reach out with a 500mm lens for a lot of the racing pics. My relex lens with no F stops was not very forgiving on focus and exposure, so there were a lot of photos that were nothing but junk. And then there were those shots when you were following the action and just when you took the pic....something was in the foreground. With the tools of computers today, you can make something of pictures you would have normally thrown away.

Tonight, when I was going through some of my stuff, I thought I would try these pics. I am no way an expert. I wouldn't mess with some of these pics in a darkroom, but with a computer...anyone that learns how can make "junk pics" come back to life and can be the pic that you THOUGHT you took.:cool: So don't toss those Polaroids or Kodak Instamatic pics out of your shoebox. look at getting a scanner and play around with it. I knew absolutely nothing about this stuff when I first started.

I got the contact sheet posted last, but you can see how the difference with the computer can turn a photo around.

John (Taylor) Gabrowski
02-07-2009, 08:59 AM
At an Alky meet up here in the later 1960s some team evidently kicked a fuel tank into the river real quick when it got hot and was reputed to have started to either got steaming or smoking getting people nervous. The talk was that the fuel had been mixed with hydrazine (solid rocket fuel) crystals and left too long before use and had become unstable. What ever unstable meant? :)

Now we have the odd 3 eyed catfish sometimes coming out of there from time to time! :)

Danny Pigott
02-07-2009, 04:03 PM
Wayne, I will try to find where I got the info. about Alex. I was going by memory so I could be off on the date.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-08-2009, 06:54 PM
I have info problems too Danny. I have some negatives with no contact sheet, and it says Alex 9-29 & 30-1979. It should have been in the proper part of the binder and it wasn't. So I am thinking I just guessed on the date later. I didn't go back to compare, but that C service hydro of Larry Latta's looks like a later date than "79. Here are the photos that I "think" were Alex 1983. Sorry about all the spots and dust on the negatives. I lost my uranium powered dust brush and there's no local distributor anymore.:( And my scanner won't let me do the B&W negatives anymore.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-08-2009, 08:42 PM
Probably David. I didn't really know Jeff, but Tom I knew well and a finer guy you wouldn't meet.