View Full Version : 1974 PRO Nationals

02-09-2013, 09:59 AM
Here are some images and race information rom the 1974 PRO Nationals on Lake DePue. Special thanks to Wayne Baldwin for sending me the information.

02-09-2013, 10:00 AM
Does anybody know if the original John Ward Trophy still exists today and where it might be ?

02-09-2013, 10:13 AM
Here are the heat sheets and finals information for the 1974 PRO Nationals on Lake DePue. Again thanks to Wayne for sharing this information.

Jeff Lytle
02-09-2013, 12:05 PM
That's Henry "Shakey" Shakeshaft Jr. driving the C Service hydro on the cover.

02-09-2013, 01:43 PM
As soon as I started looking here, the first thing I recognized was Shakey doing his thing. Thanks for all who help get this stuff posted................and I think we need to go spend some time at Wayne's house to really see some history in pictures............(might not make the Mrs. too happy, but they can both cook up a storm...........they both were lucky enough to learn from Baldy.......)

Fred Hauenstein
02-11-2013, 04:04 PM
Does anybody know if the original John Ward Trophy still exists today and where it might be ?

The UIM John Ward Trophy is still on display at the UIM's offices in Monaco. I had to go there to see it because they have not let it travel for many decades.


Bill Van Steenwyk
02-11-2013, 05:06 PM
1974 was probably my best year for a finish in the Nationals at DePue until the 80's after being back racing for 6 years. I had a great Hydro built by Bob Rhoades and Jim Daniels from Seattle, and my C Konig had all Harry ZAK's modifications. In addition the Konigs had not quite caught up yet as far as pipes, and even though they (ZAK pipes) did not slide, the combination of the ZAK mods to the engine, especially the cut rotary valve disc, and the terrific turning ability of the R&D boat that allowed it to go thru the turns almost as fast as it would run down the straighaways, made it a very potent combination. I had done well in local and other Midwest races with this rig, and felt I had an excellent chance for a good showing if I did my part.

Long story short, I did what a lot of drivers do when they have a good finish in the first heat (Nationals was a 2 final heat affair in that time frame) and I lost sight of the "big picture" as far as total heat points were concerned, and since there were only two boats ahead of me, one of which was Danny Kirts who if I could beat him would be a real feather in my cap, I continued to drive as hard as I could. The continued hard thrust on the side of the lower unit finally got the best of the Merc clamp bracket set up I was using instead of the Konig bolt on type, and about the third lap of the final heat while trying to get around Danny on the outside (you were not going to pass Danny on the inside), the clamp finally gave up and all the side thrust on the lower unit caused the motor to kick up sideways, losing thrust immediately, and causing the boat to broach and pitch me out the side before slowly rolling over. My immediate thought was about all the boats behind me and I kicked down with my feet trying to get back on the top of the water so I could be seen. That was the first time I realized Lake DePue was only about three feet deep in the 2nd turn area, as I popped out of the water at least knee high. The bow of my Hydro must have dug into the Lake DePue mud in that shallow end, as it was covered in that black gumbo silt that makes up the bottom of Lake DePue.

Because of my "brain fade" and not keeping track of where I was score sheet wise, all I would have had to do was finish in the order I was running, and I would have won the "C" Hydro National Championship on points, as the boats in front of me had not finished the 1st heat or their finish in the first was not better than mine as I had finished second in the first heat. You live an learn and that was foremost in my mind when I finally did manage to win 2 Nationals in 1986 on the same course.

I loaned the same boat and motor combination to Danny Kirts for the John Ward race that same year, as he was in the middle of one of the famous Kirts "family feuds" and did not have access to the family equipment at the time , but he got watered down in the first turn, first heat, and was not able to come back from that DNF. One of the builders of my boat, Bod Rhoades, with a twin to my ZAK Konig, won the John Ward race that year. I don't think the John Ward race i has ever been held in the US since, but could very well be mistaken about that. Perhaps Freddie Hauenstein will chime in regards that.

The following fall I busted up my hip, which 2 years later resulted in a total hip replacement. I took a ride in one of Billy Seebolds tunnel boats, testing at George Winter Park in St. Louis, and that ended my competitive driving for about 6 years except for the following season when I ran one more year of C Hydro, and won the first race I entered at Lake Springfield Il., against much of the same competition I competed against at that Nationals, which as you can imagine made me feel really good after the accident. You always wonder whether you will have the same desire and fortitude to drive hard after a bad accident, as you do not forget how bad it hurts very easily. The one thing I had going for me was I did not get hurt in my normal racing equipment, so I was able to chalk it up to inexperience and a case of "dumb-***" on my part getting too happy with the "up button" on the wheel of Billy's tunnel boat.

I started back racing again when the PRO Commission started the RB class about 6 years later when Eileen had completed her eligibility in Formula 350 Hydro and her two Yamato 80's became available for modification, and started back racing again, albeit a little slower speed at first. We eventually did get the speed in the class about where C Hydro was when I had to quit because of the injury, (82-85 competition speed depending on course length) with a lot of hard work engine wise by Harry Pasturczak, and lots of dollars spent on props.

A good lesson to learn even today is the race is not over until its over, so keep your cool and don't overdrive either your boat, or your, capabilities. That is hard to do, but all the Champions that are luck enough to have good equipment, family support, and able to herd it around the course capably, learn it well. Either that or they are never fortunate enough to be able to call themselves a National Champ.

02-11-2013, 07:16 PM
I still can remember the 74' Nats, probably due to the fact that 4 heats were needed for all the AOH's (43 boats). This meant that only the top 3 places from each heat would go on to race in the final. This was one of the few times I can recall seeing my father (Roy Conklin) actually appearing extremely nervous before a race. Probably also one of the few times I've ever seen him "triple check" all of his electrical connections too, he even ended up changing his lower-unit oil twice in the same day (he was so nervous he probably forgot if he did it the first time around).

I remember watching Tim Butts win with his new Aerowing, and was impressed with how it floated & turned seeming so effortlessly.

Not sure if we'll EVER see 43 PRO boats register for the same Class again (with no step-ups). Yep, those were the days...

Ron Hill
02-12-2013, 07:29 PM
The UIM John Ward Trophy is still on display at the UIM's offices in Monaco. I had to go there to see it because they have not let it travel for many decades.


Are the winners names on the trophy? Is there a list of the winners somewhere? When I become important, I'll go to Monaco and see the trophy, too!

02-12-2013, 07:34 PM
Do they still have a John Ward Trophy race every year ?

Bill Van Steenwyk
02-12-2013, 07:52 PM
Do they still have a John Ward Trophy race every year ?

You may be able to access this information, plus more about past winners and where held on the UIM website.

Ron Hill
02-13-2013, 10:51 AM
Are the winners names on the trophy? Is there a list of the winners somewhere? When I become important, I'll go to Monaco and see the trophy, too!


I'll be in Bakersfield with my gear!!!

I'm going to a UIM Board meeting on restructuring the UIM. I go over on the 22nd - arrive the 23rd. The World Champions Gala Dinner is that night; the BoD meeting is the next morning and I fly home the 25th. Two nights in Monaco and one on an airplane.

Strang is getting an award there, too.



Fred is APBA's UIM representative. A lot of travel here for such a short stay. Thanks, Fred from BRF, American boat racers in general and from me. You have spent a life time working for boat racing and many, including me, probably don't give you half the credit you deserve.

We will have the B and H that I'm buying from Kenn Christy, to race C Hydro, ready for you at the 2013 Winter Natioanls at Bakersfield, March 2-3, 2013. Be sure to turn in your entry early, or you'll pay a late fee!

02-13-2013, 03:52 PM
As I was looking at heat sheet I noticed Bill Seebolds name next to boat R-12 in D runabout. Does anyone know was this a typo or did Bill run Howards boat or what was the circumstance ?

02-14-2013, 08:30 AM
I talked to Billy today about this. that is the last time he drove a alky boat.

02-14-2013, 06:58 PM
So Bill did run Howards equipment in that race ?

Master Oil Racing Team
02-14-2013, 08:49 PM
Yea! They were good friends. I have a photo from the 2006 reunion when they hugged each other after 32 years. Joe called me after talking to Bill and said that Billy thought that his last alky race was at DePue in 1972. He was driving for Marshall Grant then, and that's what I remembered also. Then as Joe went on... Bill thought.."I did run one more time after that. I drove Howard Anderson's D Runabout. That was the last time I ran alky!"

Master Oil Racing Team
02-14-2013, 09:29 PM
John Ward Race. John Ward was run at DePue at the behest of my Dad Baldy Baldwin. We were promoting international racing, and no other country applied, so it came to the USA and Clyde and Charlotte Queen were glad to add that prestigious event to the 1974 Pro Nationals. There was not a John Ward race in 1975. In 1976 it was held at Valleyfield, Qeubec, Canada. That was the last John Ward trophy race. I was there along with Fred Hauenstein, Tim Butts, Jimmy Aderholdt, George Anderson, Jerry Kirts and others. Jerry ended up winning.

After that, there were no more applications as far as I know to run the John Ward trophy except for the 1980 race at Yelm, Washington. It was advertised on the race circular that there would be a John Ward race. There was a drought. The 1 2/3rd mile record course was reduced to the 1 1/4 mile course. Somehow, in all the goings on, the John Ward race was pushed back or forgotten. Bob Wartinger might remember. I was there. It wasn't run, and according to Mike Ward, the John Ward race was discontinued after 1976.

The last John Ward race then would have been the one at Valleyfield, Quebec Canada and the previous one was at DePue.

Ron Hill
02-14-2013, 10:22 PM
What or where are there details about John Ward? My brother always felt the John Ward Trophy Race was really the 500 CC World Championships.....but then again!

02-15-2013, 10:52 AM
Thanks Wayne and Joe for filling in the blanks.

When I first started collecting the programs from past DePue Nationals I never thought it would turn into a hobby , I guess I would call it. I never intended to post what I received but after doing the trivia thing at the reunion last year , than staying around and listening to all the stories that were being told I decided to start. While a lot of this information may be posted on the history tab here at BRF , and thank you to Ron and everyone at BRF for allowing us to use this forum , I would ask everybody if you see something that I post that jogs a memory , feel free to go ahead and share it.

John Schubert T*A*R*T
02-15-2013, 03:39 PM
Thanks Wayne and Joe for filling in the blanks.

When I first started collecting the programs from past DePue Nationals I never thought it would turn into a hobby , I guess I would call it. I never intended to post what I received but after doing the trivia thing at the reunion last year , than staying around and listening to all the stories that were being told I decided to start. While a lot of this information may be posted on the history tab here at BRF , and thank you to Ron and everyone at BRF for allowing us to use this forum , I would ask everybody if you see something that I post that jogs a memory , feel free to go ahead and share it.
Dale, we need you to keep the history going. Who else will do it, besides the next reunion chairman is you. Remember? Yeah, I'll help you with details.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-15-2013, 06:57 PM
Great idea John. I will help also.

And no Ron. John Ward and Mike Ward are not related. Mike has a great book he has compiled. It is not a narrative, but a compilation of all the champions of UIM and APBA of classes ranging from the smallest outboards to the unlimiteds. There are classes that were started and discontinued, such as Mod U. Not everything is in the book, but the stuff that everyone would want to research is. There are a few blank pages since the outgoing executive director chose to trash all the UIM records rather than move them, and Mike has put in a heroic effort to collect accurate results that are missing. He has been able to add more missing info to his book in the last ten years, but there are still some old outstanding results he needs. Fred Hauenstein and Ron Hill filled in some blanks about the John Ward Race in Valleyfield in 1976.

02-15-2013, 09:44 PM
While sorting thru my stuff I can across these pages so I thought I would add them. Thanks again to Wayne Baldwin for suppling the information.:D
As far as 2017 goes John and Wayne , I would be than happy to do it with your help.

02-16-2013, 06:10 AM
Thought I would throw these in the 1974 history as it was the last year before the Nationals were forced to leave DePue the 1st due to the low water conditions on Lake DePue.

02-16-2013, 07:01 AM
What caught my eye was Bill Seebolds 88mph in a D hydro in 1969. Now I now this is not 100% accurate , but it has to be pretty close. What boat\motor combination was Bill running that year ?

Altho you only raced a couple years at DePue John I see your name on that list a couple times.

Mike Schmidt
02-16-2013, 07:51 AM
My guess is a Grant built Konig and a Marchetti.

Michael D-1

Master Oil Racing Team
02-16-2013, 09:46 AM
I think you're right Mike. While the timing is accurate Dale, the course was not surveyed, and was approximately 5 miles. Those speeds are a higher than found at surveyed courses during those days. But they were fast, and considering the level of competition, they were some really great heats.

Gene East
02-16-2013, 12:17 PM
Bill Seebold Jr. (it's hard to keep from calling him Billy after all these years), is in my opinion the best all round boat racer on the planet.

He drove everything from J to 7-litre. I've never asked him why he never drove Unlimited Hydro. Does anyone other than himself know?

I attended only one unlimited race in my life and I was introduced to Bernie Little by a business associate; Dick Chadwick, who drove a few Unlimited heats. You probably won't recognize his name, but Bernie knew him.

Dick and I struck up a friendship when I asked about a scale model Unlimited on his desk.

I took him to a tunnel boat race in St. Louis and he took me to the Gold Cup in Evansville.

At the time, Bill was at his peak in the Bud Lite boat. While talking to Mr. Little; I suggested Bill in Bud Lite could beat Miss Budwieser on a short course with tight turns.

Bernie smiled and said, "He'll never get a chance to prove it"!

Bill Van Steenwyk
02-16-2013, 03:11 PM

Regards your comment about asking Billy Seebold why he never drove an Unlimited:

I often wondered the same thing, and I asked him one time 25 or more years ago, just that.

He answered he thought that "anyone who drove one of those had holes in their head". Maybe not those exact words, but something very similar, and I wish I could remember his exact comment. I got the definite impression that he thought the boats themselves, safety features, or something about that class of boats was not something he wanted to be involved with. I later mentioned it to Bill Sr., and got the same comment, but nothing else.

Don't remember now if he commented as to whether he had ever actually been asked to drive one, but if so and he mentioned it, I do not remember it, and I think I would have remembered that about the conversation if someone had asked him and he said he had refused, for whatever reason. I am NOT sating that he refused if he was asked, just that he did not mention it.

In addition to all his racing accomplishments, he is a very nice person, and would give you the shirt off his back if needed. Probably some of those folks he competed against all those years would argue about that comment, but fortunately I had the opportunity to race against him the last couple of years he ran "Alky". We have been friends for almost 45 years, and for that I consider myself very fortunate.

I absolutely agree he is/was the best all-round boat racer on the planet. There may have been one or two better in their specific category for a period of time, but NO ONE better from the age of 12 until he retired around the age of 60 give or take a few years, in all the categories he raced.

He won the Champ Boat tour at least once, with which group (IOGP, Champ Boat, etc.) I don't remember, but one Championship win came right at the end of his driving career. From a physical standpoint with the high G forces involved, and the mental concentration required for the period of time demanded at the speeds involved, this was a real accomplishment against other drivers less than half his age. Add to that his MOD, PRO, and INBOARD accomplishments and anyone would be hard pressed to argue with his accomplishments over that 50 year period of time.

He also was VERY active in promoting, along with Bill Sr. before his retirement, all types of boat racing in the midwest area, although most of his was with the OPC Tunnel Boat groups he raced with in the height of his racing career. Along with a leading civiv group in Fenton, Mo., be was responsible brings some of the very best Tunnel boat racing to the St. Louis area including several UIM World Championships. He also tried, with other leaders of APBA around the year 2000, to put the organization on a more financial sound footing, by making APBA premier categories more of a profit center. That effort was rebuffed, and the results are now very evident with APBA in the financial position it is in, and also the secrecy involved in efforts presently being made "to put it on a more sound financial footing and promote membership," or so it is said by present leadership. Almost 200K has been expended to date on that effort and results are mixed, to say the least. The secrecy involved in this effort has also alienated a good portion of the present membership. (My opinon as I do not attempt to speak for him).

AGAIN, I would certainly agree with you that he is the most accomplished all-round boat racer of his time, and probably still could give anyone a run for their money today.

A lot of folks may not know he was involved in the building of a 4 engined Unlimited tunnel boat when he still operated Seebold Boat. It was campaigned at a number of Unlimited races in the 80's I think was the time frame, and one of the problems he was working on at the time was the problems involved with a Tunnel type boat competing against a Hydro type boat, as they were so different in the way they got around the course regards turning. The Tunnel boat wanted to go to a buoy and then "pivot" on that buoy as they do, loosing some speed in the process, and of course the Hydro would just "fly" right around the buoys, and in the process gain an advantage over the Tunnel design. We had several conversations in that time frame about "sponson" fins on the tunnel boat, but I do not believe he ever got it to do what he was wanting. I just saw a picture of that boat the other day somewhere and it was located at the time the picture was taken in Texas and had a name that indicated something about Texas. Sorry, but I don't remember the specifics now.

Several years ago I mentioned to him he ought to have someone write an autobiography of his life, or else write it himself. He acted a little embarrassed that I would suggest that, but like a lot of people I have known, his life would be VERY interesting to read about, especially the years driving and building boats for Mercury, associations with boat owners in the other categories, and his associations with some of the other great drivers in the sport, of all categories.

In addition to his racing accomplishments, he is just an all round nice guy, although probably some of the drivers he raced against over the years might argue that point, but I never saw him do anything that I would consider unfair/unsafe driving against others, and I saw all the great Championship races in St. Louis over the years, including those UIM World Championships when the "Factory Wars" were at the most competitive. Those "wars" got so competitive, and there was much questionable driving going on, that he asked a number of "Alky" drivers, (so their neutrality could not be questioned) to be turn judges one year at the UIM World OZ Championships. There were a small number of lower classdrivers tossed for overlap violations in the preceding heats to OZ and evidently the factory teams realized there would be no foolishness permitted, and the OZ heats went off without penalty to anyone.

I remember particularly one race he (Billy) was involved in that featured quite a few laps of following another driver around the course just on the outside of him right on his "hip". After about 10-15 laps of this he noticed that the other driver (who I am sure knew he was there) was slightly overshooting one of the two "short turns" on the George Winter course. He waited until the opportunity presented itself when the driver slightly overshot the turn by about 30 feet and then turned hard left just behind and thru the other drivers roostertail, pulling even with him in the process, and then completed the pass on the inside at the other buoy just a couple hundred feet onward. A real "Billy" move and one that had the spectators in St. Louis gasping in appreciation of seeing what a master could do with a Tunnel boat.

As mentioned earlier, I have had the opportunity and pleasure of his friendship for 45 years now, some fun times away from the race course (a wild trip in Acapulco in the late 70's in a Volkswagon Mini-Van with the doors held shut with a rope, going the wrong way down a one way street with Billy driving, and 12 people in the van was just one experience) and also the fun of racing against him the last couple of years he competed in the ALKY category, (and no I never beat him) and I really agree with Gene's assessment of his boat racing accomplishments, plus as I commented, he is just a regular nice guy.

I still hope we get that autobiography from him and I am around to enjoy it.

Master Oil Racing Team
02-20-2013, 10:10 AM
ADD: Go to the bottom to read narrative. Still can't figure how to get the attachments in the right place.:mad:52926

Thank goodness for notes, letters, etc for improving memory. I was at Yelm in 1980 and knew we didn't run the John Ward race, but could not remember why. While digging through my stuff yesterday, I discovered I was off by a year. Application was made for the John Ward race and UIM North American Continental races for OD and OF. By the letter, it appears the races were approved and on the calendar when someone notified me from Region 12 that the race dates needed to be changed. I don't know what the original date was, but we tried to make the races at Yelm if possible. In 1981 though, Stan Henderson worked his butt off to have an Alky/OPC race on the beautiful Lake Amistad near Del Rio. The lake shares a common border with Mexico and we were determined to help make it a success since we were courting Mexican drivers to start racing with us in our international racing. That John Ward race was changed to the same date as the one at Del Rio, so we didn't go to Yelm.

Right when this happened my Dad found that four key employees were just about finished with their plans to go into competition with Alice Specialty and he ran them and everyone tied to the traitors off. I had to quit racing then and go to work, but Baldy did let me go to West Berlin to compete in the OD World Championships a couple of weeks later to finish my racing career. Consequently, I lost complete touch with what was going on as we had to scramble to set up a new general manager, office manager, shop foreman and chief dispatcher salesman for the northern territory, as well as another bookkeeper, yard man , and three drivers.

This would have been the final John Ward race if it had been run. And there is a possibilty that it was run, but none of the paperwork turned in. Our group at Hydroplanes International was the one dealing with the UIM matters regarding the Pro division, and they might not have followed up with paperwork and results since we were out of it. People that may know about that race would be Penny Anderson, Rick Sandstrom, or Mike Jones....all who would have been there.

03-23-2013, 09:34 AM
Bruce Summers just sent me the 1974 edition of Propeller magazine. Here is the rac recap. Thanks Bruce .