View Full Version : Earl Bentz

David Pergande
08-12-2006, 10:04 PM
Earl was a great driver, he would either win or break the motor!! The powerboat magazine cover is pretty cool as well




08-13-2006, 09:30 AM
Only ever saw Earl Bentz race in Europe with the Long John boats.
I remember him setting a course record at Bristol with the Merc T4, that
still remains as one of the most incredible laps I've ever seen.

1st pic Earl Bentz (4) with Tom Percival (10) behind him at Bristol 79.

2nd pic Earl Bentz rounding the pit turn at Bristol.

Miss BK
08-16-2006, 04:41 PM
In the very first photo, Earl is sitting on his boat with a cover on the *bottom* of the boat. Was that because it had those top secret brakes?

Jeff Lytle
08-16-2006, 05:59 PM
You used to see that alot in the late 70's and early eighties when steps were added to the sponsons. They used to cover the boat bottoms before they even took them out of the water! :eek:

Common oneupmanship for the factory teams of the day, steps are a part of all tunnel and hydroplane sponsons today, and are no secret.

09-20-2006, 07:39 AM
Earl at St Louis in 1978? and Buck Thornton sitting on one of his wrapped sponsons.

Ron Hill
12-12-2011, 03:04 PM
Ron--I have really enjoyed keeping up with many of you on this forum. I was planning to attend the reunion in Jupiter this past October but we had a Triton owners tournament the same weekend that pulled me away. I stay in touch with Reggie and some of the guys from Mercury and many of my old racing friends. Racing will always provide me with some of my fondest memories. I sold Triton, my last boat company, to Brunswick six and a half years ago and have remained active with the company. I do take more time to hunt, fish and enjoy my family these days but still enjoy the fishing boat business even though it hasn't been much fun the past few years because of our nation's economy.
I promise to look around to see what pictures I may have to post. You know, all those years in all the exotic places we raced and I never carried a camera. In fact, I didn't even own one. The only pictures that I have came from my friend Mike Butler at Mercury. My wife and three daughters do cherish the ones that I do have. Please stay on touch and hope to see you soon.

Thanks for the email, Earl. You are one of the ALL TIME GREATS!

12-12-2011, 04:28 PM
St. Louis but I don't know the year.
Mark N

Lars Strom
12-12-2011, 04:48 PM
Only ever saw Earl Bentz race in Europe with the Long John boats.
I remember him setting a course record at Bristol with the Merc T4, that
still remains as one of the most incredible laps I've ever seen.

I fully agree..I was in Bristol 1979 ..and did see Earl Bentz brutal driving style..maybe one of the best tunnel boat drivers ever..!!

Lars Strom
12-12-2011, 06:11 PM
More Earl Bentz in Bristol..boat #4.

Lars Strom
12-12-2011, 06:22 PM

Bill Van Steenwyk
12-12-2011, 06:49 PM
I'm sure there are more folks than just myself would be interested in hearing if Earl ever got the chance to test a Stock Car (or any other type Formula Car) and what the results were.

He was always one of my favorite drivers to watch, along with Billy and others, driving for both Mercury and OMC during the "heyday" of Tunnel Boat Racing on the Meramec River in George Winter Park in St. Louis County. The "factory wars" years provided some of the best racing ever, especially at the George Winter Park race course with the two short and two longer straight-a-ways making for four separate turns each lap. I had the opportunity to sit in the turn right in front of the judges stand for all the heats of the OZ Championship when it was run there and it was a fantastic race, especially from that perspective.

In addition to the actual race, the politics between the factories were pretty interesting also, particularly when several engine protests were filed. The CIA had nothing on the factories when forced to present their respective engines for tear down because of one of these protests that took place.