View Full Version : Hearst Regatta 1949

Ron Hill
11-30-2004, 07:20 PM
My big brother is ten years older then I. In 1949, I was five. There were 22 entries in A Hydro that day. My grandmother, Lenny "PD" Hill could not see the races becasue her eye sight was so bad... over the nosie of the PA and boats, my dad was telling her how Russ, (my brother) was doing...Well, he started last of 22 A Hydros... and lap after lap, five laps, my brother picked off the other boats and won the heat.

My dad, to his dying day, claimed to have evey bit of his temper!!! But on that day in 1949, my dad chewed my brother's butt for such a poor start, never mind he won the heat.

Well, the chewing didn't do much, as my brother started last again. And again he passed the field to win the William Randolph Hearst Newspaper Regatta.

His boat was called "PUMPER" because my dad and brother had built the engine out of a "PUMPER", the Navey had used Handy Billy's (Johnson A Motors to fight fires in World War II). My dad had bought like 22 of this motors surplus. The crankcase had a small carb and babbit bears. My brother and dad had opened the carb, machined the case for ball bearings

The cranks were too long on the bottom and threaded. My dad bought a tool post grinder to cut the cranks off and he re splined i=them crank in his SouthBend Lathe...

Here is a picture of my brother winning the 1949 Hearst Regatta...

Ron Hill
11-30-2004, 07:24 PM
My brother, Junior as he was called by most, worked for Pep Hubbell. My dad a Pep Hubbell were great friends. My dad was making a few A lower units, besides my brother's. Pep was always into bike riding, and some how, my dad traded his patterns he had madefor the A lower unit, tpo Pep Hubbell for a bicycle.

So, for my first bike, my dad had paid for it by trading his a lower unit patterns...

Last year my son Broc, my brother Russ, and I visited a friend that has a barn with some outboards in it.

Here is a picture of my brother's A lower unit, the one his used to win the Hearst with in 1949. My brother said the ONLY thing that had been changed was a speedometer pick up had been added. It was in the box my dad had made, my dad was a contractor, but also a paperhanger. He'd always put felt in boxes with wall paper paste...56 years ago...the glue held well...

Ron Hill
11-30-2004, 07:40 PM
A Motor..just a picture for now.

Ron Hill
11-30-2004, 07:41 PM
This motor was in Ed's barn for 56 years. I last raced it in 1957...

Ron Hill
12-06-2004, 12:47 PM
Had I read this before I posted where Tommy Newton lived, I would have said he is from Montecito, becasue his boat name was Miss Montecito...

Here is a list of C Service Runabout, well, Tommy's runabout was Miss Santa Barbara...So, maybe it was easy to think he was from Lampock.

Ron Hill
12-06-2004, 12:51 PM
Lewis "Lou" Morphy was an actual SHOOTING STAR for the moives. He did trick shooting, like shooting holes in cards...

M.J. Carnakis was Manuel "Manny", mayor of Bakersfield.. Manny carried a business card that said, Mayor of Bakersfield", on the back he had excuses for lsoing the race, like jumped gun, with a box to check, flipped, burned piston, fouled plug, all other boats faster...

Always bright yellow, clean stuff, "Handsome is as handsome does was his saying..

Bill Salisbury
01-01-2005, 04:20 PM
I read, with interest, about the Johnson A Pumper and just want to make a comment or two about that Pumper powerhead.

First of all, the Pumper did not ever have babbit bearings in it. This powerhead had roller bearings on each end of the crankshaft and the connecting rods were forged steel and used needle bearings on the crankpins. Some racers did replace the roller bearing setup with ball bearings.

The writer is correct about the long extension on the crankshaft and the need to cut it off and bore the shaft and then insert a spline in the end in order to use it as a racing engine. Boring the carburetor inlet was also a must, as well as changing the holes in the crankshaft rotary valve to make it breathe like a regular KR.

If anyone is interested in "old iron" racing engines, I have quite a collection of them, most in running condition. These include Johnson KRs, SRs, PRs, VRs and even a Johnson XR. I will be happy to converse by email or telephone.

Bill Salisbury

Ron Hill
01-01-2005, 04:34 PM
Is the center main babbit??? Seems that my dad would solder (Babbit) the center main, then bore the center main where the rotary valve went...I'd bet my dad replaced the needle bearing with rollers...

Seems my dad replaced brass bearings in George Peek's E Service, before my dad knew the rules... After George blew that motor up, he went F Racing..

My brother said he ground the rods to the minimum weight...but I did no work on the engine...raced it once before we got the "NEW" 15 inch Hubbell block on the Quickie...

Why don't you post pictures of your motors??? I'm sure many would enjoy seeing them.

Bill Salisbury
02-07-2005, 08:42 AM
You are right about the "center main" being coated with babbit or solder. This main bearing was really not a bearing, but more of a seal between the crankcases. It was common practice to do as you stated to close up the clearance and make it seal better. All of the real bearings were either roller or needle.

Will see what I can do to post some photos of these race engines.

Best, Bill

Ron Hill
07-29-2006, 02:56 PM
Some names you might know...Clay Smiith, Rich Hallett Bud and Eddie Meyer (Meyer-Drake Offenhauser Indy engine)...Rockey Stone