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Thread: 1972 PRO Nationals

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    BoatRacingFacts VIP racingfan1's Avatar
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    Default 1972 PRO Nationals

    Here are somes pages from the 1972 program , along with the heats sheets , some of the names are a little hard to read tho and the finals along with the race recap from the Propeller magazine.

    Thanks to Wayne Baldwin for the finals sheets and RC Hawie for the Propeller article.
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    Sorry the quality of some of these is not the best.
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    Here is the race preview and preview from Propeller
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    I have seen these heat sheets posted somewhere else on BRF but I would love to hear some of the stories again from the 5 AOH qualifying heats. 55 AOH registered , it must have been a battle to reach the finals.

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    After looking at the information I have posted I want to ask the question , would the late 60's into the early 70's been the peak years for participants in the alky/PRO Nationals. It just looks like the boat numbers from these years were never matched again.

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    There were more boats following the post war boom that were on the race course according to the history I have read Dale, and I think people like Russ and Ron Hill, and John Schubert might fill in on what their experience was. What I know from the races I attended,I think I came in at the peak of a second transition where shear numbers of racers had dropped off earlier, to those that stayed in while people like O.F. Christner and Dieter Konig did amazing things with motors that outran the capability of the boats to handle the horsepower and speeds, and the dramatic boat designs that had to keep up. I think 1965 seems like a peak year in APBA and NOA where the cream of the crop and all the others that lived for the newfound speed and power stayed in the sport.

    Just a very few short years later, the OPC boats really gained more speed, horsepower, and totally different designs that pulled a lot of alky drivers away. Then with fuel shortages in the early seventies, coupled with the falling dollar and other costs, racing became more expensive. To add to this was the fact that motors gained much more horsepower, and the speeds were something to take into account for a family on a budget. Boat designs once again underwent a radical change in 1972 with the broader introduction of the Butts Aerowing. There was another transition during this time, but a lot of it had to do with pricing and the dollar value compared to other currencies, plus a recession.



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    I have a lot of stories from the 1972 Nationals Dale, but I was hoping for some others to chime in first. I didn't race in the finals, so I will just add what happened to us before that.

    We had tested thoroughly before heading to DePue. Motors were in good shape, we were enthused and all looked good.

    At the driver's meeting held by Charlotte Queen of the Outboard Club of Chicago, we all looked at the roster and our heat rosters. It was a little bit of surprise that we had five heats of eliminations in A hydro when the first two of each heat made it plus the fastest third. It was a few years earlier we had to do that in the A and B Hydro Classes, but these days you could usually count on a third place to get you into the finals. That was true here except for the A Hydro class. That was good (for the sport of boat racing), except for when you looked down at the sheet to see who you had to compete with just to get into the finals. You could hear moans and groans all around about some driver or another worrying out loud about who was in his heat. I did the same mental read myself. But how could it be any other way? There were so many great drivers, there was no way to get an easy heat.

    The first elimination heat we had to run was the third class elimination. D Hydro. We were in the second heat. I won it followed by Fred Hauensteing and Dean Wilson, so we made the finals of one class. I took some pictures of other eliminations to pass time because it was a very long day and we had three classes to go through before our next round. Instead of butterflies, I used the shutterbug to calm my nerves.

    The next class up for us was F Hydro. This time we were in the first heat with some very fast and close quarter driving racers. Billy Seebold won driving for Marshall Grant. I finished second, followed by Tommy Hooten, Charles Hosler and Melvin Kirts.

    Good. Another finals for us to compete in. The last time we were here in 1970, we only ran in B Hydro and it was a funny disaster.

    Our F Konig was fast, but there were a LOT of good F's and it didn't take much to get into the finals since there were 13 entries. The very next class up though was A Hydro. That was THE ONE! The most contrary class we ever ran was the A. If it was on...it was hot. If it wasn't....it could be screwy to figure out the problem. This time...just as in our testing...the A Konig was hot and we won our heat followed by Dick Scopinich. We were in Heat 3. Tim Butts won his Heat 1, Jeff Hutchins won his heat 2 Jim Stone won his heat 4 and Jess French won his heat 5. Jimmy Aderholdt6 was the fastest 3rd from heat 2 and made it into the finals.

    There were only 13 boats for D runabout, so if there were no scratches they only ran a couple of quick heats to fill the field for the finals then C Hydro finals were up. 32 boats, 3 heats. In my heat were Tommy Hooten, Henry Shakeshaft III, Rex Hall, Kay Harrison, John Schubert and Billy Seebold. A tough heat. I came out of the turn first and was half way down the straightaway when I looked over my left shoulder to see who was there. It was all I could do to concentrate on getting to, around and through the first turn with all that level of competition, and now I had a chance to see who was pushing. I relaxed a bit when I saw that Billy Seebold was not on my hip and a little ways back. As soon as I looked forward again, my Marchetti took to the sky. I had no warning. It climbed straight up, never tilting backward. I thought about kicking out, but I had never blown over before and didn't know what to do. At first I was going to fast to kick out. As I looked over my left shoulder a couple of times, I thought about kicking out, but the last time I can remember was hearing the motor screaming at at pitch I had never heard. I was holding on for dear life on the throttle and the steering wheel. The last thought I had in my mind before I blacked out was "If I don't let go of the throttle, I will blow my motor and won't qualify" It was a hazy world and I didn't think that because my crash was a certainty, I would be causing the stoppage of a race and therefore would not be legal to get into the next heat. The last thing I remember was being too high to let go of the throttle, but I guess I did.

    I suppose I feinted from the height. Looking from the pits, the Marchetti was in the sky above the trees on the opposite shore according to witnesses. I don't recall falling or hitting the water. When I became alert, I was standing in mud, and I raised my hands above my head because I thought I was O.K. I must have blacked on only for the falling and landing part because I watched the rescue guys come up in a john boat. They had no baskets, safety stuff, or anything like that with them. Just a boat and two guys, but I said I was Okay and one tried to pull me into the boat, but I was stuck in the mud. One grabbed each arm and tugged, but I was still stuck. At this point I did not know what the situation was or how lucky I was. One of the guys in the boat knew how silted up it was and jumped in. The water was only from my waist to my neck. Below that was silt. From my waist down was silty muck that they could not pull me out of because the boat kept tilting too much. The guy that jumped in the water sunk down to his chest about the same level I was and pushed my underarms up while the guys in the boat pulled me from my elbows and got me in. They rushed back to the boat ramp where the ambulance was and got me onto a stretcher. My Dad was very worried, but when he saw me and we talked he was O.K.

    I had finally come to my senses and knew that I would not be in the C hydro finals, but our B was running very good. They wanted to haul me off to the hospital to be checked out, but I said I was fine. We had one more eliminaton heat to run. There was some hesitation. There was a long day of racing and there were still the three heats of C hydro eliminations to run, plus B Hydro and F Runabout. If the ambulance was gone, there would be a long wait for the eliminations to resume. I don't remember exactly how this all came about, but I wanted to run the B hydro eliminations and my Dad was Okay with it, and Charlie Bradley and his Dad Doc Bradley were pitted near the ramp. Of course Doc was there anyway because we was in the profession. When he observed what was going on, and knew I was not hurt, he talked to my Dad and Doc Bradley was able to see to it that I was fit and did not have to go to the hospital.

    I went out in the second elimination heat of B Hydro and finished second behind Billy Seebold driving Marshall Grant's "Boat Named Sue". After the Qualifications we were riding high. We won two and finished the other two in second place behind Billy Seebold. Things were looking good for the finals. Talking in the pits afterwards before we headed to our rooms to get cleaned up and eat supper Billy said "You won't race tommorrow" and I replied "Yes I will". He was right. Besides a cracked floater rib, I could not lift my head without holding it, and could not look left or right. On the hard to read sheets I sent to Dale, you can see among the places of finish, I also wrote "Scratch" in the classes I qualified.



  8. #8
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    Great story Wayne. Having worked on the water many years I believe the southeast corner of the course at Lake DePue has had more bad accidents than anywhere else on the lake. My theory is that that area is the closest place to the shore than any other and the water never really get a chance to totally settle down before the leaders come back around. Maybe somebody else can chime in but that is just my observation.

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    I think the closest place to shore has a lot to do with it Dale, but I believe the biggest contributing factor is a sudden change in water depth. Believe it or not, that will affect a hydro running on the edge. When I was a kid our Dad would take us fishing down the Laguna Madre via the intracoastal canal which was on the land side of Padre Island. The canal was cut through the Laguna Madre to handle barge traffic because the bays were too shallow to handle the draft. Outside the channel you had to know where you were running so that you would not run onto a submerged reef or rocks. The intracoastal is about eighteen feet deep I think, or maybe fourteen. In any case, our twenty one foot Thompson with two 75 horsepoweer Evinrudes rode with a heavy stern. It was great in rough water, but not real fast. Maybe 35 or 38 mph. The trip would take 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on how rough Baffin Bay got. To speed up the boat, my Dad cut to the east of a certain bouy in a shallow area he knew well and we would go about twenty miles in two or three feet of water before he had to cut back in. We got a thrill looking at the bottom as we cruised over it. The hydraulics of running in the water caused the stern to lift so we didn't displace so much water and we picked up about three miles per hour.

    There is an underwater road at Alex that runs northeast to southwest. It is ten feet wide or so and several feet below the surface. It starts just north of the judges stand and crosses the back straightaway around three fourths of the way down. The boats would be maxed out here, and that is where the majority of the blowovers occur. It is a sudden change in water depth from deep to shallow. I think that is the same effect that happens at DePue. That C Hydro race in 72 was the only time I ever blew over, and there was no warning. The boat just took off.

    Many more tales of the 72 DePue coming.



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    My Dad was like Billy Seebold in knowing I would not be able to race in the finals either, and so he called Joe Rome to tell him not to come. Joe came anyway, and he stopped by his banker before he left for the airport to borrow the bank's 3 by 5 foot Texas flag. Billy Jack Rucker's crew was flying their California flag high and Howard Anderson usually had his Washington state flag flying as well as Frank Zorkan with his Arizona flag on a short pole. It must have been a west coast thing. We had flown Texas and confederate flags in our pits before, and somehow this led Artie Lund and his crew to bet the Texas flag against the California flag that Texans would come away with more points than California. This was the largest contingent of Texans to make the trip to DePue so far. We had always had good luck racing in Alexandria, but Californians had been making the trip for years. When the last checkered flag had dropped and the water settled, and points totaled, us Texans were the losers. All us Texans had to sign the Texas flag and Joe had to surrender it to Billy Jack and the Californians. This was not the last of Joe's troubles though.



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