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Thread: A Bill Jack Rucker Sr. Story By Ron Hill

  1. #1
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Tustin, California
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    Default A Bill Jack Rucker Sr. Story By Ron Hill

    Easter week, 1963, was a crazy time in Newport Beach, California. Thousands of people came to New Port for "Bal Week"... (Balboa Island). I headed down to the Newport Peninsula on Friday night in search of my friends from Orange Coast College. The traffic was non stop, so I parked my '53 Chevy and started to walk. Maybe, being 6'5" tall and 235 with blond hair and blue eyes, I got picked up by some girls from San Raphael. I asked them if they knew Reg Mechan who raced B Runabouts. They never heard of a B Runabout.

    Bal Week was kind of a blur. My friends later said they didn't want to call my parents and tell them my CAR HAD NOT MOVED ALL WEEK. AS THE WEEEK ENDED, I COULD HARDLY WALK, but the young lady from San Rafael wanted me to come visit.

    So, May comes along and Carl Meyers and I decide to go to a race in Oakland. Hmm, San Rafael is just down the road.

    Carl and I head out for Oakland on Friday. I have purchased Ted May's Sid Craft C-D Hydro. I had made some big changes in the boat. I added and extended steering wheel which allowed me to sit 12 inches closer to the transom.

    We test at Modesto Reservoir on Saturday and Bob Powell suggested we come by "Signs and Designs" his shop and let him letter my boat. He lettered my boat and Carl's BU.

    I called the girl in San Rafael and explained we we getting the boats lettered but as soon as we got to a MOTEL.

    Well, we got to the motel, Carl had had a few beers, I had had more than a few beers and I called the girl. Her dad would not let her drive down to Oakland and Carl would not let me drive to San Rafael. I never saw the girls again, I do still remember her name.

    Sunday, at the Oakland Airport Channel, I tell Carl, "I hear you'd better start behind Reg Mechan or you'll jump the gun. I have also heard, I had better start behind Bill Jack Rucker or I will jump the gun.

    I had not raced on NorCal since in ran AU, in '56, so it took me awhile to find Bill jack Rucker Sr.

    Well, Carl won both heats of BU and got DQ's both heats for jumping the gun. I started almost last in four heat (C and D) and managed to win all four heats.

    When the trophies were presented, Bill Jack Rucker, Sr. came over and congratulated me.

    This was the beginning of a long friendship.
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 09-12-2021 at 10:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Sandia, Texas
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    I've got a Bill Jack Rucker story as well, and I told it before, but it was a long time back. Guess it might fit here as well.

    It was at Alex in APBA/UIM World Championship event. At the Pro Nationals at DePue the previous year, the Texans lost the Texas flag to California on a bet by Artie Lund that Texas drivers would accumulate more points than the California drivers. California won and Joe Rome had to give up the Texas flag he had borrowed from his bank before coming to DePue. All the drivers had to sign the flag and either Billy Jack Rucker or Harry Bartolomei took possession of it.

    At Alex, the rivalry continued and it was the same deal. It was getting close to the end of the races and points were close because even if drivers didn't win a championship but finished high in heats, lots of points could be counted. I rode with Charlie Bailey in F runabout, and we won, but I didn't get any points for that.....only Charlie.

    As we were coming up for the start of F hydro, I was on the inside, and Billy Jack was just to the right of me and about half a boat length ahead. For those who have never been to Alex, there are buoys marking the straightaway also. As we got to the final straightaway buoy before the first turn Billy Jack made a hard left like he was going into the first turn. I had to quickly back off and make the turn with him or else run him over. Stunned at first by the move, I then thought to myself, why did he think this was the first turn? As we were the lead boats there was no one ahead of us, and I figured he must be concentrating on forcing me in hot and tight so I would have to back off and he could take the inside. I was plenty PO'd that he just cost me a most likely win. I continued to go on around though and get back on course and head to the first turn. I was concentrating on making up some ground though and did not notice that Billy Jack killed his motor in the infield. Or maybe I thought I washed him down...can't remember.

    I made it back to the pits and my Dad asked me what that was all about. I told him I don't know why but Billy Jack Rucker turned on the wrong buoy, and I had no choice but to turn also...or else crash. Shortly after that word came down to our pits. When Billy Jack got towed back to his pits Artie Lund and all his San Antonio crew were there ready to kick his butt. They watched the whole thing right in front of them and thought Billy Jack was taking me out so I wouldn't get the points from winning. They didn't think about him giving up points as well. As I said, it was very, very close at this point.

    The San Antonio crew cooled off quickly when Billy Jack pointed out something that had broken on his steering bar and his boat just turned. It's lucky that it didn't flip right in front of me getting us both tangled up, or in the first turn where it could have been a multiple tragedy. California ended up winning the flag again, but I forgot by how many points. Would my win have put us over, or if I got points for a deck rider do it? I don't remember, but I did get a good story out of it.

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