IN THIS ISSUE:
After 48 years away, the hydros return to Lake Guntersville
Chairman’s Comments by Doug Bernstein
Remembering Chuck Lyford and Jim Hendrick
The hydros test on the Columbia River
The 2017 boat roster
Watching the hydros on the radio
Branding done right by Chris Tracy
HydroFile by Lon Erickson
[Top] The U-21 entry by the Go Fast, Turn Left Racing team with its new color scheme.
[Middle] The U-9 team prepares driver Andrew Tate and the Les Schwab/Delta Gear
for a run on the Columbia River. [Above] The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum
shows off its newly restored Pay ‘n Pak, the Winged Wonder of 1973.
by Brad Haskin
“Hey, do you remember that time when Chuck......?”
It’s a phrase I found myself saying quite often in the 24 hours after hearing the news. That news came in the typical Chuck Lyford manner, a first-person message from the afterlife in the form of an email:
Today at the Festival of Speed in Spokane, Washington, my Elva Mark 7 left the track at very high speed,encountered boulders that launched me end over end over beyond a high bank into a pile of tires. Both the car and I sustained unsurvivable injuries. I lived a magical life full of joy and adventure and I treasured your friendship and the fun we shared. My parting words to you sent with love: Every day counts!
Every day counts. Every day counts, indeed! How many times had Chuck said that to me over the years? At first I didn’t know how to react to the email. It felt like a joke. Was it real? Could it be? A few phone calls and yes, indeed. Icarus flew close to the sun.
“Hey, David Williams....do you remember that time when Chuck took you flying in the Aerostar to go ‘inspect bridges’ on the Peninsula?”
I bet everyone who ever met Chuck Lyford had a story that started like that. And, every single story would
require both hands gesturing feverishly to properly tell. Most times it involved several four-letter words for
emphasis. I know David Williams’ story did. Mine do, too. I have many.
Chuck somehow seemed to know everyone and have a hand in everything. He was never name-dropping or bragging. Just people he knew and things that he did, because it was fun, and they were his friends.
Hydroplane racing? Yup, Chuck did that from an early age and was a champion at virtually every level (including outboards, 48 c.i.’s, and the 1960 and ‘61 7-liter national championships in Jack Colcock’s Challenger). As a teen he crewed on the futuristic Thriftway Too and raced against his friends Bill Muncey and Mira Slovak in the limiteds.
Appearances by the U-1 hydroplane at HomeStreet Bank branches, such as at this one in Kennewick, Washington, are a staple of the company’s sponsorship effort.
With the season nearly upon us, I thought it might be a good time to share some random thoughts, since many things need to be said in this limited amount of space:
1. As chairman of H1 Unlimited, by no means am I satisfied with the rate of progress. Accepting that positive changes will be gradual is difficult; there is so much we could do to improve our sport, if only there were 30 hours in a day, ten days in a week, and I had won last week’s PowerBall jackpot. We are moving forward, however, as evidenced by HomeStreet Bank’s great support in keeping the former Miss Budweiser shop available, Rob Graham joining the owner ranks, and our friends in Guntersville, Alabama, rejoining the circuit. Hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to enhance our technology, which will help improve our officiating and enhance our fans’ experience.
2. The passion and dedication of the fans and participants is impressive. When I served as a member of the H1
Veteran 7-liter hydroplane champion, U-95 project manager, and unlimited race pilot in the P-51 Bardahl Special, Chuck Lyford passed away on Sunday, June 4 while racing in a vintage car race in Spokane, Washington. Brad Haskin had known Chuck since he was a teenager and never ceased to be amazed at the life he lived. There will never be anyone like him again, he says. He sat down to write this in the days after his accident to process his thoughts on his friend.
a lot more leg room when flying), and have my food intake consist of peanut butter sandwiches and Diet Pepsi. I do, however, wish that I had Kay-Dub’s non-stop energy, enthusiasm, and positive outlook, as evidenced by the Friday text messages I receive from our part-time announcer and full-time fan. Other than the diet, we could all learn a lot from her on what our view of life should be.
5. Thanks again. Finally, thanks
again to all of you who participate
as fans, sponsors, racers, crew,
owners, officials, staff, and race
sites. Without you, we would have
much more boring summer weekends. I am grateful for having
the opportunity to serve as H1 chairman. It’s hard to believe that
I’ve gone from watching the races with no shirt, wearing cutoffs, and
drinking beer in the Detroit grandstands 40 years ago, to being chairman, while sporting whatever Hawaiian shirt Mark Weber surprises me with in Detroit.
Best wishes for fast, safe racing. I’ll see you soon.
Watching the hydros with a radio,
getting a little closer to the sport.
By Jim Pernikoff
Lake Guntersville, Alabama, is the southernmost point on the meandering Tennessee River, and resulted from the building of Guntersville Dam in 1939. While boat racing on the lake began almost immediately, its first unlimited experience came in 1962, with Roy Duby’s legendary 200 mph mile straightaway record in the Miss U.S. 1, a record that stood for no fewer than 38 years.
by Jared Meyer
Tri-Citians were treated to a full day of roostertails on June 2 as four unlimited hydroplanes, Hopp Racing’s GP-15 Grand Prix hydroplane, and the vintage 1973 Pay ’n Pak took to the Columbia
River to kick off the 2017 racing
season. The unlimiteds in attendance were the U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank driven by Jimmy Shane, U-9 Les Schwab/Delta Gear with Andrew
Tate, U-21 Darrell Strong presents PayneWest Insurance piloted by Brian Perkins, and the 440 Bucket List Racing driven by Dustin Echols.
The teams set out to gather
information about the changes that were made to the hulls in the off season. Perhaps the most work was done by the Miss HomeStreet Bank team of Madison, Indiana, which gave
their boat a complete overhaul.
Driver Jimmy Shane was pleased
with the results. “The decks were
taken completely off of the boat,
half of the frames were out of the
boat getting repairs or new frames out back in,” he said. “It’s almost like a brand-new boat.”
The team also tested a new
propeller during a second run.
“That didn’t go as well as we hoped,” said Shane. “The boat was a bit looser than we would like to see it. We will have some massaging to do on that propeller.”
U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank
After testing sessions in both Tri-Cities and Guntersville; getting the most time on the water of all the teams, the U-1 is ready for the 2017 season. Crew chief Dan Hoover is pleased with the results of the off-season updates done over the winter.
EDITOR: Andy Muntz
ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Craig Fjarlie, Chris Tracy, Dick Sanders
HYDROFILE EDITOR/WEBMASTER: Lon Erickson HISTORIAN: Bob Greenhow
EDITORIAL BOARD: Clint Newman II, Bob Senior
Unlimited NewsJournal, established in 1973, is published by Unlimiteds Unanimous,
an enthusiast club interested in promoting and documenting the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing.
Copyright © 2017, Unlimited NewsJournal. Reproduction or transmission in whole or part
is not permitted without written approval of the Unlimited NewsJournal.
EDITOR: Unlimited NewsJournal, 14313 Beverly Edmonds Road, Edmonds, WA 98026.
Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
U-3 Go3 Racing
Though it hasn’t been formally announced from the Go3 team, all indications point to Ed Cooper’s team being headed to Tri-Cities with Griggs Ace Hardware back as primary sponsor. Winter work and updates are completed, sponsorship development continues.
Board of Directors and as general counsel I didn't get that feedback from our fans. As chairman, I get emails, both positive and negative, some based upon fact, others upon misinformation. I read all of them and do respond. My preference is to remain positive, as my goal, with all of your help, is to help build the sport, not tear it down. Additionally, I was impressed that people such as Steve Webster and Dave Villwock took the time to reach out, offering their observations and suggestions.
3. The people behind the scenes make the sport go. As a fan, I didn’t have a grasp of how much work it takes to maintain a race team, host a race, or keep the series going. Each is a function of many people working long hours for free, with their only reward being the seeing
fans walk away satisfied with the
show. It is a great feeling… consider volunteering to help out.
4. I wish I was Kay-Dub Myers Brewer (sort of). No, I don’t aspire to be over a foot shorter than I am (except I would have
Hydroplanes and corporate
branding — Done right.
Remembering Chuck Lyford.
by Chris Tracy
Some owners and teams get it, other’s not so much. What I am talking about? I’m talking about the role of hydroplane sponsorship in advancing a corporate brand and their goals. Hydroplane sponsorship done right is way more than signing a sponsor, collecting their money, and slapping signage on the boat for a race or two or even for a complete season. Savvy teams and sponsors understand that hydroplane sponsorship can be used to advance their corporate goals. How?
Likely the best recent example of integrating hydroplane sponsorship with corporate goals is seen in how
Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank uses its hydroplane sponsorship in its marketing. The 97-year-old HomeStreet Bank has 56 branches and 2,600 employees in the Western United States and Hawaii. The company’s corporate goals can be summarized in three bold statements:
by Lon Erickson
One of the interesting aspects of H1 racing, or for that matter, any racing is being able to see or “hear” inside the sport and what’s goes on during the action on a racecourse.
There are two excellent ways that fans of H1 racing can take this all in. These are yet another way that we can bring new fans into our sport and also help current fans further understand what is happening during the race.
Have you ever wondered what the drivers and crew/radio man are talking about when a boat is out there qualifying? How about when they are milling for the start, getting his timing marks, and surveying the competition? What happens in that last minute before the start of a heat or the final winner-takeall? It’s actually easier than you think to listen in, be a better-informed fan, and gain greater insight to the sport.
The first way is live and using a handheld scanner, which in simple terms is a multi-channel programmable radio receiver. One of these scanners can be purchased new for as little as $50 and used ones can frequently be found for less on eBay or Craigslist. They receive VHF/UHF radio frequencies and are commonly used for monitoring police, fire/emergency, marine, racing, civil air, ham radio, railroad, CB radio, weather, and more.
The first step is to program in the teams’ radio frequencies into your scanner and set up your scanning priorities. Either listen to any number of teams or scan through any and all team frequencies to catch all the radio exchanges going on. Listed on the chart here in this story is the most current radio frequencies that are assigned to the H1 teams and officials. These are subject to change, but are easy to update if you learn a team has switched to another frequency. Often teams will use more than one frequency assigned to them, but the scanner can pick that up if they choose to switch channel.
The typical setup for most teams is that there are several crew-members
in strategic locations to watch the racecourse for the driver. One is usually at the start-finish line to help with the official timing clock marks and another radio person is in the radio corral or high in a scissor-lift with another view of the course. These locations vary from race to race depending on course and pit locations and provide the driver with another set of eyes to know what’s going on out on the course. Generally, one key person on the shore, usually the crew chief or owner, handles most of the communication to the driver,
though this can vary from team to team.
After 48 years away, the hydros
return to Lake Guntersville.
* Do the right thing for the customer.
* Take great care of employees.
* Be a good corporate citizen.
Targeting hydroplane fans, often there will be a full-size cardboard cutout of driver, Jimmy Shane, in the banks. Hydroplane racing details are often part of the bank’s FaceBook presence. And, HomeStreet Bank offers a special debit card for its hydro fans with the HomeStreet hydro picture on it.
But, HomeStreet goes way beyond that. The company views the hydro-
Hydros test on the Columbia River.
This was followed by five Dixie Cup races throughout the remainder of the 1960s, won by five different drivers for five different teams. But after 1969, Guntersville was dropped, probably due to low attendance, a result of a small town being rather out of the way.
But, the appearance of Wiggins Racing in nearby Rainbow City, the first unlimited team ever based in Alabama, has led to a renewal of interest in a race in Guntersville. A test session held there on Saturday, June 17 was the prelude to a full fledged race planned for next June, for which posters have already been created and appeared at various places in town!
Downtown Guntersville is located on a long, narrow peninsula extending from south to north into the lake. The stretch of water just to its east, called Big Spring Creek, was the site of the test session. A levee running the length of the course on the city side made for a nearly-ideal viewing area for spectators, the only negatives being only three access points and a complete lack of shade, though some smart people brought their own in the form of umbrellas.