An interview with Ole Bardahl.

With the recent restoration and launching of the 1958 Miss Bardahl in Chelan, we thought it would be appropriate to revisit an interview of Ole Bardahl that was first published in UNJ in 1982.

Ole Bardahl saw that high-compression engines would provide an ideal testing ground for his products, so he began sponsoring entries in the Indianapolis 500 race. He also noticed the hysteria that the Slo-mo-shun IV had caused in Seattle and decided hydroplane racing would be another ideal venue for promoting his products, so in 1957 he agreed to sponsor a boat that had been built by a self described marine engineer named Norm Christensen. During the next 12 years, Bardahl would become one of the most successful and beloved owners the sport has ever known.
     Unlimited NewsJournal reporters Bill Osborne and David Greene were granted the privilege of interviewing Ole Bardahl at the Bardahl Corporation’s Seattle headquarters on December 11, 1980.

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November 2017

The story of the first Green Dragon.

The 1958 Miss Bardahl roars again where it made history almost six decades ago.

The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum boats at the dock.

The restored Miss Bardahl runs again on Lake Chelan, where the boat won its debut race 59 years before.

Two winners in San Diego:
Tate wins the Muncey Cup and Shane wins the title.

by Mac Clouse

The wind wins in Chelan.

The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum takes several of its boats to Lake Chelan to give well-deserved rides to its volunteers.

by Craig Fjarlie

On the victory stand, from the left, J. Michael Kelly & his son Carson, Andrew Tate, and Jimmy Shane.

As competition began at San Diego’s HomeStreet Bank Bayfair, Jimmy Shane and the U-1 Miss HomeStreet led the race for the national high-points championship with 5,979 points. Andrew Tate and the U-9 Delta Realtrac had 5,700 points and J. Michael Kelly and the U-12 Graham Trucking had 5,385. Both Tate and Kelly still had a shot at catching Shane.

     With only five boats in the pits,
H1 officials decided to run all five
boats in four heats, plus a final. This meant that Shane, Tate, and Kelly would go head-to-head in five heats of racing. The battle for the points championship would continue all weekend and possibly not be settled until the final heat. For the fans, it was like a race that had five final heats.

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Mahogany and Merlot is always the first full week-end of October. The way the 2017 calendar is arranged, the event turned out to be slightly later in the month than it has been in recent years. That meant the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum could be flirting with the arrival of autumn weather when attempting to run boats on Lake Chelan, which is located east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington.

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Ole Bardahl in his office at the Bardahl Corporation headquarters in Seattle.

When hydroplane fans gathered at Lake Chelan, Washington, last month to enjoy the vintage boats participating in the annual Mahogany and Merlot event, they
also were treated to the launching
of a race boat that made history
on those waters 59 years before.
The 1958 version of the Miss
Bardahl wasn’t the most successful
boat to carry that name, but it was the boat that began what would become one of the sport’s most
lasting legacies.

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