Hydro Racing

July 22, 1974: Pak outraces extra-hydro field for 3rd triumph

Pay 'N Pak maneuvered through the unprecedented seven-boat feature race Sunday on the Columbia River to win the World Championship Regatta for unlimited hydroplanes.

Rookie driver George Henley averaged 107.091 miles per hour for Pay 'N Pak's third victory in five 1974 races.

Runnerup Pizza Pete piloted by Fred Alter, trailed Pak by 23 seconds at the finish line, with Value-Mart and Ron Armstrong placing third, 9 seconds behind Pizza Pete.

Pizza Pete averaged 101.396 m.p.h. and Valu-Mart 99.451 in the five-lap, 12 1/2-mile championship heat.

Bill Muncey, a 20-year unlimited hydroplane veteran and winner of the 1972 Atomic Cup here in Atlas Van Lines, didn't place in the championship race, but shared the spotlight with Pak.

Muncey was an alternate for the six-boat final heat after placing seventh in points from the preceding heats.

Valu-Mart caught fire before the start of the race and began drifting down the center of the course, Muncey and Atlas came out of the pits to take Valu-Mart's place.

Armstrong got Valu-Mart started again 90 seconds before the race, in time to compete, but Muncey said later he didn't see Valu-Mart re-enter the race.

All seven boats - including Seattle turbine entry U-95, Mis Budweiser and U-76 (formerly Miss Cott Beverages) - crossed the starting line together.

One of the boats clipped U-95 on the east turn, shearing the right fin of its $15,000 tail section. U-95 driver Leif Borgersen restarted his boat three laps later and finished fourth to retain third place in national points standings.

Miss Budweiser and the U-76 did not finish the championship race.

Within minutes after the race, head referee Bill Newton fined Muncey $250 for failing to leave the course after Valu-Mart restarted before the race.

Six boats are the maximum allowed under American Power Boat Association rules.

Henley won $7,100 Sunday with two firsts and a second, including $4,000 for winning the championship.

Kirby Classic, sister boat to Bob Murphy's Red Ball Express, slipped into the lead of the $1,500 consolation race after Miss Madison conked out on the first lap. Kirby won after finishing fourth and second in the earlier heats, beating Sunny Jim - the entry in the three-boat race - by 14.4 seconds.

Considered by officials as the best race of the day was Heat 2-C, of the fastest qualifiers.

Borgersen's U-95 and Pay 'N Pak staged a see-saw race with Valu-Mart more than half a lap behind at the final lap.

The Seattle turbine boat beat the Pak seven lengths, the first time it has ever beaten Henley's boat. The turbine's speed average of 113.469 was a new record for a complete heat on the Tri-Cities course. Sunday's race limited to 12 1/2 miles each compared with 15 in previous years because of the national gas shortage.

The other fine of the day was $50 drawn by U-76 and driver Rodger D'Eath for entering the course too early for heat 2-B.

Debris left by the crowds at Columbia Park was picked up Sunday night by Boy Scouts and other volunteers. David Grim, Benton County parks director, said many individuals collected bottles and cans for resale.

Other winnings were U-95, $4,600; Valu-Mart, $4,200; Pizza Pete, $3,750; Budweiser, $2,800; Madison, $1,700; U-76, $1,600; Miss U.S., $1,200; Atlas Van Lines, $1,000; Sunny Jim, $750; Lincoln Thrift, $700; Kirby Classic, $675 and Red Ball Express, $625.