Editor’s note: There is one day until the APBA HAPO Gold Cup takes place on the Columbia River. At the same time, the Tri-City Water Follies is celebrating its 50th year of racing unlimited hydroplanes. So the Herald will take a look at past stories leading up to the Gold Cup. Here’s No. 49:
July 31, 1994: Bud, Hanauer win three in a row.
The Chip Hanauer-Miss Budweiser marriage worked quite well in 1992 and 1993, as the two combined for national high-points championships in those seasons.
It worked again in 1994 at the Columbia Cup.
Hanauer won all three of his heats from start to finish and then came from behind to edge Mark Tate and the Smokin’ Joe’s for the victory in Sunday’s final.
Hanauer averaged 148.130 mph in the five-lap final, despite a problem he described as “rudder flutter,” which made for a rough ride and forced him to slow down entering the turns.
Tate and the Smokin’ Joe’s took the lead in the first turn, but Hanauer regained control in that turn on the second lap and held off the field to the checkered flag.
“I was extremely concerned when Mark got out in front,” Hanauer told the Herald. “He hit a little roller in Turn 1 on the second lap, and we were able to get by him and let him run in the rough water. That was the key to the race. We were lucky. I’m sure I’m going to be sore tomorrow.”
It was the eighth win in the Tri-Cities for owner Bernie Little and the Miss Budweiser in 29 tries. Hanauer won on the Columbia River for the third year in a row and seventh overall.
At that time, the fastest qualifier was allowed to choose lanes first. In six of seven heats and Sunday’s final, the boat starting in Lane 1 ended up winning.
“If we would have had Lane 1, it might have been a different story,” Tate said. “Against the Bud, we definitely need the inside lane. We’re close. It helps the Bud to have Lane 1 and have a shorter race course, We just need to find a way to qualify a little bit faster.”
Hanauer’s season ended when he flipped the Bud the following week at Seafair. Tate won the national high-points race as top driver, while the Bud took the team title.