George Walther Remembered
By Fred Farley - APBA Unlimited Historian
Our good friend Phil Kunz of the Dayton Motor Boat Racing Association sends the following note on George Walther, Jr., who passed away on March 8 of this year.
"Although George was best known in motorsports for his Indy cars, he was the biggest supporter of inboard racing in Dayton. He was active in the Greater Dayton Boat Club, which conducted races on the Miami River from 1946 until 1955.
"When the DMBRA was formed in 1963, the first meeting was held at George's boathouse. Over a 45-year span, George campaigned a total of fifteen different Country Boy hydros in the 135s (A-class), 266s (F-class), 7-Litres (H-class), and Unlimiteds (U-class)."
Mr. Walther raced outboards in the late 1920s and was an Unlimited hydroplane owner from 1971 to 1976. His best Unlimited finish was a third-place in the 1974 Dayton Hydroglobe with his son, David "Salt" Walther, as driver.
His oldest son, George "Skipp" Walther III, was fatally injured while trying to qualify as an Unlimited driver with Jim McCormick's Red Man at Miami, Florida, in 1974.
George Walther, Jr., played an important role in George Simon's landmark tax case of 1963. The IRS, in that situation, upheld Simon's contention that Unlimited racing was a legitimate business expense (within specified guidelines) and thereby tax deductible. Simon introduced records which demonstrated that his U.S. Equipment Company's volume of business had increased substantially during the years that Simon had been involved in racing--and with no other change in normal business promotion.
Walther testified how he had met Simon at an Unlimited race in the 1950s. They became friends, and Walther eventually became Simon's customer.
The favorable IRS ruling helped to open the door to major corporate participation in Unlimited racing.
The friendship between Walther and Simon led to Salt Walther being hired as pilot for Simon's Miss U.S. racing team in 1970.