1949 Ohio Valley Motor Boat Racing Association Regatta

Hydros Hit High Spots On The Ohio

By Don Schwarm

The 29th annual regatta of the Ohio Valley Motor Boat Racing Association, held at the Queen City Yacht Club, could not have been favored with a more perfect day. The sky was clear, the temperature just right for comfort. The Ohio River was in pool with no driftwood to endanger the boats. With just enough wind blowing to cause a little ripple on the surface, a fast course was assured.

The night before the race, boats started to show up from all over the country. As Sunday morning passed more boats continued to arrive. Scores of boats entered the three main classes alone.

A new world record for Division I 225's was in the making as the boys set out to try for the National Championship in that class. Spectators were also in for a show of real speed as the 135 drivers tried for the National Championship in that class.

In the first heat of Division I boats Paul Sawyer of San Antonio, Texas, showed the way around the 2½-mile course by setting the screaming pace of 77.418 m.p.h. in his Belligero II. This was a new world record. Then, while the crowd was still talking about what they had just seen, along came the second heat of the Division I hydroplanes. Paul was out there doing it again. This time he set the terrific pace of 78.192 m.p.h. That Mercury engine of his was really putting out.

May be the 135 hydroplanes did not set any records in their running for their Championship, but they put on a mighty good show. Thom Cooper of Kansas City won with his Pop's Tops at a top speed of 66.079. m.p.h.

The first four places for the three main classes were filled as follows:

Boat Driver Home Top Speed
Belligero II Paul Sawyer San Antonio, Tex 78.192
Z-Z-Zip Sid Street Kansas City. Mo 76.922
Wild Goose P. Rothenbusch Cincinnati, Ohio 70.755
Copperhead II L. Pennington Santa Monica. Cal 70.255
Pop's Tops Thom Cooper Kansas City, Mo 56.079
Ranger Kenny Ingran El Monte, Calif 60.685
Skid-Do John Cramer Dayton, Ohio 56.040
Gee Whizz Sid Street Kansas City, Mo 59.S8o
Papoose John Erikson Columbus. Ind 62.327
Headache Ed Cannaday Terre Haute, Ind. 55.553
Stormy Weather Bob Ballinger Cincinnati. Ohio 58.862
Shirley Ann Harold Lynch Terre Haute, Ind. 55.149


Only mishap was Bob Ballinger's spill in the third heat of the Division II's while on the tail of Johnny Erikson. This pushed him from a good second into third place on points.

(Reprinted from Motor Boating, December 1949)