1956 Sahara Cup

Hawaii Kai Nabs Cup -- Miss Seattle 2nd

by John Romero, Review-Journal Sports Editor

Hawaii Kai III, Edgar Kaiser's Rolls-Merlin powered hydroplane, won the first annual Sahara Cup today, (held on Lake Mead, Nevada) but the engine-to-engine test between the Kai and the Allison-powered Shanty I still has not been settled.

Driver Jack Regas, a chopped-haired youngster from Livermore, California, shot the Hawaii Kai III to victory in Sunday's Sahara Cup finale as Shanty I, the early leader languished helplessly on the sidelines with a blown supercharger. The two boats made a shambles of the opposition working their way up to finals, each winning two heats.

Another problem - will Kaiser give up the Kai and boat racing completely as he had previously stated before the race, or would he now continue? The Sahara win Sunday, some observers thought, might convince him to stay in the sport.

The problem nobody worried about today was the success of the Sahara Cup Regatta. It was astounding. Sid Street, a Kansas City 266 cu. in. hydroplane driver summed it up for everyone: "I've been to a lot of regattas in my time, but believe me, this is the best I've ever raced in."

The box score for the two days of racing included three - count 'em - three - world records in the limited divisions, plus a new competition record for unlimited hydroplanes on the 2 1/2 mile course.

It may be the only 2½ mile record ever established, because drivers voted Sunday for a three-mile course next year, and the Sahara officials said they would comply.

This morning, Bud Saile's Miss Wayne was scheduled to try for Stan Sayres' world prop-driven water speed record of 178.497 m.p.h. on the same course approximately, that Donald Campbell used last year to set a new unrestricted water speed mark. The Hawaii Kai III, originally scheduled to run for the record, withdrew because of engine difficulty which occurred in the last two laps of its winning effort Sunday.

Behind the Scenes:


Sahara Cup Summaries:

Heat 1A (Saturday October 13, 1956) Heat 1B (Sunday October 14, 1956)**
1. Shanty I Russ Schleeh 1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Miss Seattle Norm Evans 2. Miss Wahoo Mira Slovak
3. Miss Thriftway Bill Muncey 3. Tempo VII Bill Cantrell
4. Miss Wayne Bud Saile

**Heat 1B was run on Sunday (October 14) as well, because during the first running of 1B on Saturday (October 13) one of the boats "broke" one of the buoys so they stopped the Saturday 1B and reran it on Sunday morning.

Heat 2A (Sunday October 14, 1956) Heat 2B (Sunday October 14, 1956)
1. Shanty I Russ Schleeh 1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Tempo VII Roy Duby DNF Miss Thriftway
3. Miss Seattle Norm Evans DNF Miss Wahoo
4. Miss Wayne Lee Schoenith DNF Miss U.S. I

 

Final Heat (Sunday October 14, 1956)
1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Miss Seattle Norm Evans
3. Tempo VII Roy Duby
4. Miss Wayne Bud Saile

Note: Maverick with Bill Stead at the wheel placed 2nd in the final heat, but was running for exhibition only. Points and place did not count. See related verbiage under "Behind the Scenes".

Final Points
Hawaii Kai III 1200
Miss Seattle 825
Shanty I 800
Tempo VII 694
Miss Wayne 464
Miss Wahoo 300
Miss Thriftway 225


(Transcribed from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Monday - October 15, 1956)

[Thanks to Ted Shenenberg for help in preparing this page]