1957 Sahara Cup

Speedboat Records Fall In Opening Day Heats of Sahara Cup Races

Hawaii Kai Zooms; One Pilot Hurt

by John Romero, Las Vegas Review-Journal Sports Editor

1957 Sahara Cup Programme Cover
1957 Sahara Cup Programme Cover

Pink and coral Hawaii Kai and driver Jack Regas made a shambles of Sahara Cup speed records Saturday leading a field of nine unlimited hydroplanes into today’s final heats. The Kai battered down Sahara Cup lap and heat records in winning the second heat of Saturday’s racing and became a favorite to repeat its 1956 Lake Mead victory.

The Hawaii Kai completely dominated the unlimited field, racing through its heat in a record 106.983 miles per hour clocking with a lap record of 112.184 en route. Regas, the Livermore, California veteran, said he set the new Sahara Cup marks "eased up." He won Heat 1B by almost two miles over Miss U.S. IV.

Miss Bardahl, given a fine ride by Norm Evans, won Heat 1A when early leader Miss Wahoo lost a propeller on the second lap. But the Bardahl’s time was only 97.349. The Kai was almost 10 miles per hour faster.

A crowd of about 10,000 watched Saturday’s events, and the pre-race favorite Hawaii Kai III did not disappoint. Regas had the 6000 pound boat well in front at the start of the second heat of the day and when Thriftway Too went dead in the water on the second lap, it was no contest. Miss U.S. IV trailed badly at the start and finished almost two miles behind. Miss Seattle could not be started and Al Benson watched the race helplessly alongside the course.

In Heat 1A, Miss Bardahl trailed Mira Slovak in Miss Wahoo by nearly a quarter mile in the second lap when Wahoo suddenly lost its propeller. Bardahl flashed past and pulled away from ailing Breathless II and the ailing Maverick to win easily. Maverick, one of the pre-race favorites, lost power at the outset and fell far back, averaging only 72.449 for the 15-mile distance. "I don’t know what went wrong," said Maverick driver, Reno’s Bill Stead. "She went great in the morning. Maybe we’ll have to change engines."

Evans said he eased up when he gained a huge lead over Breathless II and Maverick. "Bardahl’s running better than ever," Evans said, "but Hawaii Kai is still the boat to beat."

A special qualifying trial was held for Fascination, a Tacoma, Washington entry, late Saturday and Bob Gilliam qualified for today’s racing at an average speed of 89 miles per hour. Driver’s will draw this morning to determine their positions for today’s heat races at 1:10 and 2:20. The final is scheduled for 3;30 following a performance by the Air Force precision flying jet team, the Thunderbirds.

Sahara Cup Summaries
Lake Mead, Nevada, October 12-13, 1957


Heat 1A (Saturday October 12, 1957)
1. Miss Bardahl Norm Evans
2. Breathless II Jay Murphy
3. Maverick Bill Stead
Heat 1B (October 12, 1957)
1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Miss U.S. IV Don Wilson
Heat 2A (Sunday October 13, 1957)
1. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
2. Thriftway Too Brien Wygle
3. Miss Bardahl Norm Evans
4. Miss Seattle Chuck Hickling
Heat 2B (Sunday October 13, 1957)
1. Maverick Bill Stead
2. Miss Wahoo Mira Slovak
3. Miss U.S. IV Don Wilson
DNF Fascination Bob Gilliam
Final (Sunday October 13, 1957)
1. Thriftway Too Brien Wygle
2. Hawaii Kai III Jack Regas
3. Miss U.S. IV Don Wilson
DNF Fascination  
DNS Miss Bardahl  


Withdrew – Miss Seattle (damaged sponson) / Miss Wahoo (damaged sponson) Breathless II (chose not run due to weather and darkness) / Maverick (fire damage)

Final Points
1. Hawaii Kai III 1100
2. Miss U.S. IV 750
3. Thriftway Too 700
4. Maverick 625 (tied)
Miss Bardahl
6. Breathless II 469
7. Miss Wahoo 300
8. Miss Seattle 169

{Reprinted from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 13, 1957}