1983 Emerald Cup
Kropfeld Gives Lessons In Seattle
By Bill Curry
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1983 Sea Galley Emerald Cup
Seattle's annual summer blow out on water is history. And it ran pretty close to form. The Seafair Regatta, run under the Sea Galley Emerald Cup banner, was a typical Lake Washington go-around.
- Unlimiteds that couldn't qualify in 365 days were still trying in vain race day morning.
- Several qualifying times were questionable.
- The race began with a delay and just went on and on. A boat sank.
- Owners argued over the rules.
- Drivers pointed fingers at each other over being cut off, being pushed into patrol boats, and so on.
- Sports writers got on the nerves of unlimited officials. -- And one hydro was the clear class of the field.
But all and all it wasn't too bad of a race. A sixteen boat fleet was assembled in the pits.
Qualifying on the 21 mile course held few surprises, but some pretty fast times. Chip Hanauer drove Atlas Van Lines to a quick effort of 134.389. Jim Kropfeld drove the Miss Budweiser to 130.586. Kropfeld could have gone faster, but didn't want to. Jack Schafer pushed the Cinderella boat of the year, American Speedy Printing, to 127.344. Earle Hall bounced The Squire Shop to 124.344 after breaking several engines in testing. Ron Snyder ran the Miss Madison/Frank Kenney Toyota/Volvo to 120.514. Snyder and his Indiana mount never looked smoother or quicker. Rounding out the fast flight was Scott Pierce and Tempus at 115.060. Pierce went too fast and was way in over his head.
The remaining six qualifiers, for the so-called slow flight, were headed up by George Johnson in Executone at 111.899. Milner Irvin could only coax 110.675 out of Miss Renault. Brenda Jones, in her first appearance of the year, took Princess Yachts to 108.761. Terry Turner wrestled the Team Five hydro, sponsored by Mr. Auto/Ms. Radio to 107.681. After years of trying Mitch Evans finally qualified Island Security Systems at 100.727. Wil Muncey chugged around in Kawaguchi Travel to a speed of 97.297 and was made first alternate.
Sunday morning Miss Machine Rock Band ran a questionable 101.000 lap by Jerry Hopp. But it was good enough to make him second alternate: Unable to qualify was the oldest hull Swannies driven by Bob Wartinger and Tom Martin in something called Feek's Beepers.
The first heat of the day didn't start on time because officials thought a buoy was out of place, it wasn't.
Heat 1A (slow flight) Mr. Auto led across at the start, but Renault easily passed it from the outside coming out of the first turn. Executone and Mr. Auto battled for second spot until the end of lap two when Executone took second for good. Miss Rock chugged around in fourth. Princess Yachts and Island Security staged a duel over fifth until lap four when Island Security went dead and began to sink with holes in its sponsons. The heat was stopped but declared a legal run.
Heat 1B (fast flight) The heat was over before it started. Miss Budweiser went dead before the race started with a broken throttle linkage. Atlas Van Lines easily won the heat. The Miss Madison/Frank Kenney Toyota easily ran second, but died at the finish and barely coasted in. The Squire Shop had no trouble holding off American Speedy Printing for third. Tempus ran a distant fifth and was lapped by the field.
Heat 2A (slow flight) Another easy wire to wire win for Renault, advancing it to the final heat. Kawaguchi Travel replaced Island Security, but couldn't go fast enough to reach a plane by the one minute gun and was black flagged. Kawaguchi couldn't finish a lap because of a broken blower. But pilot Wil Muncey was fined $100 by referee Lee Schoenith for ignoring the black flag. Miss Rock sputtered to second. Executone threw a rod. Princess Yachts failed to start with a broken turbo and other woes. Mr. Auto failed to start when an oil tank came apart.
Heat 2B (fast flight) Miss Budweiser grabbed the inside lane at the start after putting a move on Atlas before the start. Bud held Atlas off in the first lap by turning a course race record of 131.579. Bud followed with laps of 126.939 and 129.310 while Atlas kept pace with laps of 126.050, 127.479, and 128.571 before blowing its engine at the start of lap four. Toyota and American Speedy hooked up in a duel for almost four laps before Toyota ended up in American Speedy's skid fin roostertail and was knocked out of action. Snyder felt that Schafer had cut him off but officials didn't see it that way. Toyota was sidelined for the day with hull and electrical system damage. Squire Shop finished third while Tempus failed to start.
Consolation Heat (winner to final) Princess Yachts failed to start. Mr. Auto took the early lead but was passed by Miss Rock half way through the first lap. Rock went on to the win with Mr. Auto second. Tempus ran third while the Machine placed a distant fourth. Executone failed to finish with another engine failure.
Final (winner-take-all) In the first start of the final, Budweiser, Squire, and Atlas appeared to jump the gun, but were ruled legal starters. In the north turn in lap one, Atlas suffered a broken skid fin, the hydro failed to turn and stopped near the shoreline. As Bud was lapping Miss Rock in the south turn, Rock hit a hole and spun out, pitching driver Fred Leland out. Officials stopped the race and ordered a restart. This gave Atlas time to get ready for the rerun and Chip Hanauer time to yell at Jim Kropfeld that he had almost been pushed into a patrol boat. No one else saw it that way. Sorry Chip.
In the restart of the final Budweiser led out of the first turn with American Speedy and Squire in close pursuit. Speedy and Squire gave chase for two laps before Bud opened up considerable ground at the end of lap two. Atlas was on the course late, stalled, but restarted for the start. It ran for three laps only to go dead in lap three with so-called system failures. Renault who had a late start moved up in lap four to pick off Squire to claim third spot. Oh yes, Tempus finished fifth and again was lapped by everyone.
Bud didn't blow away the field in the final, but then he didn't have to. "There's no sense going so fast you break your equipment," said Kropfeld. He knows that only too well. Kropfeld and Bud win when they stay healthy. Even if you have to do it twice, but you know how Seattle is.
(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, August 1983)