1983 Season Summary
|1.||May 22||Missouri Governor's Cup||Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri|
|2.||June 5||Champion Spark Plug Regatta||Miami, Florida|
|3.||June 12||Atlas Van Lines Cup||Romulus, New York|
|4.||June 26||Stroh's Thunderfest||Detroit, Michigan|
|5.||July 3||Indiana Governor's Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|6.||July 10||Stroh's APBA Gold Cup||Evansville, Indiana|
|7.||July 31||Columbia Cup||Pasco, Washington|
|8.||August 7||Sea Galley Emerald Cup||Seattle, Washington|
|9.||September 18||Miller High Life Thunderboat Regatta||San Diego, California|
|10.||October 1-2||Budweiser World Championship||Houston, Texas|
|5/22||Miss Rich Plan||John Humes||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|6/5||Miss Budweiser (12)||Dave Culley||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|6/12||Miss Budweiser (12)||Dave Culley||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|6/26||Atlas Van Lines (10)||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Rolls Merlin|
|7/3||Miss Budweiser (12)||Dave Culley||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|7/10||Atlas Van Lines (10)||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Rolls Merlin|
|7/31||American Speedy Printing (2)||Jerry Stiles||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|8/7||Miss Budweiser (12)||Dave Culley||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|9/18||Atlas Van Lines (10)||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Rolls Merlin|
|10/2||Miss Renault||Jim Kerth||Jon Staudacher||Jon Staudacher||Allison|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total|
|1.||(1982)||Atlas Van Lines (10)||8300|
|2.||(1980)||Miss Budweiser (12)||8169|
|3.||(1979)||Squire Shop (3)||4883|
|4.||(1973)||Miss Rich Plan||4000|
|6.||(1976)||American Speedy Printing (2)||3397|
|7.||(1974)||Miss Tosti Asti||2379|
|11.||(1967)||Chet's Music Shop||969|
|12.||(1975)||Ric Gunite Special||826|
|15.||(1983)||Louie's On The Lake (2)||460|
|16.||(1970)||Miss Industrial Air Tool||113|
|17.||(1972)||Kawaguchi Travel (2)||64|
|18.||(1983)||Miss Bayswater Bulk||000|
|19.||(1977)||Bellaire Yellow Pages||000|
|21.||(1966)||Dobson The Mover||DNQ|
|Driver High Points||Total|
|6.||Jack Schafer Jr.||3397|
In defense of their National High Point Championship, Atlas Van Lines elected not to go with a Rolls Griffon engine - the Merlin brought them five wins including a Gold Cup in addition to the championship. However in the last race of 1982 Miss Budweiser was markedly faster unlike the other events on the circuit. The Budweiser hegemony of 1980-81 threatened to come back and haunt the Fran Muncey team.
A big name sponsor came into Unlimited Racing in 1983 in the form of Renault, who was involved on the International Grand Prix circuit. Former executive secretary Jerry Schoenith brought them in. He chose Jon Staudacher to design the boat as opposed to Ron Jones or Jim Lucero both of whom had much better reputations in Unlimited circles. Schoenith also decided on a turbo Allison for power. Again Allisons were down on the totem pole to Merlins, Griffons and Lycoming turbines.
The first event on the circuit was a new site at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. A Fan Plan format was selected for the regatta with Atlas Van Lines and Miss Budweiser in the fast flight. Atlas and Budweiser showed a speed parity in the preliminary heats although Budweiser won both heats and Atlas failed to score a point. However this was not to the Atlas' disadvantage since all the fast flight entries made the final heat.
At the start of the championship heat Miss Budweiser was dead in the water and Atlas Van Lines made a bad start. This opened the door wide for Miss Rich Plan (Miss Madison in a sponsor's disguise) .
At the end of the first lap Rich Plan was 10 seconds in front of Atlas Van Lines. Atlas continued to close ground and heading into the fourth lap was at the drop of Rich Plan's roostertail. Fortunately for Rich Plan when Atlas Van Lines was about to make her move she fell dead in the water. Rich Plan was able to get across the finish line for the race win although running sick.
The second event of the season was at Miami and both Atlas Van Lines and Miss Budweiser came out of the preliminary heats with 800 points. Miss Budweiser won the final heat with comparative ease. According to lap speeds Atlas Van Lines was down by 9 m.p.h.
The fleet next headed to New York for the Atlas Van Lines Cup on Lake Seneca. Atlas Van Lines and Miss Budweiser met in the second and third heats. Miss Budweiser had a clear margin both times and annexed Atlas Van Lines' trophy.
It was the Cole Plan at Detroit guaranteeing that Atlas Van Lines and Miss Budweiser would be together in the elimination heats. Miss Budweiser defeated Atlas in the first preliminary heat, but had engine trouble in the final thereby ceding the race to the Fran Muncey entry.
Madison featured the Hughes Plan, however the result was the same. Miss Budweiser beat Atlas Van Lines twice by four m.p.h. to capture the Indiana Governor's Cup.
The Gold Cup at Evansville shaped up as an easy Budweiser victory. The closest Atlas Van Lines could get was about three m.p.h. in lap times. Perhaps the Muncey team would have been better advised to chose the Griffon for 1983. The Gold Cup was to be run under the Cole Plan.
Budweiser and Atlas Van Lines exchanged victories in the preliminary heats, however the Bernie Little entry was just cruising when defeated by Atlas. In the decisive championship heat Miss Budweiser was leading when she went dead in the water and driver Chip Hanauer won his second consecutive Gold Cup.
The hydros next went west to the Tri-Cities known as the house of upsets for the favorite had lost there in 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1982, which meant trouble for Bernie Little and the Miss Budweiser. Even though Atlas Van Lines had won two of the six events on the circuit thus far,due to her speed differential to the Budweiser a victory would be considered an upset of some dimension . The Cole Plan was scheduled for another workout at the Tri-Cities.
Miss Budweiser beat Atlas Van Lines twice in the preliminary heats although the Muncey entry ran a little closer than in former races. Miss Budweiser made a bad start in the final and followed American Speedy Printing and Atlas Van Lines into the first turn.
The Speedy moved over heading up the backstretch leaving Budweiser no place to go but the infield. After she recircled the buoy Budweiser was effectively out of the race. Atlas Van Lines got the lead, yet she died in lap 2. Thereafter American Speedy Printing had it although Miss Budweiser closed a lot of ground.
American Speedy Printing was the 1976-78 Miss Budweiser that was purchased by Tri-Cities' Ken Thompson in 1979. After Thompson changed the boat to a cabover in 1981, he sold it to John Still who ran it as the Miss Prodelco. Still then disposed of the hull to the Columbia Cup winner R.B. "Bob" Taylor of Houston.
The Cole Plan was again selected for Seattle. Miss Budweiser got the best of Atlas there three times to win the Sea Galley Emerald Cup. Atlas Van Lines lost her skid fin in the first running of the final heat, yet she could not capitalize on her second chance in the re-run as she had a sick engine.
Just when the season seemed to be a lost cause with regard to real competition Atlas Van Lines came alive at San Diego to match Miss Budweiser with a 133 m.p.h. competition lap. Budweiser and Atlas again swapped wins in the elimination heats. As mentioned Atlas Van Lines did 133 m.p.h. however she did not go dead in the water. Miss Budweiser expired after doing her 133 m.p.h. on the other hand.
The pattern of the first preliminary heat was followed in the championship heat as Atlas Van Lines swept to victory by 10 seconds over Miss Budweiser. The Atlas turned a record heat to beat Budweiser, who also was close to breaking the record. Analysis of the Atlas triumph was that she glided over the top of the water while Budweiser was glued down. The water was relatively unruffled at San Diego -- rough water might upset the Atlas Van Lines applecart.
A true World Championship was scheduled for the last event of the season at Houston. Miss Bayswater Bulk came from Australia and Louie's On the Lake traveled from Italy. However Louie's was an outboard, but she managed to qualify anyway.
The regatta was scheduled for two days with a race on Saturday run under the Fan Plan to determine which entries would join the faster qualifiers on Sunday. Then the Cole Plan would be run on the second day to decide the final field for the winner-take-all championship heat. At this point Miss Budweiser had 69 points on Atlas Van Lines for the National High Point Championship.
At any rate Budweiser and Atlas ran against each other twice with Miss Budweiser winning the first encounter by 13 seconds before quitting in the second heat due to engine failure. This gave Atlas a 231 point advantage for the National High Point Championship
Both boats had failed to score in six heats preceding Houston. Budweiser's final failure made it Atlas' championship to lose. Nevertheless Miss Budweiser appeared to be about 2 m.p.h. up on the Fran Muncey entry.
Miss Budweiser was clearly ahead in the first running of the final heat and seemed to have the race and the championship in hand when Atlas Van Lines went dead in the water in the first turn of the last lap. Then Atlas driver Chip Hanauer jumped ship to stop down the heat.
Atlas Van Lines was sinking into the water, but was supposedly sink proof - so was the Titanic. Hanauer maintained that he did it to save his boat's instrumentation and electrical systems with no thought of preserving the High Point Championship by making Budweiser run another heat in which she might fail. Budweiser driver Jim Kropfeld called him a dirty name anyway. Apparently the situation was so dire that Hanauer could not wait until the final lap was over - a matter of less than a minute.
Miss Budweiser was ahead in the re-run by a good distance when she went dead in the water in lap 2. This gave Atlas Van Lines the High Point title and ultimately the Miss Renault the World Championship. Renault succeeded to the Championship when first Miss Budweiser and then American Speedy Printing died in front of her.
Miss Renault was the #3 entry in speed, but was still about 10 m.p.h. behind Miss Budweiser. She was not a front runner, yet she certainly salvaged her season for Renault by annexing the World Championship.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]