1984 Budweiser Unlimited Regatta
The Roadshow Opens In Florida
Miami, Florida — Miss Budweiser played the part of a most un-becoming host as Jim Kropfeld piloted Bernie Little's beer wagon to victory in the 14th annual Budweiser Regatta (formerly the Champion Spark Plug Regatta).
Jim Kropfeld had no problems after making a beautiful start in the final heat of the day, The Squire Shop driven by the unretired Mickey Remund gave chase until lap 2 when the boat hooked and missed a buoy. Remund coasted to a halt shortly thereafter. this paved the way for Ron Snyder in the U-6 American Speedy Printing. Known previously as the Miss Madison the community owned boat stayed second until stopping on the final lap. Inheriting second was the brand new Chet’s Music, driven by Todd Yarling and cruising home at an average speed of just over 86 miles per hour; Snyder eventually restarted the ailing U-6 to take third. The Squire Shop earned a DNF and the Miss Renault a DNS after returning to the Marine Stadium pits at the one minute gun with turbo problems,
The whole day belonged to the Miss Budweiser, Kropfeld, Little & Co. as their was no hint of competition to match the Griffon monster. Kropfeld easily took 1B after toying with Snyder in Speedy. George Johnson in the new Executone and Scott Pierce in the Team Velocity (Fred Lelands' U-40) failed to finish. In 2B Miss Budweiser led over the line but was passed by Ron Snyder, Kropfeld then retook the lead for good at the first turn of lap 2. American Speedy coasted to an easy second while Todd Yarling in the musical boat placed third.
Heats 1A & 2A were the Squire Shop show as was won the moment Mickey Remund rounded the first turn. Renault took second, Chet’s third and the fastest qualifier Tosti Asti failed to start. The U-10 Miss Tosti Asti driven by veteran Steve Reynolds and is former back-up boat to the Turbine Pay N Pak. Like all turbine craft the salt water played havoc with the Tosti Asti. Heat 2.B saw Reynolds chase the Squire Shop for two and a half laps before returning to the pits under very little power, Both Pierce in Velocity and Johnson in Executone were watching from their floating craft.
While not producing a spectacular season opener the race had to be considered a success. A sold out crowd in Marine Stadium (15,000+) and the most number of boats since 1974 had people talking more hydros than in recent years.
Even two of the three unqualified boats drew heavy attention. Bob Taylors' Lite All Star fell prey to hydraulic starter problems. This beautiful new turbine boat was built by Jim Lucero and has Jerry Zuvich As drew chief. Don’t be expecting them to be sitting on the beach for very long. The new semi-mystery boat the Texmo with Buck Thornton driving tested at Lake X and reportedly hit an alligator. All this was just prior to the Miami get together. True or not it makes for a good ending if not a new suitcase.
(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, June 1984)