1984 Season Summary
|1.||June 10||Budweiser Miami Regatta||Miami, Florida|
|2.||June 17||Budweiser Syracuse Regatta||Syracuse, New York|
|3.||July 1||Budweiser Thunder-on-the-Ohio||Evansville, Indiana|
|4.||July 8||Indiana Governor's Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|5.||July 15-16||Stroh’s Thunderfest||Detroit, Michigan|
|6.||July 29||Budweiser A.P.B.A. Gold Cup||Pasco, Washington|
|7.||August 5||7-Eleven Freedom Cup||Seattle, Washington|
|8.||September 16||Miller High Life Thunderboat Regatta||San Diego, California|
|9.||September 30||Missouri Governor's Cup||Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri|
|10.||October 7||Lite/C.L.E.A.R. World Championship||Houston, Texas|
|6/10||Miss Budweiser (12)||Dave Culley||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|6/17||Squire Shop (4)||Jim Harvey||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Rolls Merlin|
|7/1||Miss Budweiser (12)||Dave Culley||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|7/8||Atlas Van Lines (11)||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Lycoming|
|7/15||Miss Budweiser (12)||Jeff Neff||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|7/29||Atlas Van Lines (11)||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Lycoming|
|8/5||Miss Budweiser (12)||Jeff Neff||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|9/16||Miss Budweiser (12)||Jeff Neff||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|9/30||Miss Budweiser (12)||Jeff Neff||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Griffon|
|10/7||Miss Tosti Asti (2)||Jerry Verheul||Jim Lucero||Jim Lucero||Lycoming|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total||Team Points|
|1.||(1980)||Miss Budweiser (12)||9825||(1)|
|2.||(1982)||Squire Shop (4)||6896||(2)|
|4.||(1984)||Spirit of Detroit (2)||4839||(4)|
|5.||(1984)||Atlas Van Lines (11)||4700||(6)|
|6.||(1973)||American Speedy Printing (3)||4002||(7)|
|7.||(1984)||Miss Tosti Asti (2)||3825||(5-4819)|
|10.||(1967)||Houston Gold Cup '85||2438||(10)|
|11.||(1984)||Lite All Star||2007||(11)|
|12.||(1982)||Oh Boy! Oberto (4)||1633||(12)|
|13.||(1980)||Miss Tosti Asti (3)||994|
|14.||(1984)||Kenney Toyota (2)||606||(13)|
|16.||(1977)||Miss Island Security (2)||000|
|17.||(1976)||Lite All Star II||000|
|18.||(1971)||National School Of Travel||DNQ|
|20.||(1984)||Miss Rock KISW-FM (4)||DNQ|
|Driver High Points||Total|
The Cole plan was abandoned for 1984 and the heat draw system reinstated. The rationale was that there were so many competitive new teams that the draw would provide the same quality racing as under the Sam Cole Plan.
Perhaps the most exciting new team was the Lite All Star owned by R.B."Bob" Taylor of Houston. Taylor won the Columbia Cup in 1983 and now had purchased Jim Lucero's hull built last year, hired Tom D'Eath as driver and Jerry Zuvich as crew chief. The hull would be powered by a 4000 horsepower General Electric turbine. This would give her at least a 1000 horsepower advantage over the other turbines.
Next in line was the Miss Tosti Asti owned by Steve Woomer, who bought the Pay 'n Pak racing team from Dave Heerensperger. Woomer would campaign the never raced Pak built in 1982. The Prodelco team of Steve Reynolds and Jerry Verheul would join him as driver and crew chief. The new Tosti would run the Lycoming turbine rated at 2600 horsepower -- a L-7 engine.
Atlas Van Lines would also run the Lycoming turbine and be the last hull out of the shop of Jim Lucero for 1984. Chip Hanauer continued as driver with the aforementioned Lucero as crew chief. The Atlas was to run the L-11 Lycoming with more power than the L-7.
Another new boat from the drawing board of Jim Lucero was the Rolls Merlin powered Executone. Generally the Rolls Merlin had to work extra hard to keep up with the Griffon. Last year's Merlin powered Atlas Van Lines was 3 m.p.h. behind Miss Budweiser.
Against this turbine trio the Miss Budweiser would stand pat.
A new hull was to make her debut in 1984 again powered by a Rolls-Griffon, but was slow out of the shop of designer Ron Jones. By maintaining the status quo Bernie Little was taking a chance of being outgunned by new technology. However the 1980-82 Pay 'n Pak turbine was something less than overwhelming.
Squire Shop lost their crew chief and driver to the Lite All Star organization, however owner Bob Steil purchased the two time Gold Cup and National High Point Champion Atlas Van Lines from Fran Muncey. Crew chief Jim Harvey came with the boat and Mickey Remund was hired as driver. Remund had won the High Point Championship in 1973 and 1977, but had been on the beach for the last six seasons.
Since the salt water at Miami was unfriendly to turbines at this stage of their development the Budweiser Regatta boiled down to Miss Budweiser and Squire Shop, both of whom entered the final heat with 800 points. As expected Miss Budweiser easily defeated Squire Shop in the championship encounter.
The fleet next moved to Syracuse for a new race on Lake Onondaga. The day before the contest Miss Budweiser threw a prop leaving the regatta open to Squire Shop and the two turbines -- Miss Tosti Asti and Lite All Star. Atlas Van Lines was still in Seattle and would not join the tour until Evansville. However Lite All Star failed to qualify as at Miami causing owner Bob Taylor to run Lite All Star II -- last year's Columbia Cup champion.
After two elimination heats the Rolls Merlin powered Squire Shop and the turbine Miss Tosti Asti were the boats to beat in the final. Squire Shop got off to a good start and was in front of Miss Tosti by 2 seconds after the first circuit of the course. In the second lap Miss Tosti Asti caught Squire on the backstretch, but tried to take the turn too fast spinning out and going dead in the water. Squire Shop then was able to win another Budweiser Regatta.
The new Atlas Van Lines made her debut at Evansville and broke the course qualifying record by 7 m.p.h. Miss Tosti Asti was 8 m.p.h. slower and Lite All Star again did not qualify.
In the regatta however Atlas Van Lines failed to start one heat and failed to finish heat 2 missing the final. The new Miss Tosti Asti threw a prop the morning of the race and would be out until the western circuit. Miss Budweiser took on Squire in the final and won easily. In the preliminary heats Squire had matched the record lap turned in by Budweiser in 1980 and 1981.
Atlas Van Lines made up for her inauspicious debut and took all three of her heats to win the Indiana Governor's Cup. All the other contenders including Miss Budweiser were just not in the contest. Atlas posted the fastest all time competition lap at Madison by 3 m.p.h. If the turbine era had not yet arrived, it certainly was arriving.
Fortunately for the rest of hydroplane racing Atlas Van Lines ran erratically at Detroit allowing Miss Budweiser to annex rival Stroll's Thunderfest. Squire Shop could not come close to Budweiser. The replacement Miss Tosti Asti -- the 1980-82 turbine Pay 'n Pak - had mechanical problems.
It was a consolation to the piston packers that Atlas Van Lines' best competition lap at Detroit at 134 m.p.h. was only one m.p.h. better than the piston record at 133. Theoretically the Gold Cup at the Tri-Cities shaped up as a pretty good competitive event, but everyone knew that if Atlas stayed together she would win.
Nevertheless Atlas Van Lines made a bad start in heat 1-A and was defeated by the Miss Budweiser. Squire Shop got the best of the turbine Miss Tosti Asti (the team's #1 entry, that had returned to the circuit) in heat 1-B. Atlas reasserted turbine power in heat 2-A by taking the measure of Miss Budweiser. Heading into the the Gold Cup championship heat she had 137.7 m.p.h. to Budweiser's 135.4 which amounted to about a one second differential in lap times. Squire Shop could only muster 129.8.
To the surprise of the experts Squire Shop got the jump at the start and was in front of Atlas Van Lines and Miss Budweiser going up the first backstretch. At the end of the first circuit of the course she had 2 seconds on Atlas and 4 seconds on Budweiser. In the second lap the Bernie Little entry went dead and Squire Shop increased her advantage to four seconds. However in the last turn of lap 3 the pace was too much and a valiant Squire Shop expired. Atlas Van Lines, who was about to go by, went on to win the heat and give Chip Hanauer his third Gold Cup. Squire driver Mickey Remund ran his charge at 133 m.p.h. on one lap, which was the best Chip Hanauer could get out of the hull as Atlas Van Lines.
At Seattle the field congealed down to Atlas Van Lines versus Miss Budweiser for the championship heat. Apparently Squire Shop had shot her wad at the Tri-Cities. The other turbines Miss Tosti Asti and Lite All Star were not up to the challenge.
In the final heat Atlas Van Lines got the lead on the first backstretch from Budweiser and ended the initial lap with a margin of 23s seconds. Shortly thereafter Atlas lost a propeller blade and Miss Budweiser had another trophy for Bernie Little.
Next came the salt water of San Diego -- Miss Budweiser territory. Budweiser was defeated by Atlas Van Lines in heat 1-A, however the latter had mechanical problems in the first running of the final heat and when driver Chip Hanauer jumped in the water, the Fran Muncey entry was not eligible for the re-run. The Miss Budweiser then had an easy time of it to post yet another victory.
At Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri Miss Budweiser and Atlas Van Lines showed competition lap time parity as at the last three regattas. Nevertheless Atlas Van Lines had a little of the better of it. However she again had mechanical trouble in the final heat and Miss Budweiser emerged triumphant one more time.
Following the Missouri race Houston was up next -- the last contest of the season. Miss Budweiser, Squire Shop and Miss Tosti Asti all won elimination heats. On the other hand Atlas Van Lines could not turn a lap.
Miss Budweiser got the inside at the start of the championship heat, but Miss Tosti Asti swept by on the outside. Tosti led Miss Budweiser by 2 seconds after the initial lap. Miss Budweiser fell off the pace in the second lap and headed for the pits after the fourth go round. Thereafter Miss Tosti Asti went on to give owner Steve Woomer his first victory.
At the end of year the pistons led the turbines seven races to three and won the National High Point Championship. In juxtaposition Atlas Van Lines was the fastest boat of 1984 by two m.p.h., yet she failed at inopportune times in six of her eight contests.
The Griffon Budweiser and the Merlin powered Squire Shop were faster than the two other turbines. One turbine Lite All Star never was a contender.
However the turbines were the future and in due course their refinement would make piston power obsolete.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]