1985 Season Summary

Statistics

1. June 9 Budweiser Unlimited Regatta Miami, Florida
2. June 16 Miller American Thunderboat Classic Syracuse, New York
3. June 30 Stroh's Thunderfest Detroit, Michigan
4. July 7 Budweiser Indiana Governor's Cup Madison, Indiana
5. July 14 Budweiser Thunder-on-the-Ohio Evansville, Indiana
6. July 28 Budweiser Columbia Cup Pasco, Washington
7. August 4 Budweiser A.P.B.A. Gold Cup Seattle, Washington
8. August 25 Greater Oklahoma Thunderboat Classic Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
9. September 15 Miller High Life Thunderboat Regatta San Diego, California

 

  Winner Crew Chief Designer Builder Engine
6/9 Executone (3) Dan Heye Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Rolls Merlin
6/16 Miss Budweiser (15) Jeff Neff Ron Jones Ron Jones Rolls Griffon
6/30 Miller American Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Lycoming
7/7 Miss 7-Eleven Jerry Verheul Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Lycoming
7/14 Miller American Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Lycoming
7/28 Miller American Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Lycoming
8/4 Miller American Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Lycoming
8/25 Miller American Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Lycoming
9/15 Miss Budweiser (15) Jeff Neff Ron Jones Ron Jones Rolls Griffon

 

  Built Boat High Points Total Team High Points
1. (1984) Miller American 7300 (1)
2. (1984) Executone (3) 6769 (2)
3. (1984) Miss 7-Eleven 5400 (4)
4. (1985) Miss Budweiser (15) 4750 (3-6275)
5. (1976) Oh Boy Oberto (5) 4549 (5)
6. (1973) The Ching Group 4095 (6)
7. (1984) Miss Pride Air 3983 (7)
8. (1982) Squire Shop (4) 2000 (8)
9. (1982) Coors Light Silver Bullet 1892 (9)
10. (1980) Miss Budweiser (12) 1525  
11. (1984) Kenney Toyota (2) 625 (10)
12. (1979) Domino's Pizza 127 (11)
13. (1979) Handyman Home Centers DNQ  
14. (1985) Miss Seattle (2) DNQ  
15. (1972) Boatracing Magazine DNQ  

 

  Driver High Points Total
1. Chip Hanauer 7300
2. Scott Pierce 6769
3. Jim Kropfeld 6275
4. Sieve Reynolds 5400
5. Jerry Hopp 4549
6. Andy Coker 4095
7. Toed Yarling 3983
8. Tom D'Eath 2000
9. Mitch Evans 1892
10. Leif Borgersen 625
11. George Johnson 127

 

1985

Bill Muncey Industries lost their sponsor Atlas Van Lines when new ownership wanted to go in a different direction. Miller Brewing, which ran the Lite All Star in 1984, wanted to stay in Unlimited Racing even after a disappointing season and shifted their allegiance to the Muncey team hence Miller American.

R.B. "Bob" Taylor, the owner of Lite All Star, sold all of his equipment to Bernie Little, who began a turbine program with Lite crew chief Ron Brown. For 1985 however Little decided to stay with the pistons and would run a new lighter Miss Budweiser from the drawing board of Ron Jones.

Steve Woomer also lost his sponsorship with Tosti Asti, but came up with another in 7-Eleven. Driver Steve Reynolds and crew chief Jerry Verheul remained with the team. Miss 7-Eleven and Miller American were the only turbines scheduled to compete in 1985. However Miller was to run a L-11 turbine as opposed to a L-7 for Miss 7-Eleven which would give the Fran Muncey team a 1000 horsepower advantage.

Squire Shop lost their co-sponsor Union Bay and had to cut back on their activities. Running a Merlin they were not really in the fight, but it would be interesting to see what new driver Tom D'Eath could do with the boat as opposed to Mickey Remund.

Miami was the first race of the year and again the turbines were handicapped by the salt water. Both turbines had problems and Bill Wurster's Executone won the event. The new Budweiser arrived late and failed to qualify. Miller American did not start the final heat and Miss 7-Eleven did not finish it. 7-Eleven was second to the winning Executone while running.

Miller American was damaged in a pre-race test and missed the following event at Syracuse. This certainly opened the door for the only other turbine in the field Miss 7-Eleven. Nevertheless Miss 7-Eleven lost heat 1-A to Executone and did not start heat two. In the final she got out in front and led for three laps before being felled by gear box trouble. However the prime determining factor for Miss 7-Eleven was being disqualified for cutting off Executone and Miss Budweiser.

Executone was running a physical second to Miss 7-Eleven, but threw a prop in the third lap. Miss Budweiser then assumed the lead after passing American Speedy Printing. Miss Budweiser went on to score a perfect 1200 points to win Miller American's regatta. Even though winning the new Miss Budweiser was taken back to her home port in Seattle since she was still a rough ride.

She was replaced by last year's 22 race winning Miss Budweiser.

Miller Brewing Company had had a bad experience in 1984 with Lite All Star. Their experience with Fran Muncey in the first two regattas of 1985 had hardly been better. However at Detroit after failing in heat 1-B Miller American came back in the last two heats to win Stroh's Thunderfest. She had 10 m.p.h on the Detroit fleet. Miss 7-Eleven with her L-7 Lycoming could not keep up.

Miller American ran ahead of Miss 7-Eleven in both elimination heats at Madison failing in the first one thereby not qualifying for the championship heat. This left only Miss Budweiser to challenge Miss 7-Eleven for the Indiana Governor's Cup. Unfortunately Bernie Little's 22 race winner was not up to par and Miss 7-Eleven won rather easily.

At Evansville Miss 7-Eleven defeated Miller American in heat 1-A after the latter got off to a poor start. In the next two heats Miller American beat Miss 7-Eleven easy winning the final heat by 12 seconds. Miss Budweiser was about four m.p.h. slower than in her salad years in the Thunder-on-the-Ohio.

Both Miller American and Miss 7-Eleven were to run the L-11 Lycoming turbine at the Tri-Cities. The new Miss Budweiser would return to the circuit and Squire Shop would make its season debut.

All of this didn't amount to much as Miller American ran the fastest competition lap in history by 6 m.p.h. at 143 m.p.h. and won all three of her heats to capture the Columbia Cup. Miss 7-Eleven could stay close briefly, but then would fry an engine. Even the Merlin powered Squire Shop beat Miss Budweiser at the Tri-Cities.

Miller American had no trouble winning Chip Hanauer's 4th Gold Cup at Seattle as she had 4 m.p.h. on Miss 7-Eleven. The Miller beat the Steve Woomer entry once in an elimination heat and then won the championship heat when the 7-Eleven broke a coupler once again.

Oklahoma City was a new race on the circuit for 1985. Miss 7-Eleven beat Miller American in heat 2-B when the beer boat experienced vibrations. The 7-Eleven put in her L-11 known as "Big Wally" for the final, however she was clearly being beaten by Miller American when she expired in lap 4. The fifth lap was not finished as 7-Eleven driver Steve Reynolds jumped in the water to save his burning boat. A new rule made the final heat a contest since the leader Miller American had completed half the laps.

The fleet ended 1985 as it had begun on salt water. This gave the piston packers a fighting chance. Predictably both turbines had trouble in San Diego's salt water. Miss 7-Eleven didn't finish a heat and Miller American blew in the final. This was enough for Miss Budweiser as she scored 1200 perfect points.

After a disappointing season the new Miss Budweiser came alive in the final event posting a competition lap of 132.645 m.p.h. The previous Miss Budweiser did 135.4 at the Tri-Cities in its fifth year. In its first season it turned the equivalent of 133 m.p.h. on a 2h mile course which was utilized at San Diego.

Four races into the circuit Miller American was 1525 points down to Executone in High Points being blanked in the second race at Syracuse. After the seventh of the nine scheduled events at Seattle she was in the lead. In due course she was able to take championship by 531 points.

[Statistics from Greene, V.2]