1998 Las Vegas Cup
Near Blow-Out On Lake Mead
Due to attrition, only five of the nine boats at San Diego made it to Boulder Beach on the shores of stormy Lake Mead for the 2nd annual Las Vegas Cup on September 27. The field was bolstered with the arrival of Bob Fendler’s U-19 Easter Seals. The Formula 1 outboards were also there for their season finale, but the whitecapped waters kept everyone on shore Friday and Saturday. Heats 1-A and 1-B for the Unlimiteds were postponed until 8:30 AM Sunday morning.
Race day Sunday broke with slightly calmer seas, but officials knew conditions would deteriorate as the day went on, so the program got underway promptly at 8:30.
1-A saw Miss Budweiser defeat Wild FIRE 129.661 mph to 124.992. Deja Vu brought up the rear at 121.791. Speeds picked up slightly in Heat 1-B as Mitch Evans in Appian Jeronimo and Jimmy King in Miss E-Lam Plus battled side-by-side for the three laps with Evans ultimately winning at 133.644 mph to King’s 133.066. Jerry Hale brought up the rear in Easter Seals at 122.900.
Heats 2-A and 2-B were flip-flopped due to a time shortage (?) so 2-B went first at 10:30 AM. Dave Villwock took the Budweiser to the front and stayed there ahead of Miss E-Lam and Easter Seals in a parade on the wind swept 2-mile course.
2-B at 11:00 AM saw Mark Weber in Wild FIRE crawling over the line in lane #1 as the other two boats shot by into the first turn. Steve David exited the turn in the lead with the U-2 Deja Vu. Appian Jeronimo caught up and the two crossed the line even to end lap 1. Lap #2 was the same as the two drivers were pushing their mounts for all they were worth. On the last lap Evans stuck the Jeronimo's bow out front and moved ahead for the win with a 129.798 mph last lap. Wild FIRE was third.
Heat 3-A was attempted at noon, but the boats were called back in due to the wind and waves. At 1:00 PM things calmed down slightly so out came Miss Budweiser, Appian Jeronimo and Deja Vu. Everyone thought that the Budweiser had jumped the starter’s gun, but officials said it was OK. Villwock led by a mile at the finish over Appian and Deja Vu in a yawner.
Jimmy King and Mark Weber hit the line at full bore to start Heat 3-B. Around the turn it was King in the E-Lam moving out into a fair lead with Weber in Wild FIRE right behind. Hale trailed in the Easter Seals. Weber kept creeping up and challenging for the lead. On the last lap the two boats entered the first turn dead even. King pulled away slightly again, but Weber caught up on the backstretch. The crowds on shore, hungry for action, went wild as the two rounded the turn and headed for home. It was almost too close to call, with the E-Lam taking the win over an out-of-the-water Wild FIRE in a flying finish!
All six boats came out for the Final Heat in extremely rough conditions at 3:10 PM. Bud got lane #1 and took off in the lead. Appian Jeronimo held second, Wild FIRE was third, E-Lam fourth, Deja Vu fifth and Easter Seals sixth. On lap 2 Easter Seals took over fifth spot in the first turn. Wild FIRE and E-Lam ran neck-and-neck for third. Steve David regained fifth place on lap 3. Bud and Appian stayed just about 'A a roostertail apart, while Wild FIRE and E-Lam ran together, and Deja Vu and Easter Seals paired off for fifth and sixth.At the finish it was Bud over Appian, E-Lam over Wild FIRE, and Deja Vu over Easter Seals in what amounted to three match races in one heat.
So, Bernie Little’s Miss Budweiser sets a new record of eight race wins in one season. The old record of seven was held jointly by Pay 'n Pak (’74), Atlas Van Lines (‘79) and Miss Budweiser (’92 and ’93).
|Las Vegas Cup|
|September 27, 1998||2-mile course on Lake Mead|
|U-1||Miss Budweiser||Dave Villwock||1||1||1||1||1600|
|U-20||Appian Jeronimo||Mitch Evans||1||1||2||2||1400|
|U-16||Miss E-Lam Plus||Jimmy King||2||2||1||3||1225|
|U-10||Wild FIRE||Mark Weber||2||3||2||4||994|
|U-2||Deja Vu||Steve David||3||2||3||5||877|
|U-19||Easter Seals||Jerry Hale||3||3||3||6||770|
NOTE: Qualifying waived due to rough conditions Friday and Saturday on Lake Mead.
(Thunderbolt, October 1998)