2003 St. Clair Exhibition
Return to St. Clair
After 43 years, the Unlimiteds put on a show in the hometown of Chuck Thompson
Four of the top Unlimited hydros in the world staged an exhibition on a beautiful, warm Tuesday June 24 at St. Clair, Michigan, about 50 miles north of Detroit, all in anticipation of a possible sanctioned race next year.
The enthusiastic crowd, estimated at 14,000, sat along the banks of the St. Clair River on the Canadian and American sides to watch Miss Budweiser, Miss EMCOR, U-9, and Oh Boy! Oberto do their thing.
Biggest thrill of the day came when Dave Villwock took Joe Little’s T-5 Bud right along the shoreline, hosing the crowd with his roostertail. They loved it!
Mike Hanson in the Jones Racing U-9 and Mike Weber in the EMCOR staged a four-lap run together around the 2½ mile course. To end the show around 3:45 pm, a three-boat “heat” was scheduled. The Bud and the U-9 came out, but Steve David couldn’t light a fire in the Oberto’s turbine and the boat from Madison was put back on her trailer.
Villwock and Hanson ran four laps together to the delight of the fans.
The makeshift pit area was a lot next to the St. Clair Inn and the UD pit tours, led by Ray Dong, ran countless tours of 20 people each all day long. John Gysin II and his band of volunteers ran a tight pit and really kept things moving.
The drivers gave a positive nod to the race course and the town. After running in the morning, the drivers gave the course committee their input. The course was adjusted slightly in time for some very favorable runs in the afternoon.
Later that evening at a dinner at the St. Clair Inn, the local committee presented Hydro-Prop’s Gary Garbrecht with a deposit check for a race in 2004. It looks like the Unlimiteds will be racing on the St. Clair River once again.