Intercontinental Challengers [1996]

I read with interest your announcement in issue #63 [of the UHRA Hydroletter] about the Aussie Endeavor's plans to participate on the 1996 Unlimited tour. If Aussie Endeavor does indeed make the trip from "Down Under" to "Up Over", she will be only the sixth intercontinental challenger in the modern era of the sport.

The first was Sant' Ambrogio, which came over from Italy in 1948. She failed to finish at the Gold Cup in Detroit with Achille Castoldi driving. She was nevertheless a trendsetter inasmuch as Sant' Ambrogio was a cabover at a time when three-point Unlimiteds seated their drivers behind--not in front of--the engine.The second foreign challenger was the 1974 Solo. She was the first Unlimited from Australia to participate in a U.S. event. This Merlin-powered craft attended the Tri-Cities and Seattle races. Owned by Stan Jones and Dick Carnie, Solo experienced mechanical difficulties and failed to finish with Bob Saniga as driver.

The first boat from another continent to score points in a U.S. Unlimited race was the Australian Miss Bud of 1978. (She was in fact the former Miss Budweiser of 1973-1975.) Owned by Ron Burton and driven by Saniga, the Ron Jones-designed hull finished a respectable third in both the Tri-Cities and Seattle races.

The two most recent intercontinental challengers were the Miss Bayswater Bulk from Australia and the Louie's on the Lake from Italy. Both participated in the 1983 UIM World Championship Regatta in Houston, Texas. Miss Bayswater Bulk was an 18-foot tunnel-outboard affair, owned and driven by Renato Molinari, who managed to duplicate the Miss Bud's performance of 1978 by taking an overall third in the race. Miss Bayswater Bulk was owned by the same team that had run the Solo in 1974. Like her predecesor, the Bulk likewise experienced mechanical difficulty. But driver Bill Baberton vindicated himself by finishing first in the Consolation Heat.