Danny Walls

Danny Walls Remembered

by Fred Farley, H1 Unlimited Historian

Danny Walls, 1973
Danny Walls, 1973

Former Unlimited hydroplane driver Danny Walls, Sr., of Bellevue, KY, passed away on October 26, 2011. He was 66.

Walls had a brief Unlimited career in the middle 1970s. In recent decades, he raced Limited inboards in partnership with his son, Danny Walls, Jr.

Danny, Sr., drove for three different Unlimited teams: Bob Fendler’s Lincoln Thrift’s 7-1/4% Special (U-29) and Jim McCormick’s Red Man I (U-8) in 1973 and Gene Benning’s Just-A-Pest III (U-56) in 1974.

His best finishes were a second-place in the 1974 Champion Spark Plug Regatta at Miami Marine Stadium with Just-A-Pest III and a third-place in the 1973 Indiana Governor’s Cup at Madison with Lincoln Thrift’s 7-1/4%.

Walls was a three-time National Champion in the 225 Cubic Inch Class with the Just-A-Pest team. He drove in just about every inboard hydro class at one time or another-often in more than one at the same regatta. Danny once told this writer what a challenge it was to go directly from a huge 7-Litre Class boat to behind the wheel of a tiny 48 Cubic Inch Class rig.

The Lincoln Thrift experience was a mixed blessing inasmuch as the Fred Wickens-built craft was fast but terribly ill-handling. Walls was one of five drivers to take a turn with the wild-riding U-29 in 1973. These included George Henley, Gene Whipp, Andy Miller, and Jack Brown.

Danny Walls will be sorely missed by his many boat racing friends. In the words of Grand Prix driver Mario Maraldo, “I raced against him. He was a good driver and I always looked forward to our racing together. Our sport has lost a good racer and friend.’’

[Reprinted from Thunderboat, December 2011]