1964 Diamond Cup

Year of the Green Dragon (excerpt)

by Eileen Crimmin

The unlucky number of a 13-boat field should have been a warning, but fans at the Diamond Cup site pegged Bardahl as a sure winner. Then, in rapid succession Miss Eagle Electric won a heat; Miss Exide won a heat; Miss Madison won, and Tahoe Miss won and . . . but where was Bardahl?

Musson and his Dragon posted a respectable second in one heat, finally won Heat 2B. But Bardahl garnered only a second in the Final. Therefore, Miss Exide with Bill Brow helming won the overall.

Bardahl was second overall, Madison third. Though Tahoe Miss was seventh overall, she posted the fastest heat average speed, 111.801 mph.

The race spoiled Bardahl’s hoped-for three-in-a-row showing. It also consolidated some nebulous opinions about Tahoe Miss, Madison and Exide.

Without any controversy Tahoe Miss was acknowledged the fastest, best-handling boat on the circuit. In rough water or smooth, the huge craft had everything it takes but luck and durability. Engine mortality rises sharply above 110. And Chuck Thompson often was pushing Tahoe Miss above 110; so she often blew.

As for Madison with an essentially stock engine and top race driver Buddy Byers helming, this lady was moving toward third lace in national point standings. It was impossible, but true.

Naturally, Exide and Bill Brow always were a formidable team, but one other boat surprised fans — Mariner Too. Supposedly a 3-4 place boat, it kept entering the first turn first, and finishing in the two-spot more often than expected.

Suddenly, as Seafair approached, there were not two but five boats capable of surprising performance.

* * *

Diamond Cup found Bill Muncey sidelined by ailment and Rex Manchester helming the Notre Dame. Winner Bill Brow in Exide admitted using shots of "laughing gas," nitrous oxide, to obtain power spurts when necessary. "If it isn't Bundles for Britain, it's Oxide for Exide" was a punster's jibe. Muncey and Chuck Thompson both jumped the gun in Heat 1C.

(Reprinted from the National Boat Racing 1965 Yearbook)