1968 Wisconsin Cup

Billy the Kid Strikes Again in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — (Special) — Billy Schumacher, in his many years of driving speedboats, has become accustomed to winning. It almost became habit-forming last year when Billy The Kid took over as driver of Ole Bardahl's new unlimited hydroplane.

The Kid rode the Bardahl to six victories in eight races and handily won the national championship.

It was back to form yesterday for Billy and the yellow-and-black-checkered hydro from Seattle in the first-time Wisconsin Cup regatta viewed by an estimated 30,000 paying spectators.

Several thousand more "free-loaders" watched the race on Lake Monona from apartment rooftops and terraces of buildings that line this lake just two miles from the state capitol building.

A blown engine and two penalties made Schumacher's task easy, after scooting the Bardahl to firsts in Heats 1A and 2B. Bill Muncey, also of Seattle, had turned in the fastest qualifying in George Simon's Detroit-owned Miss U.S. But the U.S. blew an engine on the second lap in the final heat and left the Savair's Probe to challenge the Bardahl.

It was no contest between Schumacher and Walt Kade, although the second-place finish in the final heat enabled Mike Wolfbauer's Detroit hydro to place second in the final point standings, 1,200 for Bardahl and 900 for Savair's.

Also in the final heat, both the Notre Dame and My Gypsy jumped the gun and had to run extra laps. Jim Ranger's My Gypsy, driven by a rookie, Tommy Fults, was third overall, with 869 points. Muncey finished fifth overall, with 800 points off victories in Heats 1C and 2A.

Jerry Zuvich, the Bardahl camp's young crew chief, was pleased enough that Schumacher wasn't pressed in the final heat.

We were having an over-heating problem with the engine and it was just as well that Muncey wasn't around long enough in the final heat to press us," Zuvich said.

As it was, the Bardahl averaged 96.73 miles an hour in the final heat, as compared to 104.338 in the first and 107.14 in the second. Schumacher also picked up the winner's share of the purse, $4,500.

One of the best contested heats of the day was 2A, won by Muncey. The Notre Dame, also a Seattle-based hydro, spun out twice on the second lap, but Regas managed to keep control and finished third behind the Savair's Probe.

Tough luck befell the winner of the season's opening race June 2 in Guntersville, Ala. The Miss Eagle Electric from Spokane joined the Savair's Mist on the beach, crippled and unable to give chase to Bardahl.

Now it's on to Detroit and the sport's most traditional race of all, the Gold Cup. That will be June 30 on the muddy waters of the Detroit River. Schumacher and the Bardahl appear to be back in form — a winning form that produced a Gold Cup champion last year on Lake Washington in Seattle.

Heats -- Order Of Finish

Heat 1AMiss Bardahl, Bill Schumacher; My Gypsy, Tommy Fults; Smirnoff, Dean Chenoweth; Miss Budweiser, Bill Sterett; Eagle Electric, Warner Gardner (DNF).

Heat 1BMiss U.S., Bill Muncey; Miss Madison, Ed O'Halloran; Atlas Van Lines, Jim McCormick; Harrah's Club, Burnett Bartley.

Heat 1CNotre Dame, Jack Regas; Savair's Probe, Walter Kade; Parco's O-Ring Miss, Fred Alter; Gale's Roostertail (DNS).

Heat 2AMiss U.S., Savair's Probe, Notre Dame, Miss Budweiser.

Heat 2BMiss Bardahl, Smirnoff, Miss Madison, Atlas Van Lines.

Heat 2C My Gypsy, Harrah's Club, Parco's O-Ring Miss, Gale's Roostertail,

Final HeatMiss Bardahl, Savair's Probe, Notre Dame, My Gypsy, Miss U.S. (DNF).

Boat Race Points Total National Points
Miss Bardahl 1,200 2,000
Savair's Probe 900 900
My Gypsy 869 1,719
Notre Dame 850 1,500
Miss U.S 800 1,700
Smirnoff 525 1,313
Miss Madison 525 1,079
Harrah's Club 469 638
Parco's O-Ring Miss 450 750
Atlas Van Lines 394 1,088
Miss Budweiser 169 769
Gale's Roostertail 169 169
Eagle Electric 0 1,200
Savair's Mist 0 544


(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, June 17, 1968)