1972 Atomic Cup

Bud Seeks Mark

Straightaway Record Might Ease Loss of Point Title

By Del Danielson, Times Sports Writer

TRI-CITIES—Bernie Little, owner of the Miss Budweiser and one of the most flamboyant figures in unlimited hydroplane racing, is eyeing a world straightaway record.

Little’s boat ranks third in the national point standings going into tomorrow’s Atomic Cup Race on the Columbia River. A fourth consecutive championship for Little is out of the question. The Bud is 2,631 points behind the Atlas Van Lines with two regattas to go.

"A world record would help take the sting out of missing a fourth straight championship," Little said. "I’d dearly love to have that record and so would my sponsor."

The record is 200.419 miles an hour, set by Roy Duby in the Miss U.S. in 1962.

Little is considering using the Budweiser Malt Liquor, former Harrah’s Club, in the record attempt. Little purchased the boats from Bill Harrah and entered it in one race last season.

"We would use Merlin-Griffon engines," Little said. "They have twice as many cubic inches as the Rolls Royce engines we use in the Budweiser. Harrah used Merlins in the boat when he was campaigning, and he gathered all the necessary equipment. It’s a powerful engine, but the problem is keeping gears in it."

Little is working with Mantel Gear Works of Seattle.

"If everything works out, we could go for the record late this year," Little said. "It all depends on Mantel, and I consider him the best gear man in the business."

Bill Sterrett, Sr., former driver of the Bud, is Little’s choice for the record try.

"Poppy wants that record and I have every confidence he could get it," Little said. "We have the right combination to run at Lake Tahoe. That elevation would be right for our setup. Otherwise, we could go to Guntersville."

Duby’s record was set on the Alabama lake. Three years ago, the late Tommy Fults made an unsuccessful record try in the Pride of Pay ‘n Pak, also on Lake Guntersville.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, July 22, 1972)