1986 Emerald Cup

Chip Shot? - Hanauer Shrugs Off D'Eath Threat

Chip Hanauer understands it is tough to be up on the summit, especially in a sport as dangerous as boat racing. In fact, during a limited-class national-championship race a few years back, one competitor told him, "I'm going to win the nationals or kill you trying.'

"Those kind of threats just don't affect me," the Miller American driver said yesterday.

So it is without trepidation that Hanauer begins qualifying tomorrow for the Emerald Cup unlimited regatta on Lake Washington -- even if Squire Shop driver Tom D'Eath has suggested Hanauer should bring a snorkel and soap to Sunday's race.

D'Eath made the implied threats after he and Hanauer twice came close to bumping decks during the winner-take-all final in the Tri-Cities' Columbia Cup chase last Sunday. They exchanged harsh words after Hanauer won the race by 13 seconds over D'Eath.

"I don't take threats seriously, but I don't think making them is healthy for the sport," said Hanauer, whose victory here last year was a modern-era record fourth straight Gold Cup. "The sport is a dangerous thing to begin with. To take a sport that is already dangerous and make it even more dangerous is not a smart thing to do."

Hanauer said he realizes that D'Eath may have been trying to hype the next race.

"I understand that," he said. "But when my family picks up the paper and reads things like that, they don't understand."

There probably are some serious undertones to D'Eath's remarks, however. He and Hanauer have clashed several times over the years.

Hanauer, for example, drew D'Eath's ire earlier this season when he voted against allowing The Squire Shop to compete in the Gold Cup in Detroit. Gold Cup entrants must have competed in at least one previous race during the season, but the Squire crew missed the season-opener in Miami. D'Eath also has claimed Hanauer cut him off during a heat race in Madison, Ind., this year.

"If Tom has something to say to me, he should come up to me and say them to my face, not through the press," Hanauer said. "I'm not going to go up and talk to him; it would just give those threats a degree of seriousness. It's like Gadhafi going around making threats here and there."

On the race course, an unlimited driver simply must divorce himself from his emotions, Hanauer believes.

"There are two things that really don't mix in racing -- emotion and a race boat," he said. "Most of the people who died in boat racing -- and Bill Muncey is one of them -- took a whole lot of emotion, or anger, with them in the boat. It's as dangerous as being intoxicated while driving.

"Driving a boat, you have to be just icy analytical. When I'm out on the water Sunday, I'll see the Squire Shop and, in my mental computer, I'll say, 'There's someone angry out there and maybe that's someone I should stay away from.'"

Emerald Cup

Tomorrow and Friday, 10 a.m. to noon and 3-5 p.m., on 2-mile Lake Washington course.

Racing: Heat 1A begins at noon Sunday; winner-take-all final is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Admission is $7 in advance at 7-Eleven stores and $9 at the gate Sunday.


(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, July 30, 1986)