1990 Season Summary


1990 Season
1. June 3 Budweiser Miami Regatta Miami, Florida
2. June 10 Budweiser APBA Gold Cup Detroit, Michigan
3. July 1 Budweiser Thunder on The Ohio Evansville, Indiana
4. July 8 Budweiser Indiana Governor's Cup Madison, Indiana
5. July 15 Pringle's Family Thunderboat Classic Syracuse, New York
6. July 29 Budweiser Columbia Cup Pasco, Washington
7. August 5 Seafair Rainier Cup Seattle, Washington
8. August 26 Milwaukee Budweiser Splash Milwaukee, Wisconsin
9. September 9 Pringle's Family Hydrofest Kansas City, Missouri
10. September 16 Budweiser Mission Bay Cup San Diego, California
11. September 23 Budweiser Las Vegas Silver Cup Las Vegas, Nevada
1991 Season
[12.] November 11 Outrigger Top Gun Hydrofest Honolulu, Hawaii


  Winner Crew Chief Designer Builder Engine
6/3 Miss Circus Circus (4) Dave Villwock Lucero-Jones Jim Lucero Lycoming
6/10 Miss Budweiser (17) Ron Brown Jones-Brown Jones-Brown Lycoming
7/1 Miss Budweiser (17) Ron Brown Jones-Brown Jones-Brown Lycoming
7/8 Miss Circus Circus (4) Dave Villwock Lucero-Jones Jim Lucero Lycoming
7/15 Miss Budweiser (17) Ron Brown Jones-Brown Jones-Brown Lycoming
7/29 Miss Budweiser (17) Ron Brown Jones-Brown Jones-Brown Lycoming
8/5 Miss Circus Circus (4) Dave Villwock Lucero-Jones Jim Lucero Lycoming
8/26 Miss Circus Circus (4) Dave Villwock Lucero-Jones Jim Lucero Lycoming
9/9 Miss Budweiser (18) Ron Brown Brown-Jones Ron Brown Lycoming
9/16 Miss Circus Circus (4) Dave Villwock Lucero-Jones Jim Lucero Lycoming
9/23 Miss Circus Circus (4) Dave Villwock Lucero-Jones Jim Lucero Lycoming
1991 Season
11/11 Miss Budweiser Ron Brown Brown-Jones Ron Brown Lycoming


  Built Boat High Points (1991) Total Team Pts.
1. (1987) Miss Circus Circus (4)   13652 (1)
2. (1988)- Mr. Pringle's (2) 1050 9982 (3)
3. (1987) Miss Budweiser (17)   9752 (2-13152)
4. (1984) Winston Eagle (1) 750 7740 (4- 8678)
5. (1982) Oh Boy! Oberto (6) 1400 6333 (5)
6. (1988) Gaylord's At Kilohana 1000 5926 (6)
7. (1988) Cooper's Express   5200 (7)
8. (1979) Thor Racing Dnq 3749 (8)
9. (1989) Miss Budweiser (18) 1600 3400  
10. (1990) Miss KPOI 394 2859 (9)
11. (1990) Winston Eagle (2)   938  
12. (1982) U-99.9   225 (10)
13. (1980) Miss Northwest 127  
14. (1990) Miss Circus Circus (6)   Dns  
15. (1988) Unlimited Marine Racing   Dnq  
16. (1984) Miss Rock KISW-FM (4)   Dnq  
17. (1984) U-24   Dnq  


  Driver High Points (1991) Total
1. Chip Hanauer   13652
2. Tom D'Eath 1600 13152
3. George Woods 1050 9982
4. Jim Kropfeld 750 8678
5. Mark Tate 1400 6333
6. Mike Hanson 1000 5926
7. Mitch Evans   5200
8. Jerry Hopp 127 3749
9. Steve David 394 2859
10. Jack Barrie   225


Former Names
1. Miller American (2) , Miller High Life (2)
4. Miss Tosti Asti (2) Miss 7-Eleven, Cellular One (2), Competition Specialties, Vantage Ultra
5. Atlas Van Lines (10) , Spirit of America, Squire Shop (4)
6. Holset Miss Madison (2) , Holset Miss Mazda, Holset Miss U.S. Star
7. Risley's, Seaco Aviation Fuels (2) , Holset Miss Madison (3) , Miss D.O.C. (2), Miss Chiro Choice, Miss Meta Lax, Oberto Wild Waves
8. Squire Shop (2) , Tri-Cities Savings & Loan, Miss Crown Nissan, U-33, Handyman Home Centers, Riggin's Crab House, Horizon Air, Knight & Carver Yacht Center, Miss Nevada Palace, Miss Jackpot Food Mart, Miss Jackpot Garrett Turbo, Jackpot Food Mart, Miss Expert Automotive, Miss Paddock Pools, Miss Mid Mark (2) , Nevada Palace, Garrett Turbo
10. ARC Construction Special, Easter Seals, Jackpot Food Mart (2)
12. Oh Boy Oberto (4) , Executone (2), American Speedy Printing (1) , Miss Houston, Team Velocity, U-40, Risley's Express (2) , Coors Light Silver Bullet, Boat, Miss Kamt/AA Auto Parts, Pocket Savers Plus (2) , Miss Maxim, Heartbreakers Club, Thee Doll Houses Of America, Miss Easter Seals, Arc Construction (2) , Pietro's Pizza (3) Miss Marina Casino-Hotel, Miss Rock KISW-FM (3)
13. Miss Budweiser (12) , Kenney Toyota (3) , Pietro's Pizza (2)
15. Miss Stroh Light, Boss Marine Sports, Sundek, Infinity Car Audio
16. Miss Crab Legs, Miss Mid Mark (1)
17. Executone (3) , Mr. Pringle's (1) , Risley's (2), U.S. West Cellular



Twelve races were scheduled for 1990 - the most under the Unlimited Racing Commission since 1958. There were 11 regattas in 1974 which was the previous high since the introduction of required prize money.in 1962. Another plus was that six of the twelve events on the tour were in major league cities having either Major League Baseball and/or NFL football.

A new rule would allow the substitution of hulls from race to race. This would certainly benefit the Budweiser team who had two very competitive boats. Their 1987 charger was light on its feet while the 1989 boat was a more down on the water hull. Now Bernie Little would have an entry for every occasion.

Circus Circus also had two competitive hulls for 1990. Their 1989 boat built in 1987 had state of the art sponsons while their 1984 four time Gold Cup winner did not. As a result the 1984 hull was shunted to the sidelines in favor of a new triple wing concept hydroplane from the drawing board of Ron Jones.

On this design there would be a gap in the deck near the transom and another toward the bow that would spill air if the hull was about to go over. This would allow the boat to ride higher on the water permitting the new Circus to go faster with more safety.

Another attempt to go faster with more safety was the new Winston Eagle. This design by Jim Lucero aimed to lessen the amount of air that could be trapped under the hull by means of a very narrow transon thus reducing the incidence of a blowover. The new rule referenced above would allow those teams that were looking to use radical designs to hedge their bets by switching boats at their discretion.

Jim Kropfeld, late of the Miss Budweiser team, would be the Winston Eagle driver. With championship crew chief Jim Lucero teamed with Kropfeld, who had also won his share of championships, the Winston Eagle figured to be a formidable contender if the new design worked out.

The first stop on the 1990 tour was in the salt water of Miami. Budweiser started their 1989 High Point Champion and Circus countered with their High Point Champion of 1990. Both boats ran strong all three heats. Miss Circus Circus defeated Miss Budweiser in the final although being topped by the latter in heat 1-A. The new Winston Eagle was 30 m.p.h. off the pace.

Detroit was next and was to run a four heat Gold Cup as in previous years instead of a new five heat format since high winds blew the first day of the regatta off the water. It was contemplated the Lee Schoenith Plan for the Gold Cup would be inaugurated at the regatta - Detroit's first Gold Cup since 1986.

Under the Schoenith Plan five heats would be run instead of four in a two day regatta. Two 3 lap heats would be scheduled for the first day. Another three heats of five laps would be run on day two that would include a winner-take-all championship heat.

For the Gold Cup Budweiser chose their 1987 hull. The triple wing Circus Circus ran, but was 12 m.p.h. short of their 1989 standard bearer in test runs and thus was consigned to the sidelines. Budweiser and Circus met in all three preliminary heats with Miss Budweiser having the edge two to one. In the final Miss Circus Circus made an off plane start and Miss Budweiser led all the way.

Two drivers felt Miss Budweiser jumped the gun, but this could not be verified by the officials. Circus Circus was penalized for changing lanes off the exit pin heading for the start under a new rule for 1990. Winston Eagle was 32 m.p.h. behind the leader.

At Evansville both Miss Budweiser and Miss Circus Circus won their elimination heats. In the championship heat Circus Circus stayed with Budweiser until lap three when she could not hold her lane and went through the Anheuser-Busch entry's roostertail. Budweiser won Thunder-on-The-Ohio by 17 seconds. Winston Eagle brought back their 1989 boat and was only four m.p.h. down in leading Miss Budweiser for ¾ of lap in heat 2-B.

Madison returned Miss Circus Circus to the winner's circle. Miss Budweiser beat the winner in heat 2-A when the Circus kited off the last turn and lost by a boat length. Circus Circus took the final heat after Budweiser struck a roller and almost capsized.

A new concept added interest to the Syracuse Regatta. This was a shoot out on the day before the race matching in separate sections the top three turbines and the top three pistons. Incredibly in a flag start that found Winston Eagle in lane one and Miss Circus Circus in lane three, the Eagle clearly defeated the Circus.

Miss Circus Circus came back the next day to apparently win the Pringle's Thunderboat Classic. However she was penalized in the final for cutting off Cooper's Express before the start of the heat. Miss Budweiser backed off when advised of the penalty over the radio and went on to take the regatta. Budweiser had defeated Miss Circus Circus in a preliminary heat.

The great promise Winston Eagle had shown the day before was compromised by a sponson damaged prior to the start of the race. Even more important was the fact driver Jim Kropfeld was in a traffic accident resulting in damage to his ribs the night before the main contest. In 1963 Ron Musson was kept off the circuit for over a month with injured ribs. Bill Cantrell also had to retire briefly in 1965 due to a rib problem.

Miss Budweiser almost capsized again at the Tri-Cities in heat 2-B suffering extensive damage, but was in shape for the championship confrontation. Circus obliged by conking out on the backstretch prior to the start and Budweiser won the Columbia Cup. Winston Eagle without Ron Jones sponsons could not keep up.

The new Circus Circus triple wing was tested again at Seattle and was nearly 20 m.p.h. slower than the #1 Circus hull. The #1 Circus captured the Seafair Rainier Cup at Seattle when Miss Budweiser lost power in the last three laps of the final heat with a damaged propeller. Circus also defeated Budweiser in heat 2-A when the Bernie Little hydro had a sick engine in..lap 4.

The fleet next headed for Milwaukee for a new regatta on the shores of Lake Michigan. The last time major league boats raced on Lake Michigan was 1922 in an event won by Gar Wood's Miss America. Some thought it was too rough for three point prop riders and that only the "real boats" of the Gar Wood era were capable of running on the unprotected waters of this member of the Great Lakes.

Miss Circus Circus got inside of Budweiser at the start of the Milwaukee championship heat and had a clear margin after the Bernie Little entry slowed to avoid a premature start. Thus Miss Circus Circus won the Milwaukee Budweiser Splash.

Another new race at Kansas City followed Milwaukee. After running their 1987 hull for seven straight regattas, Budweiser chose their 1989 boat for the second time in 1990. Circus Circus stayed with their 1989 hull when the new triple wing again came up 11 m.p.h. slower. The Hughes Plan was selected as the format for the third time in 1990.

Budweiser and Miss Circus Circus did not meet in the preliminaries at Kansas City. In the final Miss Budweiser got lucky and annexed the Pringle's Hydrofest when Circus Circus lost her skid fin. Unlike previous regattas both Pringle's and Winston Eagle were within six m.p.h. of the leaders.

The turbines had done well at Miami. They would get another chance to test their metal at San Diego.and did pretty good finishing 12 of 16 heats. Miss Circus Circus won the Mission Bay Cup when Miss Budweiser did not start the championship heat making up for Circus' failure at Milwaukee. Winston Eagle was again within 4 m.p.h. of the leader, however she could not really challenge Circus in the final heat.

Since the Honolulu regatta was scheduled for November, it was considered to be part of the next season by the APBA. As a consequence Las Vegas was the last race of their year. After a ding dong battle all season long with each Miss Budweiser and Miss Circus Circus winning five races the former entry was ahead by only 173 High Points. After running their 1989 hull in the last two events, Budweiser chose their 1987-88 High Point Champion for the show down at Las Vegas.

Both Miss Budweiser and Miss Circus Circus kept pace with wins in their first two elimination heats. They were to meet in 3-A. Circus Circus could win the High Point Championship if she won in this heat and the final.

Miss Budweiser in lane one led out of the first turn, but moved over on Circus Circus on the backstretch causing her to climb its roostertail. Budweiser was disqualified for a hazardous lane change receiving no points and the heat winner Miss Circus Circus was ahead 227 points going into the final heat of the season instead of being behind by possibly 273 points.

In the championship heat Miss Budweiser led all the way -- not surprising given the High Point situation -- but jumped the gun giving the Las Vegas Silver Cup to the new High Point Champion Miss Circus Circus.

After the incident in heat 3-A tempers were hot and ugly words were spoken. Budweiser driver Tom D'Eath thought he had some strong evidence to overcome his disqualification, nevertheless the APBA. rejected his appeal. Days later Circus Circus retired from Unlimited racing and in due course sold all their equipment to Steve Woomer.

However, for the last race of the calendar year Winston Eagle brought its old boat to Honolulu. The old Winston had been about 3 m.p.h. behind Budweiser at San Diego after being down 4.7 in Evansville and 4.6 at Kansas City not to mention its lap of 150.7 tops at Syracuse. The other potential race winner Mr. Pringle's was about six m.p.h. short of the Anheuser-Busch entry. Budweiser 89 would run in Hawaii.

In the championship heat at Honolulu Winston Eagle died in the first lap and Miss Budweiser had an easy win when the second place Mr. Pringle's was penalized for destroying an outside course marker.

The leading contenders went over five times in 1989, however nobody blew over during the 1990 season. The top boats were aided in avoiding these accidents by rear tiplets and round cornered sponsons. This was the first season since 1986 that no hulls flipped.

[Statistics and comments from Greene, V.2]