1993 Outrigger Hotels Hydrofest

Hydrofest Whale of a Time for T-Plus

By Cindy Luis

The gold whale's tail that Jim Harvey wore on a chain around his neck told the tale of his hydroplane's outing in the finals of yesterday's Outrigger Hotels Hydrofest at Pearl Harbor.

The T-Plus owner saw his driver Steve David win going away in setting a world record for a 12.5-mile heat as well as a course record in 154.025 mph. The win successfully bookended the Unlimited Racing Commission's season for T-Plus, which also took the checkered flag in the season opener at Lewisville, Texas.

David led from the initial green flag and was never threatened after the first turn, thrilling the estimated crowd of 85,000 that lined Ford Island the Pearl City Peninsula. Miss Budweiser driver Chip Hanauer, the O'Doul's high points champion and winner of this event last year, spent most of the race in the spray of the T-Plus roostertail.

Miss Budweiser finished second with a 152.445-mph average, while Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, winning all three of its heats leading up to the finals, was third at 143.935.

"I bought a whale's tail when we first raced here four years ago, and we went from seventh to second place," Harvey said of his talisman that, from a distance, looked like a 'V' for victory. "I lost it but, last Wednesday, I bought another one. I'm going to take it off and save it until next year."

The real charm for the T-Plus was a new engine that her crew replaced after a sluggish second-place finish in Heat 3B. The engine had been rebuilt following a blowup in the finals of last month's Texaco Star Mart Cup in San Diego.

"We knew we had the power and that it was a strong motor," said Harvey, winning his fourth race in six seasons as owner. "We felt it deserved a second chance. It has quick acceleration, which is very important to get us through the corners quicker so that we could get out and running in the straightaways."

Miss Budweiser was also using a new engine after blowing one out in Heat 2B.

"We were down on power," said Miss Budweiser owner Bernie Little, the winningest owner in URC history. "We were out running this morning with 160-mile laps and then we were only able to get it up to 150-something (152.445). And (Chip Hanauer) had his foot on the floor."

Miss Budweiser already had wrapped up the points championship before hitting the waters of Pearl Harbor. On Saturday, Hanauer won the $20,000 O'Doul's Shootout, posting a 2.5-mile course record of 169.297.

David was relishing his team's win after using his inside starting position to full advantage.

"It's wonderful to win the last race of the year because it gives us the momentum over the winter," said David, driving the only two-wing design boat on the circuit. "And the other guys have to carry the loss through the winter.

"We had all the right stuff and, when you give our crew the right stuff, it's going to win. I knew we had the engine and knew what kind of speeds we were capable of. Nobody was going to get us."

David said he knew exactly where Miss Budweiser was during the entire race. He said he teased Hanauer down the straightaways, letting up just a little to allow Miss Budweiser to close the gap, then flooring the pedal to reopen a substantial lead.

T-Plus took some air during the stretches but David said he never was concerned his 6,000-pound craft would flip. His fastest lap was 160.403 mph.

The Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, looking to a second consecutive race win, dominated the day's early action. Mike Hanson won all three of his heats and had first lane choice for the final, selecting the second lane.

But a slow start proved to be too much to overcome. Hanson was able to pass the Mark Tate-driven Winston Eagle with 1½ laps left in the final to finish third and propel Kellogg's over the Winston Eagle into second place in the final standings by 77 points.

The event, a benefit for the U.S. Navy's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund, has a five-year contract that is scheduled to expire after next year's race. However officials expect the commitment with title sponsor Outrigger Hotels to be extended, rolled over for another five years.

(Reprinted from Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 25, 1993)