1998 Bayfair Bill Muncey Cup
Villwock Clinches Title
San Diego And Las Vegas Races: Short On Boats, But Long On Action!
By George Schulz
Nine Unlimiteds made the trip to sunny southern California for San Diego's Bill Muncey Cup held September 20th on Mission Bay. Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser could clinch the season championship with a heat win at this, the eighth stop on the Ralph's Thunder Tour presented by Las Vegas. Villwock was leading his nearest competitor, Mark Evans, by 4,119 points going in.
By Friday before the race eight boats had qualified, leaving only Ken Muscatel's U-14, arriving late due to a truck breakdown in Bakersfield, to make an attempt on Saturday.
Around noon, Muscatel pulled the white and purple hydro out onto the 2.5 mile course. Moving fast into the first turn of his first lap, the boat's skid fin sheared a bolt and sent the turbine powered hull into the air and over backward. The driver was OK, but the U-14 received heavy damage to the left side and withdrew from the race.
Heat 1-A on Sunday featured the U-10 Wild FIRE - the former Close Call now owned by Kim Gregory and driven by Mark Weber - making its debut. He was followed out onto the course by Villwock in Miss Budweiser, Steve David in the Deja Vu, and Nate Brown in LLumar Window Film.
Budweiser took the lead in a flying start, with Wild FIRE right behind. LLumar was just behind and Deja Vu was way back in fourth. Villwock poured it on to start the second lap, leaving everyone else far behind. Wild FIRE, LLumar and Deja Vu finished behind him in that order.
Heat 1-B featured Mark Evans in PICO American Dream, Mitch Evans in Appian Jeronimo, Jimmy King in Miss E-Lam Plus, and Mike Weber driving the U-9 Miss VONS. VONS is a Fred Leland hull leased by Mike and Lori Jones for this race after they pulled their original U-9 Carpenter Communications off the circuit.
The Evans brothers hit the line together and ran up the backstretch side-by-side until Mark in the PICO began pulling ahead. E-Lam Plus ran well in third and Miss VONS was a distant fourth.
After the heat, it was announced that PICO was called for an N2 violation and disqualified. So, the order of finish was Appian Jeronimo, Miss E-Lam Plus and Miss VONS. The announcement also meant that Miss Budweiser was now the national champion. No one could catch the U-1 from here on out.Heat 2-A drew the two winners from heat 1,Bud and Appian, along with PICO and Deja Vu. PICO came out of the turn first with the lead on the inside, closely followed by Bud and Appian, and the race was on! All three poured around the #3-4 corner together and up the front chute with Mark Evans still in control. But Dave Villwock was in his stalking mode and used his boat's awesome power to catch and pass Evans on the next lap. Mitch Evans had the Appian Jeronimo in third just off the pace, and Deja Vu was 3A of a lap behind in fourth.
Miss VONS came out for Heat 2-B, but stalled before the start and was out. Nate Brown took control of this one early in the LLumar, but Jimmy King kept chipping away at him in the E-Lam. Wild FIRE was trying to keep up and switched to the inside lanes on lap #2, but couldn't catch the U-8 or the U-16 who were having a really good race up front.
At the finish line, it was LLumar Window Film by a roostertail over Miss E-Lam Plus. Wild FIRE came across third about a lap back.
Villwock and Mark Evans screamed through the first lap of Heat 3-A neck-and-neck, to the delight of the huge crowd onshore. But the Bud eventually pulled ahead of the PICO with a 155.841 mph second lap. Miss E-Lam missed a buoy on lap #2 and had to do an extra lap, leaving LLumar alone for third place. E-Lam was fourth.
In the last preliminary heat, Appian Jeronimo lost power before the start but picked up just at the gun and tore after Wild FIRE. Deja Vu was third and Miss VONS again stalled before starting. Mitch Evans and Mark Weber had a tremendous race going on around the second turn, but Evans' Appian boat again lost power and crawled through lap 2 before stalling on lap 3. Steve David took second in the Deja Vu.
PICO American Dream got lane #1 for the Final Heat. LLumar took lane 2 and Miss Budweiser lane 3. Wild FIRE, and Miss E-Lam were in lanes 4 and 5, and Appian Jeronimo was the trailer. Deja Vu couldn't get started.
Villwock hit the start right on the nose, leaving the competition far behind. PICO gave chase but began slowing in the #3-4 corner just as Wild FIRE and LLumar came flashing by on the outside fighting for second place. Nate Brown got a little too close to the Wild FIRE roostertail in the turn and flipped over, landing upside down. The race was stopped and Brown was rescued, shaken but unhurt. The LLumar was towed back to the pits upside down with damage to both sponsons.
Miss Budweiser got lane #1 for the re-start, but PICO got the jump over the line, followed by Appian Jeronimo. Villwock lay back in third as they rounded the first turn. It was another cavalry charge down the long backstretch with the three leaders altogether in a tremendous race. E-Lam was holding down fourth place and Wild FIRE was fifth. The Bud started to pull away entering lap #2, with Appian second and PICO hanging right with him in third before stalling in turn #4. Villwock was greeted by the traditional San Diego fireworks upon crossing the finish line. Appian Jeronimo was second, Miss E-Lam Plus third, and Wild FIRE fourth. PICO did not finish and Deja Vu did not start.
And so, Dave Villwock walks away from Mission Bay with his 20th career race win, his seventh win this season, and his second national drive rs championship. He also hands Bernie Little and Miss Budweiser their 18th national crown and 116th race win.
Now, it's on to Lake Mead, near Las Vegas with a decimated field. U-14 and Bill Wurster's LLumar Window Film are too damaged to continue, and owner Fred Leland pulled the PICO off the circuit, siting numerous engine and system problems that must be solved before his team is to continue.
|San Diego Bayfair Bill Muncey Cup|
|September 20, 1998||2.5 mile course on Mission Bay|
|Boat||Driver||Qual. Pos.||Speed||Heat 1||2||3||Final||Pts.|
|U-1||Miss Budweiser||Dave Villwock||(1)||163.890||1||1||1||1||1640|
|U-20||Appian Jeronimo||Mitch Evans||(2)||162.569||2||3||DNF||2||855|
|U-16||Miss E-Lam Plus||Jimmy King||(5)||157.060||3||2||4||3||932|
|U-10||Wild FIRE||Mark Weber||(6)||153.087||3||3||1||4||1029|
|U-100||PICO American Dream||Mark Evans||(4)||158.181||DSQ.||2||2||DNF||630|
|U-2||Deva Vu||Steve David||(8)||147.208||4||4||2||DNS||873|
|U-8||LLumar Window Film||Nate Brown||(3)||58.890||2||1||3||DNF||948|
|U-9||Miss VONS||Mike Weber||(7)||148.837||4||DNS||DNS||-||169|
|U-14||Northwest Unlimited||Ken Muscatel||DNQ|
(Thunderboat, October 1998)