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  1. #136
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    Havasu Outboard World Championships - 1972 ( continued ).......

    Immediately after the four hour run on Saturday, all of our remaining boats went to the rented house for inspection. While we're working on the boats, the brain trust makes a few driver changes....Renato goes to Peacock's boat, Seebold to Berghauer's and I think Hering to Seebolds ( it might have been Fountain ). We worked through the night, with a few of us pulling the "no sleep" routine again. As I recall, most of the powerheads looked pretty good and we only replaced a couple that had a very slight indication of piston burn on #3, just to be safe.

    Sunday's start was good and bad.... Sanders didn't start with the gun, but neither did Van Der Velden. Cees spotted the field almost a full lap and Sanders received a one lap penality for cutting across the course when he did fire. Renato was penalized for starting early and Seebold for the same infraction as Sanders. However, at the end of the first hour, Cees was back in the lead. During the second hour, Cees flipped and May hit some of the debris and put a hole in his Scotticraft. Sanders took the lead with Serra right behind him and they ran that way into the last hour. Serra did pass Sanders at least twice during that last hour, but Johnny got him back and won by 36 seconds! Seebold actually ran one more lap than anyone else on Sunday, and even with his one lap penality, Sanders ended up averaging over four miles per hour faster than Bill Sirois did with twins the previous year.

    Soooo, where did "elite Team Merc" finish.....2nd, 4th, 5th & 11th .....and, who were these four boats.....the same four that I assigned the "weaker" powerheads to before the race started.....Serra, Peacock, Berghauer and Simison............Live and learn .

    Here's a shot of Van Der Velden in the boat Hering drove before he got the picklefork and one of Seebold in his new picklefork........
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    Last edited by willabee; 04-16-2008 at 08:19 AM.

  2. #137
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    Bert Serra used to live down the street from me, someone here was looking for him a while back and I got them back in touch. I'm going to hang out with him at the Bay City Champ race this year...
    '89 Hydrostream Vegas XT, '90 Merc 2.4 Bridgeport PCU EFI
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  3. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyro
    Bert Serra used to live down the street from me, someone here was looking for him a while back and I got them back in touch. I'm going to hang out with him at the Bay City Champ race this year...
    Tell him Rich Luhrs sends his regards...and ask him if he's still short...

    T2x
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    Obsolete and Proud of it

  4. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyro
    Bert Serra used to live down the street from me, someone here was looking for him a while back and I got them back in touch. I'm going to hang out with him at the Bay City Champ race this year...
    One thing I should have mentioned in the Havasu story was that Serra was only in his second year of racing. For him to take that older and heavier Schulze and run with and even pass a guy like Johnny Sanders in his new Scotticraft meant that he had two things going for him......plenty of ponies pushing that rig and plenty of heart, he gave that race everything he had .

    Please tell him that Bill Welch says " Hi " and ask him if he recalls my little wrestling match with the " big guy " at the Tarboro race......it will be a good story .

  5. #140
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    So.......

    Have I ever told you guys the story about running the water-injection demonstration for Renato Molinari ( and Billy Don Pruett turns out to be right ) ?
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  6. #141
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    Welcome back Bill !!!! I assume things well for you.....we missed you.

    Do tell the story about the water injection.

  7. #142
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    Water-injection demo.......

    It must be 1969 and it seems like I've spent the whole summer running various tests.....props, gearcase skegs, carbs, etc. on the last of the 18' Molinari marathon designs (just before the 17' sprints came into play). I swear that I had more time in one of those boats than anyone else on the planet. Anyway, I think it was Dick Lanpheer, an engineer from Plt.#6 two cycle R&D that came over with one of their techs and had this hardware to install on the 1250 SBP (1350) I had been running. It consisted of an on/off toggle switch, solenoid, some tubing and three exhaust elbows that had a bracket welded onto them which would accept a screw-in nozzle.....the first water-injection kit for the 1350 stackers.

    I don't recall how many times we went out to test different configurations of this kit, but it was a bunch and none of them worked as designed. The idea was to help the the boat get out of the turn and then shut the water off to maintain the top end speed, but nothing we tried seemed to help the bottom end and some installations actually hurt the top end. A few days after another unsuccessful test, they sent over a different solenoid and a set of nozzles and asked us to install them and to test when we had an opportunity. We put them on, but weather kept us off of the water until the next week.

    The day we went out to test, there wasn't a ripple on the lake....flat as a pancake and not a cloud in the sky. I figured that this was going to be a very short day because it was very difficult to get that hull with a full fuel load up and running without the aid of some chop and a little breeze. They towed me out to beautiful Lake Winnebago, I fired up and tried to get on plane several times with no success. Then I turned the water on, and with some groaning, the boat popped up and started to run. I shut it back down and repeated the test several times and it got up every time. Then I made some straightaway runs turning the water on and off at different rpms and you could really feel and hear the difference.....we had arrived!

    I sent a safety boat back to the plant, they notified all of the proper players and about an hour later several boats with engineers arrived. I repeated the dead in the water start first and then ran some laps around their boats and a bunch of real happy people returned to the plant.

    To be continued...........
    Last edited by willabee; 09-22-2006 at 09:48 AM.

  8. #143
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    Water-injection demo......( continued )

    Soon after that successful test, Gary Garbrecht tells me to have the boat ready to run in a race type demo for Renato and Angelo who are arriving that next Tuesday. I don't remember why they were coming.....maybe stackers hadn't been outlawed in Europe yet or maybe this was to help them in designing the next generation tunnel. Wednesday morning, those guys along with Bill Steele (Gary's boss, in charge of Mercury racing at that time) and Billy Don Pruett (who was serving as the interpreter) climb into our 27' Thompson and head for the course that was set up on Lake Winnebago. One of the safety boats tows me out to the lake where I find really bad weather conditions.....the wind is blowing hard and the lake is very rough (I don't think APBA would have started a race in those conditions).

    I fire up only to see Gary waving me over to their boat. I pull along side and he tells me I don't have to run today, he says let's wait for better conditions. I said no, everyone is on a schedule, let's get it done today and I head out for the course. I ran 6/8 laps and the boat felt just great. It just skimmed across the top of that rough water and the injection system worked like a charm. When I glanced over at their boat, they were all frantically waving their arms for me to stop, so I pulled along side again to see what they wanted. Gary said that was enough, Renato was smiling and Pruett was shaking his head at me.....I wasn't sure why.

    Back at the plant, I was putting the boat away and Billy Don walked down from the office to have a chat with me. He said that he was excited about what the new injection system would do for them on the Miami type courses and that he was impressed by the way I had driven the boat (and he made it very clear that he doesn't impress easily ). He also said that Renato had asked Gary if I could be his co-driver for the Paris Six Hour and that Gary had already responded with a flat " No " . Billy Don had more to say........

    To be continued......
    Last edited by willabee; 06-13-2006 at 02:50 PM.

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  10. #144
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    Water-injection demo......( continued )

    Billy Don went on to say that he knew I would jump at the chance to run Paris, but that he didn't say anything to try to change Gary's mind because he agreed with him. He said that he felt that I was lucky today and that I should have gone on my head, and, if I continued to drive like that, someone was going to get hurt (I assume that someone was me). I told him how much time I had in that boat and how well I knew it, but he continued to give me "Racing 101". Our conversation ended with him saying that I was going to flip and with me saying "there ain't no f'n way".

    My next test was that Friday, and while making a run into the wind, the blue sky suddenly turned all orange (same color as the boat) and I remember thinking " I wonder what this is going to feel like". Well, it didn't feel good.....they fished me out of the lake and rushed me back to the plant so that I could get some medical attention for the cuts on my legs. As luck would have it, Mr. Kiekhaefer was visiting that afternoon and Gary didn't want him to know that I had just destroyed one of his cherished toys, so I was instructed to hide in a bathroom until E.C. left.....soak and wet and bleeding, I stayed there for about twenty minutes before Mike Goerlitz took me to the hospital. I was told that E.C. went to Plt.#5 next, and when he pulled in, they were pulling the Molinari out of the water. When he saw it, he threw his can of pop against the wall, said something about "they don't tell me anything" and left in a huff.

    Then, to add salt to the wound, Billy Don found out about it and changed his flight schedule so that he could be at the plant when I returned. There he was, that big sh-t eating grin on his face as he watched me hobble in on my crutches, and he said " Famous last words.....there ain't no f'n way ", then came that terrific laugh - you just couldn't help but love that guy. Billy Don was right and that's the end of this story .

    The test boat and "Up, Up and Away" (see post #18 on this thread) - same result
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    Last edited by willabee; 12-14-2006 at 02:42 PM.

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  12. #145
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    I guess this was the beginning of the new "pickle-fork" design huh Bill? Given the number of "Moly" backward skyrockets, I guess the Miles "snap-flips" weren't all that unusual huh?

    With all of that.................I sure do enjoy your insights. To those of us on the "outside" at the time, I find it great to have the "blanks" finally filled in.
    Billy Don Pruett was a wonderful character. I recall his description of Unlimited drivers "carrying their balls around in wheelbarrows; rather than tabbaca cans"!!!!!!!!
    I was so envious of Bert at Havasau having the new engine. It was a well deserved "victory" for him and we all congratulated him. Did he ever tell you about "duck hunting" in Forida with his Checkmate?

  13. #146
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianSmith
    I guess this was the beginning of the new "pickle-fork" design huh Bill? Given the number of "Moly" backward skyrockets, I guess the Miles "snap-flips" weren't all that unusual huh?
    Perfect - I think I fired the last volley with my "two left feet" shot.....your shot just leveled the playing field again. As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I may add a story to my Molinari tales.....something like "How I helped Renato come up with the pickle-fork" . Good to hear from you again Brian, and thanks for the smile maker .

    Never heard the duck hunting story, can you share it?

  14. #147
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    Florida Duck-Hunting

    Good to hear from you....... Sorry.........I couldn't resist the "Barb".

    Florida "Duck hunting" with Bert Serra. We met Bert in Florida when we were testing and running a couple of races during the winter of '70 I guess. He and Fred Van Wagoner were a couple of characters we enjoyed each time we were together.

    During dinner one night I asked how he became so interested in racing and fast boats. When "wintering" in Florida he had a 16 ft checkmate with a 1250 on it I think. He said they all really liked the speed but driving around got kinda boring.
    So.......they thought it would be kinda neat to chase ducks. (you know how they alight just in front of you and fly low?) This escalated to him standing on the deck with a net while they chased them.
    Apparently they got pretty good at catching them, and I would suppose they became more daring chasing flocks and sneaking up on them.

    This all came to an abrupt halt one day when they burst upon a flock...Bert swung the net at them .............and instead of a Duck he got a Pelican!!!!!!!!
    Bert said...(He is a little guy) "It took me clean off the deck; over the windshield and into the water! Scared us to death!"

    If someone is in contact with Bert please say hello for me.

  15. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonOfLegend84
    Art drove for Ted Jones, Second Effort racing V8 OMC F1 in 1986. he was my dads teamate alomg with Jonny Sanders. my dad Gene won the world championship that year.

  16. #149
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    Hey there John.....just wanted to say Hi! Bill and I communicated here awhile ago about he helped with the design of the "Moly" picklefork.
    Do you ever hear from Bert Serra?

  17. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonOfLegend84
    Art drove for Ted Jones, Second Effort racing V8 OMC F1 in 1986. he was my dads teamate alomg with Jonny Sanders. my dad Gene won the world championship that year.
    Checking my emails as I was trying to leave the office, saw this post which sort of came out of the blue and had three questions (that's why the three icons).....1. Is Art - Art Kennedy 2. Is this Ted Jones the boat builder 3. Is Gene - Gene Thibodaux

    Now I only need the answer to #2......

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