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  1. #121
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    Dayton 225 - 1972 ( continued ).........

    Before heading out for Dayton, Dr. Ted Morgan had called and said he wanted to send us a powerhead to put in the parts truck and take to Dayton " just in case ". While testing, we had trouble getting Sirois up to speed, and Ted asked if we would try his powerhead. It was definitely faster than our C6, Sirois' boat was a twin to Stickle's, so we had a direct comparison. I doubt Sirois would have had anything for Hering though, the pickle fork was much quicker than the full nose boat he was running. After winning, Sirois said that he had been very fortunate throughout his career and announced his retirement .

    Here's a shot of Sirois standing on the nose of his #998 getting ready for the start and one of the man himself.......he was definitely one of the best , if not thee best period .
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    Last edited by willabee; 12-27-2017 at 12:34 PM.

  2. #122
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    Dayton 225 - 1972 ( continued )........

    A couple of shots from the pits that were in Powerboat, October, 1972. The first one shows Bill Allan, a team powerhead tech who was just starting to get some driving time, standing on the far left and immediately to his right is Gary Peacock, who needs no introduction . The 2nd one is Dick Summerfeldt, sitting on the boat, and a member of his Canadian team......Brian Smith, is that you in the black hat?
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  3. #123
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    Willabee, it just so happens I spoke to Dick Summerfeldt today... he is well and has an archive full of slides and home movies from his racing days.. including South Africa, Germany, France and Italy. I will be seeing him soon..

  4. #124
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    Mercury Big Engine List.......
    ( Power available to team boats and to factory supported boats during each calendar year )

    So far I think we have the following.....Wish someone could help resolve the pipe question for 1965 and 1966, did Merc make them or did Merc have Quincy make them or did individuals get them from Quincy themselves? I haven't gotten into my stuff from 1973 forward, so I am listing what you guys said and will confirm later.......

    1965 - 1000 ( some 6 pipe stackers ?)
    1966 - 1100 ( some 3 pipe stackers ?)
    1967 - 1100 ( some 3 pipe stackers, Schnoover ) - the first 1250's race in the Salton Sea 500
    1968 - 1250 BP / 1250 SSM stackers - the first direct charge 1350's race at Havasu on four single Molinari's
    1969 - 1250 Super BP / 1350 SSM water injected stackers
    1970 - 1350 "Red" Twister, silo and cowbell - the first C6 with Morgan square carbs races in the Berlin 6 Hour, it performs poorly
    1971 - 1350 "Blue" TI - some team boats start running the 1400 C6 in July in the Miami 225
    1972 - 1400 C6, the press starts calling them TII's - the first 1500 C6 races in June at the Dayton 225, it wins!
    1973 - 1500 TII with Tillotson carbs - T2X makes it's debut?
    1974 - T2X - T-3 makes debut in Eufaula, it wins!
    1975 - ?
    1976 - ?
    1977 - ?
    1978 - T-4

    Just remembered something interesting, based on this list it must have happened in 1973. I was called into a meeting in Gary Garbrecht's office and when I arrived, Charles Alexander ( V.P. Engineering ), Bob Johnson and a few engineers were there. Alex proceded to unroll the blueprints he had been holding and said he had just received them from Charley Strang (Pres. OMC)........they were prints of Merc's new V-6!
    Last edited by willabee; 10-28-2008 at 11:19 AM.

  5. #125
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    Single engine Jones

    Jones 17' single first ran by Stickle in Miami

    Molinari note::I worked for Gary in Oshkosh 68-70. All new Molinari hulls to Oshkosh in that time were BARE hulls. NO STEERING. We rigged all boats there with dual RideGuide as manufactured by Mercury. The boat(s) that Renato ran in the U.S. never came thru Oshkosh. All of Renato's boats had cable steering. I always had the impression from Gary that they were rigged and tested in Italy. Maybe they went thru Lake X but I would not know. They-he Renato--never had Mercury personel work-touch his boats at the races--he brought his own mechanics from Italy--as well as his father.

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Vruwink
    Molinari note:: The boat(s) that Renato ran in the U.S. never came thru Oshkosh. All of Renato's boats had cable steering. I always had the impression from Gary that they were rigged and tested in Italy. Maybe they went thru Lake X but I would not know. They-he Renato--never had Mercury personel work-touch his boats at the races--he brought his own mechanics from Italy--as well as his father.
    Renato's boats were generally rigged and tested in Italy, then he would remove the powerhead and lower unit and ship it to the U.S. Where it was shipped was determined by the upcoming race location......if that race was the Miami 225, it was shipped to Flordia. We would install a new powerhead and gearcase, he would take his favorite props out of his suitcase and begin testing.

    Sometimes he would be late in getting his new boat finished and we would have to do all of the rigging except for the steering ( he did not want to use our heavy steering ). The first example of that situation that comes to mind is the green twin that he flipped at Havasu in 1969. When Gary told me that the boat was going to arrive late, I changed the schedule of who was riding with who to Havasu, and sent the team on it's way. I believe it was Jerry Kohnke that I stayed back with, and we rigged that boat with Renato and his brother Georgio on the weekend before the race in Oshkosh. Additionally, we always performed final inspection on his and all of the team boats before each race.
    Last edited by willabee; 02-24-2006 at 10:29 AM.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Vruwink
    Jones 17' single first ran by Stickle in Miami
    Bruce, if memory serves, you rigged that Jones all by yourself at Jones's shop in California and then hauled it to Miami. As you stated, it was the first single built by Ron Jones. It turned out to be very fast, but very dangerous as well. Stickle managed to perform two barrel rolls and one gigantic flip in that thing that weekend. I don't remember if anyone tried to race it again.

  8. #128
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    OPC Nationals, Miami - 1972.....

    Mercury had hired Carl Stippich to design and build the Twistercraft. Prior to this race he and Jack Ferris had built two marathon boats. Lee Sutter wiped out the first one when it was hit by some guy that ran a stop sign while driving a chicken truck..."feathers everywhere" according to Lee. Bill Petty flipped the second one at Morgan City. So Carl built a new sprint boat that Jim Merten prepared in Oshkosh.

    By this time, Bill Seebold had been racing team boats for about two years and had established himself as one of the top drivers. Merc put him in the new sprint called Little Red and he drove it to the fastest heat ever recorded in outboard history, 85.633 mph, in winning the S class in Miami.

    Reggie Fountain had stated that his goal was to become the top Mercury team driver, and he helped his cause at the Nationals by taking three titles.....the U class in a factory Molinari and the UU and T classes in his 21' Glastron Molinari.

    Here's a shot of the S and U class winners from that event ( someone on S&F has posted a really neat color picture of Little Red )....
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  9. #129
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    St. Louis 225 - 1972......

    This was the beginning of the great races that took place in St. Louis, Bill Seebold worked with the Lions Club to stage this event with benefits going to a Lions charity. This was only the second time that the teams met head-on in 1972 and the first since Morgan City. OMC had skipped everything in between to improve their engine performance. Merc is still running the C6 in S class and the TI in U class.

    I remember how exasperated Seebold was becoming because we couldn't get his 17' Molinari running right in his home town race. Finally, we figured out what was ailing and had him ready for Sunday. By this time, we were very familar with the Morgan carbs, and knew how quickly an engine could go sour because of them ( usually something happened to the float adjustment ). What we did to prepare for this situation was to build complete sets with all of the plumbing and have them in the parts truck. We found that it was faster to replace the whole set than it was to trouble-shoot what was on the powerhead.

    Sunday morning, about an hour before race time, everyone goes out for their hot laps. Seebold does a couple of quick ones and then goes sour again. He brings the boat back in looking like a beaten man... I told him we would have him ready for the gun. Rick Lamore executes the fastest carb change I had ever seen and we put him in the water just as the boats are lining up for the Lemans start......we hope that it will run.

    To be continued......
    Last edited by willabee; 03-22-2006 at 10:18 AM.

  10. #130
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    St. Louis 225 - 1972 ( Continued ).........

    It ran.....boy, did it run! Seebold comes back in front of the pack and the hometown crowd goes wild. These folks stood and cheered and waved and high-fived themselves every time he came around, it gave me goose bumps . But, like they say, you run um lean, they're really mean...... He led for the first sixty-some laps and then it went ka-boom. Bob Hering took the lead until about half-way and then ran into a boat he was lapping and was done for the day. Reggie Fountain had over- propped his rig and was never a factor, and Gary Peacock never left the beach. Bill Allan finished third with a C6 / Molinari and Dennis Berghauer won the U Class with a TI / Molinari.

    Merc still had the dominate power, but our best boats were on the trailer when they waved the checkered flag. Tom Posey won in a Johnson/Scotti and Jimbo McConnell finished 2nd in an Evinrude/McDonald......I didn't post their pictures because they came out really lousy
    Last edited by willabee; 03-02-2006 at 02:44 PM.

  11. #131
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    Havasu Outboard World Championships - 1972.........

    They could have named this one Flip City Regatta after all of the accidents that took place prior to and during the race! It was very cold and windy, and the course was blacked flagged for a day or two. A bunch of boats went to Parker to try to test in a more protected area, but at least a half dozen drivers went on their head including two-time champ Harold Eis. Another ten or so went over during the race.

    The race had a new appearance because it was the first " all singles " championship and some changes had taken place in the cockpits. At Team Mercury, Bill Sirois, Tom Stickle and Mike Downard were not racing, but Cees Van Der Velden, Bert Serra ( who?? ) and Jerry Simison were. I know that the factorys went to the all singles format to save money, but they sure didn't do anything to help promote boat racing with that decision. Many fans told me that the race had lost a lot of it's glamour with the big multi engine machines not present. Even though some of them knew that the singles were averaging faster speeds around the course than the last years twins, they just didn't look as fast and as exciting.

    Here's a shot of about half of the 100 plus boats that started the race, an overhead of one of the turns and one of the winner....Johnny Sanders in a Scotticraft/Johnson ( from the cover of Powerboat, February, 1973 ).

    To be continued........
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    Last edited by willabee; 03-10-2006 at 12:02 PM.

  12. #132
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    Ya'll mention about my dad, Don Pruett, just wondering about him falling off a truck? I don't remember that, but maybe I was too young to remember. Can I ask your names and see if they ring a bell? Also who is willabee? Thank you.
    Is there any mention in any of these discussion groups of how he got hurt in I think it was Lake Havasu(sp), where he broke his back and hip? That is one thing I do remember bits and pieces of, or when he was driving with Vincenzo Ballesteri (sp) and gas blew up in his face? I know my stepmother Joan, had these articles and I'm gonna call her and ask if she still has all his old articles and if she does, I may have to get these and do some reminising of my own with ya'll! LOL

  13. #133
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    Not sure if I'm doing this right or not, but I think I attached a picture of dad (Pruett) and Vincenzo Ballesteri.
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  14. #134
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    Havasu Outboard World Championships - 1972 ( continued ).......

    This is the 9th championship and Merc has won seven, Cesare Scotti won one for OMC in 1969. Although OMC had won St. Louis, Merc was clearly the dominate force in 1972 and we had no reason to think we this race was going to be any different.......just set our stuff up right and keep it on the water and we should go home with another victory. Turned out that we screwed up our battle plan before the race ever started and keeping the boats on the water proved to be harder than anticipated.

    I can't remember exactly how this happened, but the story goes something like this.......While most of us were in Europe, Plt.#6 engineering in Oshkosh had built four new TII powerheads and had offered them to Racing for Havasu. I remember asking what was different about them and just can't remember what the answer was, something about porting? Anyway, they were supposed to be good powerheads, but were not expected to perform as well as our C6's. So we took them ( I'll talk more about them later ) and Jim Merten added four boats to our support list for the race. When we got to Havasu, we just had too much going on at our rented house headquarters, so I asked Bob Geary to take the four powerheads and the rest of what he would require and to take the four boats to his hotel and set up shop for them at that location. The four boats were Bert Serra, Gary Peacock, Duey Berghauer and Jerry Simison.

    The boats remaining at the house included Renato Molinari, Bob Hering and Bill Seebold all driving new picklefork Molinari's. Billy Don Pruett, Cees Van Der Velden, Dick Sherrer, Bill Petty and Reggie Fountain were among the drivers running the full nose Molinari's ( Earl Bentz hadn't seen the light yet and was driving for Team Johnson ). Great equipment and a pretty impressive group of drivers, another win can only be eight hours away!

    Here are the boats that finisnhed 1-2-3......Johnny Sanders, Scotticraft/Johnson - Bert Serra, Schulze/Mercury - Billy Schumacher ( the Unlimited driver ), Scotticraft/Johnson.......

    To be continued.........
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    Last edited by willabee; 03-15-2007 at 11:05 AM.

  15. #135
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    Havasu Outboard World Championships - 1972 ( continued ).....

    We made two mistakes while setting up for this race ( maybe three if you count overconfidence ). The engineers had underestimated the performance level of the four new powerheads and we ( I think it was me ) decided to put them on the four oldest ( maybe slowest ) boats we had entered....the four assigned to Bob Geary. Additionally, all of the boats were set up for speed. The thinking was that our experienced group of drivers could keep them right side up and we wanted to blow the competition away, not just beat them.

    It's finally Saturday and 100 plus engines fire at the gun, our show has started . About an hour into the race we are already trying to figure out what the heck was going on.....our first boat in the standings was Bert Serra in 7th place! Molinari, Hering and Seebold had flipped the super fast pickle forks and Fountain apparently wanted to be part of that group and went over also. Seebold managed to stay with his, but it just didn't run right afterwards and Pruett had an engine failure....our top guns are out and we have over six hours of racing to go. OMC was also having some problems.... Barry Woods lost an engine, Bob Witt had a rigging problem and Clive Curtis flipped, all while leading. However, all was not lost....Saturday ended with the Mercs of Van Der Velden leading and Serra in 3rd, Johnny Sanders had his Johnson in 2nd.

    Here's a shot of the 4th - 5th - and 10th place finishers......Gary Peacock, Duey Berghauer and Ted May .....

    To be continued..........
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    Last edited by willabee; 03-21-2006 at 01:10 PM.

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