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Vulture 1970's

Accident at the 1971 E.C. Griffith Cup – Lake Eppalock
Australian Motorboat Championship Unlimited
Shaw Memorial Unlimited Open – Event No 16– Time 4.15 p.m.

Easter Sunday - 11th April 1971

John Lewis driving Runabout, ‘Vulture’ competing in the Shaw Memorial Unlimited Open Event, was sitting with the leaders and was suddenly thrown heavily out across his boat, injuring his side badly as he took a piece out of the boat’s coaming. Vulture slewed round and chopped across her driver leaving John minus his stack hat. Vulture charged across the course at around 50 mph, threading her way through two boats (Vulture’s normal spring loaded gas pedal didn’t cut off) and shot up the bank 50 feet, towards the crowd. Vulture demolished two chairs and a picnic table before coming to rest 1 inch from a car in which Clive Davis’ wife had been sitting.
John Lewis became the first person to use the new “Record Inflatable Stretcher”. This lightweight unit developed for the club use is designed to float an injured man to shore to remove the danger of more injury by careless moving.
Lewis was taken to Bendigo Base Hospital by ambulance, with a police escort.
Injuries received; 4 broken ribs, head gash receiving 10 stiches, cracked vertebras with torn back muscles. John spent 7 days at Bendigo Base Hospital.
Do WE Miss You? Get well card from the big accident

Get well card to John

Lots of Signatures from that era

Accident at Albert Park Lake – A Grade Scratch Event
November 21st 1971
Les Ramsay lifting John Lewis from the wreck of Vulture on Albert Park Lake.

Les Ramsay and Allen Brown (who raced Hydrophobia) lifting John Lewis from the wreck of Vulture on Albert Park Lake.

Ramsey (below) went on to win in his runabout 'Cheeta'

Les Ramsay

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Neither John Lewis nor Les Ramsey is likely to forget the November meeting on Albert Park Lake in a hurry.
John, out for a one-and-only start in the A Grade Scratch to help recover his nerve after his bad smash on Griffith Cup Day, was thrown once again by the flighty Vulture.
Les, after tending unconscious Lewis in the cockpit of the crashed Vulture, went on to win the re-run and, eventually, the Len Owen Memorial, one of the prestige trophies of the sport in Victoria.
They’d just tramped after the flag-fall when Vulture reared high in the air, came down on one side, and screwed in. Lewis was flung across the cockpit and was knocked cold on the jockey’s grab handle on the dash. Fortunately John was wearing a new regulation Crash Hat which split approximately 5” under the impact. If John hadn’t been wearing this hat it could have quite easily been another story.
The cut-out worked, and Vulture idled across the course, eventually coming to rest halfway up the bank.
On the red flag, Les Ramsey was quickly across and into Vulture, doing his best for John, who came round shortly afterwards, and taken to Prince Henry’s Hospital for observation. John’s memory was lost for a period of time, as a result of this accident, but returned after reading about this incident in a boating magazine.

*Reference for Accident on Albert Park Lake from 'Power Points' page 77 of 'Modern Boating Magazine' January 1972

#Photograph from 'Power Points' page 76 of 'Modern Boating Magazine' January 1972

ARTICLES have their dates, author, newspapers or magazine names mentioned when available

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