Bad luck ends for Pitstop

By Ted Madden

A long run of bad luck ended for Don Preece last Sunday when he won his first race - the Eppalack Gold Cup - in Pitstop.

Don and his team have spent a fortune in money and man hours on Pitstop, which is the rebuilt champion hydroplane, Assassin, which captured the Griffith Cup from NSW, in 1969.
The long run of disappointments since Pitstop failed by only 7 mph to break the Australasian unlimited open speed record last August, might have caused a less determined team to quit.
Ironically, both good and bad luck played a part in last Sunday's win.

In a two-heat race (no final), Pitstop scored, with a first and a third, from Vulture (John Lewis), two seconds, and Exciter (Tommy Watts), one first.

If the race had been a championship, Exciter, the winner of the second heat, would not have been allowed to start.
In that case, Pitstop and Vulture would have been equal on points, and the Cup would have gone to Vulture on elapsed time.
Pitstop, which defeated Vulture narrowly in the first heat, was a distant third in the second.

Don Preece was almost blinded with oil and methanol from Pitstop’s motor, and it was all could do to follow the others round the course.
WHAT'S AFLOAT March 16 1974 Sporting Globe

Exciter, however, looked the unlucky boat. Watts got the break in the first heat, and had scooted away to a commanding lead, when Courage kited, throwing out driver Kevin Alcock, and the race was stopped. Pitstop was nearly last at this stage.

The break before the start of the re-ran gave Preece the chance to get the motor firing at the top. It also gave Watts a chance to forget to recharge his battery. As a result, Exciter took no part in the re-run first heat.

Under APBA championship rules, she would not have been allowed to start in the second.
Pitstop, Vulture and Exciter will clash again in the Kimbolton Cup, on March 31.

This should make it the most closely contested Cup race for years.

Madden, T. 1974, 'Bad luck ends for Pitstop,' Sporting Globe, March, 16, p.13.