BOATING PAGES - Travelling at speed - Vulture, owned and driven by John Lewis.
VULTURE gets the victims

A Vulture with the “killer” instinct - over the past few months that’s been the story of John and Geoff Lewis’s runabout.
Last weekend she claimed another ten records, this time five Australian and five Victorian ¼ mile records, to increase her tally to 18. All were taken over the last month.
Vulture — a 16 ft. 6 in. runabout Dave Gill us fitted with a 350 c.i. Chev Corvette motor with fuel injection. She’s only the second runabout in Australia to be officially timed exceeding 100 mph.

The other boat is Ray Murdock’s Fury (NSW) – an imported American outfit with a 427 c.i. Blown Hemi-Chrysler. She holds the Australian Unlimited Displacement and Unlimited Racing Runabout kilo records with 104 mph.

Recently at kilo trails at Glen Maggie, Vulture captured eight of the ten possible kilo records with a speed of 91 mph.

Although John Lewis believed slight wind, rain and a small surface ripple somewhat restricted Vulture’s top speed, she still took five Victorian records - Unlimited displacement, Unlimited Racing Runabout, Unlimited Service Runabout and the two new Class, 400 ci. Displacement and 400 c.i Service Runabout.

Her speed also gave her the two new 400 c.i. class Australian records and the Unlimited Service Runabout Australian record.

Since the Glen Maggie kilos the motor has been moved 8 in. back leaving a bare 15 inches between motor and transom. Just enough room for a jockey when he required to be carried.
This change plus some improvements made to the motor considerably altered the performance at Mellon where the ¼ mile trials were conducted by the Melbourne Runabout and Speed Boat club.

During the earlier part of the day several runs were marred by the short run up to the measured section when approaching front the direction of the wall.

Boats traveled towards the wall, turned and commenced to pick tip speed over the ¼ mile distance before the ¼ mile measured section. The opposite run was quite good with a straight ½ mile run-up before the measured section.

Even so Vulture took all ten records — five Australian and five Victorian in the same classes as she competed at Glen Maggie. The time for the ¼ mile was 8.85 secs., which can be worked back to make a speed of 100.15 mph.

This is Vultures first season and also John and Geoff Lewis’s first season in big time racing.
Two years previously they spent 12 months driving at smaller country meetings then had a break for a year. They arranged for Vulture to be built, then fitted her out themselves.

Over the past 12 months apart from the 18 Australian and Victorian records they have won Australian championships and five seconds in championship events including the Griffith Cup – the most important power boat race in Australia.

With Vulture’s success a new era in speedboat racing has commenced.
Previously boats of this type were only expected to notch speeds of around 75-80 mph. Now 100 mph may be the goal of many.

Already about five more boats of similar design to Vulture are being made and the fleet is bound to grow. Speed Boat fans can expect some exciting events in the near future.

by Ray Laird - September 1970