|Stampede wins 600|
Above: At speeds close to 100 miles per hour, John Lewis in Vulture corners inside Bob Saniga during the Yarrawonga 600
|Above: Power Boat & Yachting Feb 1971 front cover|
In a dramatic finish to time Yarrawonga 600 the hydro, Stampede, triumphed in a clash of the giants with a win of less than two seconds over Vulture, the fastest displacement racing boat in Australia.
|Report by Graeme Andrews|
|In a dramatic finish to time Yarrawonga
600 the hydro, Stampede, triumphed in a clash of the giants with a win
of less than two seconds over Vulture, the fastest displacement racing
boat in Australia.
Report by Graeme Andrews.
Fighting out every inch of the two 25-mile, six lap heats, Stampede with her size and brute force was hard put to subdue the driving skill and incredible handling of the team of John Lewis and Vulture. Making use of every corner of the triangular course to bold off the bellowing giant, Lewis proved that he will be, if he isn’t already, one of the greats of Australian speed boating. Stampede, driven in Heat One by Bob Saniga and in Heat Two by Stan Jones, had to pick up and then wash off her tremendous speed as the three turn course gave the advantage to the smaller Vulture.
At flag drop, Peter Wade’s Redline leapt out and took an early lead as the rest of the field bunched up. Close behind were Spencer Miller in Jawar (ex-JAG), Stampede, Debbie Too. Vulture, Jo Blo, Discounter, Pickle Fork and Chevvy. Coming out of the turn as the crowd heaved and pushed itself closer to the action, it was all Redline with Vulture right on her hammer. People started to slide into the water and some stayed there as the excitement mounted. With Bob Saniga fighting to wrestle the giant hydro around the 20 turns of the course, the cards were in Lewis’ favour If he could hold enough distance on the straights. Redline dropped out with a broken oil line in lap three, allowing Vulture to take the lead. With the front running to himself, Lewis was able to take a close line on the corners forcing Saniga to go even wider.
Coming out of the last turn dead level with Lewis, Saniga turned on the power and the mighty Merlin responded to blast over the line less than three seconds ahead of the howling Vulture. Miss Debbie come In third 100 yard back. After the first heat Saniga was heard to say that on a tight course like this it was impossible for him to take the big boat much over 2500 rpm and even then it was a demanding business.
In heat two, owner Stan Jones took over the office and Lewis prepared to do battle once more. Driving the same race in the same way, Lewis concentrated on getting inside the bigger boat forcing Jones to go wide. Vulture had a slight edge for most of the heat until Jones gambling on the last turn, came well out on the swing and accelerated diagonally across the course and close into the judge’s box. Vulture took the heat by less than one second with Debbie Too coming in 50 yards back. A count-back of times gave the race to Stampede with Vulture a razor-edged second from the consistent Debbie Too.
More than 600 people stood most of the day at Yarrawonga as a fast, well paced and precision-timed programme showed that speed boating has much to offer the paying crowd if it is presented well. Onlookers came from as far as Tasmania and South Australia to watch local and interstate boats compete for the cash prizes.
The Yarrawonga meeting proved that to attract the boats cash prizes
have to be offered. A similar type of meeting run by the Taree Aquatic
Club in N.S.W. every year has similar results. The $600 prize far the
big race attracted a field, of Griffith Cup Standard.
|Above: Peter Wade's Redline tool an early lead in the event until an oil line snapped after only two laps|
|Above: Spectators picked the darnest places in their efforts to get nearer the action|
|Leaney leapt to the fore at flag drop
with Electra-Fired and Havoc holding on grimly. Jan-Rose, out-gunned on
the straights by the hydros and out-cornered on the buoys by the tunnels,
was managing to hold her own with some inspired driving. Meteor took the
money far the event with Electra-Fired leaving her run too late, taking
second place from Havoc.
The BP Trophy for $100 was the first or the big money events which attracted faster fields. Seven boats blasted off with the big interest centreing In the long awaited re-match between Vulture and Jack Bullen’s new Jo Blo fresh from her maiden voyage victories at PaynesvilIe a week before. With the 350c1 Chev screaming, Vulture flew off at the flag drop taking and holding an early lead. The opposition wasn’t in the event.
Jo Blo, coughing and spluttering with fuel problems, was running sick. Trevor Mathews’ fine skiff. Assassin Too, was running well, but the 292 ci Chev was outgunned. Vulture, sitting flat and leaving almost no rooster tail, widened her lead at every turn. On Lap Three, she half spun and lost ground, but it was the last chance for the others to catch up, Lloyd WIllian’s Hoots Mon, running steadily, was closing on the leaders and passed Jo Blo on the last lap. Forging past Assassin Too, she crossed the line second to the disappearing Vulture, with Assassin Too taking third from Jo Blo. Bullen took Jo Blo back to the pits suffering obvious problems and with little time to sort them out before the big one.
Race Three for the Browning Brothers Trophy for 266 ci side valve boats was combined with the 266 ci Scratch Race because of a lack of entries. Fred Stacey’s skiff, Shiraz took off the Browning section from W. Cooper’s Misschif, while Vern Arnott’s championship holding Arawa showed Bid Thorpe’s Kanga the way home in the scratch section.
The Frog Trophy 300 ci open event saw some fairly hairy performances.
Hoots Mon, making no mistakes after her earlier second place, took the lead and kept It. G. Graham’s Debbie Too and Assassin Too had all stops out, but couldn’t peg back the leader over the six laps. Positions were unchanged at the line with Brian Gibbs of Sydney, coming borne fourth in the twin-rigged tunnel, Pickle Fork.
The four-lap 155 ci Scratch Race attracted eight entries. Ian Harvey, driving Screamin’ Eagle, found that things were not all his own way, with Col Winton’s very quick McGee Falcon-engined Wild-One looking the most dangerous. Winton, keeping the foot to the floor, was hauling the skiff back on the straight bits, but Harvey wasn’t having any trouble blowing him off round the buoys. Billy Guyatt, driving clamp-on tunnel, Discounter, was taking It a bit easy into the head winds and hung on long enough to come out with third place.
Meetings like Yarrawonga appear to be the hope of the sport. Club rivalry is a big thing and makes races, but it can also hold the sport back. What is needed is club co-operation to run big meets with big money and big crowds.
Andrews, G. 1971, 'Stampede
wins 600,' Power
Boat & Yachting, February, p. 14 & 15