day2 - 110208-3
day2 110208-1
Nov2008 152
Nov2008 151
day1 - 102408
11-28 Progress2
Turbine Pak 7 112908
11-29 Update 001
Turbine Pak 8 112908
TP 123108e
TP 123108d
TP 12c
DSC_0004 (1)
DSC_0001 (1)


Formula Boats (U-5) Project Update

Well...with two nights left before the first race of the season, there's very good news from our boat shop. All of the decals, minus the one on the canard, which was painted tonight, are on the boat. Just a few finishing touches to do tomorrow afternoon (I took the afternoon off work), and it'll be time to put the whole thing back together again!


We'll probably wait to do the clearcoat until after the first race, so there's adequate drying time without pushing things too much.


We still have to mount the sleeve cowl and the turbine tube -- both of which have been made. And the canopy will be delivered at the race site on Saturday. We'll make due with a temporary one for the race day (thank you to the board members who allowed a variance for this race)


As you can see, we also still need to mount a canard across the front. That, and the turbine tube & sleeve cowl will likely be the biggest and most time-consuming tasks on Friday. And re-installing all of the hardware.

I can't believe we got it done in just two weeks. But we'll be there at the first race, giving our best effort yet again! Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.


Wednesday update

Hey everyone...

Today, we took some big steps forward. The U-5 got its first decals -- the big "FORMULA" on either side of the cowling, and the hull itself got its first coats of paint.

We built the turbine tube, too, and a few other various and sundry things. Another coat of paint on the hull at lunch tomorrow, and some more decals -- on the wings, fairings and cowling. We'll do pictures on Thursday!

Tuesday update - Formula Boats (U-5) project

A day late, here's an update for the work happening with the new 2008 Formula Boats (U-5) model.

Spent Tuesday evening in the shop, and the "paint booth" (aka garage). Got the remainder of the fill (mostly for re-placement of hardware) finished in the boat shop, and put a couple of other things together. In the "paint booth", the tail feathers got their final coats of paint and the cowling got its first coats.

In the living room, at the end of the evening, we got the decals cut and ready to go.

Work is progressing...and it's looking good for making it to the Champion Spark Plug Regatta on Saturday!

Another update, and more pics, coming later tonight. Included on today's schedule is the first coats of paint on the hull.

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009

Formula Boats (U-5) project

Tonight, I moved the rudder a little further to the right side of the transom, and then took off all of the hardware, and patched holes that aren't needed anymore. Tomorrow is some more fill, primer and sanding work (hopefully the last I'll need to do), and paint goes on everything on Wednesday.

Keep watching for more updates as the first race of the season draws nearer. It's just five days away now.

SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2009

Formula Boats (U-5) Project

Today was testing day!

It runs!!

There are a few things that need to be changed - like the rudder needs to move further to the right on the transom, and the skid fin angle might need to change just a small amount.

Next up - these two minor adjustments, and paint. Looks like we'll make it to the first race afterall!


Formula Boats (U-5) project

Here's an update as of Saturday, March 28 at 9 p.m.

The wings are painted and mounted. We used 1/16-inch aluminum plates through the deck that run all the way down to the bottom of the boat where they're epoxied in. Where the plates extend above the deck, the aluminum is tapped for the 4/40 nylon screws that hold the fairings on. The horizontal stabilizer has threaded inserts for the 4/40 nylon screws that hold the wing to the fairings.

The motor, driveline, plumbing and all of the other hardware has been mounted. Testing is set for Sunday at Westmoreland Park ... then, as long as there are no changes that need to be made ... paint!

At least its' finally starting to look like the U-5 (2008 Seattle version). Maybe we'll make it to Centralia afterall!


Formula Boats (U-5) Project

With roughly a week and a half to go before the first race of the season, more work has been completed on the 2008 Formula Boats U-5. While nothing was done on Monday, March 23 due to a 12 hour work day, work did continue in the U-5 shop on Tuesday night when the first coat of primer was sprayed.

There are pinholes on the deck that weren't seen or felt during sanding, so more sanding and perhaps a little more fill will be needed on Wednesday night in the shop. Either way, it is possible that with a day off on Friday (meaning all day in the shop), that hardware and systems can be installed by the end of the day in order to go testing on Saturday before paint -- hopefully Sunday.

Stay tuned. We're working hard to get this thing finished in time for the first race, and we'll keep you updated through this blog.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2009

Formula Boats (U-5) Project


The Formula Boats (U-5) Project

With 13 days to go, Nelson Holmberg's Formula Boats (U-5) is on the countdown. Nelson picked up the bare hull from Craig Bradshaw yesterday (built by Craig Bradshaw and Howard Price) at the RC Boat Show at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum.

On Saturday, March 21, the boat came home to its new shop and received the first round of filler and sanding.

Today, the second and third rounds of filler and more sanding occurred and the boat stand was built

Coming on Monday, March 23 -- quite possibly - the first round of primer!


Boat Construction Competition - January

OK...so Mark Gran has jumped WAYYY ahead in this competition thing. Rick and Nelson have both ignored the whines of urging to work on them from the boats in their respective shops, and while the two of them were doing that, Mark just kept plugging away on his 1980 Turbine Pay 'n Pak. Looks like he'll have it ready for the season.

Here's a photo update of Mark's boat, which he assures us had the deck completed the day after these photos were taken.



Last month, we asked the ERCU membership and those who watch our blog which boat is their favorite current unlimited hydroplane.


ERCU members most appreciate the Oh Boy! Oberto and the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing. Perhaps it has something to do with their involvement with our model racing. For those who don't know, Oberto sponsors RCU, the premier 1/8-scale racing club in the world; and Schumacher Racing Team has supported several ERCU races and hosted one of our member meetings at their shop.


Here are the results:


1. Oh Boy! Oberto, 6 votes

   Miss Beacon Plumbing, 6 votes

3. Cooper Motorsports, 4 votes

4. Formula Boats (U-5), 2 votes

    Ahern Rentals/Miss Emcor, 2 votes

    Miss Red Dot, 2 votes

7. Spirit of Detroit, 1 vote

    Miss Elam, 1 vote

    Spirit of the Navy, 1 vote


We'll be posting a new poll soon. Be sure and keep an eye out for it.

Boat Construction Competition - December

So ... here's a photo update on the construction between Rick Lentz and Nelson Holmberg -- both of whom are building wood models of Dr. Ken Muscatel's Silver Dollar Casinos boat (two different versions). Rick's boat will be the 2002 Silver Dollar Casinos; Nelson's the 2004 Silver Dollar Casinos present Miss Rock (KISW).


And now, Mark Gran has joined in on the fun! Mark is building the 1980 Turbine Pay 'n Pak. 


Competition bases the motivation for each owner to get their boats finished this winter, in time for the 2009 ERCU season, and provides for fun monthly updates throughout the offseason.


Rick had a heat start, going into the project with a hull that was substantially completed, but needed work, while Nelson started from scratch. Mark also had a hull under construction when the competition started.


Nelson's 2004 Silver Dollar Casinos present Miss Rock


Wait a second! Didn't this boat have a center section last month? Where did it go?


Answers to those questions: Yes...and here it is.


What happened? You ask. Well...Rick discovered on his hull that the engine tub was off center (per the plans), but on the real boat, it was not off center (by much anyway), so both Rick and Nelson made the move to re-do the center sections and make that change. While making the change, Nelson managed to break the transom in half, so now he'll need to start all over again with the center section...and he hopes to glue and nylon bolt the already finished canoes to the new center section.


Rick's 2002 Silver Dollar Casinos

Here's Rick's boat. He's making progress with the adjustment of the engine tub -- without damaging anything.



Here's another shot of the 2002 U-25.



Mark's 1980 Turbine Pay 'n Pak


Here's a couple of shots of Mark's construction, which seems to be going very nicely. He's obviously a pro with cutting the wood, foam and other parts so precisely.


Paying off an Apple Cup loss

The Apple Cup rivalry is not limited to just the annual college football game between Washington State University and the university of washington, and as was witnessed during yesterday's ERCU Membership Meeting at the Red Dot Headquarters, the Elite Husky Racing Team paid up for losing this year's ERCU Apple Cup.


The ERCU Apple Cup is a friendly competition between the Elite Husky Racing Team (Ron Daum, Mark Gran, Scott Fetterly, Mark Hansen, Gary Hansen, Steve Twardus, and Doug Brow) and the Cougar Racing Team (Rick Lentz, Mick Shutt, Ron Hartley, Patrick Gleason, Bob VandenAkker, Brian Gilmore, and Nelson Holmberg), where the points from the best boat earned by each of the drivers are compiled into team totals, and the team with the most points over the course of the season, wins.


This year, Cougar Racing Team scored 46,912 points compared to the Elite Husky Racing Team's total of 33,016.


This year's payout was that the losing team was responsible to sing the winning team's fight song at the first member meeting of the year, and wear the winning team's hats throughout the entire meeting.


Only two members of the Husky team braved the meeting (Doug Brow had a legit excused absense), but Ron Daum and Mark Gran sported those very good looking hats for the entire meeting, and at the end, played the Cougar Fight Song on kazoos. Perhaps those who missed should make up their debt at a later meeting.


Research at WSU suggests that Huskies can only remember the words "Bow Down To Washington" when considering college fight songs, so playing the song on kazoos was perfectly appropriate.


There's even video of the kazoo performance!


A quick visit to the Superior Racing Team shop

A quick visit this afternoon to Dr. Ken Muscatel's Superior Racing Team Burien boat shop showed that there's work currently going on on the U-25.

With the boat upside down, the damage to the shoe and non-trip on the boat that occurred at San Diego is being repaired, and there's a three-page to-do list taped to one of the non-trips.

The cowling is being sanded down, repairs are due to be made to the belly pan. There's lots of other work to do, but rather than bore you with more narrative, we'll just show you a few pictures.

Thanks to Rick Lentz for guiding our tour of the shop.


Construction Competition Update - November

Here's a photo update on the construction competition between Rick Lentz and Nelson Holmberg, who are both building wood models of Dr. Ken Muscatel's Silver Dollar Casinos boat (two different versions). Rick's boat will be the 2002 Silver Dollar Casinos; Nelson's the 2004 Silver Dollar Casinos present Miss Rock (KISW).

Competition bases the motivation for each owner to get their boats finished this winter, in time for the 2009 ERCU season, and provides for fun updates monthly throughout the season.

Rick had a head start, going into the project with a hull that was substantially completed but needed work, while Nelson started from scratch.

Here are some photo updates.


Ron Jones Sr. to speak at ERCU Awards Banquet

The Sixth Annual ERCU Awards Banquet is coming up on Saturday, November 8 in the Broadway Joe's Room at the Great American Casino in Tukwila, Wash., and legendary hydroplane builder Ron Jones, Sr., will be ERCU's special guest.

Jones, who designed and built many of the greatest unlimited hydroplanes ever to see the water, will speak at the event, sharing memories, wisdom and advice with the assembly of ERCU members, their families and their invited guests.

Awards, too, will be presented by the ERCU Contest Board recognizing the club's Red Dot Championship Series Top-10 drivers -- including the vintage and modern season champions -- as well as modern and vintage most improved drivers and modern and vintage rookies of the year. Also to be recognized will be the Contest Director of the Year, the Sportsman of the Year, Season Sponsor, Contribution Awards, and recognition of the 2008 ERCU Rookie Class.

Last year, ERCU's special guests were Nate Brown of the Our Gang Racing Team and Dixon Smith and his 1961 Miss Bardahl restoration team -- all of whom were members of the original crew in 1961.

For more informtion about ERCU, please click here to visit our website.

For more information about the 2007 ERCU Awards Banquet, please click here to visit the 2007 ERCU Awards Banquet page.



In recent polls of ERCU: The Blog readers, we asked what were the favorite races and the favorite race sites on the Red Dot Championship Series, presented by Bullithead Design, and the results were interesting and encouraging.

Across the board, in both polls, the voting was very close.

In the "What was your favorite race of the 2008 season" poll, it was the Roger Newton Memorial (no surprise) that was chosen the favorite race of the year. Second, by just one vote, was the Bill Brow Memorial, followed by a tie for third place between the Cascade Cup/NAMBA World Championships and the ERCU Columbia Cup -- again, just one vote behind. Other races that were voted as a favorite were the season-opening Champion Spark Plug Regatta, the Rose Festival RC Regatta, the ERCU Gold Cup and the Bernie Little Memorial.

It was even closer in the "What is your favorite race site of 2008" poll, where Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley was voted the favorite. Six other race sites tied for second place, just one vote behind Lake Wilderness.

Those sites were: Fort Borst Park (Centralia), Twin Lakes Park (Marysville), Westmoreland Park (Portland), Lake of Tualatin Commons (Tualatin), Cherokee Bay (Maple Valley), and Klineline Pond (Vancouver).

Thanks to all who participated in the voting. Keep an eye on ERCU: The Blog for more "Silly Season" polls as the winter progresses.


Top Ten List

In the spirit of "Silly Season", here are a couple of top 10 lists that Rick Lentz and Nelson Holmberg wanted to share with the membership, to spark a conversation (in the Comments section) with members who might also want to share their top 10 favorite unlimited hydroplanes of all time.

Rick Lentz's Top-10 Favorites (and why)
1. ’72 Pay n Pak – best looking fast boat of that era.
2. ’69 Notre Dame – loved the long, low look. Always fast, never won.
3. ’60 Miss Spokane – my first boat heartthrob, the underdog that was always close. Loved the tail.
4. ’74 Miss U.S. – absolutely gorgeous, should have won more but burned, twice, in Seattle.
5. ’86 Miss Budweiser – first boat designed for a turbine.
6. ’74 U-95 – innovator, and picked on.
7. ’03 Llumar – good looking and fast (maybe because Mark Evans was driving)
8. ’75 Weisfield’s – wild paint scheme (and my only nitro boat).
9. ’61 Miss Bardahl – won in Seattle in ’61 as a big underdog – liked the colors.
10. ’02 Silver Dollar Casino – “my” boat!

Nelson Holmberg's Top 10 Favorites (and why)
1 (tie). 1979 Squire Shop – the boat that "hooked" me on the sport, when Chip Hanauer put me in the cockpit in the pits at Marine Park in Vancouver during an August 1979 exhibition.
1 (tie). 1973-75 Pay 'n Pak – the "Winged Wonder" was the coolest-looking conventional hull ever designed/built.
1 (tie). 2002 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison – Steve David, the Miss Madison Racing Team, and those colors and the cool paint job. How could you beat it?!
4. 1977-80 Atlas Van Lines – the Blue Blaster was the boat that "won" the Vancouver exhibition in 1979.
5. 1979 Miss Budweiser – The first Griffon Bud. I remember it broke my heart to see pictures of it's flip (and subsequent destruction) on Lake Washington after the 1979 season was over and Dean was going for the straightaway speed record.
6. 1984 Atlas Van Lines – Chip's brand new turbine hull, which was absolutely unstoppable unless they beat themselves.
7. 1984 Miss Executone – The sleek lines and great paint jobs were hard to beat.
8. 1984 Lite All Star II – Which eventually became the only Lucero-designed and built Miss Budweiser (T-1). It was a crapper on the race course, because the GE Marine Turbine didn't like hydroplane racing, but it was cool looking.
9. 1957 Hawaii Kai III – I rode in it (OK a replica of it), and because of that, it's a vintage boat that has a soft spot in my heart.
10. 2004 Silver Dollar Casinos present Miss Rock – the first boat I ever sponsored.

Kirk Pagel's Top 10 Favorites (and why)
1. U-29 Shanty I – Fast and sleek, driver Lt. Col. Russ Schleeh was my hero
2. U-77 Miss Wahoo – After she had the chevrons painted onto the tail fin it looked great & Mira Slovak drove with ice water in his veins.
3. U-60 Miss Thriftway (1st) – exciting to wach, very colorful boat & driver. Built the "model".
4.U-22 Breathless – The baby blue boat, didn't win much but nice to look at. Murphy family sent me b&w photos of all their boats.
5.U-60 Miss Thriftway (2nd) – A new white sleek version of the first U-60. This one was destined to go places. Like right into a CG Cutter, sinking it!
6.U-3 Tahoe Miss (1965) – Beautifully prepared & fast.
7.U-75 Miss Exide ( Wahoo ver.2) – used nitrous oxide, ran fast, gave the Bardahl all she could handle.
8.U-37 Slo-Mo-Shun V – won the first Lake Washington race in 1951 and was a cowd pleaser with Lou Fageol at the wheel.
9.U-11 Rebel Suh – Ted Jones break from Sayres & co. produced this nifty looking boat, that would go on to become Maverick U-12. Loved the Rebel flag on the tail fin!
10.U-4 Miss Bardahl – It was Tempest until Ole Bardahl sponsored it, and gave it the neat tail fin artwork. Norm Christensen drove it from Jet's Marina to Hickling's dock in Bellevue, where I got a ride in 1956. Wow!
Editor's Note - Thanks Kirk!!! It's been fun reading your favorites ... can't wait to see others. Post them in the comments link below, and we'll move them into this public viewing area.


And the race is on

Rick Lentz and Nelson Holmberg -- two former members of Dr. Ken Muscatel's Superior Racing Team, during the early 2000s -- are working on two different versions of the SRT U-25 hull, which are expected to be christened next spring.

But there's a twist.

Rick and Nelson are making a competition out of who can finish his hull first. Nelson is building the 2004 Silver Dollar Casinos present Miss Rock (that's the first one that was black with white flames on the deck), and Rick is building the 2002 Silver Dollar Casinos (that's the one that had a "W" on the nose ... we at the ERCU web staff are guessing that little detail is left off).

Rick has a head start, as Nelson built the hull for Rick's boat last winter -- and Rick provided cowlings, drivers and tailfeathers for both boats. We'll see how the competition goes!

No word yet what the stakes are, but monthly construction updates will be provided, by photo evidence, by both participants, on the first of each month -- starting on November 1.


Holy Smokes -- Cougs WIN!

While it probably won't happen at Martin Stadium next month, the Cougars have won the Apple Cup on the water!

The ERCU version of the Apple Cup, that is.

Using their best driver high points totals of the season, Cougar Racing Team (made up of Bob VandenAkker, Nelson Holmberg, Brian Gilmore, Rick Lentz, Mick Shutt, Ron Hartley and Patrick Gleason) scored a total of 46,912 high points this season in ERCU.

The "Elite" Husky Racing Team (Ron Daum, Gary Hansen, Doug Brow, Mark Gran, Steve Twardus, Mark Hansen and Scott Fetterly), on the other hand, scored a total of 33,016.

Honorary CRT Captain WSU football coach Paul Wulff said, "Go Cougs! I love model hydrofoil racing!" After that, Gilmore took the coach (and former WSU football teammate) Wulff aside, in a dark back room, and "explained" the whole point of ERCU, and the difference between hydroplanes and hydrofoils.

In its first official year, the ERCU Apple Cup pitted teams of seven drivers with loyalty or preference to one of the two major universities in the state of Washington in a head-to-head competition that ran the course of the entire season.

When EHRT starter Ralph Jorgenson decided to not race this season, Husky captain Ron Daum decided to burn the redshirt of Mark Hansen, and placed him into the starting lineup.

"Mark is a great young driver," Daum said. "He won another race this year and everything, but it just wasn't enough for us this year. We bow down to Washington State."

The Elite Husky Racing Team will be honored at a membership meeting this winter by being required to sing the Cougar Fight Song (in barbershop quartet) to the entire membership amassed at the meeting. Additionally, each EHRT member will be required to wear a Cougar hat throughout the entire meeting.

The final standings (using the best driver points total turned in by each member, regardless of class):

Cougar Racing Team
1. Bob VandenAkker, 11,055 points
2. Nelson Holmberg, 9,905 points
3. Brian Gilmore, 9,682 points
4. Rick Lentz, 8,771 points
5. Mick Shutt, 4,250 points
6. Ron Hartley, 2,029 points
7. Patrick Gleason, 1,220 points
Total - 46,912 points

Elite Husky Racing Team
1. Ron Daum, 7,515 points
2. Gary Hansen, 6,657 points
3. Mark Gran, 5,147 points
4. Doug Brow, 4,630 points
5. Steve Twardus, 3,140 points
6. Mark Hansen, 2,970 points
7. Scott Fetterly, 2,957 points
Total - 33,016 points


Lunch will be served at Bernie Little Memorial

Thanks to a couple of donors, there will be some sort of lunch provided at the Bernie Little Memorial this Saturday at Cherokee Bay Community Club, race organizers announced recently.

It's the last race of the year, so if you want one last hurrah before the end of the ERCU season, you should make this race!


Bernie Little Memorial race venue change

Due to continuing conflicts with the Bellevue Pond, the Bernie LittleMemorial Race sponsored by Stout Tools and PGI Models, scheduled for Saturday, October 18 will be moved to the Cherokee Bay Community Club location in Maple Valley.

Many thanks to Dan Gilmore for all his help in making this change possible. Setup will start around 7 a.m., with open water available as soon as the course is set. So far there are no plans for lunch to be provided - if that changes you all will be the first to know.


ERCU Consumables...

Of note from the Red Lion Hotel Cascade Cup/NAMBA World Championship presented by Meyers Auto Tech:

As a group, we consumed:

  • 12 Papa Johns large pizzas (2 ham and pineapple, 2 veggie, 2 cheese, 2 pepperoni, 2 pepperoni & olive and 2 pepperoni & sausage)

  • 10 Cokes

  • 9 bottles of water

  • 5 Mug Root Beers

  • 5 Mountain Dews

  • 4 Diet Pepsi

  • 3 large garbage bags

  • 2 Pepsi

  • 1 Dr Pepper

  • 1 7-Up

The 47 boats that were in attendance ran 32 preliminary heats, three connies, three dashes, and two finals.

We also raced in front of, at one time, as many as 100 (estimated) spectators, who showed their curiousity about ERCU racing -- in Vancouver for the first time ever.

All in all, it was a pretty cool day!


Gold Cup qualifying "bling" available

While qualifying isn't required at the Gold Cup any more, it is optional. And this year, a sponsor has stepped up to provide a little incentive to participate in the qualifying sessions with a couple of fast-qualifier awards.

Read more later tonight on the club's website to get the inside scoop.


Westmoreland testing

Our little test session on Saturday went well, but perhaps not necessarily as well as hoped for the 1975 Oh Boy! Oberto of Mick Shutt and the 1970 Miss U.S. of Bill Shearer.

The Oberto, which is very close to being finished, needing just the dummy motor to be completed and installed, ran well. It popped right up on plane and moved deftly across the water. The only problem the boat had was when the driveline spun loose and was lost at the bottom of the casting pond. A new one has already been prepared and the boat will likely be ready to make its racing debut at the ERCU Gold Cup.

Veteran boats the 1973 Red Man Too made a few passes of an imaginary course, as did the 1976 Miss Vernor's, and both looked good and ready for their next rounds of racing. Both will appear at the Gold Cup.

Shearer brought out his "new" 1970 Miss U.S., which he'd recently acquired from brother-in-law Henry Marvin, and was very excited to run it for the first time. While it was out, the boat looked great. But upon returning to the pits, Shearer noticed the motor and speed control were a little warmer than he'd thought it should be, so he checked out the different factors that could be causing the trouble.

What he found was that the water pickup on the rudder was full of sand, which had compacted into the turn of the tubing at the base of the rudder. After working hard for some time, Bill decided to call it a day and take the boat home to work on the rudder in his shop.


Another newsletter

It's time for us to put together another newsletter, so if there's anything you'd like to see in the newsletter, or if you have "News & Rumors" input that you'd like to see in the next newsletter, please contact Nelson Holmberg as soon as possible.

New driver for the Red Man Too

Even though Nelson Holmberg has to miss the Gold Cup due to some business travel, the Red Man Too will still be there.

Jeff Campbell will be "behind the wheel" of a modern boat for the first time this season in ERCU.

"I wanted someone to drive my boat for me at the Gold Cup, to help keep the modern boat count up," Nelson said. "But I didn't want to ask someone who was already racing a modern boat, and burden them with running two modern boats all day."

Thanks to Mick Shutt, who will be transporting the Red Man to Jeff and back to Vancouver on race weekend.

Nelson will take the wheel back at the Roger Newton Memorial Cup at Cherokee Bay on Oct. 5.

Another boat sold?

Rumor has it another boat sale has closed - or will close on Sunday.

Ron Hartley, who took possession of Jim Latimer's Miss Everett after Jim decided he still preferred the nitro boats, has agreed to sell the Everett to Gary Simmons of Snohomish. Gary attended our Seafair Trophy Race last weekend in Monroe, and got bit by the bug. He had hoped to buy Ron's 1977 Squire, but it was already sold to Jesse Shehan before Gary was able to make contact with Ron. As a result, Gary did a little due diligence on the Miss Everett, and ultimately made the decision to join ERCU with a vintage hull.

Gary said he's driving to Moses Lake tomorrow to pick up the boat and its gear from Hartley.


Planning for a World-Class event

While work continues here at NAMBA World Championships headquarters, we're considering several different ideas, but we need some feedback from the membership. If you're planning to spend Saturday night in town after the race is over, there's been some discussion of holding a swap meet and social "hour" at one of the nearby hotels after the race is over.

And if enough people are considering spending the night, we will seek out an "official hotel" close to the race course, where the evening event could be held.

So...we've asked the question on the poll at the top right of this page. If you'll take just a second to vote on it, and/or comment below, we'd appreciate it very much.


A Steere sighting

Monte and Nigel Steere made it to the Seafair Trophy Cup at Lake Tye today. It was great to see them both, and to race with them again as well.

Nigel was very proud of his new assembly for the tailfeathers on his T-Plus, which you may remember, have been prone to come off in races past. But today, none of them ever came off. Great job Nigel.

And as for Monte, well, he had another solid day with the Grand Ol' Lady, the Slo-Mo.


Happy Labor Day weekend!

Out goes a wish for a healthy, safe and happy Labor Day Weekend to all ERCU members and friends of the club.

Whether you're going to Eugene for a model boat race and a Husky/Duck football game, working in Helena, Mont., camping, or making your way to Qwest Field to see the Cougars' season opener, be safe and sane.

The next ERCU event is the Seafair Trophy Race next weekend at Lake Tye in Monroe.


Just another thought

It's worth noting, with the great memory from Ron Daum (below) that Ben Keller also sent in a great thought.

"It recently occurred to me that the highest-finishing Roger-built boat at the Columbia Cup was the Hawaii Kai III -- you guessed it -- in SECOND place."

If you weren't able to make it to the race, we included a Roger Newton Memorial Dash, which featured a field made up of all of the vintage boats that finished second in various heats throughout the day, and the winner was the boat that finished second in the dash.

The significance of second place? The last time Roger Newton raced at Tualatin was the 2007 Columbia Cup, where he finished second.

Another Czar Memory...

I met Roger Newton in the summer of 1973 at the NAMBA Nationals held on Green Lake in Seattle. I had already built a Dumas Miss Unlimited Kit and fitted it with a Super Tiger 60 airplane engine and the Graupner proportional R/C gear I purchased wile in the Army in Germany, and went down to the lake to watch the 60 Hydro race and see how I stacked up. What I saw there astonished me. Most of the boats looked like the old tether boats but there was a beautiful Slo-Mo-Shun IV, a Slo-Mo-Shun V, a Miss Wahoo, a Miss Thriftway and a checkerboard Miss Bardahl. They not only looked like the real Unlimiteds but looked that way when they ran too. I decided then and there that I had to do that and spoke to this tall blond guy who seemed eager to talk about the scale boats. That was Roger. A year later with Roger’s help and guidance, I was out there with my 1/8 scale Wildroot Charlie having time of my young life. Thirty years later, I was sitting in a row boat on Shady Lake and Roger looked up from his buoy weight tying, grinned and said “you know, I’ve been doing this for nearly 50 years now, I used to bring my Miss Thriftway down here and turn it loose, get on my bike and pick it up on the other side of lake.” I did similar stuff when I was a kid too. Great fun and great memories, fair winds and following seas my friend.

- Ron Daum


We're back!

Hey everyone...
Sorry it's been awhile since our last post, but we're back!

Yesterday at the Columbia Cup, a gentleman named Frank Mahoney, who has shot video of our racing at the 2006 Cascade Cup/APBA National Championships, and last month's MaxAmps Oregon Emerald Cup, came out again. This time, he mounted a small camera on the headrest of Craig Mullen's Hallmark Homes during the Dash for Dinner, and came up with some really cool video, which you can see by clicking on the link below. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "You Tube Videos Click Here".



Thoughts from the Holmberg family

I have so many memories of Roger – all of them great. The way he welcomed my wife Dawn into the “boat racing family” the first time she came to a race; the way he taught me that tape works just fine to repair a damaged boat; and the way he helped me know that I could not only get lane one in the mill, but could race in lane one after the start.

But those are just a few of the things Roger shared with not only me, but with everyone. It always felt like those of us involved in hydroplane racing and who knew him were adopted as a part of his family. All of us always looked forward to seeing Roger at the next race.

From the very first time I showed up at an RCU race with a boat of my own – the 1988 Competition Specialties that I bought from Earl Schenck – the Czar was there to help. When I sold that boat and brought out my 2000 Oh Boy! Oberto, he was the first to congratulate me when it was chosen Best of Show at the Apple Blossom Regatta in Quincy, Wash. Later that day, when the same boat was hit and heavily damaged by another, Czar came over while I was packing things up, with a roll of tape in his hand and said to me, “where do you think you’re going?” I told him I couldn’t race anymore so we were going to get a jump on the drive home. He handed me the tape and said, “Bull. You came here to race. Fix it up and race.” Sure enough, with his help, and his tape, we had the boat ready to run its next heat.

I also fondly remember my first full year in the electrics. I’d made one of my first finals, and Czar was my co-driver…He asked me what my plan was for the race, and I said I just wanted to finish. He convinced me that I should finish, but finish as best I could…that I’d never forget it if I did. So he taught me the way to mill for lane one, which we got, and how to go through the first turn, hanging the boat on its hook, holding lane one. We managed to do exactly that, and when the Red Man came out of the turn in the mix, it felt pretty good to get that friendly slap on the back from the Czar. But it wasn’t his fault that the boat caught a gust and blew over a little bit later on the backstretch.

Even more importantly than the boat racing, though, Czar always wanted to know how my family was, encouraged my dad to come to races and made him feel like part of the club even before dad ever thought of owning a boat, and embraced us all as his friend. We all made him our friend, as well. You will be missed, Czar.

Nelson & Dawn Holmberg


Thoughts from the Gardner family

I met Roger a few years ago when I got back into scale racing. I had always heard about the legend of the Czar, but had not met him personally until I got involved with E-RCU. Through the years I've known Roger, he has helped me immensely with photos, plans, ideas about building scale boats, as well as become a great friend to me and my family. On many occasions he has come to my home for family events and we have been to his home for those as well. It gave me the great opportunity for us to get to know David and Debbie whom I think very highly. David has become one of my great friends. I'm very sorry for their loss. Roger will always be remembered in our hearts as one of the neatest people we have ever known and has been an inspiration to me about many things in life, not just hydroplane racing. He spoke to me in the past few months about how much he admires his son and how proud of David he is, the person he is, and the boat racer he has become. Roger was so proud of David for staying in school. I'm very honored to have known Roger and to have a friend in David. I wish the best for David and Debbie.

Sincerely, David and Stephanie Gardner


Memories of Roger Newton


Some thoughts on the Czar:


I had known Roger for many years casually as a fellow hydro fan and member of the museum. It was only since I have had the privilege of racing the Hawaii Ka'i III in ERCU that we became closer friends and I was able to confirm what I already knew about him - that he was a caring person and a hydroplane fan to the core of his being.


He was important to our sport on so many levels and in many facets and his loss is too great to even begin to measure. For many, many years Roger and his wife Marti had been synonymous with Hawaii Ka'i III in 1/8 scale and 1/10 scale R/C racing but more recently in the 1/6 scale class. He supervised the conversion of the "Quasi-Ka'i" replica that has represented the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum so well since 1991. I saw that big 1/6 scale "Pink Lady" run in a test on Waughop Lake in March. She did a Slo-Mo V-style 360 blowover and kept right on going. That got everyone's attention for sure!

Roger knew of my love for the Ka'i - He always called me "Edgar" - and I was honored when he agreed to sell me the 1/10 scale boat. I told him I would do my best to honor Marti's memory and try to do him proud. I am dedicating the Ka'i's ERCU season to Roger's memory. In this my rookie season as a boat owner he has given me valuable advice and guidance in an effort to constantly make the boat better, and even made some major changes without asking for a cent for the considerable work that went into those changes. When he wouldn't let me pay him anything he said he just wanted to see me have a great time and for the boat and our great driver Craig Mullen to do well.


Czar, thanks for your friendship, advice, and caring. I will miss you greatly. My deepest sympathies go out to David, Debbie, and to all the Newton family.



Ben Keller


P.S. - the attached photos were taken at the launch of the boat on March 1, 2008 at Waughop Lake in Lakewood.


Roger Thursday update

Thursday Update:
David says Dad is doing well, but under heavy medication for the operation he had last night. The nurses were concerned however with the outpour of visitors and phone calls that they have had from all of his friends. I know my father and my family greatly appreciate your support but for now he is not allowed to have any visitation or phone calls for at least a few days. I will post immediately when this changes. But like the nurse said, every phone call she receives is more time away from helping Roger and his healing process. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers, I will continue to update everyone as his recovery continues.


Another Roger Update

Just wanted to update on my dad for everyone. He had a rough night last night as he had more episodes around 3:30 A.M. or so of the V-fib (not sure if that is the correct way of saying it). His heart rate shot up to 220 until doctors were able to stablize him. They put an emergency pace maker in early this morning and he is stable now, but very tired. He is on more medication to keep his heart rate at a stable level, but his heart is too weak now to get the ICD put in tomorrow, a defib pacemaker combo from what I know. He needs to rest today and hopefully he can get that put in soon, then they can worry about the quad bypass later in the week.

(From David Newton)

Roger Newton Update

Bill Smiley’s Update from Sunday:

I talked to David last night he said Roger looked much better. He sat up a lot yesterday and ate all of his dinner. All of this sounds very positive. David said he would be sending out information and I'll keep you posted on any progress that I hear.

Regards, Bill Smiley


Czar update

David's latest update was that he was very tired and would be in CCU for 4-6 days while the heart heals. Then they will be evaluating for bypass surgery. He may be moved to another facility in Seattle when and if surgery is to be done.

David sort of quizzed Roger about visitors and calls and he's not up to it right now. I'll pass on any other news I get.

Bill S.

MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008

Sunday at the races

With ERCU members all over the place on Sunday in Tri-Cities, there was another member siting - Gary Hansen - on the shores of the Columbia River. That brings us up to 24 ERCU members who were seen in attendance at the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup.

It was a great day of racing, and a lot of fun for everyone involved.

Below, Bob VandenAkker and Judy Fenton, enjoying the day.


More ERCU members seen in Tri-Cities

Saturday in the Tri-Cities brought out more sightings of ERCU members in the pits. Joining all of the members who were sited yesterday (and noted below), were Chick Bartsch, Kirk Pagel, Ben Keller, Robbie Roberts and Craig Mullen. We're up to 23 ERCU members in Tri-Cities. 

David Newton, a former member, won the RCU Columbia Cup today with his Miss 7-Eleven. It was nice to see, and visit with, David today...and great to see him running so well. There were 31 boats participating in the Columbia Cup, including two from Canada - owned by Paul Omerzu, who has become somewhat of a regular with RCU in the Tri-Cities.

FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2008

Scott Meyers featured on KNDU

Scott Meyers, owner of Meyers Auto Tech, was featured on KNDU TV Friday night in Tri-Cities for going from "hydro sponsor to hydro owner".

Scott purchased a 2.5 litre (or Lighter Than Light, depending on which organization's event he's participating in) in the fall of 2008 and spent the winter getting it ready to race. You can see the video here: http://www.kndu.com/Global/story.asp?S=8733822&nav=menu484_4_4

This is applicable to ERCU because Scott is a two-time sponsor of the ERCU Cascade Cup. Scott's driver is Jesse Robertson, a former ERCU member, before he moved up to the "bigger boats".

Scott and Jesse have had a great season so far, winning a couple of races, and finishing on the podium in a couple of others.

ERCU at the Tri-Cities

No...there's no race over here for the 1/10-scale fast electric scale hydros...but there is a huge contingent of ERCU membership this weekend.

Already spotted ERCUers - on Friday alone: Mick Shutt, Nelson Holmberg, Bob VandenAkker, Judy Fenton, Jeff Campbell, Teri Campbell, John Howell, Roger Newton, John Burkey, John Williams, Howard Price, Ryan Opfer, Dawna Gross, Gale Whitestine, Patrick Gleason, Roger Newton, Ron Hartley, and Doug Brow.

While Burkey and Gross are working on the U-13 crew this weekend, Whitestine, Gleason and Newton are teamed up on the Go Fast Turn Left Racing Team boats, Brow will be the eye in the sky, as he's working as a part of the ABRA officiating crew. Doug will be in the helicopter during the weekend's racing.

Price, Williams and Opfer are supposed to be working...but their boat (the U-25) hadn't arrived in the pits as of 6:15 p.m. on Friday...so they spent the day as spectators with cool uniforms and hot pit access.

TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008

A note about the museum's gala & auction

A note from David Williams at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum:

Doors open at 5 p.m.

The first silent auction closes at 6:30, and dinner is served at 7:15.

We are almost sold out (only about 15 seats left) so if you are coming, we need to know ASAP. 


MONDAY, JULY 21, 2008

Museum Gala and Auction is coming soon!

It's time again for the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum's annual Gala and fundraising auction.

The event is set for Thursday, July 31 at the Museum and features a theme based on the tumultuous summer of 1968. All proceeds benefit the museum.

The evening's agenda includes dinner and an auction, along with speakers Bill Boeing and Mira Slovak. Tickets are $100 per person and more information is available on the museum's website at www.thunderboats.org.

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2008

Vintage page fixed up

Well...your website team has been able to restore (more accurately, re-create) the vintage boats page, and it's up on the website currently. We are still working on posting boat bios back to the site, but we're making progress and happy to report that things are - for the most part - back to normal.

It seems like a good time to remind folks to take a look at the vintage page and remind us if there are any boats that are missing from the page. It's also a good time to send in boat bios, if you'd like to have them on the site.

Currently, we've got every boat bio that was on the site before losing the original page. We're working on a handful of other bios that have come in over the summer, and should have those posted by the end of this weekend.

If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to contact Nelson.


BREAKING BIG BOAT NEWS: Elam not coming to Tri-Cities

BREAKING NEWS from the big boats ...
(thanks to ERCU's Ace Reporter Kirk Pagel for the update)

The editorial board of Unlimited News Journal learned today that the Ellstrom Racing Team has decided that it will not participate in the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities July 25-27.

Plans are still for the Ellstroms to bring both the Miss Elam - driven by Dave Villwock - and the Boeing U-787 to Seafair. The U-1 Miss Elam, it is said, will compete for the Chevrolet Cup and Hanauer will test and qualify the U-787, but will not drive it in competition.

UNJ's editorial board also learned that there is still some question as to whether the Ellstroms will attend this year's San Diego race.


Vintage boats page messed up

Well...I'm not exactly sure what the heck happened, but somehow, we've lost the Vintage Boats page on our website.

It's currently blank.

If it still shows up on your machine, click "refresh" and you'll see what I mean. It's very frustrating, especially when it happens late at night and 6:30 a.m. the next day still doesn't bring any progress.

Bullithead Media's Scott Stanton and I will get to work on it tonight, and see if we can't fix the whole thing. Chances are we'll have to rebuild the whole page from scratch, so please forgive us if there are boats that are left out when the page is rebuilt. And if you see boats that are missing, please be sure to let us know (nicely), so we can get them added back to the page.

Please be patient with us while we go through this "fix" process. We'll get it fixed up as soon as we can.


MONDAY, JULY 14, 2008

Oregon Emerald Cup notes ...

Some random notes that have surfaced in the aftermath of the fantastically fun Oregon Emerald Cup that was held Saturday, July 12 at the Lake of Tualatin Commons:

  • Mike and Jeff Campbell were in attendance at the only real Oregon Emerald Cup ever held, on Dexter Lake east of Eugene, Ore. That day, Billy Schumacher won the race with the 1971 Pride of Pay 'n Pak. Mike was 14 and Jeff was 9.

  • Brian Gilmore continued his success at Tualatin, placing the Gilmore Special fourth in the modern final. This follows third-place finishes in each of the three Tualatin races in 2007.

  • The Tigard/Tualatin Times weekly newspaper had a photographer and reporter in attendance at the race, and a story is expected to run in the paper soon -- possibly as early as Thursday, July 17.

  • Even The Oregonian showed some limited interest in the race. Perhaps a feature story will be in the works before we return to Tualatin on August 16.

  • The 20 vintage boats in attendance at the Emerald Cup were the most vintage hulls to attend any of the four Tualatin races the club has now held.

  • The 9 modern boats tied a low.

  • Due to sporadic and low-signal wireless internet availability at the Tualatin Commons, we tried updating the blog with results, but were only successful at mid-day.

Stats, recap and a couple of photos added

There's detailed information about the MaxAmps Oregon Emerald Cup presented by Schumacher Racing Team on the ERCU website now -- including the full heat sheet for both vintage and modern.

It was a fun day!


Internet troubles

Hey all:
Sorry that we didn't get the third and fourth flights of heats, as well as the connies and finals updated from the race site. Seems we didn't get a real good internet connection on the available wireless, and the best we could do was post what we did.

But now that we're back at the palatial offices of www.e-rcu.org, we've got a good connection so we can do some updating.

Mike Campbell won the modern final of the MaxAmps Oregon Emerald Cup today, and Jeff Campbell won the vintage. Both successfully defended their championships of last year.

With the connies also counting as race wins, Rick Lentz recorded his second career win, and first for the U-95, piloting the white boat to a first place finish in the Bob Miller Memorial. Craig Mullen won for the first time in his ERCU career, too, winning the Chuck Hickling Memorial with Ben Keller's Hawaii Kai III - it was also Ben's first career race win as an owner.

It was a great day, with 29 boats in the pits, and we all had a wonderful time. There was ample shade, a nice breeze and the fountain behind the pits provided just enough cooling to make the 90-plus degree temperatures not so bad.

We missed all of you who were unable to attend and look very much forward to seeing you all again very soon.

MaxAmps Oregon Emerald Cup results

Well...we're halfway through the MaxAmps Emerald Cup, presented by Schumacher Racing Team at the Lake of Tualatin Commons.

We've got 29 boats here today -- 20 vintage and 9 modern.

Heat winners so far are:

1A - 1. Circus Circus, Mike Gossler.
1B - 1. Country Boy, Mike Campbell.
2A - 1. Country Boy, Mike Campbell.
2B - 1. Circus Circus, Mike Gossler.

1A - 1. Pay 'n Pak Hooktail, Jeff Campbell.
1B - 1. Harrah's Club, Mike Campbell.
1C - 1. Jeff Campbell, Pride of Pay 'n Pak Outrigger.
1D - 1. Hawaii Kai III, Craig Mullen.

2A - 1. Hawaii Kai III, Craig Mullen
2B - 1. Wildroot Charlie, Ron Daum
2C - 1. Pay 'n Pak Outrigger, Jeff Campbell
2D - 1. Miss Wickman, John Burkey


Fountain will be on during Emerald Cup

We asked the Tualatin Parks Department if they could turn off the fountain at Lake of Tualatin Commons (directly behind the pit area) during the Oregon Emerald Cup this weekend, but they can't.

And we might be happy about that.

It was explained that the park is an open use park, which means they have to keep all of the amenities open, even if a portion of the park is dedicated to a certain event - such as our race.

That being said, it might be nice for all of us in attendance at the race to have the soft spray coming off of the fountain in order to keep us all cool on a day that's predicted to be beautiful and 84 degrees.

Just a reminder, too, that this park does have electricity available to us at no charge, so bring your extension cords. There is no need for generators anticipated at the site.

Long gap between races ahead

With the recent postponement of the Bernie Little Memorial, which was scheduled for July 20 at Bellevue Park, the MaxAmps Oregon Emerald Cup is the last chance to do any racing until after the Tri-Cities and Seattle big boat races.

The next race - after the Emerald Cup - is now the Columbia Cup, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Lake of Tualatin Commons in Tualatin, Ore.

The gap between races is just more than a month, so if you think you'll be suffering from the racing bug, you may just want to be sure to attend the Oregon Emerald Cup this coming Saturday (July 12).

Posted by ERCU bloggerat 6:26 AM


Bernie Little Memorial postponed

Due to the obstruction sitting in Bellevue Pond, and the unavailability of an alternate Puget Sound region site for that date, the Bernie Little Memorial Race, originally scheduled for July 20, will be postponed until further notice. Think of it as too much debris in the water, similar to recent problems for the big boats on the Ohio River.

MONDAY, JULY 7, 2008

MaxAmps is title sponsor of Oregon Emerald Cup

Big thanks go out to our newest title sponsor -- for a race. MaxAmps, based in Nine Mile Falls, Wash. (outside Spokane), has signed on as title sponsor of the Oregon Emerald Cup, this Saturday, July 12 in Tualatin.

MaxAmps and their products can be found online at www.maxamps.com.

If you have a need to order new batteries, please be sure to consider MaxAmps while researching your purchases. Several ERCU members are currently using MaxAmps packs, including Nelson Holmberg, Rick Lentz, Doug Brow, Brian & Dan Gilmore, Ryan & Craig Bradshaw, and more.

SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2008

Oregon Emerald Cup

The history of the real Oregon Emerald Cup is a short one, as the race was only run one time -- in Dexter, Ore., just 20 miles east of Eugene. Billy Schumacher won the 1971 Oregon Emerald Cup driving the Pride of Pay 'n Pak.

Which boat was that, in terms of the 1/10-scale boats we race?

Ask Craig Mullen.

A more detailed history of the real Oregon Emerald Cup is available on the ERCU website


Patrick Gleason is a star

ERCU member Patrick Gleason mugging for Chris Denslow's camera in Madison. Go NAVY!



Rose Festival RC Regatta still getting media play

It just keeps coming. This from the monthly Sellwood Neighborhood (the neighborhood that Westmoreland Park is in) newspaper.


New Contest Director for Columbia Cup

Mick Shutt has agreed to take over as contest director for the Columbia Cup. Please welcome, and thank, Mick for his help in putting on this race, which will be held Saturday, August 16 at the Lake of Tualatin Commons in Tualatin, Ore.

The Columbia Cup is a points race, which means even if you win the final, you may not necessarily be the winner of the race. Consistency pays big dividends at this event.

A new place to talk about ERCU!

So here we are, ERCU -- the largest 1/10-scale fast electric unlimited hydroplane racing club in the world. We've got a cool website, and a cool newsletter...but yet no way to interact among members, or those who are interested in our club or even just fast electric hydro racing.

We've tried a couple of times to create interactive opportunities, with groups on Yahoo or MSN, and they haven't worked out. But now, in this world of blogging, there's another opportunity. The blog can survive without interactive comments or emails going back and forth, but it'd be great to have comments, if you feel so inclined.

This blog will be used to post breaking news about the club that will also eventually end up on the website, to post casual information and comments, and other news that may not necessarily end up on the website or in the newsletter, and much more. 

So...ready or not, here we go.