LACEY, Wash. - There must be something in the water this season.
For the fifth time in six races, ERCU has seen another first first.
Terry Harmer posted his first race victory on Saturday, July 10, winning the 1/7-scale vintage final at the 14th Annual ERCU Roger Newton Memorial. David Newton continued his sweep of the 1/10 scale vintage 2021 schedule, and Chuck Murray posted wins in the 1/10 scale classic and modern finals.
It was an absolutely awesome day of great racing, great food, fantastic camaraderie, and beautiful weather at Long’s Pond in Woodland Creek Park. Forty-one boats were on hand for the event, as the memory of Roger Newton - the Czar of model hydroplane racing - lived in it’s abundant glory.
The drivers meeting included a brief video recapping Roger’s life in boat racing, and kicked off the terrific day of racing in his memory. David Newton, the contest director, and son of the Czar, coordinated a very special event for ERCU members. He had dozens of giveaways and raffle prizes, and even conducted a 50/50 raffle that brought a nice little chunk of change to the club.
When all was said and done and the roostertails had settled, Newton was appropriately one of four different winners on the day. Behind Newton in the 1/10 scale vintage final was second place finisher Robbie Roberts with his 1970 Hallmark Homes. Robbie made the final by winning the connie and was moved up to the front line when Brad Lewis’ Miss Supertest was unable to start. Third place went to Bill Mowatt driving Rick Evans’ 1968 Miss Bardahl - which had also been awarded Best of Scale (1/10 vintage) earlier in the day. Gerry Bordon with the 1970 Parco’s O-Ring Miss was unable to finish the vintage final.
Then came Murray.
In the first of two final heats won by Murray, the 1983 Miss Houston outlasted Bordon’s best of scale 1974 Miss U.S., which had also won the connie and ended up starting on the front line due to a boat that didn’t start. Third in the classic final went to Jay Fonville with the 1976 Spirit of Dayton Walther. David Heilbrunn’s 1984 Executone and Lewis’ 1982 Oh Boy! Oberto did not finish.
Murray also claimed victory in the modern final. But that may not have been the most exciting feature of the modern class. For the first time in memory, there was a second connie in the modern class. Heilbrunn righted the ship of a bummer day, taking his 2019 J&D’s to victory in the second connie. That allowed him to start on the front line of the modern first connie, which he also won. And that put Heilbrunn in the final, the hard way, and starting as a trailer.
Murray’s 2000 Miss Elam was a rocketship all day, and the modern final was no exception. He beat Paul Dunlap and the 2015 Dalton Industries and the J&D’s to the top of the podium. Fourth place went to Mike Hughes in the 1991 Winston Eagle (another best of scale winner), while the 2018 Oberto Beef Jerky of Nelson Holmberg was unable to start due to radio issues.
The 1/7-scale modern final was pretty lackluster, if we’re being brutally honest. Sadly, both Craig Mullen’s gorgeous 1975 Pay ’n Pak and Holmberg’s 2007 Miss Chrysler Jeep had issues and didn’t finish. And after a day of tough racing that took out John & Denise Sjostrom’s 1982 Captran Resorts and 1974 Miss U.S., respectively, all Holmberg had to do was make a legal start and finish three clean laps to be crowned Roger Newton Memorial champion. He did that, and it capped another 1,200 point day for Gary Hansen’s Notre Dame, all but securing the season points championship in 1/7-scale modern.
Conversely, the last race of the day - the 1/7-scale vintage final - was exciting. With lap penalties, good racing, and lots of drama on the water, Harmer showed the most poise and stayed clean to post the race win.
When officials settled out the scoring and order of finish, second place went to Mullen, driving McIntosh’s 1976 Vagabond. Bill Smiley’s Savair’s Mist, Aaron Olson’s Lil Buzzard (driven by Joey Caines) and Jim McKeon’s Maverick all failed to finish the final.
All in all, it was a terrific day of racing. By many accounts, it was the best ERCU event in quite some time.
Roger would be proud, and we’re sure he was watching.