A nearly-perfect weather day brought out the best of ERCU during the 47th running of the Stan Sayres Memorial, presented by American Sani-Can.
The race, held at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview, highlighted some of the best competition of the year, and ran smoothly with lots of help from members in attendance.
With sunny, 79 degree, skies and shade protection from the majestic oaks in the park along with a light breeze most of the day, the 21 members who brought a total of 35 boats out to the race were able to stay comfortable.
As noted above, competition was good throughout the day, as one would imagine it would be by the ninth race of the 10-race season.
When all of the wakes and roostertails subsided, the winners were decided, based on finishing order in each of the classes winner-take-all final heats. With just one withdrawal all day, we even had enough boats to run a connie in each class except 1/7 scale vintage.
In 1/10-scale modern, Paul Dunlap drove Rick Evans' 2015 Dalton Industries to a perfect day that included the win in the modern final. With a maximum of just 2,100 points left to be earned this season, the Dalton wrapped up the season boat points championship. Dunlap's 1,469 point lead over David Heilbrunn in the modern driver standings, however, means the drivers championship is still up for grabs.
Second place in the 1/10-scale modern final went to Ron Daum in the 2009 Grandview on the Lake while Heilbrunn was third in the 2019 J&D's. The winner of the modern connie, Joey Caines, driving the 2013 Graham Trucking, did not finish the final, while Chuck Murray's 2000 Miss Elam plus did not start.
The best competition of the season in 1/7-scale modern happened at the Stan Sayres Memorial. Seven modern boats were on hand and all were very competitive. Newcomer Ron Hartley debuted in the 1974 Lincoln Thrift he had just previously purchased from Rick Lentz to get in a "test day" prior to the ERCU Gold Cup. He had a great time and left the park already looking forward to the Gold Cup in two weeks.
Holmberg finished every heat in Gary Hansen's 1972 Notre Dame for the first time all season, recording a perfect day in winning the race. Second place in the final went to Craig Mullen, who finally got the bugs worked out of his 1975 Pay 'n Pak and third was Bordon, driving Holmberg's 2021 Graham Trucking. In a final where all five boats finished the heat, fourth place went to John Sjostrom in the 1982 Captran Resorts, which had won the connie and started as a trailer boat. He found a way to pass his wife Denise in the 1974 Miss U.S., which finished fifth.
1/10-scale classic had a wild day.
Classic boats were very consistent, and competitive. Every heat had a different winner, and there were just three DNF/DNS all day. It wasn't until the classic connie that the class saw a repeat winner on the day. Gerry Bordon's 1974 Miss U.S. won in heat 3A, then won the connie and started the final as a trailer boat. Following Murray's Miss Houston across the finish line was Reunanen's 1979 Squire Shop in second. Third went to Jay Fonville's 1976 Spirit of Dayton Walther, fourth to Bordon, and fifth to Brad Lewis in the 1982 Oh Boy! Oberto, which led early, then hit a hole, dove in nose first, and had a tough time getting back on plane before finishing the race.
The 1/10-scale vintage boats, too, were really consistent all day. Just three DNF/DNS until the connie when two of the five did not start, and two in the final didn't finish.
Bordon, Lewis and Bill Mowatt each had two first place finishes in the preliminary heats, while Reunanen provided a steady hand subbing in the seat of Kerry Kjos' 1960 Miss Thriftway, taking a first and two seconds in the prelims before winning the final.
Bordon was second in the final with his 1970 Parco's O-Ring Miss, followed by Fonville in the 1963 Tahoe Miss. Those who didn't finish the final were Mowatt with Evans' 1968 Miss Bardahl and Lewis with the 1962 Miss Supertest.
The last race of the day was the 1/7 scale final, which featured three boats after Joey Caines needed to withdraw Aaron Olson's Lil' Buzzard due to radio issues. Terry Harmer jumped to an early lead with his 1986 Miss Bahia, but after not finishing the heat, John Sjostrom took the checkered flag first in his fast 1960 Miss Thriftway. Second went to Denise Sjostrom in her beautiful 1980 Evergreen Roofing.
In recognition of the memory of Stan Sayres, John and Diane Earnest brought along a number of items for participants to enjoy while considering the memory of Sayres. There was 1/10 scale model of the Slo-Mo-Shun V built by John, an actual propeller used during testing on the Slo-Mo, and photo albums full of great memories of the early days of three-point hydroplane racing.
All in all, it was a really fantastic day of racing. The help and participation by all in attendance was deeply appreciated.