I’d been in my office literally seconds this morning when the phone rang, by no means my preferred way to start a day. It seems that people who call first thing in the morning usually are those with some type of complaint, pointing out some type of error in the paper, giving you same-day notice of some kind of event, etc. I almost let the call go to voice mail, but I figured that would probably bring bad karma so I picked it up.
On the other line was Marv Spomer, a longtime Worthington car dealer who’s now retired and owns and operates an incredible museum of automobile-related artifacts and so much, much more. I wondered what Marv had in store for me today, but surprisingly it had nothing to do with cars. An acquaintance was in town and towing one of the fastest boats in the world, he said. He suggested I come over and snap some photos, but that I should come as soon as I could.
Within 10 minutes, I was across the street from the museum, shooting some photos from the Prairie Rehab parking lot. This was one cool looking contraption, but I didn’t know what the heck it was exactly. So, I ventured across the street and found Marv … and the people who had taken this boat into Worthington.
I spoke for a few minutes with Jeff MInar, who is a friend of Marv’s brother and resides in Seattle. He works on the crew of Dave Villwock, who had just captured the biggest unlimited hydroplaning event of the season, the 101st Jarvis Restoration Detroit APBA Gold Cup. Minar told me their craft went undefeated over the course of the competition, including heat races and the final, en route to Villwock’s third consecutive Gold Cup title and eighth overall. Clearly, I was talking to someone that was part of a dominating force, perhaps akin to talking to a member of Jimmie Johnson’s pit crew.
Apparently, these things are capable of moving along more than quickly. From the Wikpedia "hyrdroplane" entry:
"Prior to 1977, every official water speed record had been set by an American or Briton. On November 20, Australian Ken Warby piloted his Spirit of Australia to 464.5 km/h (290.313 mph) to beat Lee Taylor’s record. … On October 8, 1978 Warby travelled to Blowering Dam, Australia, and broke both the 480 km/h (300 mph) and 500 km/h barriers with an average speed of 510 km/h (318.75 mph)."
The link above should offer plenty of info and photos about the competition last week in Detroit. Here’s my shot of the hydroplane in the Spomer Classics’ parking lot: