Dave Villwock showed what hydroplaning is all about, literally flying above the Ohio River to an easy win Sunday in the $150,000 Madison Regatta. It was the third straight victory this season for the unbeaten Miss Budweiser boat.
“They’re always working to go a little bit faster,” Villwock said of the Budweiser crew. “The guys built a lot of power and we’re just flying the heck out of the thing, because we know if you don’t touch the water very often, you can go just a little bit faster.”
The Budweiser, which set an Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association record with its 25th victory with that particular hull, averaged 137.388 mph for the five laps on the 2-1/2-mile Ohio River course.
Victories in the three preliminary heats and the championship extended Villwock’s streak of heat wins to 12, which is believed to be the third-longest in unlimited hydroplane history. The late Dean Chenoweth, also driving the Budweiser, won a record 20 consecutive heats in 1980, and the late Bill Muncey won 15 in a row in 1962.
“We know that it’ll go away any time,” Villwock said of the streak. “But as it is, we just go start racing when we show up and just never stop racing until they make us go home.”
Villwock’s first heat was the closest, although he still averaged almost 2 mph faster than Mike Hanson’s DeWalt Tools.
Hanson, second to Villwock in the season standings, finished fourth in the championship heat, behind Budweiser, Nate Brown’s Miss TruckGear and Mark Weber’s Miss R.S. Eastin Hotel. Mitch Evans’ Appian Jeronimo was fifth.
Mark Evans, the 1991 Madison winner and Mitch’s brother, won all three of his preliminary heats in the Pico American Dream. He stayed close to Villwock for most of the first lap of the final but spun out and did not finish.
Even when Evans went out, Villwock said, the race wasn’t over.
Brown averaged 133.029 mph for second place, followed by Weber at 131.028, Hanson at 128.005 and Mitch Evans at 124.633. Mark Tate continued to have handling problems and did not advance to the final heat after his Close Call boat temporarily lost power on the second preliminary heat.
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