The typically quiet waters of Lake Dora in Tavares, Fla., roared to life with last weekend with the first event of the 2022 American Power Boat Association Vintage and Historic raceboat season. Thanks in large part to the Florida Vintage Raceboat Club, the lake vibrated with bygone echoes from the power of historic raceboats staging spectacular heats for the mass of spectators lining the shore at Wooton Park, a perfect vantage point nestled near the many shops and restaurants in town.
Blasts from the past, a remarkable fleet of vintage raceboats put on a show last weekend at Lake Dora in Tavares, Fla. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
This year’s event featured a newly designed one-mile course surveyed by Russ Dodge, which may very well be the safest layout in Vintage and Historic history. The three-day event featured a driver’s school and “Test and Tune” sessions on Friday, as well as double heats of demonstration races on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s southerly breezes made for some tricky conditions, but the wind shifted on Sunday yielding calm waters under a cloudless sky.
The multiple heats featured small, medium and large Inboard hydros, with legendary champion hulls such as Buckeye Kid, Miss Gangway and Prime Mover showing their lightning-fast pedigrees. Plus, the jaw-dropping Canadian Grand Prix Hydro dubbed Concordia absolutely dazzled as it roared around the course. And fans were treated to an actual Vintage Unlimited Hydroplane, the big red Lauterbach Miss U.S. featuring true WWII Allison Aircraft power in “Thunder boat” fashion.
Demonstration “races” were the order of the weekend.
Outboard-powered raceboats also, from the 13-foot mono-hull “E” class boats up to the stealthily quick Mod U tunnels, also were displayed. The fans on hand were even treated to a mock “race” with current American Powerboat president Chris Fairchild in Roger Hinsdale’s unpainted vintage Seebold hull and taking on Rayner Blair in his gorgeous restoration of the late Buck Thornton’s iconic Texaco T4 tunnel hull, as well as 84-year-old Bill Edwards in his Chrysler Stacker powered E&T hull. At the finish, Fairchild did a fly-by in an attempt to wet down the referee’s stand and promptly blew his engine in the process.
Saturday Night featured the annual Florida Vintage Raceboat Club Meeting and Banquet which was highlighted by various honors and the resurrection of the infamous “Golden Snorkle” award given to the most outstanding display of incompetence during the event. The organization also announced a major donation to the St Jude’s Children’s Hospital in memory of Board Member Jean Batronie, who passed away only a few short months ago.
Enjoy more images from last weekend’s event Florida Vintage Raceboat Club in the slideshow above.
Batronie’s family attended and also brought her boat, which was driven in her honor at the event.
In the end, Mother Nature cooperated wonderfully, there were no injuries or serious mishaps, and the camaraderie of old and cherished friends was seen and felt everywhere. In simple fact, that is what Vintage and Historic is really all about, no winners and no loser—just good fellowship.
A frequent contributor to speedonthewater.com, Rich Luhrs (above) chairs the American Power Boat Association’s Offshore Commission.