came at the 1971 Gold Cup
(August 2001) Madison, In Steve David
made history July 8 by winning the 2001 Belterra Casino
Madison Regatta aboard the community owned U-6 Oh Boy!
Oberto Miss Madison. For hometown fans cheering along
the Ohio River shoreline, he brought joy back into the
For years, the dozens of volunteers who
help stage the race have endured ups and downs, wondering
just three years ago whether the event would even continue.
But what a difference a few years can make. First, Belterra
Casino Resort became the title sponsor, beginning last
year. Then the Miss Madison Inc. racing team picked up
season-long sponsorship from the Kent, Wash.-based Oh
Boy! Oberto Sausage Co. Then David was hired to drive
for the 2001 season, becoming the 19th person to pilot
the Unlimited hydroplane since it began racing in 1961.
David not only won his first heat in Madison, he rode
into the history books in the championship final.
This is totally amazing, said David, 47, a
resident of Lighthouse Point, Fla. I could not have
drawn this scenario up any better. To win my first Unlimited
race since 1995 and to do it in front of these loyal fans
of Madison, is a feeling that I will never forget.
Never mind that his victory came at the expense of three
Unlimiteds ahead of him that were penalized a lap for
jumping the starting gun. David timed the start perfectly
as he watched Terry Troxell in the Znetix II, Mark Weber
in the Miss EMCOR and Dave Villwock in the Miss Budweiser
jump the gun. David was running fourth at the start, followed
by Greg Hopp and Jimmy King, who finished second and third.
The race and the victory however, belonged
to David, his teammates and his hometown fans.
This was about team work and faith and people coming
together, David told a throng of reporters in the
pits before escaping to the trophy stand. Everyone
in the crew had a part in this. This was for the people
of Madison. This was for each of them.
Miss Madison team manager Charlie Grooms said the team
tried out a new Lycoming turbine engine that day, and
since it worked so well in the first heat, they stayed
with it. It was a gutsy call because we had been
struggling a bit and were looking for more speed,
Grooms said. We elected to go with the new engine
on Sunday morning to test it for the Gold Cup in Detroit
the following week. After winning that first heat, we
decided to go with it in the final.
David and the other drivers spent much of the race not
even knowing who was ahead. Hydro-Prop officials didnt
confirm that David was in fact the leader until half way
through the five-lap race. By then, David had lost radio
contact with his team and said he didnt realize
he had won until he approached the pits and saw everyone
cheering wildly and coming toward his boat.
Usually, theyre all walking away from me after
a race, so I knew something was up, he later joked.
But once the word was broadcast across the riverbank,
Oh Boy! what a celebration. David cruised into the pits,
jumped out of his craft, hopped onto the dock and began
hugging anyone within reach. Teammates and dozens of reporters
and fans raced onto the dock to try to reach David as
the dock sank nearly a foot under water.
Bob Hughes, Miss Madison Inc. owner-representative reached
David first. The two hugged and pulled each other all
the way through the crowd to the trophy stand, where they
continued the celebration in front of hundreds of screaming
The trophy awards presentation that followed was a mixture
of speeches, hugs, kisses, haircuts, screams and sheer
elation from Miss Madison teammates, dignitaries, Regatta
volunteers and fans, all sharing in the joyous moment.
Even the usual winners, the Miss Budweiser team and driver
Villwock, stood by watching the party.
Cameras recorded the historic event and David an
immediate celebrity began signing autographs on
programs, wristbands, T-shirts, caps anything that
fans thrust at him in hopes of taking home a sure souvenir.
David gladly obliged and was still signing autographs
at dusk hours later as he left the pits.
David scored his fourth Unlimited hydroplane career victory
and the first for the city of Madison since 1993. His
victory brought back memories of Jim McCormicks
win driving the Miss Madison at the 1971 Madison Gold
Cup race. McCormicks son, Mike, was among the first
to congratulate David as he stepped off his boat.
Its awesome, McCormick screamed, nearly
hoarse and tearing up. It reminds me of that day
here with my dad. Im just so glad I was here today
to see it happen again.
Grooms, who joined the team in 1977 and became its crew
chief in 1985, called the victory in Madison the
culmination of what were about and strive to do
to win and win in Madison. It helps the city and
helps the team. Its about this Regatta surviving
in this city.
David summed up the day, saying, The tradition of
the Miss Madison was an important aspect in my decision
to return to the sport. Having 13,000 people cheering
you on is the best feeling in the world, and I am glad
to have been a part of this historic occasion. I knew
this team was ready to win and it showed by their preparation.
The team has been waiting for this for a long time and
you could just see it in their eyes that they were ready
for a victory.
In all, four different drivers won heats David,
Weber, Hopp and Villwock. Mike Hansons day, however,
ended early after becoming the top qualifier for the second
consecutive race with a speed of 157.202 mph. But Hanson
suffered significant damage to the right side of his Unlimited
in the first heat and had to withdraw. Hanson rebounded
the following week by winning the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit.
The Belterra Casino Madison Regatta will be televised
on ESPN2 on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m. (EST-slow time).
Belterra Casino Madison Regatta Results:
1. U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David
2. U-100 Miss Znetix I, Greg Hopp
3. U-8 LLumar Window Film, Jimmy King
4. U-99 Miss Znetix II, Terry Troxell
5. U-10 Miss Emcor, Mark Weber
6. U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock
7. U-25 Security Race Products, Dr. Ken Muscatel
8. U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans
9. U-9 Miss Bellos Pizza, Mike Hanson