Budweiser back on top
at Madison Regatta
pilots Beer Wagon to victory
MADISON, Ind. (July 6, 2003) Following on
the heels of a disappointing opener in Evansville, the Miss Budweiser
made up for lost time July 6 by being the fastest qualifier and going
three-for-three in preliminary heats, then winning the final heat and
the Indiana Governor's Cup at the Budweiser Madison Regatta Presented
by Belterra Casino Resort.
by Jim Chagares
Villwock pilots the Miss
Budweiser around the 2.5-mile Ohio
River course in the final heat.
In Evansville, the Miss Budweiser broke a propeller shaft
at the start of the final heat, forcing it to the sidelines for the
rest of the race, resulting in a fifth place finish and zero points
for the heat. Prior to that, the Miss Budweiser piloted by Dave Villwock
had placed first in the second heat and second in heats one and three.
But in Madison, Villwock steered the Beer Wagon around the 2.5-mile
Ohio River course with ease after battling Mark Evans in the Llumar
Window Film boat for the inside lane and the lead in the first turn,
then cruising to victory.
"In Turn 2, Mark got a little lead on me at the start, but I beat
him to the inside lane and that was the race right there," said
Villwock of Seattle.
With weather and water conditions constantly changing, Villwock said
his crew made many adjustments to deal with all factors. "We knew
we would be facing 2-foot waves in the final heat, so we worked all
week long on getting ready for this race course not necessarily
speed but keeping the boat on the water. Because if you can't keep the
boat on the water, you can't finish the race."
The Bud's victory was also made a little easier after two boats missed
the final because of mechanical problems and a third boat the
U-16 Miss EMCOR, driven by Mike Weber went airborne in a
dramatic crash that flipped the boat 360 degrees in front of the judge's
stand on the start of the final heat. Weber walked away from the crash
after it landed on its belly and continued running downriver several
yards before coming to a stop. The boat suffered damage to its wings
but otherwise appeared intact. The restart of the final heat was delayed
one hour while rescue workers retrieved the damaged boat.
During Saturday's qualifying the previous day, driver Greg Hopp rolled
his U-100 Miss Mariann Travel Inn boat on the first turn but suffered
only minor injuries after being treated and released from a local hospital.
All the drivers battled rough water conditions and debris throughout
the weekend. A thunderstorm threatened at the start of the final heat,
but the rain vered north, missing the race site.
Villwock took control of the restart and led the entire way for his
40th career victory. Evans outraced Michael Hanson in the U-9 Miss Bello's
Pizza for second place. It was Evans' first podium finish in three years.
Rounding out the top five were Terry Troxell in the U-2 Miss Trendwest
and Dr. Ken Muscatel in the U-25 Mister Home Loan.
Joe Little, who took over the reigns of the Miss Budweiser after his
father, Bernie Little, passed away earlier this year, secured his first
victory as a team owner. Bernie had won a remarkable 134 race victories
and 22 world championships during his Unlimited Hydroplane career.
by Doug Cheek
Villwock (center) accepts
the Madison Regatta trophy
along with owner Joe Little,
next to Madison Regatta
Queen Stacy Hoehle.
"Today's victory is dedicated to Bernie," said
Villwock. "I wanted to win this race for Bernie and for Joe. Without
Bernie's commitment to this sport and this team, none of us would be
here today. He was a legend and will always be remembered for his vivacious
spirit. The team did a remarkable job preparing this boat and they should
all be applauded for their efforts."
"The team wanted to make up for the disappointing final at Evansville
where we had a mechanical failure," continued Villwock. "At
Evansville, we were strong all weekend and we were looking forward to
starting the season off with a win. But in racing, anything can happen
and did happen. This team has the remarkable ability to rebound. We
are currently leading in championship points and are looking forward
to the West coast races."
"I know my father is looking down on all of us today and could
not be more proud," said Joe Little. "I have some big shoes
to fill but I am looking forward to that challenge and to win as many
races as we can. My father had the heart of a champion and he installed
in me the same ideals and goals. We race to win and win championships
and we are prepared to handle all challengers."
Villwock added, "I know Bernie would be smiling today. If there's
an eagle flying overhead, it's him."
During opening ceremonies on Sunday morning, the Madison Regatta committee
and Madison Mayor Al Huntington dedicated the judge's stand in honor
of the late Bernie Little, who died April 25. Little had led the Miss
Budweiser team as owner for more than 40 years and was credited with
helping to keep the race going in Madison during its lean years.
Powered Unlimited Withdraws. Mitch Evans and his piston powered
U-3 Master Tire withdrew from the event after suffering hull damage
and the loss of two engines during the weekend. Evans had entered the
weekend leading the O'Doul's High Points World Championship after producing
the first piston powered Unlimited victory in 14 years last weekend
High Point World Championship Standings. With each
preliminary heat, the O'Doul's High Points World Championship race constantly
changed until Dave Villwock was able to surge ahead with his victory
in the final. Villwock currently leads the championship with 280 points
over Mike Weber with 241 points. The current top five after the Madison
Regata include: 1. Dave Villwock 280; 2. Mike Weber 241; 3. Michael
Hanson 236; 4. Mark Evans 213;
5. Mitch Evans 179.
Budweiser Madison Regatta supported by Belterra Casino
will be televised on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m. (EDT-fast
Head West. After two consecutive races on the Ohio River,
the Unlimited Hydroplanes head west for their annual events in the state
of Washington. The Unlimiteds will have three weeks to prepare for the
challenging waters at Tri-Cities and Seattle. The Budweiser Columbia
Cup, Tri-Cities, Wash. will be held July 25-27, with the General Motors
Cup at Seafair, Seattle, Wash. scheduled for the following weekend,
in Lake Hamilton, Fla., Hydro-Prop owns and operates the
Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Boat Shopper®
magazine. Unlimited Hydroplanes are the most dramatic, exciting, and
spectacular racing vehicles in the world. They are the largest and fastest
racing boats reaching top speeds of 220 mph and can cover the length
of a football field in less than one second. Hydro-Prop events are held
throughout North America and are televised during prime time on SPEED
Channel. SPEED Channel is the fastest growing sports network in America
and is recognized as America's motorsports leader. For more information
on Hydro-Prop, visit www.hydroprop.com.
Budweiser Madison Regatta supported by Belterra Casino
1. U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock
2. U-8 LLumar Window Film, Mark Evans
3. U-9 Miss Bello's Pizza, Michael Hanson
4. U-2 Miss Trendwest, Terry Troxell
5. U-25 Mister Home Loan, Dr. Ken Muscatel
6. U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber
Did Not Make Final:
U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown
U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David
U-100 Mariann Travel Inn, Greg Hopp
2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented
by Boat Shopper® magazine
Date, Venue, Event, Winner
June 27-29, Evansville, Ind., Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio, Mitch Evans/U-3
July 4-6, Madison, Ind., Budweiser Madison Regatta, Dave Villwock/U-1
July 25-27, Tri-Cities, Wash., Budweiser Columbia Cup
Aug. 1-3, Seattle, General Motors Cup at Seafair
Aug. 21-24, Detroit, Chrysler/Jeep APBA Gold Cup
Sept. 19-21, San Diego, San Diego Thunderboat Regatta
Back to 2003 Madison