Excuse Me Miss Freei, I Clocked You Going 205 mph

June 15, 2000

By KOMO Staff & News Services

LAKE WASHINGTON - Russ Wicks is not a big name in the hydroplane racing business, but Thursday morning on Lake Washington, Russ made a name for himself.

He's a relative rookie in hydro racing.  He first drove an unlimited hydroplane two weeks ago.  But what Wicks lacks in seat-time, he makes up for in other ways.

"I'm fearless," Wicks said.

Wicks worked out a deal with boat owner Ken Muscatel, and together they chased down hydroplane's longest standing record: The one-mile speed record for a propeller driven boat.  It's a mark that has stood for 38 years.

The last time someone tried to break the record was in 1979 on Lake Washington.  Dean Chenowith chased the record in the Miss Budweiser, but that attempt ended in complete disaster.

While on a record pace that day, the Miss Bud suddenly lost it's propeller and went flying through the air.  Chenowith survived the crash, but the boat was destroyed.

Twenty years later, Lake Washington was as smooth as glass as Russ Wicks made his way to the course.

The record requires two runs on a straight one-mile course.  The two speeds are then averaged together.

Wicks' attempt went off without a hitch.  When all was said and done, his speed was averaged out at just over 205 miles per hour--a New World Record!

The crew celebrated afterwards, but the celebration may not last long.  Over in the Stan Sayres pit, the Budwesier crew were already planning their own run at the record.

But no matter how fast the Miss Bud ends up going, they can never say they broke the 38-year-old record.  That is something that can never be taken away from Wicks and Muscatel.

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