Wicks Tests Hydroplane For World Speed Record Run

Pasco, Washington (June 2, 2000) — Russ Wicks, who will attempt to break a 38-year old world water speed record in just two weeks, drove a race boat for the first time yesterday.  Wicks climbed aboard Dr. Ken Muscatel's Miss Freei unlimited hydroplane and wheeled it up and down the Columbia River without flinching.

"He's great.  I don’t have any question that he can do this," Muscatel said.  "He has a very cool head, and very step-wise in his approach.  I think he's going to be great.  I'm real happy with him."

The test session was a big step towards Russ' ambitious goal of breaking the propeller-driven world water speed record, which is scheduled for Wednesday, June 14, on Seattle's Lake Washington.  "I felt very comfortable and look forward to getting back in the cockpit," said Wicks.  "Driving the unlimited is like combining motorcross and Indy Cars. You're getting bounced around a lot while traveling at excessive speeds."

As the longest-standing major speed record in history, the current one-mile World Water Speed Record for a propeller-driven boat has not been broken in nearly four decades.  The current world record of 200.419 miles per hour was set in 1962 by Roy Duby in the Miss U.S., at Lake Guntersville, Alabama.

The last official record attempt on Lake Washington was over 20 years ago in October, 1979, when Dean Chenoweth was on a record run until a catastrophic propeller failure sent the Miss Budweiser flipping through the air, virtually destroying it upon impact.

About the Miss Freei Hydroplane

Miss Freei is a regulation propeller-driven unlimited hydroplane featuring a jet-fueled Lycoming L-7C turbine engine (out of a military Chinook helicopter), producing 3,000 horsepower at 10,000 revolutions per minute (rpm).  The boat is 28 feet in length, weighs 6,600 pounds and features a safety canopy from an F-16 fighter jet.  At speed, Miss Freei throws over a ton of water into the air, creating a 200-foot rooster tail shooting up to 40 feet high.

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