Stark Truth: Villwock Resumes Chase for All-Time RecordJuly 22nd, 2008 by cstark
Port Orchard native Dave Villwock and the defending national
champion Miss Elam Plus skipped the first three races of the
unlimited hydroplane circuit, but they’ll be back in action this
weekend at the Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities.
You can find Villwock and his team parked under that big shady tree along the pits. They call it “Bernie’s Tree,” in honor of the late Budweiser owner Bernie Little.
Villwock, who has 55 career victories — third on the all-time list behind Will Muncey (62) and Chip Hanauer (61) — and the Elam elected not to compete in Evansville, Madison and Detroit in order to explore the possibility of taking the sport to Europe or the Middle East. They’ve been meeting with potential sponsors and looking at possible sites in places like Norway, Egypt, Dubai and they plan to go to Romania next week.
Unlimited hydroplane has struggled to stay afloat since Budweiser pulled its sponsorship. The circuit has been downsized to a series of six races (Seattle and San Diego follow the Columbia Cup) and the folks connected with the Elam decided potential races or exhibitions overseas could be a boon for a sport that’s clearly lost its luster.
The one constant for the unlimiteds has been Villwock, who keeps winning and winning. The 1972 South Kitsap grad has won the last four races on the Columbia River and I’m sure there’s kinks to be worked out, but don’t be surprised if he makes it five in a row this weekend.
From his days with Hanauer and the MIss Circus Circus to the Pico American Dream to the Budweiser and now Elam Plus, Villwock’s always seems to be the guy everybody’s chcasing.
Nine of his wins have come in the MIss Elam. He won 37 times in various Budweiser hulls.
What’s unlimited hydroplane racing have to do to regain the public’s interest? Or is it too late?