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THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL

Note: No, this obviously didn't happen on the track.  The town of Lakeland, however, was a mecca for all forms of  Motorsports years ago and this article was too interesting to leave out.  Funny thing is, the  first boating rule now on Garner Lake is 'Ten (10) HP motors or less may be used in the Lake.'

FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 1970

Outboard Racing To Test Lakeland

Unlimited hydroplane racing will make a return to the Mid-South with the June 20-21 Lakeland International Outboard championships at Lakeland.

More than 30 drivers from the United States and Canada have already entered the event.

Memphian Marshall Grant, a member of Johnny Cash’s Tennessee Three, and Lewis Garner, Lakeland president, are sponsoring the races.

The last attempt to stage hydroplane racing at Lakeland ended in disappointment several years ago when two days of rain hampered both attendance and competition.

Among the drivers already entered are seven who owned world titles at one time or another. They are Billy Seebold Jr. of St. Louis; Jerry Simison of Minneapolis; the Baldwin Racing team of Alice, Texas; Ralph Donald of Atlanta; Jim Shook of Quincy, Ill.; Armor Adair of Montreal, Canada and Jerry Waldman of Milwaukee. Waldman drives for a major sparkplug team, which is expected to bring seven boats to Memphis.

Grant is also expecting a number of foreign entries, possibly Dieter Konig, the German manufacturer who produces the motors for Grant’s boats – Ring of Fire and Miss Folsom.

The course is a tight mile or mile and a quarter.

Outboard racing has its problems. One is expenses. The American Power Boat Association estimates it cost $60,000 to campaign a boat for a year, with some owners paying closer to $100,000. this does not include initial purchase of the boat or equipment. The costs make breaking even on prize money alone out of the question and sponsorship therefore becomes a potential headache.

Last year was one of the skimpiest schedules ever with just seven race dates. Eight cities, including Memphis, signed for races this year and two others are reportedly still negotiating. 

 


The preceding article is © Copyright The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN.  
Thanks to David Rubenstein for supplying this article.

 
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