Dave Heerensperger’s boats take 2 on the Columbia River

21 Jul

The Unlimited Hydroplane Race on the Columbia River in the Pasco-Kennewick-Kennewick area have been held twice on July 21. Both times – a boat owned by Mr. Heerensperger was named champion.

Lets look back:

July 21, 1968The Miss Eagle Electric, driven by Warner Gardner, won all three heats and captured the third running of the Atomic Cup. The Miss Budweiser finished second and the Notre Dame checked in third.

The race attracted roughly 60,000  to the Columbia Basin. (The sponsoring Tri-City Water Follies Association estimated that the 13,569 autos checked through admission gates; averaging more than four persons per car.)

“They (the mechanics),” Gardner said, transformed the Miss Eagle Electric from an also-ran to a winner. “Our crew chief, personally re-built five Rolls Royce engines during the winter and spring.”

Heerensperger, the young Spokane electrical contractor at the time, merged his company in 1969 with Pay ‘n Pak.

July 21, 1974 – Heerensberger’s Pay ‘n Pak easily won the Final Heat over a distant Pizza Pete to take top honors in the World Championship race. The Pay ‘n Pak was driven by George Henley. The Winner-take-all Final Heat saw 7 boats enter the first turn as driver Bill Muncey (in the alternate Atlas Van Lines) didn’t see the officials flagging him off the course as the 6th and final boat for the final had just started 2 minutes prior to the heat.

The Pay ‘n Pak would return to win the 1975 race on the Columbia River.

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