Seafair this week – Mr. Leland will be missed by many

31 Jul

For many of us who grew up in Seattle and the surrounding area – this week is easily the most anticipated of any of the 52 weeks in Seattle.

Why?

The Seafair unlimited hydroplane race will be contested with qualifying on Friday and racing over the weekend. Don’t miss Sunday’s Championship Heat near the Stan Sayres Pits.

The first hydroplane race on Lake Washington happened on Aug. 4, 1951. Seattle has held a yearly race every summer- usually during the first week of August.

Now it’s time to reminiscence what the late Fred Leland did during this special week just South of the I-90 bridge.

Mr. Leland built boats, fixed boats, drove boats, towed boats, owned boats and watched boats leave picturesque roostertails from the mid-1970s until this year when he passed.

TOP 3 FINISHES ON LAKE WASHINGTON

 1992 – 3rd – Miss Rock/KISW, U-99.9, Nate Brown

1993 – 3rd – American Spirit, U-100, Mark Evans

1994 – 1ST – AMERICAN DREAM, U-100, Dave Villwock

1995 – 3rd – Miss Rock/KISW, U-99.9, Mark Evans

1996 – 1st –  PICO AMERICAN DREAM, U-100, Dave Villwock

1997 – 1st – PICO AMERICAN DREAM, U-1, Mark Evans

1998 – 2nd – Pico American Dream, U-100, Mark Evans

1999 – 2nd – Miss PICO, U-100, Greg Hopp

Prior to 1992 Mr. Leland attempted to qualify and or race hydros that were powered by Rolls-Merlin and Packard engines.

1983 – Mr. Leland, in his final driving appearance, qualified the U-100 Miss Rock/KISW at 108.604 mph on the 2 1/2-mile course. He finished 4th in 1A for slow boats. In 2A he ended up 2nd averaging 93.730 mph. Mr. Leland won the consolation at 101.420 mph putting the Rock Boat to the winner-take-all final. The final heat would be his last as a driver.

1990 – The Miss Rock/KISW was damaged in a fire that was visually spectacular but caused only superficial
damages. the Jack Barrie-driven boat did not qualify for the Rainier Cup.

1991 – Jack Barrie qualified the U-99 Miss Rock/KISW at 106.527 mph. He finished 4th in the consolation race. That was the last time a piston-powered boat was used by the Leland Racing Team.

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