After 3 years of searching nearly every hydroplane trailer I could find, I have finally tracked down the original 1979 Squire Shop trailer. Who knew it was under the 1983 Miss Renault.............all this time?
Most hydroplane fans were aware that the Rutt brothers (Mike and Larry Rutkauskas) owned the former Renault hull (last raced as the 1991 Edge Shaving Gel). But what nobody did know was that the trailer they used was original to The Squire Shop.
A recent post on Facebook tipped me off to this trailer and where to start cross referencing photos.............and sure enough, this was it!
I have since been in contact with Mike and he has indeed confirmed this trailer was from The Squire Shop. To the best of our knowledge, this is the ONLY trailer ever built in this particular design and configuration.
To show the comparisons, I have added another page to this website showing exact details between the two eras................you be the judge.
Unfortunately, the Rutt brothers are not interested in letting this trailer go at this time.............who knows what the future will bring. They know were VERY MUCH interested in it.............so we'll see how it goes.
As for the original 1979 Circus Circus trailer, the search continues. Rumor has it Mike Jones has it, and we hope to validate that rumor in the coming months.
You can find this new page dedicated to the 1979 trailers under the following section: Photo Gallery "Vintage", just click on the Norberg Trailers section.
As I look back on Seafair this year, it was clearly on everyone’s mind on whether or not this was perhaps going to be the final year for unlimited hydroplanes on Lake Washington………………at least as we know it today.
It’s been the same talk for years, yet they keep coming back from the brink……………….but this year felt different somehow. Veterans of the sport will tell you they saw this coming, other will say the writing was already on the wall……………..but I’m an optimist, and nothing is dead until it’s just that that…………..dead.
I’d like to tell you all my thoughts on how the Seafair event went……..for me, and in general.
The racing all weekend was phenomenal, nobody will dispute the action we saw on the course. And how about that final, right?
The U-11 team made huge strides this year, and are a season or two away from being a true force to be reckoned with. The U-12 team performed liked it never missed a beat from last year, with a “reborn” hull at their disposal this year. The U-6/U-1 team was business as usual, with the U-9 getting better each time out. The U-21 team bounced back admirably from the damage sustained in Tri-Cities the week before. The U-440 finished heats (which was a success in itself), and the U-99.9 was respectable with a last minute replacement driver behind the wheel. The Oberto was a bit of a disappointment, but JW Myers was still shaking off the rust I figure.
The food court area was much improved over years past. Ivar’s, and Kid Valley were new additions this time out. Ezell’s chicken returned once again, overall the food selection and quality was the best I’ve seen in a long time.
Event security was vastly improved as well, as it was mostly smooth and non-militant like the fiasco last year.
My house was decorated for the event as usual, but we spiced it up even more with Squire Shop banners and flags......thanks to Bob Steil.
Where do I even begin to start…….
This is where it gets subjective I suppose, but here’s my perception and opinion.
The lack of boats in the pits from the unlimited aspect were dissapointing. Although the quality of those that attended to race was amazing, the numbers entered were not. The time delays in-between heats on Sunday was embarrassing, with only 3 heats total for Sunday. I was hoping for a consolation heat to be added in to at least make it balanced between Saturday and Sunday (4 heats total), but the lack of entrants didn’t make sense to do so……………not considering the money aspect of it.
The museum’s boats were buried in the pits from public view, with barely glimpses of them behind the haulers. Dare I touch on the financial agreements made so they could perform...............better I don't. I will say the museum folks got screwed on this one, I'll leave it at that.
And then there was “Seafair” the brand and entity itself……….and those who run it.
Without getting into any of the politics involved, Seafair has lost its identity on what the intention of the “hydroplane races” are all about? Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but Seafair has turned itself into more of a business venture whose sole intention is to make money……………….than to create an spectacular event that turns a profit.
Seafair has turned what was once a cherished and beloved sport into a novelty act, no different than Monster Trucks or the Circus coming to town. Seafair does not embrace and support the sport anymore, but rather overshadows it with an overexposed air show. Make no mistake about it, Seafair weekend has become an Air Show first and foremost……………and the unlimited’s have become a secondary if not supplement attraction.
But it’s not entirely Seafair’s fault here, H1 is hugely to blame as well. H1 does virtually nothing to promote itself on a consistent “year round” basis. Each team is left to promote themselves on their own, with usually the sponsor taking on that sole role. Look no further than Home Street, they know how to do it right……..and consistently. In terms of H1, look no further than their cricket website for infrequent news and lack of updates………….enough said.
Its fan sites………….FAN SITES……………….that do most of the coverage in the sport of Unlimited Hydroplane Racing. Sites such as Hydro News, Russ McElroy’s “Unlimited Hydroplane Racing”, Hydro Page and others that handle most of these duties. Are you kidding me with this? Fans are the ones who have to take the bull by the horns and promote this sport…………on their own?
I was at the final awards presentation at Seafair, and one thing stood out to me above all the others………………..where was the new Chairman Doug Bernstein all weekend and on stage to present the awards? This is Doug’s first year as chairman of H1, and he was nowhere in “official” sight? I would think he would have went on stage and at minimum introduced himself to the fans. Steve David and Sam Cole always did that, but Doug hides in the shadows………………seriously? I saw him "around", but I had nothing to say that was "constructive"...............there are times for that later. I'm not going to voice my concerns during the event itself, that is flat out disrespectful in my book.
I know the sport has its troubles and obstacles, but come on……………there was nothing professional about how he refrained from putting himself and H1's reputation out in front.
And where’s the drama? Not the action on the course, but the personalities and storylines leading up to the event? It’s like watching professional wrestling, if they only had all “good guys” in the sport…………………..all sports needs rivalries and villains. I loved rooting against Dave Villwock when he was racing, why?..............because he was a villain in many people’s eyes. Say what you want about the guy, but he was good for the sport in that aspect if nothing else………………people loved to hate him and see him get beat (which was not very often).
And then there is KIRO…….
I’m not going to complain too much about them deciding not wanting to do live coverage of the event, it’s their business to do so. However, I will call them out on what they DID decide to do in terms of coverage………or lack thereof.
The live stream was a complete joke and waste of time, exactly what were those viewing supposed to be watching? Paint drying is more exciting, as you may get a glimpse of the occasional fly landing on it.
And the 1 ½ hour recap special on TV…………………..”UNBELIEVABLE” is an understatement.
KIRO has some nerve testing everyone’s intelligence with the crap they spliced together. There was what, maybe 5 minutes of footage shown of the unlimited races themselves? I knew it was a disaster right away when they announced the winner, and then a compiled list of all the heat winners on one 5 second blip on the screen. Not one heat was shown………………..not one. A person’s cooler they brought to the beach was more exciting than showing a heat of racing……………….if nothing else, the final heat?
I’ll only say this once……………………..EMBARRASING!!!
I don’t know how Steve Raible was remotely comfortable with doing that show, he had to know going into it that it was going to be criticized heavily. I don’t blame him at all, it his job after all………….but I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled about it.
The sport is dying for alot of reasons, yet most are within their own control. Sponsors and race sites are always a problem, but how it’s marketed and promoted is entirely something they can fix.
The bigger question is……………………..what are they going to do about it?
I challenge Seafair, KIRO, and H1 to do better.........................before the balloon pops for good.
Thank you to everyone who has stumbled upon this website, as it has exploded in terms of the amount of views in just this past week alone.
As the series continues on to Seafair this weekend, be sure to get your exclusive deck pieces from the museum booth before they run out. I'll be honest with you guys, nobody (including myself) knows what exact piece is in any given sealed envelope.......so it is truly 100% fair and random on what you get.
Over on the Facebook "Squire Shop Restoration" page, Jason Colean was kind enough to share which piece he received for buying a t-shirt. Jason was lucky enough to pull 1 of only 15 signed Chip Hanauer pieces, however........the 5 "lucky vouchers" still remain available as of this message.
A few of us from the restoration team will be at the Oh Boy! Oberto celebration this Thursday night at the annual Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum Gala in Bellevue. Feel free to say hello to any of us "Squire Shop" folks if you'll be attending, I'm sure it will be obvious which ones we are.
Also, new for this year on my house is a vintage authentic "Squire Shop" banner, which is already hung and proudly displayed for Seafair. This thing is huge, at least 20' wide..............if your going to Seafair, you will not miss it!
Back in 2013, we brought out the 1979 "Squire Shop" hull (U-7 Thor Racing) for display during Seafair, and we did again last year as well. With the restoration now well underway, we had to have something out there to represent the project..........which is partially why we hung up the banner. No worries, in another year or two...........we'll be bringing the hull back out again. Only this time, The Squire Shop will be reborn and live again!
We can't wait, a dream come true for every hydroplane and Squire Shop fan out there.
If you see me out and about, feel free to say hello..........I'd love to meet fellow Squire Shop fans out there.
I should another restoration update posted by the end of the work week, stay tuned for that. I've decided to post the Bob Steil interview a week or so after Seafair, so it doesn't get lost among all the other activities going in these next two weeks.
I recently had another batch of slides from Bob transferred as well, which includes some more helicopter taken shots...........good stuff. Also, there were a lot more pictures of Tom D'Eath's Circus/Squire version too........and of great quality!
Mr. Steil and I will be at the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum Gala next week too, if you want to say hello and talk about this website and the restoration in general.