We brought the hull down again for the final time this year to Seafair, for no real reason other than that we wanted to do so. Sure, we used it as a billboard to promote our restoration project............but we just wanted to enjoy it once more time as the Thor Racing incarnation.
We had a lot of visitors stop by to come see the boat, but none more surprising than original owner Bob Steil himself.
For those of you that don't know, a few years ago Bob purchased (and then donated) the 1981-1983 Squire Shop hull to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. This hull was originally built as the 1979 Circus Circus, and Bob raced it after Chip Hanauer nearly destroyed our boat back in 1981.
My team and I currently own the original 1979-1981 Squire Shop hull, so yes.........both Norberg hulls are still around.
Bob came by around 10:00am, and we got the impression he would hang around for a short while to say hello, see the boat, and then stop by the pits to see some old friends. But the coolest thing happened, he ended up staying all day with us and we enjoyed the experience together. A short time after Bob arrived, former crew member Don "Doctor Don" Beyer showed up as well and we shared some stories of the boats past and future plans.
It was amazing, you can't buy memories like that!
Don only stayed a short while, but long enough to see the boat up close with Mr. Steil and myself. We all agreed that the boat looks a little rough, but we knew it did and what to expect going forward. Both hulls have their advantages, and setbacks.........but that is what makes this whole upcoming restoration experience fun and exciting.
A few of us even rode down to the pits on a rickshaw (bicycle transport), but my wife Kristy and I were not one of them.......sigh.
Kristy and I stayed back to enjoy the airshow and Edwin Glenn and Bob were the first to head into the pits..........as I would join up with them soon enough.
Once the airshow was over, I quickly found Bob and Ed at the Oberto boat with none other than Larry Oberto himself. As Bob and Larry caught up on old times, I seized the opportunity to grab another former crew member on site and bring him over to see Bob again. I don't want to name who they were, but they approached Bob and introduced themselves as Bob Espland.
Mr. Espland was the original crew chief on the 79' Squire Shop team, but he died many years ago. The crew member thought it would a funny joke to introduce himself that way, as he knew Bob would find the humor in it.
They both talked for a short time, and even Steve David stopped by to say a quick hello.
We saw a few other of Bob's old friends while we were in the pits, including famed photographer Bill Osbourne. Bob even bought his latest book from him, which is worth picking up for yourself by the way.
As we all returned back to the house sometime later, Bob stayed for dinner. We all talked about the late Bill Muncey a little bit, and about Chip of course..........but mostly about the restoration plans.
All I can tell you is that Bob and us are all on the same team going forward, and you will all be pleased with the results.
Once Seafair was over, it was time to take another leap towards our restoration goal.........getting the boat to the museum itself.
Once we arrived and safely delivered the boat, we all realized that this was the first time that both "sister" hulls have been in the same place since 1987.....so its been awhile.
They will be there on display for the "reunion" event we have planned for October 8th, which will reunite the former crews for one night only to celebrate the career of The Squire Shop racing teams.
More details on that event will come out in the next few weeks, but it will be something you won't want to miss out on!
I've added a photo gallery above, and I have even more to upload later on. Enjoy!