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Jet boat race 6-6-1971 Lake Casitas, Ojai, CA

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CJ123

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« on: January 13, 2015, 10:14:24 PM »
In the 70's jets circle raced with the California OutBoard Racing Assn (COBRA) once every month, year around. There were three events each summer (Jun, Jul, Aug) at Lake Casitas near Ojai in the mountains above Ventura. (This venue was used for the Olympic rowing events at the last Los Angeles Olympics). The course was a large triangle, probably 1.5 to 2 mi around. You did not want to sink there, as the water was 175 ft deep in places. This video shows the Comp Jets, Ski Jets and one class of outboards in the same race. The races were timed events, with this one probably about 20 minutes long.

The races had a pace boat start, where a large white flag was held up while the racers chose lanes and lined up to the outside of the pace boat. Watch the video closely and you can see that when most of the boats were lined up, the flag dropped (far right) and the Comp Jets pulled away.

The 1st lap leader is Phil Trichler (CJ294), followed by Ron Esposito (CJ309) (in his 16.5 ft Rogers drag boat, "Uncle Sam"). Then Jeff Paine (SJ277), Jim Youngblood (CJ320) and Chuck Collins (CJ401) give chase. Before long, Youngblood moves up to 2nd place for a while but he and Esposito appear to drop out. Trichler, in a Lightning/Southwind wins CJ with Collins (Weiman 18) 2nd. Paine (Rogers 16.5) wins Ski Jet.

Pay close attention to Trichler's boat just past the halfway point of the video. This move would have most guys stopping to change their shorts, but Phil just kept the hammer down.

Jack





76 Bonneville

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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2015, 10:41:39 PM »
I like the big course, looks like fun.
Thanks for sharing Jack.

CJ123

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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2015, 11:59:06 AM »
In that era we raced (circles) 12 times a year with COBRA, about 4 to 6 times with APBA and about 3 times with NJBA. The most races I remember running with my boat in one year was 17.

COBRA races originally were 30 minutes in length. The outboard guys liked enduros because their engines rarely blew up. The jet guys, on the other hand, couldn't figure out how to build reliability, so the races were cut to 20 minutes for them. The Olds engines were extremely unreliable (oiling issues) and it took years for those guys to solve their problems. The races were shortened again to 15 minutes and the finishing rate improved. That was still enough race time to have a lot of fun. When the races were held on narrow waterways like the River or LBMS or the Redwood City ship channel, the courses were straight line with one buoy turns at each end. When we raced on lakes like Casitas or Puddingstone (3 times each winter) the course was usually a triangle with one buoy at each turn and a different angle for each turn. Some turns were sweepers and others, hairpins. That equalized things for the different turning abilities of the different hull styles and made for very fun races.

APBA races were similar to today except that everyone battled for a starting lane during the 5 minute warm up period and then raced to the start line just as the clock counted down to zero. At zero a Poleroid photo of the start line caught any gun jumpers, who were then DQ'd. Very harsh, but everyone knew how to do it right. The courses at LBMS and Parker were straight line, one buoy turns, 5 laps. On the lakes like Yellowstone, Comache, Merrit and Clear Lake the courses were ovals with 5 or 7 buoy turns. Those were scary fast - a total adrenaline rush!

I think APBA also sanctioned the enduro circuit. The premier race, of course, was the Parker 9 hour - 6 !/2 miles one way from Bluewater to Bransons, one buoy at each end, 13 miles around, 120 boats leaving from a dead engine start at Bluewater beach, all at the same time!!! Talk about chaos...
The Elsinore 500 was another huge enduro that ran on a big oval around the entire lake in the roughest water ever. I can't remember the boat count but it was probably 75 or more. In Sept of 1971 (the last Elsinore 500, I think), Phil Trichler drove his Southwind marathon hull, "Peacemaker", to 1st Jet, 5th Inboard, 16th overall.

NJBA usually held about 3 events each year at Bluewater. There were drags, circles, slalom and marathon races (all jets). The circles were by class, SJ1 (Olds), SJ2 (Chevy), MJ & CJ. The course was a true 1/2 mile straight with one buoy turns and 5 laps long with a digital clock start (like APBA). The climax race of the weekend was a one hour marathon that usually paid $$$ to win. $1000 was the highest I remember going to the overall winner and lesser amounts going to the class winners.

It was definitely a different era for racing jet boats!

Jack

jim brock

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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2015, 12:48:32 PM »
Jack they shortened the Elsinore race to 250 mi, the last race, Elsinore 250 was 1975, I won that race CJ 460 18ft sleekcraft, I drove the whole race myself. also won the Parker Enduro that was shortened to 7 Hours that year,   jet division, with 4 drivers, jim brock,  ken smith, denny smith, rick memmott
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 12:59:33 PM by jim brock »

CJ123

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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2015, 02:26:15 PM »
Hey Jim, Your memory is holding up better than mine  :) By all means, add any history that you've got to these threads or it could be lost forever.
Ken Smith, Dennis Smith, Rick Memmott - those are names from the past that I remember now that you mention them. I can visualize those guys on the beach at Bluewater.

riptide84

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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2015, 03:06:18 PM »
I'm really enjoying all this old footage that you've been putting up for us, Jack.
Thank you
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Jr Jetter

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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 08:34:52 AM »
Again, thanks so much for sharing the old super 8 movies !!  Mom was the camera operator at each race over the years, so glad you were able to get these converted to video from the old film reels.  Only problem back then is the camera did not have audio.

Phil T Jr
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