For three days beginning September 7, the normal back-country quiet of the Wabash River just outside Mt. Carmel, Ill., will be shattered by the buzz of racing outboards like the runabouts at right, as more than 300 of the world's best drivers compete in the professional championships of the National Outboard Association. Perhaps the best known of the racers will be Bill Tenney, a blond, rawboned bachelor who has held more world records and national championships than anyone at Mt. Carmel. Tenney has a simple formula for success: get the best engine rig. To be sure of his engines, Tenney forks over up to $1,000 per motor to Walter Blankenstein of Lakeland, Fla., who is a master at coaxing that extra ounce of compression out of a souped-up rig. At each race Tenney shows up with half a dozen of these engines, plus a trunkful of propellers. At the NOA, however, Tenney is going to have some rugged competition, especially in the Class A hydros, where he will be tackling World Champion Deanie Montgomery and Germany's Dieter K√∂nig, both of whom will be using the new, German-made K√∂nig engine, with which they swept Class A at the world championships in Louisiana last year. No one will be too surprised if Tenney wins in A; but another sweep of that class by the Konig engines would be news indeed and also, perhaps, a healthy competitive surprise to the makers of American racing outboards.
Gunning the engine of his mile-a-minute runabout, Ralph Hemminghaus (right), Sandoval, Ill., cuts in toward the turning buoy to pick up precious yards on David Livingston (left), Lake Village, Ark., in Tatum Trophy free-for-all on Wabash River
Roaring toward camera at 65 mph, eight Class B hydroplanes (above) throw up white balls of spray as they rocket across smooth surface of Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, Ill. just after start of second heat of world championships. At right, Vern McQueen of Springfield, Ill. clamps his right hand on the wheel, left hand on throttle and leans far out to port to keep Class A hydro on an even keel as he slams into 55-mph turn.
Bucking around tight turn, Alvin Barker's Class C service runabout throws up curtain of spray, drenching rival who tried to save ground by cutting close to buoy. Below: Meek's camera catches one of most explosive moments of meet as Hap Owens' Class F hydro flips in dramatic but harmless spill.