The new Stampede build in David Gill’s workshop – article by Ted Madden – photo’s by Rob Wilmott – Designed by Col Winton

Stampede’s our new Cup hope

By Ted Madden (article written in 1972)

A huge new hydroplane is taking shape in boat builder Dave Gill’s Croydon workshop.

It has a dual mission – to hold the Griffiths Cup for Victoria, and to represent Australia on the big-time power boat circuit in the United States.

Her name will be Stampede. She’s the successor to the famous Glenmaggie Monster, which won the Griffith Cup two years in succession, for Stan Jones and Bob Saniga.

When Aggressor beat Stampede, narrowly but decisively in both heats of the 1971 Commodore’s Cup, Stan Jones knew that the ageing Glenmaggie Monster could not hope to beat Aggressor.

Not only was the hull nearing the end of its useful life: it was too short to take the full thrust of the V-12 Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engine.

He commissioned a smaller, tunnel-hull type for use with a conventional motor.

Called Turning Point. She didn’t produce the revolutionary results hoped for.

So, at the beginning of this season, the word went out that Stampede was finished, and Stan Jones had given the game away. Just before Christmas, I learned the best-kept secret in the sport.

Far from giving the game away. Jones had been planning and building a new hydroplane – a hull which, based on the years of trial and error with the old Stampede – could take the full thrust of a Rolls-Royce Merlin.

The new boat – designed by Colin Winton, who built the old Stampede – is a huge 28 footer, nearly 12 ft in the beam, of what has become known as Pickle Fork design. It bears a family resemblance to three smaller hydroplanes, John Lewis’ Vulture, Ray Adams’ Miss Coldstream and the West Australian, Big Benzol, that have come from the Dave Gill’s workshop.

The starting point for this design is the big American hydroplane, Myr’s Special.


The hull is crammed with 200 one-gallon plastic cordial bottles, making the huge machine unsinkable. When I saw her, the Rolls Royce Merlin had been installed, and the deck was about to go on.

The motor is positioned amidships; but unlike the old Stampede, which had a two-man cockpit up forward, the cockpit is behind the motor.

The new Stampede is a one-man boat.

Jones expects the big hydroplane to be ready for her first trials in a fortnight. This will give him two weeks to get the bugs out before the Griffiths Cup. But he expects no trouble with the motor – a going concern, with which he and his pit crew are thoroughly familiar.

He’s confident that the detailed care and engineering know-how that had gone into the construction of the new boat will mean that little will have to be done by the way of pre-race adjustments.

ARTICLE: Madden, T., 1972, ‘Stampede’s our new Cup hope,’ Sporting Globe, Dec., 30, p., 14

Photo Gallery Below: photo’s courtesy Vulture web site by B Lewis – ( photos by Rob Wilmot)

Stampede 1973 Griffith Cup
STAMPEDE — Stan Jones and Robert Saniga
Owned jointly by Stan Jones and Bob Saniga, this 23 foot hydroplane was one of the first Australian race boats to successfully run a World War II ex-aircraft engine, in this case a massive V12. Rolls Royce Merlin engine from a Lancaster bomber. While Stan and Bob attend to the driving, aircraft engine genius. Clem Anderson looks after the fantastically complex 16 litre, 2000 h.p. power plant that has taken Stan Jones to 154.3 m.p.h. — an Australasian record. Co-winners of the 1970 and 1971 Griffith Cup, Stan and Bob will be trying hard to make this their third in a row. Both drive with skill and determination. Both are dyed-in-f he-wool hydroplane enthusiasts and together they make one of Australia’s greatest hydroplane driving teams.