Boat Racing by Richard Carnie – VS41

Rolls Royce Merlin Engine
Article written by Dick Carnie
Photo’s Courtesy of Dick Carnie
Presented by GILFLITE Boats @ GILFLITE – Published by Paula Gill
Dedicated to Dicks deceased partner and mate – stan jones. billy baberton AND Allan Brown a.k.a Brownie / TubBY (in memeory)

For anyone involved in Australian (or for that matter also American), Boat Racing, Mr Richard Carnie ‘Dick Carnie’ needs no real introduction. However, allow me to do the honours anyway; Dick Carnie (a humble chippy), was one of the early pioneers of Australian Boat Racing back in the day. When it came to the big thunder boats, new ground was always being broken! He along with a bunch of other hardcore racing men pretty much figured things out as they went. From blowing up Rolls Royce Merlin engines to making things happen in the VSBC. Designing their own Hydroplane – determined to win the EC Griffith Cup (the most prestigious trophy in Australian speed boat racing) and eventually receiving invitation to compete in TEXAS in the BUDWEISER & C.L.E.A.R. UNLIMITED HYDROPLANE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP where they shipped the first Australian Hydro Boat over to compete.

I recently caught up with Richard when he popped into the GILFLITE headquarters to say ‘Gidday’ the synchronicity of the day afforded me the opportunity to request a boat racing story straight from the horses mouth. Richard understood the importance of why I want to record and share this fantastic history from those that were there, involved and part of the action OR actually ‘creating the action’ – back in the day.

Here’s Dick Carnies story along with some interesting facts including a list of the names of some of the well known and much loved racing boats and their drivers / owners…

Hi Paula

Nice to catch up the other day and good to see your Dad still in the office after all these years in the boating industry.

It was very sad to hear of the passing of our mate TUBBY (ALLAN) BROWN recently, he was one of the colourful guys associated with boating back in the 60’s – 70’s and 80’s. He dared me one day to ski behind HYDROPHOBIA, his hydro up at Lake Eppalock, his boat went like the clappers and at about 60mph I threw the rope! That was fast enough as I could not see through the Rooster tail! It was fun though!. During my years in the Victorian Speed Boat Club from 1969 to 1989, we had many personalities in the Racing Fraternity. They were great competitors in the sport of Boat Racing. Apart from being involved with our own Boat I was fortunate to take on helping to run the sport through the VSBC. (Victorian Speed Boat Club).

We had tremendous support from the drivers and owners a our race meetings both from Victoria and Interstate, some of the Boat names and Drivers I have listed below.

  • ASSASIN – TREVOR MATHEWS
  • MANDY – DON PREECE
  • STAMPEDE – STAN JONES / BOB SANIGA
  • MYSTIC MISS – TOMMY WATTS
  • AGGRESSOR – DAVE TENNY / LESS SCOTT
  • SCREAMING EAGLE – IAN HARVEY
  • VULTURE – JOHN LEWS
  • PSYCHO – ALLAN BEALE
  • STINGA – JOHN NASON
  • KAVS – LEE KAVANAGH
  • FREEBOOTER – BEN FOX
  • CHEETA – LES RAMSAY
  • REDLINE – PETER WADE
  • AUSSIE ENDEAVOUR – DENNIS PARKER
  • HEMI – BILL BARR
  • ABOUT TIME – ALAN HEALY
  • WASP 2 – GRAEME RODGERS
  • WASP – ERNIE NUNN / GORDON TURVEY, NSW
  • SHAMROCK – CON CUNNINGHAM
  • HOLLEY – LES SPEARS, NSW
  • KAOS – PETE SMITH, NSW
  • LATIMER LODGE – PETER KNIGHT (Senior) NZ
  • Villian – Greg Flemming
  • Desert Rat – George Robins
STAMPEDE VS41

IN the early 60’S, Bruce Walker from Heyfield in Victoria and COL WINTON built a plywood and aluminium Hydro which was powered by a ROLLS ROYCE MERLIN engine. This boat was called THE GLENMAGGIE MONSTER, racing at Glenmaggie over a period of time and eventually was sold to STAN JONES in the late 60’s. It was registered in the Victorian Speedboat Club as VS41 and re-named STAMPEDE, it raced alongside AGGRESSOR and other Unlimited Boats with Bob Saniga and Stan Jones sharing the driving it went on to win the 1970 and 1971 E.C. GRIFFITH Cup, the most prestigious Trophy in Speed Boat Racing.

In 1972 the old STAMPEDE had run its race, it was discarded and a new boat was built. This was a 30ft Hydro constructed of plywood and aluminium powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine, Co Winton was engaged by Stan and myself to oversee the construction and design of the hull. There were many other guys involved during this construction period, just to name some; Johnny Wellwood, Bob Jackson, Bob Saniga, Clem Anderson, John Allison, Max Lamb and Brett Martin , Ben Fox, (apologies to anyone I have missed).

We completed the boat and Norm Putt agreed to some sponsorship with fuel etc. We went on to win the 1973 and 1974 Griffith Cups. Additional sponsorship was obtained from Tarax, a soft drink company and the boat was re-named SOLO prior to our trip to Seattle USA, to compete in the Seattle Sea-fair Regatta. On the boats arrival in America we headed off to PASCO on the Columbia River to compete in their race meeting as a warm up to the SEATTLE races, unfortunately we threw a Propeller Blade and the damage which resulted to the boat was too significant to have repaired in time for the Seattle Race Meeting. Thus we watched the action from the pits. Our mechanics and crew spent lots of time with the MISS BUDWEISER Crew in their workshop and plenty was learnt from this trip.

On our return to Australia the Boat was repaired but we could not get the performance back to the standard we required to be competitive as the MISS BUDWEISER boat was purchased by Norm Putt and was a great competitor putting plenty of pressure on our boat to perform, unfortunately we could not keep up to the task.

In 1979 Stan and myself engaged GILFLITE Boats (David and Kevin Gill) to build a new Hull in Fibreglass out of our mould. On completion of the hull we carried out the remaining work to get the boat up to the required standard. This boat was named Miss BAYSWATER BULK, with a new crew Bob Jackson, Bill Notley, Russel Jones, Max Lamb, Terry Jones, Chris Carnie, Stan and myself, we went on to win the 1982 EC GRIFFITH CUP with Stan driving. The following year we invited Bill Baberton to join the crew as a driver. Billy accepted the invite and we went on to win the 1983 and 1984 EC GRIFFITH Cups.

Early in 1983 we received an invitation from the UNION OF INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SPORT to compete in TEXAS in the BUDWEISER & C.L.E.A.R. UNLIMITED HYDROPLANE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP to be held Sept 29th – Oct 2nd, we accepted this invite and shipping of the boat was arranged and flights organised for the crew.

On our arrival into Houston Texas a Cyclone had been through the area with considerable damage caused to the circuit surroundings and buildings. However, the races went on with Billy driving we won the consolation Race on the Saturday but missed out qualifying for our heat for the Sunday due to an oil pressure problem. Our reserve motor was installed overnight prior to the finals on the Sunday and we were named first emergency for the final should any of the six starters be unable to compete. Unfortunately we were ready but no other boats withdrew. A great time was had by all concerned.

Our boat now called AUSSIE CONNECTION is still running the circuits today after being built 42 years ago. This says a lot for the quality of work carried out by the GILFLITE TEAM.

This article was written in consideration of my deceased partner and mate STAN JONES and BILLY BABERTON, and many of our departed members of the V.S.B.S. and Boat Racing Fraternity. And in recognition of Bob Saniga’s driving ability!

Article Written by RICHARD CARNIE

Dick Carnie, Stan Jones, Billy Baberton, Russell Jones

CREDITS: Article and Photo’s have been shared for the benefit of everyone who enjoy Power Boat Racing and to help collate the history of Australian Boat Racing. Please credit the entire following when sharing: Article written by Dick Carnie – Photo’s Courtesy of Dick Carnie – Presented by GILFLITE Boats @ GILFLITE – Published by Paula Gill – Thanks

Although considerable time was spent on the behind the scenes operation of getting the boat competition worthy, the entire TEAM enjoyed the spoils of BOAT RACING over many years.

The E.C. Griffith Cup – the most prestigious Trophy in Speed Boat Racing – Stan Jones, Bob Jackson, Bill Baberton, Ron Wilshire, Richard Carnie (Commodore of the VSBC at the time)

Miss Bayswater Bulk
The original G with Hydroplane through the middle

CREDITS: Article and Photo’s have been shared for the benefit of everyone who enjoy Power Boat Racing and to help collate the history of Australian Boat Racing. Please credit the entire following when sharing: Article written by Dick Carnie – Photo’s Courtesy of Dick Carnie – Presented by GILFLITE Boats @ GILFLITE – Published by Paula Gill – Thanks

Terry Jones, Bill Notley, Dick Carnie, Stan Jones, Billy Baberton, Russell Jones – upon returning from America wearing sponsor t.shirts (photo: Lake Eppalock) circa 1983
Thank you Richard for your time, contribution and wealth of information that you have kindly provided for our ‘Boat Talk’ blog. It’s been great catching up with you. We wish you all the best,
Paula & The Team @ GILFLITE

If you would like to share your boating memoirs in our ‘Boat Talk’ blog on the GILFLITE web site, please feel welcome to get in touch with me via email: [email protected]

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