Hydroplane Memories: Seattle's Green Lake

  • By Bill Van Bergen
  • Posted 4/15/2008
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 8245
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This photograph depicts a hydroplane race on Seattle's Green Lake that took place on August 2, 3, and 4, 1957. The comment on the photo is by Bill Van Bergen, who is in the hydroplane at the top of the photo.

Almost Drowned!

I am Bill Van Bergen, the only Canadian in the photo. My brother and I raced a 136-cubic-inch inboard hydroplane out of Port Alberni, B.C. Green Lake was the only US venue we attended.

The drivers in the photo are:

#95S    John Hembury leading
#CS50 Bill Van Bergen (top of photo)
#51S    Clarence Wattum
#10S    Don Wright

This was the start of the heat, I still have fond (!!!!!!!) memories of this race. I crossed the start/finish line in second and came out of the first turn in about 5th place thanks to the superior driving of Hembury, Wattum & Wright who dumped so much water on me I can still, to this day, recall getting almost drowned!

Leading the group of boats is John Hembury in #95S, next at the top of the photo is me in #CS50 (Sassy), then right below me in the photo is Clarence Wattum in #51S and finally at the end of the group is Don Wright in #10S.

The "S" denotes a boat in the 136-cubic-inch inboard hydroplane class. The "CS" on the boat owned by my brother and I means it is a Canadian "S" class boat.

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