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Category: Hydrofest Timeline


Boat racing returns to Lake Guntersville with Unlimited hydroplane and Grand Prix classes racing for the Southern Cup. Under the new name Guntersville Lake HydroFest, the event that began in 1939 is reborn and more than 10,000 line the banks to watch as the Unlimiteds, fired by 3,000-horsepower engines, top speeds of 200 MPH.

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Coverage of the Dixie Cup Regatta made the sports section of the New York Times. The regatta was the first race for the famed Unlimiteds who would take 10 competitive boats to 8 races across the country. The Miss Budweiser boat, driven by Bill Sterett from Owensboro, Kentucky, won the Dixie Cup Regatta with an average race speed of 102 MPH. This...

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In June, Lee Taylor driving the “Hustler” broke the world water speed record on Lake Guntersville, averaging 285.21 with one lap run being 299.18 MPH. Just one month later during the annual regatta, tragedy would strike the fastest water in the south, with one racer killed and another seriously injured.

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The first year for the Dixie Cup Regatta, boasting an estimated crowd of 40,000 watching from the shoreline. The winner of the race was Bill Muncey who drove the U-7 Notre Dame boat. Muncey was nicknamed “Mr. Unlimited” and he won 62 races during his career, the most victories in the sport. That record held until 2011. He raced from 1949 to 1981....

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Lake Guntersville hosts the Unlimited class of boats for the very first time. These boats used engines from WW2 airplanes and were the fastest boats in the world at the time. That June, teams competed in Guntersville for the “Alabama Governors Cup” and the winner was Ron Musson, driving the Miss Bardahl U-40.  

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Boat race driver Roy Duby set the world straightaway speed record in the Miss US-1 boat on Lake Guntersville at 200.419 mph. This record still stands today for piston powered boats.

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Lake Guntersville hosted the National Inboard Championships, solidifying the destination as one of the best boat racing venues in the country. The past few years had seen as many as 60 competitive boats from 8 states in attendance at the summer’s popular boat race. Guntersville would be the host for the National Championships again in 1957 and 1...

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Guntersville Boat Racing Association was formed with D.M. Barnett, R.A. Conrad, Roy Drinkard, J.P. Willis and C.W Woodall at the helm. This was also the first year that the Miss Guntersville Lake Beauty Pageant was held in conjunction with the boat race. The pageant drew 51 contestants and Ida Will Willis of Guntersville was crowned Miss Guntersville...

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