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Canada’s most famous racing boat set world speed record at PEC 60 years ago Nov. 1

‘Miss Supertest II’ motoring out of Picton Harbour, and into the history books, with driver Art Asbury.

The first banner to be hung in more than two years since Picton Main Street’s reconstruction project, will be hoisted by Dan Claxton Electric in commemoration of Canada’s most famous racing boat – Miss Supertest – setting the World Water Speed Record on Nov. 1, 1957.

The Unlimited Class Hydroplane ‘Miss Supertest II’, and driver Art Asbury, set the record of 184.494 mph (296.914 km/h), on (Hayward) Long Reach 60 years ago.

“While it did not stand for that long before being bettered by an American boat, it still stands as the Canadian Water Speed Record for the last 60 years,” said Picton’s John Lyons. “An unimaginable feat all on it’s own.”

Lyons, whose family has a long association with power boat racing both in the County and beyond, said during the early morning of Nov. 1, 1957, ‘Miss Supertest II’ was lowered into Picton Harbour with a crane owned by then Mayor H.J. McFarland, and operated by local resident and McFarland Construction employee Don Armstrong.

“She was then fired up, and driver Art Asbury motored out of the harbour into Picton Bay onto a Canadian Boating Federation officially-sanctioned seven mile long course set up on the Reach, by members of the Prince Edward Yacht Club, and the CBF. The course was guarded by units of the RCMP Marine Command to ensure no pleasure craft would enter the racing boat’s course.”

‘Miss Supertest II’ making her World Water Speed Record-breaking run of 184.494 mph/294 km/h

Asbury’s return trip reached 182 mph, for an average of 184.494 mph, which became the new official record recognized by the Unione Internationale Motonautique – the world governing body that regulates power boat racing and all its speed record.

“This tremendous event made newspaper headlines all over the world, along with radio and television reports as well,” said Lyons.

The diamond anniversary is a special one for Lyons, who, over the years has spearheaded a number of campaigns to honour Canada’s most famous raceboat.

In 2011, he was proud to see fruition of a two-year campaign to have Canada Post release a commemorative stamp collection honouring ‘Miss Supertest’.

He was also a major force that year  in the drive to re-dedicate Hayward Long Reach. Lyons learned the name change was never officially completed in 1962 and worked with the Ontario Geographic Names Board and Minister of Natural Resources to tie up 50 years of loose ends. Lyons and an special commemorative committee, saw a special weekend of events honouring Miss Supertest’s legendary racing in Prince Edward County attended by the Thompson family who designed, built, raced and still own Miss Supertest III. It honoured the late Bob Hayward, the boat’s popular driver, who died during a race on the Detroit River in 1961, in Miss Supertest II, just weeks after his third straight Harmsworth Trophy Races World Championship Unlimited Hydroplane victory.

The ‘Long Reach’ section of the Bay of Quinte, now ‘Hayward Long Reach’ was the site of three legendary Unlimited Hydroplanes’ greatest victories – in 1957, 1960 and 1961. Following Hayward’s death, the ‘Supertest’ race boats were retired and the ‘Long Reach’ was renamed.

Miss Supertest is one of the few non-human inductees in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Lyon requested PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff to proclaim Wednesday, Nov. 1.2017 to be ‘Miss Supertest Day’. He plans to request that the municipality declare Nov. 1 as ‘Miss Supertest Day’ on an annual basis.

In a semi-related event, local outboard racer Andrew Fralick has been organizing a ‘Past & Present Boat Racer Pub Night and Reunion slated for 7 p.m. Sat., Nov. 4 at Picton’s Main St. ‘Beck and Call’ Restaurant.

“While this is being held as a ‘private party’, it is open to any Prince Edward County and area past and present racers, crew, club members and fans. The facebook event page link is https://www.facebook.com/events/1760865384214433/ .

More on Miss Supertest on Lyons’ Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-Supertest/198851400139318

‘Miss Supertest II’ being lowered into Picton Harbour, by McFarland’s crane, operated by Don Armstrong.

 

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