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Miss Supertest stamp celebrates triumph and tragedy of famed hydroplane and its driver

The Miss Supertest Souvenir Sheet as shown in Canada Post's details magazine, now available at the Picton Post Office.

It’s been a long time coming, but today Picton’s John Lyons sees almost two years of letter writing, emails, phone calls and presentations end as Canada Post releases a first look at the new Miss Supertest commemorative stamp collection in its details magazine now available at the Picton Post Office.
Lyons spearheaded the campaign for the stamp that honours Canada’s most famous raceboat, ‘Miss Supertest III’. His success is significant as the stamp selection committee at Canada Post receives about 600 applications a year and fewer than two dozen are approved.

The issue of the stamp on August 8 will mark the 50th anniversary of Miss Supertest’s racing victories. The ‘Long Reach’ section of the Bay of Quinte, now ‘Hayward/Long Reach’ was the site of three of the legendary Unlimited Hydroplane’s greastest victories in 1957, 1960 and 1961.

The Miss Supertest III stamp booklet. The stamps are to be issued August 8, 2011.

The stamp is part of a weekend of events celebrating Miss Supertest; the members of the Thompson family, who designed, built, raced and still own ‘Miss Supertest III’, and the late Bob Hayward, the boat’s popular driver, who died tragically 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. Following his death, the ‘Supertest’ race boats were retired and the ‘Long Reach’ was renamed ‘Hayward/Long Reach’ in his honour.

“The last of the boats faded from public view after leaving a display at the Ontario Science Centre with only occasional public appearances,” said Lyons. “This will be a chance for a whole new generation of Canadians to discover the ‘Miss Supertest’ saga, a true Canadian icon and legend.”

In November of 1957, driver Art Asbury piloted ‘Miss Supertest’ to a new World Water Speed Record of 184.494 mph on the waters of Picton Bay and 54 years later, this still stands as the Canadian Water Speed Record.

In August of 1959, 1960, and 1961, ‘Miss Supertest III’ thrilled many dignitaries and tens of thousands of enthusiastic spectators as she raced to victory against her American competitors for the ‘British International/ Harmsworth Trophy’. She was powered by a 2000 H.P. V-12 Rolls-Royce Griffon engine originally built for Britain’s legenday ‘Spifire’ fighter planes of the Second World War. ‘Miss Supertest’ was built for speed and to break the American domination of the sport of Unlimited Hydroplane Racing.

Her first World Championship victory was on the Detroit River in 1959. That year, the Canadian Entry shockingly ended a string of American racing sucesses that stretched back unbroken over 39 straight years.

‘Miss Supertest III’ will be the centrepiece display of the August weekend of events (Aug. 6, 7, 8). An Antique and Classic race boat show is planned, together with a recognition of driver Bob Hayward at the Annual Mariner’s Memorial Service at the South Bay United Church, right next door the the Mariners Park Museum. A new documentary film about the ‘Miss Supertest’ saga is also being planned.

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  1. Mike Drouillard says:

    Helments off to you John Lyons! You ARE “The Man”

  2. kathleen cole says:

    I was taken to the Harmsworth race by my Father, and a glorious race it was. Several years later I married into the Cole family, and the site of the race was owned by Durward Cole, my husband’s grandfather. I am delighted the Long Reach is now officially the Hayward Long Reach.It has a long and great history and honouring B.Hayward is very appropriate. Kudos to John Lyons for all his work and success in bringing Miss Supertest back to the County.
    The last race run on the Reach (the Grand Prix) was in memory of my late husband, John Cole.

  3. Maggie says:

    Hats off to John Lyons for a job well done. It required many hours of hard work and a great deal of determination to make a successful proposal for the Miss Supertest stamp. Few people would have shown John`s perseverance.

  4. Gil Charlebois says:

    Great job John. Thank you for all your dedication,hard work and research on this now,successful Project. ATTABOY!!!

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