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Power boat racing record stands on 58th anniversary Nov. 1

This coming Sunday – Nov. 1, 2015 – will be the 58th anniversary of Jim Thompson’s ‘Miss Supertest II’, with Art Asbury at the helm, setting the Canadian Water Speed Record of 184.494 mph, out on Picton Bay.

This is still the Canadian record – the only sanctioned record witnessed and recognized by the official boat racing record authorities, the CBF (Canadian Boating Federation), the APBA (American Power Boat Association) and the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique).

Before and after the ‘Thunder On The Bay’ Sept. 18 press conference, and the Oct. 2-3 show and parade, statements to the effect that ‘Miss Canada IV’ is ‘Canada’s first 200 mph race boat’ were being made, and written into several local news media, as though this is a fact.

After taking some time to make a thorough check of the records, and the media coverage of the Oct. 3/1950 World Water Speed Record attempt by Harold Wilson, and ‘MC IV’, I can assure your readers that this claim is absolutely without merit.
‘Miss Canada IV’ is recognized as having set a World Water Speed Record of 138.645 mph on Oct. 2/1949, here on Picton Bay, but it was later bested by Stan Sayers’ ‘Slo’Mo-Shun’, at 160.3235 mph, in June of 1950.
While most of the press reports quote a top speed of 155 mph, for ‘MC IV’, on Oct. 3, 1950, there was never any mention of the boat achieving 200 mph, by anyone at the time.
Harold Wilson, the ‘MC IV’ driver himself, was quoted in a Oct. 4, 1950 Picton Gazette report as “admitted that they had reached a speed of 155 miles per hour in the warm-up runs.”
In that same issue, in another report on a luncheon given in Harold Wilson’s honor, and presence, Reeve J.C. Wilson is quoted to say during his turn at the podium “Harold Wilson had shown Picton its first 60 mile per hour boat in ‘Little Miss Canada’, its first 100 mile boat in ‘Miss Canada 3rd’, and its first 150 mile boat in ‘Miss Canada IV’. He felt that ‘Miss Canada IV’, both as to her hull and her motor, are quite capable of establishing a record of 200 miles per hour.”

“Capable”, not that it had!
There were literally thousands of spectators, and an entire contingent of press, as well as all the officials, timers, etc. who witnessed the events of Oct. 3, 1950 and there is no record, that I have seen, that states that ‘Miss Canada IV’ ever went 200 mph.

In a related matter, ‘Thunder On The Bay’ organizer Harry Wilson is quoted in local print news as saying fellow ‘Thunder On The Bay’ organizer “Larry Ritchie has almost single-handedly dusted off local history”.

I beg to differ! Going back as far as 1996, author John Joseph Kelly began researching locally for his very well received 2008 book ‘Roostertails: The Miss Supertest Story’. He has followed this up with other books relating to Prince Edward County inboard racing history with ‘The Miss Supertest Story In Pictures’, ‘The Bill Braden Story’ and the latest ‘Harmsworth Hero: The Bob Hayward Story’.
Personally, I began my ‘Canada Post 2011 ‘Miss Supertest’ 50th Anniversary Commemorative Stamp Project’ back in 2009 and it came to a very successful conclusion. Canada Post sold out of these 2.4 million stamps some time ago.
I am also responsible for the official government recognition of the name ‘Hayward Long Reach’ as well as the municipal Heritage Designation of the ‘Hayward Long Reach Lookout’.
Following that, I became one of the two researchers for the film ‘Harold & Lorna: Canada’s Racing Sweethearts’, responsible for supplying almost all of the Picton-related historical documentation used for this film. At the end of the movie, my name appears in the credits.
I could go on, but my point being that there is no dusting of local history, at least not when it comes to power boat racing.

John Lyons

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  1. John Lyons says:

    Dear Kathleen Cole; Thanks very much for the vote of confidence and the recognition. I would accept being somewhat of an authority, or being a ‘small h historian’ regarding County boat racing history, although I really hope that I’m not an ‘absolute authoritarian’. That would mean that I don’t leave room for any more input on the subject. I do! Actually, I was at the County Archives researching some 1960’s outboard racing, just yesterday. I try to get there as often as I can. I find County marine history fascinating because it’s part of my family genealogy and vice versa. My family has been involved in the local power boat racing ‘scene’ since before I was born. My late father built his 1st ‘sea-flea’, on the shore of Hayward Long Reach, in 1948, some 67 years ago. Researching local history sometimes pays off personally, as I happily was given a photo of him, and his 1st boat, just last year!

  2. John says:

    Well, Fred, first off, the ‘High Shore’ is the west shoreline of the body of water, and ‘Hayward Long Reach’ is the official name of the body of water itself. My family has lived there since 1806, so I’m familiar with it. Second, the title of the film, ‘Harold & Lorna…’ refers to Harold & Lorna Wilson, who drove all of the ‘Miss Canada’ raceboats. The film is a ‘docudrama’ of their racing career, including the events of Oct. 3/1950, out on Picton Bay. Their youngest son, Harry Wilson, was one of the film’s producers. The Wilson’s attempt to set the Water Speed Record that day is depicted in the film. BTW, later in 1950, after the failed attempt to set the record, ‘Miss Canada IV’ was sold and became ‘Miss Supertest I’, so it’s all relevant. The point of all of this is that this ‘200 MPH’ business is an unjustifiable ‘claim’. There is NO record recognizing such a claim. It was just ‘hype’ to entice people to attend the ‘Thunder On The Bay’ event. A couple of the local papers printed what Harry Wilson said, as fact, without proper fact-checking first, instead of printing it as a quote, which is what they should have done. Believe me, had ‘Miss Canada IV’ ever achieved 200 MPH, there would have been national headlines! There weren’t any. There IS a recognized & accepted Official Record that ‘Miss Supertest II’ holds the Canadian Water Speed Record. For anyone to claim otherwise is to denigrate the REAL record holders, ‘Miss Supertest II’, driver Art Asbury, and owner Jim Thompson.

  3. Fred says:

    With all due respect what does stamps, naming of Hayward Long Reach which most locals call the “high shore” and credits in an unrelated film have to do with Miss Canada 1V’s speed record? Something doesn’t wash here. More dusting is necessary.

  4. Emily says:

    I suspect if it is stated MC1V set the record that there is official records to support that. At least they are dusting.

  5. Kathleen Cole says:

    I can tell you that John Lyons in an absolute authoritarian on any races held on the Hayward Long Reach. He has done
    extensive research on the subject and has worked diligently
    to do this work. He and his family were very involved in
    making speed boat racing happen for many years in Prince
    Edward County. He has access to all speed records.

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