Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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1958 U-40 Miss Bardahl

Reprinted from Skid Fin Magazine, 2003, Volume 1 Number 2

After Ole Bardahl dabbled in unlimited hydroplanes racing in 1957, sponsoring the U-4 built by Norm Christiansen, he was infected with the water bug. He commissioned Ted Jones to design and build his new Miss Bardahl. Legendary designer/builder Ted Jones turned the job over to his son Ron. Ron’s first unlimited was the portent of things to come. The metallic green boat, embellished with black scallops and bright yellow sides, became loved by many and feared by some as the "Green Dragon."

The Dragon won its debut at Chelan’s Apple Cup with local hero Norm Evans driving. She couldn’t finish her next race in Coeur d’Alene, but with Mira Slovak at the wheel, the Miss Bardahl wend on to take two more firsts, two seconds and three thirds in nine races. Her consistency earned her the National High Points Championship.

Ole, now even more enthusiastic, expanded the Green Dragon’s program in 1959. He increased the boat’s power by running a Rolls-Royce Merlin. Highly regarded crew chief George McKernan joined driver Jackie Regas to form a potential juggernaut. However, after Regas was critically injured in the Diamond Cup, the rest of the 1959 season was a struggle. The Dragon was put in the boathouse for six weeks after the accident, but she re-emerged to race in the Silver Cup with young Bill Brow behind the wheel. Despite the season’s struggles, the Dragon was consistent enough to garner second place in the National High Point standings.

For the competitive fury of the Bardahl camp, 1960 also began as a dismal year with the Green Dragon taking only one-second place finish in seven races, but then Ron Musson arrived. With Musson at the helm, Miss Bardahl dashed to victory in the inaugural Seattle Seafair World Championship and finished the season with two-thirds and another victory in five races.

The original "Green Dragon" set the stage for Ron Musson and the Bardahl Team to become one of the legendary hydroplane dynasties in the ensuing years.

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