Legends of Thunder

New book details prominent
figures in hydroplane history

Local people played valuable role
in sport’s development

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(August 2009) – Names such as Jim McCormick, Phil Cole and Bob Hughes are legendary to fans that follow Unlimited Hydroplane racing. Their accomplishments and dedication to the sport have been chronicled in a new book about the history of Unlimited

Fred Farley

Photo by Darrel Taylor

Fred Farley, official
historian for Unlimited Hydroplane racing,
has co-authored the
fourth in a series of
books about the sport.

Racing. “Legends of Thunder,” co-authored by Madison area residents Fred Farley and Ron Harsin, profiles 106 individuals who have played a vital role in the sport’s history. The 263-page book has black-and-white pictures on every single page. Many of the names will be familiar to residents of Madison, Ind., home to the prestigious Madison Regatta-Indiana Governor’s Cup Unlimited Hydroplane race.
“I’ve personally met and talked with more than 80 of the people we decided to include in the book,” said Farley, the official historian for Unlimited Hydroplanes. “I think this gives people the opportunity to really get to know who they were.”
For the rest of the people he included, he interviewed and talked with their close friends and family members.
This is the fourth book in a series of Unlimited Hydroplane books written by the authors. Farley said readers who aren’t necessarily race fans will also find the book intriguing because it’s about the success and hard work of people who helped develop the industry.
Many of the crew of the Oh Boy! Oberto-Miss Madison, including crew chief Mike Hanson and driver Steve David, are in the narrative. Oh Boy! Oberto Sausage Co. sponsors Art and Larry Oberto are also profiled in the book.
“This book is unique in its own way,” said Harsin, whose company, Deer Trail Publishing, is releasing the book. “The individual stories are really interesting all by themselves.”

Legends of Thunder book

Harsin said he took five cases of the books to the July Gold Cup race in Detroit, and they ended up being extremely popular with the crowds.
Farley said the authors have been “in talks” about updating their previous “Century of Gold Cup Racing,” book, which details the winners of that event through 2003.

• For more information about “Legends of Thunder,” call Ron Harsin at (812) 866-5504.

Back to August 2009 Articles.



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