popular sport among die-hard race fans
(July 2005) Doug Shepherd of Madison, Ind.,
has been involved in hydroplane racing for nearly 20 years. As assistant
crew chief to the Miss Madison race team in 2002, Shepherd, 42, is familiar
with boat racing. But while the Unlimited hydroplane series competes
on the Ohio River this July for the annual Madison Regatta, Shepherd
will be at Krueger Lake in the Jefferson Proving Ground racing his 1/8
scale model remote control hydroplane in the District XIV sanctioned
I.M.P.B.A. Dennis Holt Memorial Race.
by Don Ward
left, Madison RC hydro racers
Greg Bentley and Doug Shepherd
show off their remote-controlled boats.
Shepherd, along with other RC hydroplane enthusiasts,
gather several times each year to engage in friendly competition. Because
the I.M.P.B.A is a non-profit organization, it forbids monetary prizes,
and all entry money is used to purchase trophies, which are awarded
to the first through third place over-all point leaders at each race
and at the seasons finale, held Oct. 2 in Indianapolis.
Thousands of people will flock to the banks of the Ohio on July 2 to
watch Unlimited hydroplanes compete, but only a small few will make
their way to Krueger Lake and enjoy the camaraderie, friendship and
their very own hydroplane racing.
Sportsmanship is a key element to the remote-controlled, scale hydroplane
racing. Dale Douglas, an Indianapolis-based member of the Madison Prop
Walkers Club, said, Friendship keeps us going. You cant
do this without the other club members.
He was assisting Ted Schuman, District XIV director, launch his Miss
Squire Shop into the murky lake. Shepherd, a veteran of RC hydroplane
racing, expects between 10 and 30 of the model scale boats to show for
the Dennis Holt Memorial Race.
The RC race is being scheduled over the Madison Regatta weekend to help
attract more competitors to town, Shepherd said.
by Don Ward
announcer calls the races as the drivers
control their boats on at Krueger Lake,
inside Jefferson Proving Ground.
Many of the guys are into the big boats, too. Its
like the Regatta, only smaller, he said.
Water opens for practice at 8 a.m. and racing events will begin promptly
at 10 a.m. The top five point leaders at the end of three heats will
advance to the final, along with the first-place finisher of the consolation
race. Admission is free for spectators, but a few ground rules apply.
Open-toe shoes are not allowed, and it is advised to be cautious at
all times. People have been injured, though the number of injuries is
considerably lower than in most motorsports.
The boats are 1/8-scale remote controlled boats that are modeled after
real hydroplanes that raced in the past or are presently running in
the Unlimited series. The scale models even include scale drivers.
Shepherds RC boat is a replica of the U-31 Miss Circus Circus
that raced in San Diego in 1978. Schuman modeled his boat to be an exact
replica of the Miss Squire Shop U-64 that raced in 1978, right down
to the model Allison airplane engine that sits in the boats hull.
The RC hydro-planes are judged based on their likeness to the hydroplane
they were modeled after. The RC boats are an average of 43 inches long
and 18 inches wide and weigh approximately 14 pounds.
by Don Ward
1/8-scale boats are painted
to look like the real thing.
The RC hydro-planes participate in three heat races, a
consolation race and a final winner-take-all race, similar to the Unlimited
series. But they compete for points, never money. Reaching speeds between
60 mph and 68 mph, the RC boats are able to quickly travel around the
1/3-mile course in 18 seconds, making each six lap race an intense competition.
The boats motors range from 4.5 hp. to 6 hp. and can turn the
small propellers at 27,000 RPM.
Shepherd and his fellow club members look forward to the upcoming race
and promise a good show.
Everybody calls it Bristol when they come to Madison, said
People of all ages are invited to watch the RC hydroplanes compete or
get involved with the sport.
For more information concerning boat registration and how
to become involved in RC hydroplane racing, contact Ted Schuman at (317)
838-8812 or Doug Shepherd at (812) 265-3722.
Back to 2005 Madison