Mike Webster in the 22 Webster Racing alongside Jimmy Shane in the 5 Graham Trucking Photo by Bill Osborne
When Mike Webster’s boat come to a halt after racing hard in Heat 2B, the initial feeling was bad. Exiting the second turn, his turbine engine made a big bang and smoke poured out the exhaust.
According to Steve Webster, “Mike was racing well and we were hoping to make it to the front line in the final when the boat hit a roller and we heard a loud explosion. All too often, that sound means the power turbine section of the engine has failed. Replacing a PT would more-than-likely have prevented us from competing in San Diego, so needless to say, Sue, Mike, and I were very upset. The team has worked so hard and Mike has driven well, so we really wanted to compete in the season-ending event in San Diego.”
After a trip to the turbine doctor, Steve Webster received some great news. Damage to the L-7 engine was minimal. Butch Corning and Jim Lucero of Competition Specialties Racing repaired the engine and the Webster Racing LLC team was back in business. Steve was all smiles when Butch gave him the engine diagnosis. “The only damage was a broken oil pan plate and the output support shaft assembly housing cracked. We really dodged a bullet. Mike saved us a huge expense by shutting down so quickly.”
On Thursday, crew chief Eric Bell announced his resignation from Webster Racing LLC. Steve Webster commented after receiving the news, “Eric did a great job working with us for the last two years. We wish Eric all the best.”
Steve Webster announced that John Walters will assume crew chief duties at San Diego. “John brings a wealth of experience and a positive attitude to our team. We have worked with John in the past and look forward to working with him at San Diego.”
In 1982, John Walters became the first driver to win an unlimited hydroplane race using turbine power. After a career-ending accident in Seattle, John went to “turbine school,” learning how to build and maintain engines. He served as the engine specialist for Miss Beacon Plumbing for three years, helping the team win the APBA Gold Cup, the Seafair Trophy and the U.I.M. World Championship in 2006.
“We will announce our sponsorship for the San Diego race either later today or early next week,” said Steve Webster.