Bayfair racing action viewed from a bridge!

One of the best places to watch super high speed boats racing in Mission Bay during San Diego Bayfair is from a bridge!

The Ingraham Street bridge on the south side of Vacation Isle provides a view of the race “docks” located south of Ski Beach, the tower near the Bill Muncey Memorial, and the entire oval race course. The farthest end of the course is in the distance, but the height provides a great panorama of all the action! And it’s free!

Today during a walk around Mission Bay I paused for a good hour on the Ingraham Street bridge to watch several classes of boats compete, including the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes, which are the fastest racing boats in the world. Mission Bay, which was originally designed for thunderboat racing, is said to be the fastest such course in the world.

As the super fast boats turned corners, huge plumes of white spray would rise up behind them!

I and a small crowd of pedestrians and bicyclists who were watching from on high gave a conciliatory shout out to one racer below who had to be towed in to the docks when his engine conked out. He must’ve heard us, because with good humor he threw up an arm in acknowledgement.

It was fascinating to see how boats would be placed into the docks with three large cranes, then removed from the water and hosed off at the end of each race. During the racing, other boats would be prepared, testing their engines. Everywhere I looked there was interesting activity.

I guess next year I’ll have to get a ticket and check out the action up close!

Here are my photos from various spots on the bridge…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of Bill Muncey Memorial and plaques.

The Bill Muncey Memorial stands on Mission Bay’s beautiful Vacation Isle, on a grassy spot just north of the Ski Beach boat launch ramp. It rises above the nearby blue water like a wing flying through the sky.

Bill Muncey is a legend in hydroplane racing. He is considered by many to be the greatest hydroplane racer in history. The gracefully curving memorial honors his contributions to the sport, and the creation of a 2.5-mile oval hydroplane racecourse in San Diego’s Mission Bay.

The memorial contains two bronze plaques. The first reads:

BILL MUNCEY UNLIMITED HYDROPLANE COURSE
PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE OF SAN DIEGO
BY THUNDERBOATS UNLIMITED IN THE
MEMORY OF BILL MUNCEY, WORLD CHAMPION.
62 CAREER VICTORIES
4 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
7 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
8 GOLD CUP WINS

The second plaque, which depicts the smiling face of Bill Muncey, reads:

“just running and playing like all the kids I know…”
Bill Muncey 1928-1981

There is a third plaque on a nearby park bench that remembers Bernie Little, legendary owner of the famous Miss Budweiser team. It reads:

IN MEMORY OF
Bernie Little
1925-2003
“The King of Boats”
THE WINNINGEST UNLIMITED HYDROPLANE OWNER IN HISTORY
134 UNLIMITED HYDROPLANE RACES
14 APBA GOLD CUPS
22 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
“IF YOU AREN’T TRYING TO WIN…WHY WOULD YOU RACE?”

To learn more about Bill Muncey and the Bill Muncey Unlimited Hydroplane Course on Mission Bay, visit the San Diego Bayfair’s history web page here.

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