In front of approximately 100 of Marshal County’s officials, fans, and media, Katy Norton announced that Lake Guntersville will once again host unlimited hydroplanes. The H1 boats will run a test session in 2017 with a full-fledged national high point race in 2018.
“Ted Grange of H1 has been working tirelessly to add races to our schedule and now with the help of Milt and Charley Wiggins, Mayor Leigh Dollar and Katy one site is now on the books,” said H1 Chairman Steve David. “Guntersville, Alabama will see our sport next June 10th for a test session and then return on June 21 through 24 in 2018 for an H1 Unlimited Hydroplane point race.”
Norton, President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marshall County, made the announcement last week saying ‘Guntersville is ready and excited to bring unlimited hydroplanes back to Guntersville.’ The Bureau believes the race could be an economic impact event delivering upwards of 50,000 fans into Marshall County.
“I am excited we are taking our sport to another region of our country and a segment of fans that love motorsports,” added David. “It also gives H1 another race east of the Mississippi and before the traditional Madison race early in July.”
According to Charley Wiggins, Lake Guntersville is nearly perfect for the race. “Ever since I was racing here in the 80s, I’ve been to a lot of courses around the country, and this is some of the best water in the country to race on,” he said. The pits and HQ for the race will be near the Stockton Causeway.
The Wiggins Hydroplane Racing Team is based in Rainbow City, Ala. and is owned by 60-plus year racing veteran Milton Wiggins and managed by Crew Chief Charley Wiggins. Milton started his racing career when he was 16 years-old in the Pro Outboard division and introduced his son Charley to driving race boats when he was 14 years old. Both Wiggins drove boats in various classes with much success for many years.
The Wiggins team joined the H1 circuit as an owner in 2015 with the U-27 Dalton Industries boat. Driver Cal Phipps piloted the boat to a third-place finish in the National High Point Championship and the Wiggins’ team was named “Crew of the Year”.
“Our family has lived in Alabama for at least four generation, and we have been racing boats for seven decades,” said Charley. “We have a passion for our state and racing and we want to show our fans these exciting racing machines and the world beautiful Lake Guntersville.”
Charley won his first race driving a 1 liter hydro at Lake Guntersville in the mid 80’s when the limited inboards raced for the Dixie Cup.
The first Unlimited Hydroplane Dixie Cup race held in Guntersville took place in 1963. The small northern Alabama town was traditionally host to the unlimited hydroplane season opener from 1963 until 1969. The race was not run not run in 1967 or 1968.
Before the first race in 1963, Roy Duby drove George Simons’ Miss U.S. I Unlimited hydroplane to a world straightaway record for propeller-driven boats of 200.419 miles per hour. That was done April 17, 1962, on Guntersville Lake in Ala. It eclipsed the previous mark of 192.001 set by Bill Muncey in Miss Thriftway, Feb. 16, 1960.
“I don’t know if we will set any records,” said David. “I do know we will bring a great event to Guntersville.”