Villwock returning to unlimited hydroplane competition

Dave Villwock - Courtesy photo
Dave Villwock
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Dave Villwock returns to unlimited hydroplane competition with Schumacher Racing for the Columbia Cup later this month, team officials announced this week.

The HAPO Columbia Cup returns to the Tri-Cities on July 25-27.

Villwock, formerly of Auburn but who now lives in the Monroe area, joined Schumacher Racing last season as a consultant and became the team manager following a driving career that produced 67 wins, the most by any driver in the history of the sport, 10 national championships and 10 Gold Cup victories.

"In the past year, a lot of people have asked me how it made sense to have the best driver in the history of the sport as a backup driver," said team owner Billy Schumacher. "Why not put him in the boat?

"One of those people was our sponsor, Bill Cahill of Beacon Plumbing," Schumacher added. "So we approached Dave with the idea of returning to driving, and we are very happy that he is willing. We have made dramatic changes to the boat, and having Dave experience the boat ride will speed up the tuning process."

Villwock agreed, saying, "We will really be developing a new boat with all the changes we made, and this should allow us to get it up to speed as quickly as possible."

Asked how he expects the rebuilt U-37 Beacon Plumbing to compare to the boats he drove during his record setting career, Villwock responded, "We think we have it pretty close. There are some differences and some things that will need tweaking once we have seen it on the water, but we think we are going the right direction with the boat."

Plans are for Scott Liddycoat to get some time in the boat at the Columbia Cup and get the necessary laps in competition to renew his unlimited license. The team's plans do not go beyond the Seattle race a week later at this point.

Regarding rumors of an ownership change, Schumacher explained, "It's no secret that Bill (Cahill) has wanted to become an owner in the sport, and it's something we have talked about for a long time. He has loved unlimited hydroplane racing all his life, and it makes a lot of sense for him to become an owner. I think he'll make a great one. We are moving things in that direction, and the time for the change is getting closer."

Schumacher, himself a former Gold Cup and national champion, said his plans for the future include "a lot of fishing out on Puget Sound."

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