Hydroplanes: Villwock coming out of retirement

If you’re keeping score at home, Dave Villwock’s retirement lasted slightly longer than one season.

The South Kitsap grad announced he was coming out of retirement Thursday and will return to unlimited hydroplane racing, H1 Unlimited said in a release.

Villwock will drive the 37 Beacon Plumbing when the circuit resumes July 25-27 in the Tri-Cities.

Villwock, 60, is unlimited hydroplane’s all-time winningest driver with 67 career victories and 10 national titles. His 10 Gold Cup wins is second to Chip Hanauer’s 12.

“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 owner Billy Schumacher, himself a former Gold Cup-winning driver. “Why not put him in the boat?”

Villwock retired prior to the 2013 season. He drove the 96 Spirit of Qatar (formerly the Miss Elam Plus) from 2005 until his retirement, winning two national titles. Before that he drove the Miss Budweiser to seven straight national titles from 1998 until Anheuser Busch stopped sponsoring the team in 2004.

Villwock joined the Beacon team last year as a consultant and became team manager.

Schumacher said Bill Cahill, of Beacon Plumbing, pushed for the idea for Villwock to pilot the revamped boat.

“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,” Villwock said in the release.

The Beacon Plumbing skipped the first two legs of the season: Madison, Indiana and the Gold Cup in Detroit.

“We think we have it pretty close,” Villwock said. “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.”

Scott Liddycoat will also share some time in the Beacon seat. He needs some laps to renew his unlimited license.

H1 Unlimited said the Beacon has not committed to racing beyond Seafair Aug. 1-3. Villwock is the career winner in Seattle with 10 victories.

H1 Unlimited also announced Schumacher is moving toward retirement and Cahill will take over the team in the near future.


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