on the River
Point Park site of
power boat racing, exhibitions
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (August 2002) Australian Ken Warby
knows speed first-hand. Since 1978, he has held the worlds water
speed record of 317.60 mph, a mark he set in a specially designed speedboat,
the Spirit of Australia, on Blowering Dam in New South Wales,
So what better person to center a speed boat event around than the
fastest man on water? Promoters of the new Rumble on the
River in Carrollton, Ky., are doing just that. Warby will be the
featured guest among dozens of boating enthusiasts at the Aug. 2-4 event
at Carrolltons Point Park.
Now age 60 and living in Cincinnati, Warby said that he has been interested
in speedboat racing since age 15. In the intervening years since winning
the world title, he had periodically lived in Cincinnati and Sydney,
Australia. By 1989, he had permanently moved to Cincinnati, having been
lured there by car and truck jet-propelled drag racing. He opened his
own business, Mini Mix, Inc., a cement company.
In 1995, he started working on a new jet-powered hydroplane
in his garage. This boat was unveiled in 2000 at the Cincinnati Travel,
Sports & Boat Show.
Warby still lacks a name and sponsor for this 28-foot, 6-inch boat.
It uses a Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojet engine, powered by a 9,000
horsepower engine when fitted with an afterburner. In comparison, a
6,000 horsepower unit powered the Spirit of Australia.
This engine is an internal combustion engine, which produces power by
the controlled burning of fuel. When air is compressed and fuel added,
the mixture is ignited. The resulting hot gas expands rapidly and is
used to produce the power.
Warby said he built this boat himself because I know what Im
looking for. Im the only person in the world who has designed,
built and piloted my own boat. This is normally the work of three
Three people have tried to break Warbys speed record, and two
of them died in the process. Warby said his goal is to go back
and show it can be done again.
Trials of the new boat will begin once a professional team and sponsors
are organized, according to Warbys website: www.kenwarby.com.
Warby plans to bring his newly designed boat to Carrollton for the Rumble
on the River.
This event caters to owners of outboard powered boats and is one
of only a few events in the country to do so, said organizer Gary
Williams of Columbus, Ohio.
Williams organized the first such speedboat exhibition last year at
White Oak Marina in Ohio. He had little advertising but still attracted
nearly 80 boats.
This event started out as an idea between an acquaintance and
me. We had boats show up from as far away as Canada, Florida and Maryland,
The only problem with the previous location was a lack of camping and
overnight facilities, he said. Williams then decided to scout around
for a new location for this event to be held on the Ohio River.
I raced outboards for nine years when I was younger,
and we raced quite a bit on the Ohio. The sponsoring-host towns always
went way out of their way to accommodate us, and I never forgot that,
Williams located a new spot for the event at the suggestion of Carrollton
resident Tony Wilson. Wilson and his wife, Kathy, had spent the weekend
in Ohio at this first speedboat competition, where they met Williams.
Wilson said he suggested Point Park as an absolutely perfect
location for future Rumbles. When compared with the previous location,
Wilson said Point Park had a more comfortable atmosphere. The
river is in excellent shape. Its clean and calmer at this time
of the year.
Williams then decided to visit Carrollton and liked what he saw. He
said Wilson put him in touch with the right people to make this event
Wilson said Carrollton Inn owner Bill Frederick suggested putting together
a budget to present to the Tourism Commission Board, of which Frederick
is a member.
Frederick said Rumble had a good first year track record, and Carrollton
was looking for an event like that. Its a natural fit.
Were lucky enough to be at the confluence of the Kentucky
and Ohio rivers. And were fortunate to have a city park for this
function, Frederick said.
Point Park has camping and restroom facilities, docks and is close to
the countys six motels, several bed and breakfasts, and a state
park. Frederick said Carrollton could well accommodate a large number
of overnight guests for an event he emphatically labeled, Good
Tourism director Robin Caldwell said she hopes Rumble will become an
annual event. Theres been a lot of interest and enthusiasm
for it since we started promoting it.
Williams said all boats are welcome and encouraged to attend, but the
competition is for outboard powered boats only. Scheduled events include
drag races, top speed contests, judged boat show and display, marine
swap meet, a best overall performance contest and a cookout.
For more information, call 1-800-325-4290 or
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