Ron Musson, Power Boats, Class of 1993
Between 1959 and 1966, Ron Musson left an indelible mark of excellence on the sport of Unlimited hydroplane racing. In forty seven races entered, Musson scored sixteen victories, finished second nine times, and third six times. He is perhaps best remembered for being the first driver in thirty years to win the Crown Jewel of power boating, the APBA Gold Cup, three times in succession (1963 - 1964 - 1965).
Ron advanced to the Unlimited ranks after an outstanding career in the Limited inboard classes. His tenure with the smaller hydroplanes had resulted in many trophies and championships with such famous craft as Chromium and Chromate.
In only the second appearance of his rookie season, Ron claimed his first of many victories. This was the 1959 Indiana Governor's Cup on the Ohio River at Madison (Indiana) with Joe Mascari's "Pink Lady" Hawaii Kai III.
While driving Samuel F. DuPont's Nitrogen Too in 1960, Musson captured the O.J. Mulford Silver Cup on the historic Detroit River. This particular triumph was especially significant inasmuch as Nitrogen Too was powered by a stock Allison aircraft engine. Ron defeated the national championship team of Bill Muncey and Miss Thriftway, which used the powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.
Between 1961 and 1966, the combination of Ron Musson and the "Green Dragon" Miss Bardahl constituted one of Unlimited racing's "dream teams".
His first regatta with the Ole Bardahl organization was the World's Championship Seafair Trophy on Seattle's Lake Washington. Musson took a boat that had not won a race in three years and drove it to an impressive victory. And, later in the season, Ron retained his title in the Silver Cup with Miss Bardahl.
Not only did Musson win thirteen races in five years with the Bardahl team, he did so against some of the most formidable opposition in modern memory: Muncey in Miss Thriftway, Bill Brow in Miss Exide, Chuck Thompson in Tahoe Miss, Bill Cantrell in Miss Smirnoff, and Rex Manchester in Notre Dame.
Ron was one of three ill-fated competitors to lose his life on Unlimited hydroplane racing's "Black Sunday" at Washington, D.C. in 1966. While holding off a challenge from his good friend Manchester in Notre Dame during Heat 2-B of the President's Cup, Musson died while racing in his familiar first place.