Silver Lake in Eatonville will roar this weekend with outboard racing in a tribute to a local hydroplane racing hero.
Race Director Tony Perman said the Smilin’ George Memorial Regatta is named after former unlimited hydroplane and outboard racer George Henley who owned the resort for decades and hosted the regatta since the 1960s.
“We are doing this as a memorial to George Henley who passed away (last December),” Perman said.
The regatta which is sponsored by the Seattle Outboard Association runs both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Silver Lake Resort.
In 1974 at the helm of the unlimited hydroplane Pay ‘n Pak, Henley won the Gold Cup hydroplane race on Lake Washington. That same season he won seven races and the national points championship. He beat all comers, including the “Thunderboat King,” Bill Muncey.
The resort at 40724 Silver Lake Road East was recently sold to Bill and Amy Kenney who are hosting the racing at the resort, he said.
Some 130 entries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana are registered in a variety of outboard racing classes that are based on the size of the boat, size of outboard and age of driver. Boats range from to 10 to 16 feet in length. The top class of boats reach speeds of 100 mph, Perman said.
There will 40 racing heats run on the lake by the various classes of boats.
The regatta is free and visitors can visit the boats and racers in the regatta pits. For more information, Perman can be reached at 425-829-9424.