Legend of hydro racing to speak in Wenatchee
By Brian Adamowsky
World sports writer
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be prepared.”
Not much could have prepared Chip Hanauer, arguably the most famous unlimited hydroplane racer in the sport’s history, for his life on and off the water.
Hanauer will impart his wisdom at the Good Scout Dinner, a fundraiser for the Boy Scout program in Wenatchee where local orthodontist Dr. David Parks will be honored for exemplifying the ideals of the organization.
The event will be held at the Wenatchee Convention Center on April 24 at 6 p.m.
Hanauer was the top driver in the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing in the 1980s, but injuries and loss of passion forced him to retire from the sport in 1994 — a win short of the all-time record, then held by his mentor Bill Muncey.
Seattle racer Dave Villwock has since broken Muncey’s record.
“I had a number of chapters in my life where things were out of balance,” Hanauer said in a phone interview. “I like to talk about finding balance in life among the pressure from work, school or family and trying to make it all work so that we can have joyful, successful lives.”
Fifteen years ago, Hanauer was diagnosed with esophageal dystonia, a neurological disease that cost him his ability to speak above a whisper for three years.
“It really changed my priorities around so that I can enjoy the present,” he said.
Hanauer receives Botox injections directly into his vocal cords every three months to combat the dystonia.
For the past few years, he has done color commentary for the Seafair races in his hometown of Seattle.
Hanauer has been outspoken on the current state of unlimited racing.
“I think the sport in general is in pretty bad shape,” he said. “The first Gold Cup I won was on NBC and there were 10 to 13 races per year. Now it’s down to five. National sponsorship is down for boats and there are really only two boats that can win. I love the sport, but it needs wholesale changes.”
In addition to the television work, Hanauer spends his time these days guiding Tayler Malsam, a Seattle-area race car driver currently competing on the Nationwide circuit. He also does several speaking engagements a year, but is currently delving into flamenco guitar.
“I’ve been doing it for seven or eight years, and I’m as passionate about it as I was about racing,” he said.