Miss Supertest III was a Canadian-designed and constructed hydroplane boat that won the Detroit Memorial Regatta in 1959 and the Harmsworth Cup races in 1959, 1960 and 1961, the only four races it ever entered. It was the only winner of the Harmsworth Cup three times and the first non-U.S. hydroplane to do so in 39 years.
Racing out of Sarnia, Ontario, she was owned by J. Gordon Thompson, (of Supertest Petroleum) and managed by his uncle, Jim Thompson. Bob Hayward piloted the boat. Miss Supertest III is an incredible boat, even on land, with more than 30 feet of gleaming wood, powered by a 2,800 hp Rolls Royce Griffin V-12 aircraft engine; it’s hard not to picture her screaming 170 miles an hour through the water.
Miss Supertest III was an unrepeated achievement, a single boat winning the most coveted boat racing trophy in the world three years in a row, and it all started in 1959. An all-Canadian success storey, Miss Supertest III was a triumph of engineering, architecture, and driving. Designed in London, Ontario and powered by Ingersoll’s farmer-mechanic, it defeated the best boats the American racing world could produce and did it so much that the Harmsworth Cup was finally retired for 16 years: there were no challengers who could beat it.
According to Murray Walker, who bought Miss Supertest III in 2017, “unlimited hydroplane racing was a huge sport in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Tens of thousands of spectators were attracted to the races. But a lot has been forgotten about the history”.Murray Walker
She will never race again according to Murray Walker. He bought her to show this Canadian success story to Canadians and keep it in this country. She has been presented at a few select showings around Canada. Murray introduces her and invites others to learn more about this extraordinary chapter in our history in sport and engineering.
On his family’s chicken farm, Bob Hayward, of Embro, Ontario, was born and raised and joined the Supertest racing team as a mechanic in 1957. Hayward won the Harmsworth Cup in 1959, 1960, and 1961, piloting Miss Supertest III. Hayward was killed a month after winning his third Harmsworth Cup while sailing Miss Supertest II in the Detroit River Silver Cup regatta. At 175 mph, the boat tipped over, breaking Hayward’s neck. He was 33 years old. After his passing, Team Supertest withdrew from racing.
In 2011, Canada Post released a commemorative stamp honouring her driver, Bob Hayward, and businessman Jim Thompson, who created her. Miss Supertest III was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Video from Vimeo: Historica Canada