Pokey

A 266 class hydroplane built by Dick Sooy

Owner/Driver - Johnny Sweet

Pokey was once owned and driven by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine. This is a 266 class hydroplane built by Dick Sooy in the 1960's, last run with a 302 Chevy.


The Story of Pokey

By Johnny Sweet

I'm not sure where this story got started, but the boat was built for Harrison Boggs after he sold his International Lauterbach copy F boat. Dick built the boat for him as an F boat not a 280. The 280 of the times where 16' 3", or 4" long. All of Dicks E and F boats had a 48" wide tunnel. If I remember correctly Pokey's measurement from the transom to the trailing edge of the sponsons is 112", or 114".  Pokey was 18' long. Harrison ran it with a 302 injected Chevy with aluminum rods. I was good friends with both he and his wife. In every conversation there was never a mention of Bodine ever owning of driving the boat. Harrison sold me the boat in the early 80's for the cost of the trailer. It was in perfect condition, and he hadn't raced it in years. I extended the bow of the boat so that the total length came in at 18' 6", and placed a 350 injected Chevy running methanol fuel. We ran it in Canada a few times, and at Lowell once or twice, also Littleton. I have pictures of Pokey running at speed.

     

     

When I moved from New Hampshire to the south in 1988 the boat got left behind. I have wondered what ever happened to it. I would be interested in the boat if it's not in to bad of a condition. If you will note at the front of the prop shaft there is a Gilmore sprocket that I machined for the dry sump oiling system. It's the only way I could make everything fit. Pokey was the second fastest Sooy. Psychedelic Pet F 7 of Cheri Petti was the fastest of all the Sooy's.

In 1998 when I was at the New England Auto racers Hall of Fame induction banquet. My uncle Ollie Silva was the first one inducted. At our table where the three Bobine's Geoff, Brett, and Todd. As we talked the subject or hydroplanes came up, and I don't remember one reference to the Pokey boat. We renamed Pokey, Pokey's revenge. This has to be the same boat. Another thing, there may be two hole in the dash with instruments missing. The boat was blue with yellow and red lettering. I used exhaust temperature gauges, and I remember removing them before I retired the boat. In the late 80's the boat didn't have a chance of winning, being an old conventional. I remember beating Paul Reid, and Vinny Dubuc along with the rest of the field into the first turn at Lowell. Paul won the event and the locals where really mad because they wanted one of the guys from Lowell to win. I had to use the outside lane at the starts, because it wouldn't turn. It would run with anything down the straightaway.

I'm not trying to start anything, but I understand how this vintage stuff works. The only value the boat would have was because it was supposedly owned by Bodine. Not that it was Harrison Boggs boat and it won around sixty races in it's time. Harrison had an attic in his garage with over sixty trophy's. Although they liked the Lauterbach copy better than the Sooy. There again there was never any reference to the Lauterbach being a copy International. That boat is in Florida being past off as a Lauterbach. I'm not just some clown coming out of the wood work. I had 14 hydroplanes through the years. Most notably the 63-65 Miss Bardahl that I donated to the Unlimited Gold Cup Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983. Also Joe Jimbrone's Joy Boy. I also built the first and only twin engine, twin prop Grand Prix hydroplane. When Dick Sooy came to visit he inspected the boat and told me this is not the direction that the sport should go in. Dick was instrumental in developing many of the original classes of hydroplanes. They changed the rules to allow only one engine of 500 inches. My boat was made illegal over night. I never held it against Dick, because I considered him a friend and I respected him.

Johnny Sweet