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Tom Berry racing at Granite City, IL in the 1970's


Per your request, I am writing to give you a little history of my involvement in outboard boat racing. From 1969 to 1977 I involved myself in Outboard Racing. I raced in the National Outboard Association, the American Outboard Federation and the American Power Boat Association. I was a member of the Kansas City Speedboat Association, the St. Louis Outboard Association, the Union of Professional Outboard Drivers, Outboard Central and the Okalahoma Boat Racing Association during my years of racing. During my racing career I raced in C & D Am Pro and Super Stock Hydro and Runabout, C Service Runabout, and C, D, & F Pro Hydroplane and Runabout. In 1976 I won the World Championship in the new class of E Hydro at Alexandria LA. At that race I also ran second in F Runabout with my brother, Jan, riding.

Tom with his father, Thomas H. Berry


During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s my father, also Tom Berry, raced outboards with people like Dick Neal, Stan Leavendusky, Homer Branson, Hank Fuller and many other early outboard drivers and builders. One of my earliest recollections in the world of outboards is of Dick Neal’s shop in the basement of his boat dealership on Troost Ave. in Kansas City. I remember Dick holding me on his lap and explaining what he was doing while turning pistons on his lathe. Stan Leavendusky would eventually become the foreman of the machine shop in my father’s business, Ace Pattern & Foundry.

Tom racing at Granite City, IL


In 1969 I returned to the Kansas City area from a stretch in the U. S. Navy as a Torpedoman and Diver aboard the fast attack submarine USS Permit SSN 594. (That is a whole different story as it involved cold war espionage and patrols in the waters off of Vietnam). I hooked up with Butch (Stan the younger) Leavendusky. We had been friends prior to my service in the Navy, but not close. At least not near as close as we were soon to become and still are. He introduced me to Bob Lowrey who, like Butch, was heavily involved in outboard racing. Bob, his father Andy, and their family had recently started building boats. I bought a new Lowrey Hydro from Bob and a D Am Pro motor from Walter Curtouis. We first tested that boat and motor at Creve Coeur Park in St. Louis. That was my first Hydro ride. Before I left Creve Coeur that day I was also the proud owner of an old DeSilva Runabout. That is where it all started. (In the 2 man F picture - I am on the deck until the boat planes. Tim Chance is driving in the picture but then moves back when I turn around. Tim rode with me a lot. We won like that at Springfield I'll in '76.)

Thomas H. Berry and 47 or 48 Neal Hydro


My thought at the time was that it would bring my father and me closer and give us something of a common interest. I did, however, find new friends and develop new relationships that will always mean a great deal to me.

Thomas H. Berry working on a Johnson race engine


July 1975 at Ft. Worth, TX


In about 1973 I bought my first C Konig motor from Stan Sr. That put me into alcohol burners. If you raced with old Stan you just had to run C Service. That was just the way it was. That is when Butch and I started racing together. It was the natural thing to do. We lived close to each other, worked and ran together and were the best of friends. Butch found a large trailer and we had it painted with “Stan’s Custom Pistons”. I remember showing it to the old man (Stan) for the first time. He was really proud of it. It made no difference in what we paid for pistons and machine work, but he was proud of it. I sometimes worked in his peach orchard to help with what I owed for motor work. Eventually I painted my trailer the same way and we used both to get all of our stuff to the races. By that time Butch and I both had DeSilva Runabouts, I had a Butts Aerowing Hydro and Butch had a similar hydro built by Krier.

Tom Berry racing at Lakeland, FL in 1976


Before I retired from outboard racing in 1977 I was able to accumulate several local club championships, class championships, the Illinois State Championship in 1976 and the win at Alexandria in E Hydro in 1976. (Runabouts at Lakeland - When I went up it slowed me down and Todd Brinkman, V-99 passed me. Tom.)

Ft. Worth, TX in July of 1975 - Tom starting Rex Hall for 2 man F Runabout


I still miss that life. I recently found that Rex Hall lives in the same area that I do in Platte County, Missouri. I also hooked up with Bill Van who lives close to St. Louis, Missouri. They urged me to come to the Depue race and to the Worlds at Lake Alfred, Florida this year. (2008). I was able to do that and found many old friends and acquaintances from the years I raced. Both trips were definitely worth it... (In the Ft Worth picture starting the Y-51 runabout - Y-51 was Rex Hall. Not sure who his rider was but I think Butch. Holding the left (port) side of the boat is Pauli Bogosian and Dick Davies son (don't remember his name but Butch will know). On the right (starboard) is Dick Davies and Pauli's son. I am on the starting rope. Tom.) Tom, Y-32

More Pictures from Tom Berry's Racing Photo Album


Tom's Trailer ready to roll


1969 - Creve Cour Park, St. Louis


First boat, a Lowrey Hydro, at Creve Cour Park, St. Louis, MO.

1969 - Creve Cour Park, Tom's 1st Raceboat


1969 - Creve Cour Park, Lowrey trailer


1969 - Creve Cour Park, Tom Berry at his 1st Race


1969 - Creve Cour, 1st Run


1969 NOA Membership Card


1969 - Warsaw


1969 - Warsaw


1970 - Outboard Racing Association Membership Cards


1970 - Riverfront Park

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1970 - Knoxville, IA


1970 - Eufalla, AL - Working on an Engine


1970 - Eufalla, AL - Wet Pits


1970 - Eufalla, AL - Tom's throttle stuck, boat hit a tree on the bank

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Tom's Racing Trailer - 1971


1971 - Bill Johnson wearing a wig

Bill Johnson & Wig.jpg  

1971 - Riverfront Park races

1971 Riverfront Park 1.jpg  

1971 - Riverfront Park, Tom ready to race

1971 Riverfront Park 2.jpg  

1971 - Riverfront Park, working on the motor in the pits

1971 Riverfront Park 3.jpg  

1971 - Riverfront Park racing

1971 Riverfront Park 4.jpg  

1971 - Swope Park

1971 Swope Park 1.jpg  

1971 - Swope Park, Tom working on his motor

1971 Swope Park 2.jpg  

1971 - racing at Swope Park

1971 Swope park 3.jpg  

1971 - Hydro Racing at Swope Park

1971 Swope Park 5.jpg  

1971 - Tom racing a Runabout at Swope Park

1971 Swope Park 7.jpg  

1971 - Tom and Trailer at Swope Park

1971 Swope Park 12.jpg  

1971 - Swope Park, Hydro racing

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1971 - Swope Park, Tom racing in Hydro

1971 Swope Park 9.jpg  

1971 - Swope Park, Racing into a Turn

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1971 - Swope Park, Tom's trophies won


1971 - Unionville


1971 - Unionville (2)


1971 - Unionville (3)


1971 - Unionville (4)


1971 - Unionville - Jerry Vernon

Unionville7 Jerry vernon.jpg  

1971 - Unionville - Jerry 'broke' the Runabout

Unionville4 Jerry broke the runabout.jpg  

1971 - Lake St. Louis, May 1


1971 - Lake St. Louis - Fred Bonnadonna

LS8 Fred  Bonnadonna.jpg  

1971 - Lake St. Louis (2)

Lk St Louis 1 May 1971.jpg  

1971 - Lake St. Louis (3)


1971 - Lake St. Louis - Tom & Freddie

LS9 Tom & Freddie.jpg  

1971 - Lake St. Louis (4)


1971 - Lake St. Louis - Tom & Fred


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships


7/04/71 - Super Stock East-West Championships.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (2)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (3)

Knox36 Tom & Jan.jpg

Tom Berry & Jan with Tom's Y-32 boat.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (4)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (5)


A Champion motor.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (6)


Every boat & driver had to be weighed before racing.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (7)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (8)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (9)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (10)

Knox20-Brother Jan.jpg

Tom's brother, Jan.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (11)


Tom & Jan.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (12)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (12)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (13)


1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (14)


Mercury 20-H engine.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (15)

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Bob Lowrey and crew.

1971 - Knoxville Super Stock Championships (16)


1971 - Portsmouth, OH


1971 - Portsmouth, OH (2)

Port4 Pat Franke & Friend.jpg

Pat Franke & friend.

1971 - Portsmouth, OH (3)

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Tom with his boat, after nose diving in the 1st turn in rough water.

1971 - Portsmouth, OH (4)


1971 - Portsmouth, OH (5)


1971 - Portsmouth, OH (6)


July 1975, Ft. Worth, TX


This photo is from a race in July of 1975 at Ft. Worth, Texas. According to Tom, the people in the photo are Bill Van, Tom and Butch (Stan Leavendusky Jr).

1975 - Ft. Worth, TX


Also from July, 1975 at Ft. Worth, Texas. The people in the photo are Paul Bogosian, Rex Hall and Tom Berry.

June, 1975 - Huntsville, AL


June, 1975, at Huntsville, Alabama - Tom and Butch preparing for a race.

June 1975 - Tim Chance

June 1975 Al10 Tim Chance.jpg  

June 1975 - Mr. Baldwin, Baldwin Racing Team

June 1975 Al12 Baldwin.jpg  

August, 1975 - Wynona, MN


August, 1975, at Wynona, MN. Tom said 38 drivers qualified for C hydro at that event in fierce competition. (Winona picture - That is Nick Buel from St. Joseph, MO congratulating me on my finish in my qualifying heat of C Hydro. I think I finished second. Lots of C Hydro's there that year. Tom.)

Mid 70's - Racing at Granite City,


(The picture with the three Runabouts - H-3 is Kurts. Y-32 is me. V-23 is Pauli Bogosian. I am really proud of that picture as I was running in tall company. Tom.)

Trophies Won at Alexandria, LA in 1976