North Idaho

Boat racing legend plans to return to Coeur d'Alene

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A legend of hydroplane racing's piston-powered era plans will return to Coeur d'Alene this year as a long-disbanded race is resurrected.

Billy Schumacher, of Seattle, won an impressive string of Unlimited Class hydroplane races in the 1960s and '70s and claimed back-to-back national championships.

He's retired, but the Spokesman-Review reports he's returning to Coeur d'Alene on Labor Day weekend with a boat he owns, but doesn't pilot himself.

The Diamond Cup race ended in 1968, a victim of funding and lack of volunteers. But it's returning this year.

Schumacher remembers the race's heyday, when it was punctuated by drunken crowds who stayed up all night in Coeur d'Alene -- and caused headaches for police.

He also remembers numerous other pilots who died in crashes, many of whom were friends.