Four European Championship titles in a row…. the 1976 Race season

I was very excited about year 1976.
This was my second year as an exclusive authorized Evinrude dealer, and my business was doing way better than expected.
On top of that the SE Class European/Continental Championship race was going to take place in Sweden.  I could be the first driver in history to win 4 in a row.
I asked Franco Clerici to build me a boat with some of my own input  and for the first time Evinrude/Sweden sent a driver to Cremona Italy to pick the boat up.
The boat was exactly the way I wanted, and we painted the boat to match the 1976 Evinrude Hustler.
OMC told me to start the season with a stock 75 hp motor, and as soon as the new Evinrude FT-19S was ready they sent me one.
There was rumors that Mercury was coming out with a second generation of 650 XS and I was disappointed that the new Evinrude was delayed.
Early every spring the Swedish Power Boat Federation invited all the Press and Media to a party at Gåshaga Wärdshus.
I took my very good looking boat to that place early in the morning and covered it up to make it more interesting.
The press people asked me if they could take a photo of my “secret Boat”, and I told them.. No…  Only the rear of the Clerici cat.
The day after I got all the headlines in the news papers and many pictures of the Evinrude motor. Not my “secret boat”…. The plan worked perfect!! Remember, I was selling outboards not race boats.
We raced 5 or 6 races, before the big one in Nora, and my boat was perfect. First place in all the races and the next one was now the European Championship.
One week before the race I was told the new Evinrude FT-19S was on the way to Sweden.
Way to late, because I was not happy starting to change things only a few days before the Big Race. I felt pretty good I could win with my stock 75, but OMC told me to install the new engine. We did and tested. The top speed was better, but not so good after the turns.
Well, at the race in Nora there was many people upset because only Bo Nilsson and I had the new engine. I told OMC I can win with the old engine, but was told to just race and stay out of politics.
Lots of SE boats at the race site.   I was worried about sabotage at night, so my friend Christer “Monstret” Eriksson was guarding the boat all night with jumper cables in his hand to scare people away.
Same type of sprint race, 4 heat.. 3 counts and clock start or flying start as it was called in Swedish. Everything was perfect at the last practice: the boat, the balance, set up, prop, engine and the driver was ready.
Without bragging, but I was very good to time the start. Always wide open when I crossed the starting line and that is a big part of winning a race.
I won the first three heat and Gert Lowisin was starting to take my engine apart when they still raced for second place. At that time I did not want Gert to do that, because he worked for Volvo Penta.
Gert was part responsible for the Volvo Penta/Konig OE engine.
Anyway, he was the Chief Technical Inspector for the race and after 3 hours he said officially that my engine was 100 % legal.
Now I was 4 X European Champion and celebrated with a big Outboard sale at my dealership.
The next race was the OE World Championship in Aurontzo, Italy and Paul Kalb told me he was going to use some local Italien drivers for the race to save money. Cut budget he told me!!!
That’s when Billy Huzell the owner of the Evinrude Sweden told me to keep the Evinrude Ft-19S and race Roslagsloppet next weekend
with my Offshore Piraya two seater.
Well, I did and won the race with Bertil Wik as a co-pilot. We was so fast, and arrived way to early in Oregrund. (2,5 hour race with refueling)
There was no finish line yet….
Bo and I made a plan to fly to Auronzo, Italy just to watch the OE World Championship. The ON World Championship was at the same time.
Paul Kalb was not happy to see me there and Roger Jenkins was upset with Paul Kalb to, so Roger Jenkins was racing the Volvo Penta/Konig at this race.
This was the first time the Volvo was doing really good and Roger Jenkins was leading the race when something went wrong.
Well, my brain started to spin: Me – Volvo – Sweden – Problem with Paul Kalb – OMC kicking out Billy Huzell who really was behind my success in racing
The drivers Paul Kalb picked was way behind in the race and I was smiling.
Remember that OMC was using laughing gas to go faster, but that did not help.
This was also the first time I did see Renato Molinari play dirty, well not really Renato but his second boat driven by Zoppi I think his name was. He sank Cees VD Velden on purpose by running in to his boat just in front of us at the far end of the race course. Molinari ended up winning both OE and ON at that race, but not really in a proper way. (ON)
Paul Kalb had a bad bad weekend, and after the Race he apologized. Now he wanted Bo and Lars to race Amsterdam and Rotterdam with one of the OMC factory OE boats.
From Swedish Daily News/Dagens Nyheter by Rune Månzon July 21 1976..a few days before the Nora race.
DN Nora 76
 From Swedish Daily News/Dagens Nyheter by Rune Månzon July 26 1976..Monday after the Nora race.
DN Nora 76 2
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