George Lines and the 'Sparkys'
George Lines and his Sparky boats dominated Class A and Class B racing at the end of the 1940s and in the early 1950s. He started his career running flash steamers but then moved on to IC hydros with the first of his boats named 'Sparky', and a 15cc sideport motor. It was 'Sparky II' that became such an iconic design as it was held to be the first of the modern hydros. The sideport motor was re-engineered with 360degree porting, eventually sporting the exhaust belt and twin silencers that made it so recognisable.
|George with the 30cc 'Big Sparky'||George and Stan Poyser||Sparky II|
|Early boat and sideport motor||First version of Big Sparky|
|Stan Poyser and George with first Big Sparky||15cc and 30cc versions|
|Sparky II being fuelled up||Launched||Emptied out|
|Big Sparky at Southampton, hence lack of silencers. Distinctly shallow water|
Below is one of a brace of photos of Sparky II as a new boat, taken by Edgar Westbury that fired a lifelong interest in tethered hydros for a student in London in the late 60s. By then the boat was way out of date and had been scrapped, only the motor surviving, and by an almost impossible series of coincidences, ending up with said student some forty years later. The second photo is the last known to have been taken of George in competition, seen here with Charles Watkins at Marquette Park Chicago in 1957.
|The new Sparky II||George with Big Sparky and Charles Watkins in Chicago|
Photos are from the Westbury Archive, by courtesy of the Westbury family, Peter Hill, Rob Bamford and the late Stan Poyser.