SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
September 22, 1975
BAD BOUNCEAround the tennis circuit they're saying that when Martina Navratilova defected to the U.S., she asked the State Department, "Do you cache Czechs here?"
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 22, 1975


View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4


Riordan had some other things to say about tennis—or, to be specific, about Connors. "I'm phasing myself out of the day-by-day routine with Jimmy," he told Bill Tanton of the Baltimore Evening Sun. "For one thing, I'm getting a little too old to travel all over the world with Jimmy, as I have the past few years. It's O.K. for him—he's just turned 23—but I'll soon be 56. I'm not disassociating from Connors; it's just that it's going to be better for me now."

As for Connors' decision to play Davis Cup tennis and the settling of his lawsuits, Riordan said, "It was time to change the image. A few years ago Jimmy had the talent, but it was the controversy that made him the biggest thing in tennis. That image served its purpose, but Jimmy is older now, more mature. He's a million-dollar business. The new image is better for his business interests.

"He wanted to go to Los Angeles after Forest Hills, even though he had a contract calling for him to be in Philadelphia. The old Connors would have gone straight to L.A., but I told him, 'Jimmy, this is business. Go to Philadelphia.' And he did."


This item is dedicated to anybody who has ever vibrated to the fearful thunder of an oncoming truck-trailer on the highway, those monsters that roar up behind and fill your rear-vision mirror with the awesome image of their giant radiators. They seem to go awfully fast, right? Sure enough, one of them hit an official 132.154 mph the other day, and who knows what is to become of us all?

The clocking was achieved not on a highway, thank the Lord, but on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. It was done by a six-wheeled, 17,500-pound truck-tractor out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, the kind you might see behind you on any road: a conventional Kenworth about 10 feet high and one lane wide, powered by a 1,150-cu. in. Cummins diesel engine, turbo-charged and after-cooled to produce 600 hp. The outfit was driven by Harold Miller, who was accompanied by co-driver Larry Lange. Miller and Lange were thoughtful enough to unhitch the trailer first and park it off to one side; towing it along would have increased the rolling weight to 13 tons.

Barreling across the desert straightaway, air horns no doubt at the ready, Miller and Lange's Liberty Belle broke just about every record for such behemoths: in seven runs they smashed various standing-start and flying-start marks at a quarter mile, a half kilometer, a full kilometer and a mile—14 in all, each of which has been certified by the U.S. Auto Club as a national record.

The idea of the speed test was to glamorize long-line trucking, basically a well-meant mission, and to demonstrate that stock machines can hold up on high-speed runs. Miller and Lange were selected by Center Line, Inc., sponsor of the affair, precisely because neither had any racing experience and each was "typical of the thousands of truckers operating on the nation's expressways."

Their rig was pure stock, right off the shelf, so to speak, and Miller used only nine of the 20 gears available. If this is true, it means our worst suspicions are confirmed: no matter how hot your Mustang or Caddy or Firebird, there is no escape when one of these juggernauts flicks its lights and moves out to overtake you. You might as well pull over to the right and slow down.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4