© Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Speedboat and hydroplane Championships 1921 - 1925 Miss Liberty won the Henley on Brisbane Speed Boat Championship – 13th October 1923. Photo from Williams Collection Century Tire arrives in Australia Right: 450 h.p. Liberty engine in Tortoise II. The steering wheel indicates the size of the engine. The steamer Kandahar, carrying Century Tire, arrived in Brisbane from New York on 23rd September 1923. She didn’t look like a winner when she was unpacked from the huge case after her trans-Pacific journey. Under Mac’s instructions, Century Tire was given an overhaul. Her hull was in a bad state, and her bottom was very roughly coated with clumsy copper paint. She was sandpapered and coated in orthodox racing fashion, with a black lead preparation, which offered the least possible resistance to water. Her Liberty engine was taken apart and reassembled with care under the expert supervision of Jack Smith, who had a great deal of experience in dealing with Liberty motors. On her first trial on the river her huge engine didn’t miss a beat. Fuel consumption was heavy at 1 ½ miles per gallon (1.5 litres per kilometre) and cost five pounds an hour. A lot of money in those days. The next race meeting for the Queensland Motor Yacht Club was held on Saturday 8th October 1923. Miss Liberty’s first race did not disappoint the crowds. At times she ran so fast that she lifted out of the water. She raced away from her opponents, Q.P., Miss Albion and Gee Whiz, to win the race. A week later Miss Liberty won the Speed Boat Championship at the Henley on Brisbane event. After the success of Miss Liberty, Mac was wondering if she might have been a better boat for the big Cup. The Rymill brothers in Adelaide were concerned about the growing competition for their Tortoise. Mac wrote a letter of encouragement to them – “I note you are once more beginning to take an interest in your hydroplane Tortoise. You refer to her as your old tub, but if Tortoise is a tub what must my original Miss Brisbane have been, for your boat left mine as if standing…if all goes well you can expect me in Adelaide ‘when the whips are cracking.’”  The Rymill brothers had been very confident in the ability of Tortoise to defend the Cup until they had heard about Century Tire. So they too, cabled to America for designs of a new boat. Completed in record time, the new hydroplane Tortoise II, designed by John L. Hacker, was a single-step hydroplane, 26 feet in length. The 12 cylinder 450 h.p. Liberty engine from the old Tortoise was re-used in Tortoise II.   Her first trials gave promise to sensational speeds. Two months after her arrival in Australia, Century Tire was finally launched and went for a spin. Photo from Williams Collection