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Super weekend honours Canada’s most famous raceboat

Doris, Cody and Mark Hayward unveil the international stamp.

Miss Supertest III owners Beverly and Jim Thompson unveiled the Canada Post domestic  stamp.

Picton’s John Lyons set out to achieve three goals, seemingly unattainable, but hit the trifecta last weekend as Prince Edward County celebrated the 50th anniversary Canada’s most famous raceboat.

John Lyons

Lyons and his family have a long association with power boat racing. He spearheaded a campaign to honour Miss Supertest III with almost two years of letter writing, emails, phone calls and presentations.
Special events organized by the anniversary committee were highlighted by Canada Post unveiling a commemorative stamp collection; a re-dedication – officially – of Hayward Long Reach and its dedication as a heritage site.
The weekend celebrated Miss Supertest’s legendary racing at Picton; the members of the Thompson family, who designed, built, raced and still own ‘Miss Supertest III’, and the late Bob Hayward, the boat’s popular driver, who died tragically during a race on the Detroit River in 1961, in ‘Miss Supertest II’, just weeks after his third straight ‘Harmsworth Trophy Races’ World Championship Unlimited Hydroplane victory.  The ‘Long Reach’ section of the Bay of Quinte, now ‘Hayward/Long Reach’ was the site of three of the legendary Unlimited Hydroplane’s greatest victories in 1957, 1960 and 1961. Following Hayward’s death, the ‘Supertest’ race boats were retired and the ‘Long Reach’ was renamed ‘Hayward/Long Reach’ in his honour.
At Saturday’s re-dedication of the Hayward Long Reach, councillor Terry Shortt explained how Lyons had found out the name change was never officially completed and worked with the Ontario Geographic Names Board and Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey to tie up 50 years of loose ends.
Lyons was delighted to see Mr. Thompson, members of the Hayward family and some from the ‘Supertest’ Team attend the ceremony, noting they deserve all the honours.
“It’s an extremely rare ceremony and a well deserved end to the effort after 50 years of being lost and several months of getting the name back. The people of the area spoke overwhelmingly in favour of the name change in 1962 and even more overwhelmingly again in 2011. The heritage designation is a cherry on the top.
“This County, this country, the Hayward family, the Thompson family deserve all the accolades that have been showered on them this weekend, but I my sure that they would exchange all of them to have their hero, Uncle Bob Hayward back.”
Special guests included Miss Supertest III owners Jim and Beverly Thompson, the late Bob Hayward’s sister-in-law Doris, her sons Mark and Scott and grandson Cody.
The celebrations culminated Monday with Canada Post unveiling the stamp collection.
Lyons’ success in championing a stamp is significant as the stamp selection committee at Canada Post receives about 600 applications a year and fewer than two dozen are approved.
Prince Edward Hastings MP Daryl Kramp noted he was particularly proud that day to note his parents were Supertest dealers. He noted Miss Supertest is one of the few non-human inductees in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and represents Canadiana at its best.
MPP Leona Dombrowsky honoured Thompson and Lyons for “helping to keep the legend alive.”
Mayor Peter Mertens also paid tribute to Lyons and the Miss Supertest anniversary committee.
‘Miss Supertest III’ was the centrepiece display at an antique and classic race boat show. A  documentary film about the ‘Miss Supertest’ saga was presented by Peter Lockyer, Monday at the Regent Theatre.
“This was a chance for a whole new generation of Canadians to discover the ‘Miss Supertest’ saga, a true Canadian icon and legend,” said Lyons.

Dr. Andre Lapierre and Morgan Goadsby, of the Ontario Geographic Names Board, present Mark Hayward with a commemorative plaque.

Dr. Andre Lapierre and Morgan Goadsby, of the Ontario Geographic Names Board, present Mark Hayward with a commemorative plaque during the official re-dedication and heritage designation of the Hayward Long Reach Lookout.

Doris and Mark Hayward, left, pose for photographs at the Hayward Long Reach Lookout with Miss Supertest III owner Jim Thompson and Scott Hayward.

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