A Taste for Speed
The Biography of Will Braden: Canada's Top Raceboat Driver 1915-1958
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Bill Braden was the nephew of Harry Greening, Canada's first great raceboat driver in the 1920s. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he lived there for many years before moving to nearby Waterdown, Ontario, near the start of W.W. II. He always had 'a taste for speed', purchasing his first motorcycle, an Ariel, in England at age 19, and going on to motorbike across war-threatened Europe in 1935. For the rest of his life, he kept fast and fancy cars around his house and reveled in their ownership. During World War II, he volunteered for the Canadian Army and became a Major in the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, and served in Canada, as well as in England and Northwest Europe from 1941-1945. For a decade after the war, he established himself as the top speedboat driver in Canada. He drove his own 'Ariel' boats in competitions both in Canada and the United States. His reputation was such that in 1951, when Colonel Gordon Thompson of London, Ontario, purchased 'Miss Canada IV' and renamed her 'Miss Supertest', he hired Bill Braden to drive the boat. This began a five year relationship with the Thompson family, which culminated in the 1956 Harmsworth Trophy challenge, where for the first time, a Canadian boat captured one heat off of the American boat, and where Bill Braden proved his courage while almost dying behind the wheel of his hydroplane. The story had a sad ending two summers later, when Will returned to boat racing, and was killed in a freak accident while competing for the Duke of York Trophy on Fairy Lake at Huntsville, Ontario. He left behind a widow and six young children, as well as a sterling legacy that has survived five plus decades of scrutiny.
- iUniverse, September 2010
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