Robert Theoret was born 64 years ago in Valleyfield, Que., home of the oldest continuously run powerboat regatta in Canada. Robert grew up with hydroplane racing and started driving in 1970 when he purchased a 145 c.i. class boat that he named Miss Virgo. The following year, he bought a rear-engine, or cab-over 145, which carried on the Virgo name. From 1973 to 1979, Robert was virtually unbeatable. He won 10 Canadian and North American high point championships and set five speed records along the way. In the late 1970s, he served as a technical inspector and referee for the Canadian Boating Federation. In 1980, Robert and Guy Lafleur, an architect, purchased a 22.5 foot Grand Prix boat which they named Grand Prix Valleyfield (444). From 1982 through 1988, he dominated the GP class winning 22 of 65 races and was Canadian high-point champion every year except 1987. He also was U.S. and world high-point champion in 1982, ’83, ’84 and ’88 setting three new world speed records. He retired in 1989 and became an owner/manager. His two-boat team won the Canadian, U.S and world high-point championship plus a North American championship and set two more world speed records. He also found time to be chairman of the Grand Prix Hydroplane Association in 1984, ’89, ’90 and ’91. In his day, Robert Theoret was a major sports star and celebrity in Quebec, winning the Merite Sportif Quebecois award for the Athlete of the Year (Motonautisme) in 1974, ’82, ’83 and ’84. He came to be known as the Gilles Villeneuve of boat racing.
Image via Performance Boat