Augusta powerboat racing pioneer dies at 89

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Harold Bateman, a powerboat racing pioneer in the Augusta area, died Monday. He was 89.

Harold Bateman  Augusta Chronicle File
Augusta Chronicle File
Harold Bateman

In the 1960s, outboard motorboat racing on Thurmond Lake was beginning to gain in popularity and Bateman was in the thick of it.

Races were held on Keg Creek out of what is now called Wildwood Park. Bateman and his son, Donald, not only were racing competitors but also did their best to promote the sport wherever they went.

Long before those races got started, Lake Olmstead was the place to go to watch hydroplane races on weekend afternoons.

Bateman's marine dealership in Martinez became a hotbed of powerboat racing activities, with racers dropping by to pick up pointers from the owner, who was an expert at setting up boats and motors to race.

He even sponsored a racing team that included him, his son and others. Come the weekends, they were off to the races throughout the Southeast.

He was responsible, in part, for many area residents getting involved in the sport. They included Rusty Campbell, of Augusta.

"If you wanted your boat to run fast, you couldn't do any better than to talk to Harold," Campbell said. "He was an innovator and had an imagination. Rarely do you find people like Harold who could put that combination together and make it work."

Bateman held many outboard racing records, and even after retiring from racing, he never lost his enthusiasm for the sport.

The funeral will be private. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Road.

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WW1949 06/06/11 - 10:41 pm
Iremember Harold and Donald

Iremember Harold and Donald well. I bought a new Mercury 110 hp from them which was the largest at the time and put it on a 16 foor Renken boad. Did a good job and was fast at the time. Never knew what happened to them after they closed the business. They were fine people and treated me well for the youngster I was-16, 17 or 18-can't remember. Worked all summer to pay back my dad because he loaned me the money.

antoniabranch 06/07/11 - 12:27 am
My condolences goes out to

My condolences goes out to mr.batemans family I knew him he was a good man. He will be truly missed.

Ray Peters
Ray Peters 06/07/11 - 09:03 am
The Peters family was truly

The Peters family was truly blessed by Harold Bateman in a personel, boat racing and professional way. His common sense and spiritual approach in life has been a great inspiration for our family. He was a great man that made the world a better place. He will be truly missed.

Sweet son
Sweet son 06/07/11 - 12:33 pm
Help me! I can't place where

Help me! I can't place where his business was? Sounds like a person that I would have enjoyed knowing. I no longer go but I cherish my years on the lake. Clarks Hill!!!

justthefacts 06/07/11 - 12:38 pm
Sweet, I am pretty sure it

Sweet, I am pretty sure it was on Davis Rd in Martinez. There is a funeral home there now. I could be mistaken.

tazbill 06/07/11 - 04:54 pm
Bateman Marine was located on

Bateman Marine was located on Washington Rd. On the corner where Arby's is located now [up from Kmart].

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