Jim Sedam in his final year as an Unlimited owner in 1987.
Jim Sedam in his final year as an Unlimited owner in 1987.
Madison native Jim Sedam, former owner of the U-22 Unlimited hydroplane, died Wednesday morning. He was 69.

Sedam, who graduated from Madison High School and lived nearly his entire life in Madison, owned and operated Kentuckiana Paving and later Sedam Contracting Corp. before retiring to his horse farm outside Madison.

For five years in the 1980s, Sedam owned the "other" Unlimited team based in Madison, the U-22 with Hanover resident Todd Yarling at the wheel.

Although he never won a race, Sedam's team was competitive. Running under sponsorships of Tosti Asti, Chet's Music, Pantry Pride, Risley's, Cellular One and Coors' among others, he had three second-place finishes and four third-place finishes at the Unlimited level, all with Yarling driving.

Yarling gave Sedam a third-place finish in his first race as an owner, the Missouri Governor's Cup at Lake-of-the-Ozarks, Mo. in 1983. That was the same race that Ron Snyder drove the Miss Madison to victory.

All three of Sedam's runner-up finishes came on the salt-water courses at Miami and San Diego. In 1987, Yarling nearly caught a slowing Jim Kropfeld and the Miss Budweiser at the end of the race in Miami, losing by only .971 mph.

A year earlier, the salt water at San Diego knocked all of the turbine boats out of the race and Yarling finished second behind Ron Armstrong and the U-80 Miss Bahia.

A rule change required all boats to have an enclosed canopy starting in 1988 and Sedam was unwilling to make the conversion or build a new boat and pulled out of the sport.

In addition to owning his own team, he also sponsored another boat which was owned by Madisonians Graham Heath and Bill Cantrell in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That boat ran under the Miss Kentuckiana Paving banner.

Sedam is the third former or current Unlimited owner to die in the past several months. Fred Leland and Al Thoreson, both of which competed against Sedam in the 1980s, died before the current season started. Leland's team, which campaigns both the U-99 and U-100 entries, is still currently on the circuit.

Sedam is survived by his wife Nancy Sedam, who was listed as co-owner of the U-22, as well as two sons and three daughters,

Visitation will be held at Vail-Holt Funeral & Cremation Service in Madison on Friday from 4-8 p.m. The funeral will be Saturday at 10 a.m.