Bob Frost and "Response"

The following was provided by Rick Rodda regarding Bob Frost who
owned and raced Keaton Boats.

BOB FROST - Keaton Boat Owner and Race Driver
By Rick Rodda


Bob Frost was my very best friend. He passed away at age 67 on August 15, 2011 at his home in Lincoln, California. Bob and I were friends since the mid 1950ís, and we both owned Keatonís in the 1960ís. We spent the last 2-3 weeks of his life reminiscing about our younger days which included countless hours in and around Keaton boats. With the urging of Bobís wife Bonnie, I thought it would be fitting to post some information about Bob on the Keaton website. I put this information together from personal memory, old photos and talks with Bob, Tom Martin, Tom Jr., Jack Keaton and Bobís wife Bonnie.

The Frost family of Sacramento, California purchased their first Keaton around 1961. It was one of the earliest utilities with wood splash rails and a 312 Ford interceptor engine. It was a ski boat and Bob and I spent much time on the Sacramento River skiing and boating. Once, we were lucky enough to make the acquaintance of two mermaids while in this boat. In 1962, Bob actually raced his Keaton utility on the Sacramento River. Although it was not the fastest boat in the race, he was able to out maneuver and out turn the competition and won the race.

A second Keaton was purchased by the Frost family around 1964/65. It was a green metal flake with silver trim, V-drive (racing hull) and was powered by a stock 413 cubic inch Chrysler engine. This became Bobís boat and was used extensively for water skiing, kite flying and plain old fun. I donít recall Bob ever racing this boat. I believe it was sold to someone at Donner Lake in the early 70ís.

Bob was a thrill seeker by nature and had a real desire to drive race boats. He met Tom Martin, owner of the very successful Keaton race boat RESPONSE, while hanging around Jack Keatonís shop. Bob became aware that Tom was in need of a driver for RESPONSE and somehow managed to convince Tom that he could handle the job. Bob told me that at first there was some reluctance by engine builder Joe Bianchini to let Bob drive the boat (capable of 100 MPH speeds). After he won his first race, the concern ceased. I believe Bob drove RESPONSE during the 1965/66 season, and he said he won every race that he finished. Response was retired and sold to a Lake Tahoe dentist around 1967/68. After driving RESPONSE, Bob continued driving in marathon races, racing Rayson Craft boats for Bob Rose and Rudy Ramos. Bob felt that driving RESPONSE was the highlight of his racing days mostly because it was such a challenge and thrill to drive.

There is much more to Bob Frost the person than this snapshot of his early years; he accomplished a great deal with his life. Shortly before he passed away, I asked Bob why he risked racing RESPONSE and pushing it to the limit. His reply was that it was ďa pure adrenaline rushĒ. It struck me at that time that this was the way Bob lived his entire life, the same way he drove RESPONSE Ė at full throttle!