1922 Cecil B. De Mille Gold Trophy Race

Races For de Mille Gold Cup At Los Angeles

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The Pacific sparkled like an ocean of gems under a brilliant autumn sun Sunday, September 10th, when 'the first annual race for the Cecil B. de Mille Gold Cup was run at Los Angeles. Myriad white-tipped, flashing wavelets danced merrily over the outer harbor and some of the speedboats danced with them while others rode sedately through. There was a fine chop under a snappy breeze and the going was a bit bumpy for a few of the lighter craft but conditions on the whole were ideal. It was a great event in every sense and one unprecedented on the western sea in the number of starters and their class-seven powerful, peppy perambulators of the pulsating main. Their 99 mile battle was a spectacle.

Hurricane II, William W. Paden's mile-a-minute coast champion, came out victorious and thereby gave a demonstration of speed winning over consistency. Joe Fellows, that veteran mariner who makes it a rule not to stop his Sterling engine between start and finish and has in the sturdy, homely Fellows IV, a vessel as reliable as himself, piloted her in second. He put a kink in his non-stop record, however, by coming to a halt for three-quarters of a minute in the last heat. He plugged along all the way at better than a 40-mile clip and toward the end it looked as though he would beat the Hurricane. The roaring Paden entry had her troubles. In the ninth lap of the third heat she broke a propeller blade and slowed down seriously but managed to limp through the last two heats and over the home plate 3 minutes and 27 seconds to the good. At the end of the second heat she had a 10-minute lead over the Fellows IV.

Only one other-Dustin Farnum's Miss Los Angeles II - finished, necessarily taking third. All the rest. met with difficulties that put them out along the line. Miss Los Angeles was approximately 20 minutes behind the winner. She appeared somewhat out of form. Harry G. Vorhauer, her expert mechanician, met with an accident some weeks previously and was on the injured list until within a few days of the race, so there could be little preparation. Miss Los Angeles, a mighty good boat but always more or less temperamental and erratic, cut some sensational capers. Twice one of her engines cut out and she made sudden and complete turns, tossing up the water in huge white sheets. One of these thrilling didoes happened just as she had turned the third stake and headed for the line. The hull of the surface-propelled speedster was momentarily lost in the fountain of swirling spray and everybody thought she had gone down; but Miss Los Angeles quickly emerged from behind the curtain and hit it up rapidly as ever. Mr. Farnum himself drove two heats-the first and last. Red shirts made the crew conspicuous even at a distance.

The race was a free-for-all event under the auspices of the California Yacht Club and the Los Angeles Athletic Club Motorboat Racing Association. It consisted of three. beats of 33 miles each over a three-mile triangular course-eleven laps to the heat-off the Los Angeles .Athletic Club Outer Harbor anchorage. The largest crowd ever assembled for this form of sport on southern waters was there, proving that the exciting game is becoming popular. Since the Los Angeles Yacht Club consolidated with it the California Yacht Club has 1050 members and nearly 300 boats, so owners, guests and fleet made a formidable and decidedly attractive showing. Mr. de Mille, donor of the $1000 trophy, was on hand with his big auxiliary schooner Seaward, and a hundred other private craft, large and small, rode at anchor in the blue harbor. A passenger vessel carried out a capacity load of spectators from San Pedro, and other ports sent many. Their enthusiasm was expressed in almost continuous cheering.

Fellows IV got away in the lead at the start of the first heat, closely followed by A. L. Fleming's Lincoln, a real husky of the motorboat world, and Ralph Hamlin's Joker II, a diminutive step craft. Next in the order named came Hurricane II, Vogler Boy IV of Portland, the Garbutt Mystery and Miss Los Angeles II. On the first lap Hurricane II fairly leaped into the lead and never was headed despite her propeller accident.

Fred W. Vogler demonstrated his commendable sportsmanship by bringing his entry all the way down from the Oregon metropolis to go after the rich gold trophy and in view of her record she was regarded as an extremely dangerous contender. It was no less disappointing to the Los Angeles enthusiasts than to her owner to see her drop out before she could warm up sufficiently to give a taste of her undoubted speed. She has just completed the second lap at a promising rate when the engine became flooded with sea water and there was nothing more to it. Vogler Boy IV is light, powerful and fast-looking. Damaged in transit. by steamship, considerable repairing was required by her on short notice to put her in the running, and there was not time to do it satisfactorily. Almost anyone but Mr. Vogler would have left her on the ways, but he had her at the start and in as good shape as possible when the gun sounded. The South wants him to come again.

Next to give up the ghost in the same heat was Joker II, so tiny and spry and gaily ,colored that she created a sensation the moment of her appearance, with Mr. Hamlin at the wheel. To say that Joker II has a frolicsome disposition and a flealike manner of flipping from wave to wave is putting it mildly-but she's a good swift boat and a sharp competitor regardless of then idiosyncrasies. The waves spanker this entry terrifically and Mr. Hamlin was getting the worst of it in the way of a rough ride when she succumbed, in the fifth lap. She was so severely pummeled that her hull caved in and she gave a short imitation of a motorboat trip to Dave Jones's locker. Airtight bulkheads prevented the dive. Mr. Hamlin reported the motor seriously damaged, perhaps beyond repair. A veteran auto race driver, and one of the best in the country, Mr. Hamlin gets more kick out of the marine space annihilators than a boy out of a wagonload of giant crackers; and he's just begun.

In this first heat the Mystery made the fastest lap, the sixth, in 3:33.2-50.65 miles per hour. She finished second. This boat's running compares favorably with the action of an ocean liner-smooth, in graceful balance without the earsplitting noises occasioned by the average motor of far less power, but the old hoodoo was on the job again and soon got down to business. The Lincoln was third, Fellows IV fourth and Miss Los Angeles II fifth at the end of the heat.

Fellows IV got away first in the second heat, followed by Hurricane II and Lincoln in the order stated. Then came Miss Los Angeles, a lap and a half back of the leader, and Mystery even more belated because of a broken wire connection. With a news hydroplane carrying a cameraman trailing her, Mystery was showing fine speed and it was the general belief that she had plenty in reserve. This was in the second lap, which she made in 3:32.6, the fastest of the entire race-50.79 miles per hour. In the eighth lap Mystery's propellers worked up, tore out a strut, and crumpled like sheets of tin. The rudder, too, suffered in the smash. Exit Mystery-until the next free-for-all.

Mr. Fleming's Lincoln bad been going steadily and performing splendidly in view of the brief time Engineer Marvin had had for tuning her up. Spark plug trouble developed in the eighth lap and she joined the sideliners. The Lincoln, put up just enough of a race to make it clear that she will seriously have to be reckoned with in future years. This powerboat is a "looker", all white, and built to withstand the rough stiff of the open places. She'll bear close watching as a factor in the winter program at Los Angeles, a city that is determined to make itself the world's yachting center.

For the final heat but three contestants remained, and the only stirring incident was Hurricane II's mishap and her consequent slowing down and danger of losing to Fellows IV. "Wild Bill" Cubbon and Mechanician Dickson did a game piece of work in pulling through with a broken wheel.

Because of the shortness of the turns the racers undoubtedly covered fully 110 miles in making the 99; hence the actual time would be considerably faster than the official, which is 2 hr. 17 min. 49.6 sec.

Order of Finish
Hurricane II W.W. Paden
Mystery F.A. & F.E. Garbutt
Lincoln A.L. Fleming
Fellows IV Joe Fellows
Miss Los Angeles II Dusting Farnum
Vogler Boy IV Fred W. Vogler
Joker II Ralph C. Hamlin

 

(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, October, 1922, pp.14-16)