1926 Detroit Sweepstakes - Gold Cup Class Participation

150 Mile Sweepstakes

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But to get back to the real racing of the meet, of which there was plenty. The principal event was the Sweepstakes, a speed and endurance race of 150 miles — 50 times around the 3-mile course. Nine boats started, in spite of a very rough sea roiling up the course, kicked up by a strong west wind blowing against the current. Water conditions could hardly have been worse.

After a paced lap to get the boats squared away they were given the gun as they were lined up coming down the stretch. Cigarette, Gordon Hamersley's new duralumin flier, got a shade the best of the start and immediately shot into the lead, going like a scared cat. She is a beautiful craft, designed by F. K. Lord, and is the first metal boat to be seen in one of these events. Miss Syndicate, driven by Horace E. Dodge, was on Cigarette's stern, and hung there like grim death as the fleet tore around the course, throwing water that drenched the crews. Before the first turn was reached Watercar Detroit, driven by J. H. R. Cromwell, turned turtle as she struck the wash from the leaders and hove her crew into the chilly waters of the Detroit River. Neither of them was hurt. Nuisance, driven by Mrs. Delphine Cromwell, started, but wisely gave up on account of the rough water.

Rowdy, driven by "Vic" Kliesrath, fresh from her triumph at Manhasset Bay, set an even pace of approximately 49 m.p.h. and maintained it, her driver wisely refraining from killing her in the rough water. Cigarette led for some nine or ten laps, and showed the best speed of the race, doing 58.868 m.p.h. on the third lap. Then Miss Syndicate, running beautifully in the rough going, drew up on her and passed her on the 10th lap as the Cigarette began to slow down. Miss Syndicate was designed by George Crouch, of the Dodge Company. She is a remarkably balanced boat, taking more kindly to the seas than any other boat in the fleet.

With the race half run Cigarette began to slow down and on the 31st lap was forced out owing to broken and leaky gasoline tanks and connections, as the result of the shaking up she had received. Miss Syndicate then kept the lead until forced into the pit for fuel. Continuing, she ran several very fast laps at some 58 m.p.h., but then her fuel pumps began to fail and she was finally forced out by low gasoline pressure on the 49th lap, with only three miles to go to finish. This gave Rowdy, who was then leading, her chance, and though she was slowing up, she flashed across the line at the end of 50 laps in the lead and took a great race at an average of 48.25 m.p.h. Miss Indianapolis, driven by her owner, F. L. Sanford, running most consistently, was second only 4 minutes, 32 seconds behind. Rascal, owned and driven by Caleb Bragg, was third, the only other survivor of the long grind.

The summary:

Boat Owner And Driver Elap. Time M.P.H
Rowdy C. G. Fisher, V. Kliesrath 3:06:31.6 48.250
Miss Indianapolis F. L. Sanford 3:11:04.4 47.102
Rascal Caleb Bragg 3:25:02. 43.895
Miss Syndicate Dodge Bros. Ass'n., H. E. Dodge Out on 49th lap  
Cigarette L.G. Hammersley Out on 31st lap  
Baby Gar VI Gar Wood Out in 24th lap, broken valve  
Water Car Detroit H. E. Dodge, J. H. R. Cromwell Capsized, 1st lap  
Horace H. C. Dillman, F. G. Ericson Out on 11th lap  
Nuisance Mrs. D. D. Cromwell Withdrew 1st lap  

 

(Excerpted from Yachting, October 1926, pp.27-29, 108+)