1949 President's Cup
& American Speedboat Championship
My Sweetie Lowers Two Records in Speed-boat race on Potomac
By Clarence E. Lovejoy
Washington, Sept. 17  -- There must be some limit somewhere some day to the spectacular feats Wild Bill Cantrell of Louisville, Ky., can do in a speed boat. But so far there's no stopping him. Today the same rugged, heavy-footed daredevil who also drive fast autos at Indianapolis, hung up two new records in winning the first fifteen-mile heat for the President's Cup, and won it so easily he made it look ridiculously simple.
In the same My Sweetie, owned by Horace E. Dodge of Detroit, which won the Gold Cup, the Red Bank sweepstakes and the Silver Cup, all in this one memorable speed boat summer. Cantrell on Potomac River water, roughened and choppy because an upstream wind was bucking a downstream current, was clocked for the 15 miles in 11:27 4/5.
This is really something. Translated, it means 78.51 miles and hour, which erases the old President's Cup heat record of 77.856 made last year by Danny Arena in Such Crust I.
On the zooming first 2½ mile lap, Cantrell was clocked with a speed of 83.18 mph, which supplants the previous lap record of 81.06, also made by Arena last September.
Any landlubber who has driven his auto 83 miles an hour on smooth concrete can imagine Cantrell's feat in a twisting, gyrating, churning, weaving boat that puddlejumps between wave crests, and the skill and know-how of the pilot to keep form capsizing.
Is Left Far Astern
Three-quarters of a mile astern at the finish was Such Crust I, this year driven by Lou Fageol of Kent, Ohio, and in third place was another Jack Schafer creation from the Detroit Yacht Club. Such Crust II, piloted by Arena but riding alone today and riding sadly. His younger brother, Gene Arena, who is usually his mechanic alongside, was hit by polio early this month and is hospitalized in Detroit.
All six starters in the cup's first heat were able to finish despite the dangerous water and even a seventh or eighth may appear for the second and third 15-mile heats tomorrow.
In fourth place was Etta, owned and driven by George Sarant of Freeport, L.I. who won last week's Harwood Trophy for circumnavigating Manhattan. Fifth was W. Melvin Crook of Montclair, N.J., in his rebuilt Betty V and last was Cameron Peck's Astræa II of Chicago with an emergency pilot at the wheel, pressed into service at the last minute.
He was Joel Thorne, wealthy sportsman, formerly of New Rochelle, N.Y. and in pre-war days an outboard hydroplane speedboat devotee who later turned to auto racing. Cantrell succeeded in lapping the last three finishers.
E.D. Stair is Beached
E.D. Stair [Jr.], a veteran Detroit pilot, had been expected to drive Astræa II but he was beached in disciplinary action by referee Charles F. Chapman of New York.
Stair made the mistake of coming out onto the Potomac from the inboard pits for some testing during the races of the Class F outboards. This churned up the river course, endangering the fragile hydroplanes, whose drivers protested. Chapman thereupon decreed Stair could not compete in this regatta.
Miss Pepsi , owned by the Dossin Brothers of Detroit and driven by Chuck Thompson, threw a rod through the motor block in an early morning trial, losing a chance to race in the afternoon's cup event. The Dossins were trying tonight to bring another Allison engine by 'plane in the hopes of competing tomorrow.
In the three-boat first heat today among the 404 cubic inch 7-litres, Joe Van Blerck Jr. of Freeport, L.I. shot his Aljo into a lead at the start and never was headed for the four long laps, totaling ten miles.
Elam in Second Place
The final heat will be raced tomorrow. Runner-up today went to Oliver Elam of Ashland, Ky., in Mercury, and third to Lou Fageol of Kent, Ohio, the originator of the 7-litre class with So-Long.
The former Glen Head policeman, Ben Jankowski, now an aircraft technician with Grumman out on Long Island, has been knocking on the door of top level outboard hydroplane attention since he took up racing seriously after the war. Today he landed in limelight's center in a big way, winning three hydroplane events with the best scoring totals in six heats.
Jankowski was no respecter of rank either. With his Class B outfit he took straight heats ahead of one of the national champions, Douglas M. Creech of Charlotte, NC and ahead of Vic Scott.
The, having found new revs and new speeds on the end of his throttle, Jankowski, with his Class C rig, divided a first and second place in the two heats with Creech and emerged the event winner on better elapsed times although their point totals were tied at 700.
In the Class F event Emil Mayer Jr. of College Point L.I. who took first heat with the only honest-to-goodness four-cylinder Class F motor, conked out in the second stanza and Jankowski with his stepped-up Class C outfit carried off the race honors with a top score, All in all his combined totals for six heats amounted to 2,200.
|7 Litre Class - First Heat 10 miles|
|1||Aljo||Joe Van Blerck Jr.||Freeport, L.I.|
|2||Mercury||Oliver Elam||Ashland, Ky|
|3||So Long||Lou Fageol||Kent Ohio|
|Time: 8:58, Speed 66.914 mph|
|President's Cup - First Heat, 15 miles|
|1||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell||Louisville, Ky.|
|2||Such Crust I||Lou Fageol||Kent, Ohio|
|3||Such Crust II||Dan Arena||Detroit|
|4||Etta||George Sarant||Freeport, L.I.|
|5||Betty V||Mel Crook||Upper Montclair, N.J.|
|6||Astræa II||Joel Thorne||Chicago|
|Speed: 78.51 (New President's Cup heat record)
My Sweetie's first lap speed of 83.18 (new Cup lap record)
Time: 11:27 4/5
(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 18, 1949)