1950 Detroit Memorial

Dodge Speed Boat First at Detroit

1950 Detroit Gold Cup Programme Cover
1950 Detroit Gold Cup Programme Cover

DETROIT. July 29 [1950] - When it comes to meeting regatta conditions head on, in fair weather or foul, with flat water or rough, My Sweetie, the Gold Cup speed boat owned by Major Horace E. Dodge, demonstrated again this afternoon, it is America's most reliable, all-around craft.

Today, while the Detroit River alternately raged under lightning and rain squalls and flattened out under occasional calms, My Sweetie, driven twice by William J. (Wild Bill) Cantrell of Louisville KY, and once by Lou Fageol the Kent OH manufacturer, captured three straight 15-mile heats of the Detroit Memorial Trophy Race.

The final point score found My Sweetie with 1,200. In the runner-up spot, with three seconds was Jack Schafer's Such Crust I, piloted by the transplanted Californian, Danny Foster, credited with 900 points. Third was Guy Lombardo whose Tempo VI had a third and two fourths for 563 points.

Nearly every other top-bracket Gold cup and unlimited class speed boat in sight was here today, save one. The exception was Stanley Sayres' Slo-mo-shun IV of Seattle, last week's Gold Cup winner here on a mill pond-like river, which today was under wraps in a local boat yard, awaiting the Harmsworth Regatta in early September.

Thousand of Detroit regatta fans are divided, some with praise, many with criticism, over the Sayres decision not to take on all comers in all varying racing conditions. Many point to the fact that in the elimination trials in August to select the team of three United States craft to defend the British International or Harmsworth trophy against the challenge of Harold Wilson's Miss Canada IV, boats of rugged construction, able to take battering, must get full consideration by the selection committee.

My Sweetie's total 45 miles of racing today was at a surprisingly good average of 75.293 mph, which is a new record for the Memorial race, previously held at 73.665 which R. Stanley Dollar Jr., made last year in his ill-fated Skip-A-Long.

Today's fastest heat on wretched water was the second, when Cantrell was still at the wheel, 75.841 mph. The best of the three-mile laps was the first of the initial heat when Cantrell was clocked at 79.464 mph.

Cantrell's first heat was at a speed of 74.607 and Fageol's heat, when he replace the bruised Cantrell, suffering from last week's injuries when he capsized in Delphine X, another Dodge boat, and with a new chest ailment suffered today, was at a speed of 75.431. Fageol's initial lap soared to 79.272 which seemed to demonstrate My Sweetie has what it takes with any good driver in command.

As a matter of fact, she began shipping water from an unfound leak during the second heat and was somewhat heavy with her bilge filling up in the third. At the final gun, Fageol had no time for the usual regatta protocol and pomp of circling over to the judges' tower for congratulations. Instead, he steered a fast course to the pits before My Sweetie could founder with her leaking.

My Darling Hits Obstacle

Five starters made the final heat an exciting one. Such Crust I finished some 400 yards astern of My Sweetie and behind Foster came My Darling of Springfield IL, Lombardo's Tempo VI from Freeport LI and Cameron Peck's Astraea II of Chicago. My Darling is a newcomer to big league speed boat racing and has a two-man crew, Andy Marcy, as owner-driver and Bob Perry as mechanic.

In the second heat, My Darling hit a submerged obstacle and stove a hole in her hull. Albin Fallon's Miss Great Lakes, with Al D'Eath driving, conked out at the start of the first heat, caught fire and had to be towed to safety by the rescue patrol.

My Sweetie's first heat victory came before the southerly wind freshened. Wavelets were beginning to show their white caps, especially on the Belle Isle bridge end of the three-mile oval.

Cantrell shot out of the flotilla of seven starters to cross the line twenty yards ahead. He was never overtaken. Foster, the transplanted Californian driving Such Crust I, tried to hand on, but the gap widened with every one of the five laps until at the checkered flag finish My Sweetie was a good quarter-mile in front.

With the unfavorable water and wind conditions, My Sweetie's speed for the fifteen-mile heat was an undistinguished 74.607 mph. Cantrell's fastest lap was the first, when he was clocked at a speed of 79.464.

Third place went to Lombardo in Tempo VI nearly a half lap astern. Fourth honors went to Glenn L. Helmka, Detroit automotive executive, driving Astraea II of Chicago, owned by Cameron Peck. Fifth was captured by the reconditioned Miss Great Lakes, owned and piloted by Fallon.

First Heat, 15 miles
1. My Sweetie W.G. Cantrell 74.607 mph
2. Such Crust I Dan Foster 71.238
3. Tempo VI Guy Lombardo 67.838
4. Astraea II Glenn L. Helmka 62.335
5. Miss Great Lakes Albin Fallon 58.025
My Darling, Andy Marcy, Springfield IL and Miss Kay, James Webster, Dearborn MI did not finish.
Second Heat, 15 miles
1. My Sweetie 75.431
2. Such Crust I 75.065
3. My Darling 64 .515
4. Tempo VI 64.755
5. Astraea II 60.852
Miss Great Lakes, with Al D'Eath driving in place of Fallon did not finish.
Final Heat, 15 miles
1. My Sweetie 75.431
2. Such Crust I 73.352
3. My Darling 66.724
4. Tempo VI 64.712
5. Astraea II 57.065
Final point score
My Sweetie 1,200
Such Crust I 900
Tempo VI 563
My Darling 450
Astraea II 423
Miss Great Lakes 127


Final Results
1 U-3 My Sweetie (1)
2 U-1 Such Crust (1)
3 G-13 Tempo VI
4 U-16 My Darling
5 U-9 Astraea II
6 U-4 Miss Great Lakes
DNF G-3 Miss Kay
DNC U-99 Miss Pepsi (2)
DNC U-50 Gale
DNQ U-6 Fickle Eye IV [Fickle Eye]

(Reprinted from the New York Times July 30, 1950)