1951 Steel Cup
Miss Pepsi Captures the Steel Cup in Picturesque Regatta at Pittsburgh
Thompson Drives to Easy Triumph
Wins With Miss Pepsi When Schafer's Craft Is Forced Out After First Heat
Stern Wheelers In Race
Finish in Dead Heat Before 200,000—Contests Run Over Course in Three Rivers
By Clarence E. Lovejoy, Special to the New York Times
PITTSBURGH, June 2 — The sensational shiny mahogany speed boat Miss Pepsi, which last fall won the President's Cup on the Potomac to close the season of 1950, ushered in the season of 1951 this afternoon by winning the new Steel Cup in Pittsburgh's gala excitement known as "Welcome Week."
Regattas have been held on nearly every lake, river, harbor and mud pond in America but none is quite like this new fixture only two-years old.
This is river country, the race course is, actually not on one stream but on three. It starts up, the Allegheny, twists round a hairpin turn to run down past the mouth of the Monongahela and then down the Ohio before turning back to the judges' stand.
Old-time river stern-wheelers have a habit of coming around bends in the streams where tiny fragile hydroplanes are going a mile a minute or faster. Indeed, the stern-wheelers sort of stole the show today, particularly when the feature speed boat event fell flat. While more than 200,000 spectators cheered, two of the most famous of all river boats belched black smoke, raced up the Monongahela on a three-mile course. Nearly everybody in Western Pennsylvania had bets on the outcome.
Judged a Dead Heat
It was a dead heat, according to the judges, between the U. S. Steel Company's 175-foot long stern- wheeler Homestead, which won last year and in an earlier revival of river racing in 1949, and Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation's William Larimer Jones, 163 feet overall.
While New London or Newport may have its spectacular fleets of trim white ocean-going yachts, Pittsburgh today had plenty of pleasure cruisers but also many stern-wheelers, black or gray, and carrying gay thousands of rooters on the top decks.
Even the crew of Miss Pepsi, Driver Charles F. (Chuck) Thompson of Detroit and Mechanic Harold Beardslee of Grosse Point, would be the first to admit that her victory this afternoon for the owners, Walter and Roy Dossin, also of Detroit, was on the hollow side.
Competition was offered only in the first of three fifteen-mile heats. On the second and third tests Thompson had no rivals fore and aft, first because Jack Schafer's newly powered Such Crust was unable to continue and then when two of the "junior gold cuppers" from the 7-liter class tried but had to quit.
However, Thompson gave the crowds a good show on a perfect, sunny racing day. Instead of loafing along he coaxed heat speeds of 57, 61 and finally 73 miles an hour out of his double-Allison Miss Pepsi. And on a narrow river course 73 miles an hour is really something. The fastest heat a year ago when Schafer won the inaugural race with another Such Crust with Danny Arena driving, was 67 miles an hour.
Installed New Engine
During recent spring weeks Schafer supplanted his former Allison, which developed 1550 horse power, with a Merlin type of Rolls Royce engine which boosts the power to 2250 horses at only 200 pounds more of weight. But bugs and wrinkles must still be ironed out. Today puddles of fuel seemed to gather in the exhaust and caused little bonfires to light up. Between heats asbestos shingles were installed for protection but still the new motor was balky and sputtering. The next scheduled regatta for the big unlimited will be at Windsor, Ont., later this Month.
If the events for the super-powered big fellows were thin today, the fascinating little 48's, 135's and 225's attracted some of the largest fields of entries any regatta has known in years. Something over twenty of the 48's, both hydros and runabouts, stretched out across the river and although they raced together, separate, prizes were awarded, The national champion from Ventnor, N. J., Bob McAllister, won in the runabout category and John McKeever of Silver Spring, Md., among the hydros. William Ritner of Merion, Pa., won the 135 cubic inch event on points when W. Curtis Martens of Hampton, Va., mistook the Monongahela for the Allegheny and lost precious seconds going up the wrong stream. Only one boat could finish both heats of the seven-liter class and this was the craft once known as Aljo when raced by Joe Van Blerck of Freeport, L. L, but recently brought here and sold to Burnett Bartley, who has renamed her Wildcatter.
48 CUBIC-INCH HYDROPLANES
(Two 5-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Widgeon, John E. McKeever, Silver Spring. Md.; 2. Joy, Amado Tanael, Washington, D. C.; 3. Rough Rider, Harry Leimburg, Seabright. N. J.; 4. Shooting Star, C. Mulford Scull, Ventnor, N. J.; 5. Sharpshooter, E. H. Barkham, Detroit; 6. Wee One, Ed Campanella, Rumson, N. J. Speed—48.391 m.p.h.
Second Heat—1. Scull; 2. McKeever; 3. Tanael; 4. Barkham; 5. Pearshape II, Sammy Crooks, St, Petersburg, Fla.; 6. Leimburg.
Time 6:15 4/5; Speed—47.898 m.p.h.
Point Score—McKeever 700, Scull 569, Tanael 525.
48 CUBIC-INCH RUNABOUTS
(Two 5-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Yankee Boy, Robert McAllister, Ventnor N. J.; 2. Southern Belle, Edmond Howar, Ventnor, N. J.; 3. Mamselle, F. H. Buck Jr., Wilmington. Del.: 4. Little Blue Print, J. Shrake, Canton, Ohio.
Second Heat—1. McAllister; 2. Howar; 3. Mickey Mouse, Mrs. Ruby Scull, Ventnor. N.J.
Point Score—McAllister 800, Howar 600. Mrs. Scull 225, tied with Buck.
225-CUBIC-INCH CLASS, Div. I
(Two 5-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Wild Goose, Phil Rothenbusch, Cincinnati; 2. You All, Bob Rowland. Norfolk, Va.; 3. Hornet, Marion J. Cooper, Louisville. Ky.: 4. Mi Son, Bill Muncey, Detroit: 5. Briar Hopper, W. P. Linss, Dayton. Ky. Time—4:09 2/5. Speed—72.11 m.p.h.
Second Heat—1. Linss; 2. Cooper; 3. Miss Delhi Hills, Don Campbell, Cincinnati. Time—4:23 1/5. Speed—69.38 m.p.h.
Point Score—Linss 527, Cooper 525, Rothenbusch 400.
225-CUBIC-INCH CLASS, Div. II
(Two 5-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Miss Delhi Hills, Don Campbell, Cincinnati; 2. Dauntless XII, Ron Musson, Akron; 3. My Ruthie, W. D. Hodgson. Toronto, Ont.: 4. Stormy Weather, Glenn Parrish, Covington. Ky.; 5. Miss Columbus, G. C. Hunter, Columbus. Ohio; 6. Rig-O-Mortiss, Mack Wiepering, Dayton, Ky. Time—5:19. Speed—56.71.
Second Heat—1. Parrish; 2. Hodgson: 3. Musson; 4. Campbell. Time—1:49 4/5. Speed—64.28 m.p.h.
Point Score—Parrish 569, Campbell 569, Musson 525, Hodgson 525 (Parrish wins on better elapsed time).
(Two 10-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Wildcatter, Burnett Bartley, Pittsburgh. Time—9:58 2/5. Speed—62.5 M.P.H. (Bevwyn, Rick Keller, Detroit, and Tomyann, J. J. Taggart. Canton, Ohio, did not finish).
Second Heat—None of the boats was able to come from the pits. Wildcatter therefore won event on 400 points scored in first heat.
STEEL CUP TROPHY
(Three 15-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Miss Pepsi, Charles P. Thompson. Detroit; 2. Tomyann, Joseph J. Taggart, Canton, Ohio. Time—15:40 2/5. Speed—57.435 M.P.H. Such Crust, Dan Foster, Detroit, did not finish.
Second Heat—1. Miss Pepsi. Time-14:34 1/5. Speed—61.85. Such Crust and Tomyann did not start.
Third Heat—1. Miss Pepsi. Time—12:18. Speed—73.17 M.P.H. Such Crust and Tomyann unable to start.
Point Score—Miss Pepsi 1200. Tomyann 300.
135 CUBIC INCH HYDROPLANES
(Two 5-Mile Heats)
First Heat—1. Wa Wa, William Ritner, Merion, Pa.; 2. Why Not, Earl Jarrett, Albany, N. Y.; 3. Marbel, W. Curtis Martens, Hampton. Va.; 4. Hi Ball, Richard Rankin, Pontiac, Mich.; 5. Monday II, Charles Schwarm, Cincinnati: 6. Rebel, Rommie Turner, Kenmore. N. Y.; 7. Little Audrey, Harry Vogel, Dearborn, Mich.; 8. Blue Devil, Don Ziegler. Detroit. Time—4:37; Speed—64.98 M.P.H.
Second Heat—1. Martens; 2. Ritner; 3. Rankin; 4. Skip, Ardson Bozarth, Vineland, N. J.: 5. Blue Devil, Don Ziegler, Detroit; 6. My Move, Bob Lueckenhoff, Detroit. Time—5:03 2/5. Speed 59.32 M. P. H.
Point score: Ritner 700, Martens 625, Rankin 394.
[Reprinted from the New York Times, June 3, 1951]