1954 APBA Gold Cup

Roostertails Flying on Lake Washington (1954 excerpt)

by Michael Prophet

1954 APBA Gold up Programme Guide

47th APBA Gold Cup August 7th 1954

How sweet it is, another Gold Cup race here in Seattle this year. This is the fourth in a row, which upsets Detroit no end. Too bad, guys. The racecourse is 3¾ miles long again this season, and located in the same place, off of the Mount Baker Boathouse. The points receive are 400 for first place, 300 for second, 225 for third, 169 for fourth, 127 for fifth, 95 for sixth, 71 for seventh, and 69 for eighth. The bonus points are for the fastest 30-mile heat and fastest 90-mile total race. Each receives 400 bonus points, only if the boat finishes every heat. The highest point total possible is 2,000.

Qualifying will start on Monday August 2nd at 9:00 a.m. and last until 2:00 p.m. through Thursday August 5th. If needed, the time may be extended, and it usually has to be. Qualifmg speed is 85 miles an hour; this is averaged over three laps around the 3¾-mile racecourse. Yes, the "Big Chase" will be run on Saturday August 7th this year, the Church must of won out over the Seattle business's for this year. This pleases the Church, but upset the local businessmen who help support the Slo-mo's. Oh well, they will just have to tighten their belts.

The Gold Cup records for the new 3¾-mile Lake Washington racecourse were set last season. In my opinion they are not very fast. 1 thought they would be much faster than they were, so did other people. Defending Gold Cup Champion, Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, set every one of them last year. They should all be broken because the competition will be much stiffer this year. A much higher boat turnout is expected this season, but they say that every year. The 3¾-mile Gold Cup records are:

Fastest qualifying 107.658
Fastest race lap 104.231
Fastest 30-mile heat 95.268
Fastest 90-mile race 92.613

The U-99 Miss Pepsi (2) still holds the 30-mile heat record at 101.024 mph. That was set here in 1952 on the old 3-mile racecourse. The U-99 Miss Pepsi (2) hasn't raced in two years now.

The defending Gold Cup champion U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, and the 1951 Gold Cup champion U-37 Slo-mo-shun V are back for another shot at keeping the coveted trophy here in Seattle for another year. Nine other contenders have something else in mind for the Gold Cup. Mainly to take it back to Detroit, Michigan. If the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV wins again, it will be the only unlimited to ever capture the Gold Cup four times. Over the winter, several changes have been made to both of the Slo-mo's. The volunteer crew has been very busy this year. The Allison 1710-143/145 powered U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV now has a wooden step tail fin like she had in 1952, metal disks were added to reinforce the deck, and the corners of the hull. She is running faster and better than ever this season. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V shows lots of power coming from the V-12 Packard Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650-7. The G-6 V-12 Allison engine was put back in after a disappointing finish in the Detroit Silver Cup last season. They won their next race, the President's Cup in Washington DC, then broke down in the Imperial Gold Cup, but decided to try the Packard again this year. It now has much faster acceleration in the top end because of the two-speed, two-stage blower and manifold system. The Merlin also has an impressive front end and exhaust system. Lou Fageol believes the Rolls Royce Merlin has more staying power than the Allison-143/145. These engines were experimented with in the 1940's and again in 1951 in Jack Schafer's two boats, and in the ill-fated U-15 Quicksilver. They found out that they were too temperamental, and they went with the General Motors built Allison powerplant. Hopefully this change will help them win again this year. The rule about no engine changes between heats on race day is in effect. Here is some interesting information I found out. One the Rolls Royce Merlin engines Stan Sayres acquired for the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V is out of the 1951 ill-fated U-15 Quicksilver.

Joe Taggart will drive the "Old Lady," and they are hoping that Lou Fageol will be back in the cockpit of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V again this year. He announced last fall after the September 20th Washington, DC race that he was retiring from unlimited racing. He was injured in that race, but you never know, he may change his mind. Stan Sayres is trying to talk him out of retirement, but neither has made any announcement one way or another yet. Both of the Slo-mo's will operate from Stan Sayres Hunts Point home again, until Saturday August 7th race day, then they will move to Leschi Park, a half mile north of the formerly named Mercer Island Floating Bridge.

July 17th Saturday

Jack Schafer said last season that he wasn't coming back to Seattle to race; his reason then was because we win too much. True to his word, his two Such Crust boats will be missing this year. Only for a different reason, he and his Schafer Bakery Company went bankrupt, forcing him to get rid of both of his new hydroplanes. I think he over extended himself building all these new boats. The G-22 Such Crust III (2) and the U-5 Such Crust V were both leased to F. Van Lenneps who will run them as the G-22 Pace-Along, and G-5 Trot-Along. Neither will be racing here this season. Hopefully Jack Schafer will get back on his feet, and return to unlimited hydroplane racing soon; and come back to Seattle for another go at the Gold Cup. Of course it will still be here, I hope.

Albin Fallon had withdrawn the U-4 Miss Great Lakes II from the Gold Cup. He said he would save the trouble-prone craft for the September 6th Detroit Silver Cup. Then last Friday, Frank "Bud" Saile Jr. purchased the boat, renamed her to the U-45 Miss Cadillac, and quickly announced that he would race here on Lake Washington in the August 7th Gold Cup. Frank Saile Jr. owns and races the U-50 Miss Wayne. This is one of the early 3-pointer hulls built in 1940. It started life out as the 24 cylinder Duesenberg-powered G-5 Notre Dame (3), and was Joe Schoenith's U-50 Gale in 1950. They are both named after his business, the Wayne Tool & Die Corporation, which is a division of the Cadillac Tool & Die Company.

They will be selling bleacher seats for race day, and log boom moorage. The cost for the log boom will depend on boat size. Prices for both will come out later in the week.

July 18th Sunday

It looks like the Detroit faction will leave for the West Coast this coming week, ten days before the August 7th Gold Cup on Lake Washington. The "Motor City" will be sending seven challengers; four of them will be brand new hydroplanes.

Horace Dodge Jr. has two new non-prop-rider designed boats, meaning they are step hydroplanes, or tail draggers. They are the only two-step hulls that will be racing here this year. They are the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis, designed by John Hacker. He is leaving the U-3 My Sweetie (2) (Little Sweetie) home again this season and the 3-point G-31 Hornet (3) is now history. Horace Dodge Jr. has veteran driver Ed McCabe wheeling one boat while "rookie" Ed McKenzie will pilot the other. The U-14 My Sweetie Dora was testing this weekend, but the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis will wait until the new propellers arrive. They plan to leave the Detroit River for Lake Washington next Saturday by rail. The U-14 My Sweetie Dora is named after Horace Dodge Jr.'s new showgirl wife, Gregg Sherwood, a.k.a. Dora Sherwood. This is his fifth wife. Whew. The U-17 My Sweetie John Francis is a strange looking hydroplane. It has extended decking over the trip chine making it look quite different from his other step hulls, like the U-14 My Sweetie Dora, and U-3 My Sweetie (2).

Joe Schoenith is sending his two new hydroplanes, the U-54 Gale IV, and U-55 Gale V. They replaced the old U-51 Gale II that was sold after last season and changed names. The boat is now the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too owned by Chuck Doran and Marvin Henrich, it will be coming to Seattle for the fourth straight year. The two Gale boats, and the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too are expected to leave the East by truck tomorrow.

Another boat returning this year is George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S., which was designed and built by driver Dan Arena last season. The U-2 Miss U.S. was seriously damaged this year in the June 19th Maple Leaf Trophy race in Windsor, Ontario Canada when George Simon flipped the boat; he was very lucky to survive the 135 mph accident. The U-2 Miss U.S. suffered damage to the right sponson, a crunched cockpit, and almost sank. George Simon suffered bumps, bruises, and shock. The damage has been repaired, and if nothing serious goes wrong with their testing next week, she will be in the "Queen City" for the Gold Cup again. It may be payback time for Paul Sawyer. He is the scheduled driver for George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S. He is a glorified used car salesman, a lawyer from Rochester, New York. Last year he was slated to drive the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV for used car salesman Stan Sayres. That didn't happen, because Stan Sayres booted him off the team two weeks before the Gold Cup race, and replaced him with Joe Taggart. His loss, our gain, Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV won the Gold Cup. Paul Sawyer was still treated badly by Stan Sayres though.

July 19th Monday

Joe Taggart is scheduled to arrive from his hometown Canton, Ohio on Monday to drive one of the Slo-mo's. He will arrive by plane with Lee Schoenith, the driver for the new U-55 Gale V.

There are two unlimiteds entered in the Gold Cup by the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club, the G-2 Hurricane IV, now owned by Bill Stead of Sparks, Nevada, and the U-22 Breathless, owned by J. Philip Murphy from Piedmont, California. Both seem like good possibilities for Seattle this year. The U-22 Breathless is another brand new boat this season, with a rich "rookie" owner. It was designed by Ted Jones this year and built by Hallett Boat Works. According to Roger Murphy,

Fred Hallett built the boat from a Ted Jones design. At the time, J. Phillip Murphy thought he was hiring well-known West Coast boat racer and renowned limited boat builder Rich Hallett, no relation to Fred. This was not the case; Rich Hallett was based in southern California, Fred Hallett was a local marina operator. The U-22 Breathless will test run on Lake Tahoe Tuesday or Wednesday, and if the tryout looks good the boat will be shipped here to Seattle. J. Philip Murphy's older son Jay Murphy is driving the new boat. This is the second boat J. Phillip Murphy has owned called the Breathless. There was a Ventnor 7-litre aqua color Breathless that raced last year on September 12th at Lake Tahoe. It was powered by a Chevy 8 cylinder flathead. Jay Murphy and Floyd Ciochon took turns behind the wheel. Floyd Ciochon is the man in charge of the teams racing operation. He worked as a crane operator for the Murphy's Judson-Pacific-Murphy Corporation. Two of the other crewmen are Joe McCarthy and Sid Nickels. J. Phillip Murphy decided to get into unlimited racing this year after racing boats at Lake Tahoe where they have had a summer home on the lake since shortly after the war. Jay, Roger, (and later their sister Judy) raced several classes of limiteds on Lake Tahoe. He has a small stable of boats, two GarWood hulls, a Mercury, Century, and other small craft that the kids race. Here's where the name of the boat came from. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy named the boat after a comic strip character from Dick Tracy, Breathless Mahoney. It's amazing where some owners come up with the names for their boats.

The G-2 Hurricane IV and Bill Stead will test run on Lake Tahoe sometime next week. Here is an interesting story I heard about on why Bill Stead bought this unlimited. In 1952, they wouldn't let him into the pits here in Seattle. This was because he didn't have a pit pass and was unable to get one because he wasn't an owner or on any of the boat crews. He left furious, so irritated that he later purchased the old 2-G Hurricane IV from Morlan Visel after the 1952 season. At least now they will let him into the pits, and even out on the racecourse, he is an owner and driver this season. The registration number on the Hurricane IV was changed last year from the 2-G to the G-2. He didn't make it here to Seattle last season, he may have still been mad at us, but it did race. The G-2 Hurricane IV ran in the Coast Guard Auxiliary race on Cornelian Bay, Lake Tahoe on August 17th where he finished third behind Henry Kaiser's Fleur du Lac and the winning G-8 Short Snorter of Stanley Dollar Jr. 's. His last race of the 1953 season was the first Mapes Mile-High Gold Cup in Tahoe City, California on September 13th, again close to home. He has a ranch just out of Sparks. Bill Stead finished second to R Stanley Dollar Jr. 's G-8 Short Snorter. The 266 cubic inch Ruthless was third, Honey Moon fourth, and the U-22 Breathless was fifth.

There is a story going around about another new unlimited this year. It is being built in West Atlantic City, New Jersey. Joel Thorne from Las Vegas, Nevada is the owner. It's called the Scat, another twin-engine hydroplane. The builders are trying hard to beat the clock and finish the boat in time for the Gold Cup this year. Not much else is known about this boat.

July 20th Tuesday

There was a new rumor today that the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V had exceeded 200 mph on Lake Washington, but Stan Sayres quickly said it was untrue. The fastest that the boat has been clocked was 160 mph. Of course, the water speedometer pegs out at 160 mph, which is why. He said that the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V has run it out a few times, but certainly hasn't run 200 mph while doing it. Everybody likes to exaggerate about the Slo-mos' speeds, plus it helps get Detroit worked up. He felt that both the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V could break the 1952-mile speed record, given calmer water on Lake Washington. The fastest single run through the traps that the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV did in 1952, was 185 mph, and he felt it could have reached 190 mph if the water hadn't been so rough, a 15-mile an hour wind doesn't help your speed any. A Mile Straightaway Record attempt is scheduled for the day after the Gold Cup, on Monday the 8th of August. Stan Sayres said he doesn't know if he will run both boats or not. If nobody breaks the record, he will probably not even try. Lou Fageol, veteran ex-driver of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V, will arrive here in Seattle on July 31st to help Stan Sayres and the Slo-mo Team plan strategy, and help with any technical problems that pop up with the two speed demons. Stan Sayres still hasn't found another driver to replace him yet, so maybe he still plans to talk Lou Fageol out of retirement, and back into the seat of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V.

Joe Schoenith has sent the U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V on there long 2,500-mile journey West today by truck, they should be here on Saturday or Sunday. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too and the U-2 Miss U.S. were expected to leave with them, but were delayed, and will leave in a couple of days. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too is having engine trouble, and needs more testing before they leave Detroit for Seattle. Horace Dodge Jr.'s U-14 My Sweetie Dora and the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis may not leave on Saturday as had been expected. They should be on the road by this coming Monday though. The U-45 Miss Cadillac is set to leave this coming weekend.

There is not much of a chance that Joel Thome's new twin engine Scat will make it to Seattle this year. The boat is being built in New Jersey and it doesn't look like the boat will be finished in time for the August 7" race, too bad. I could find no record of the Scat ever being completed.

Log boom prices are out, the cost is $30 for tying up on the north end by the floating bridge, $45 for the center of the log boom, $20 for the southwest end of the straightaway and southeast turn, and $10 for the southwest corner of the log boom. What a deal, cheap by 1999 standards, practically free actually, moorage on the log boom costs $25 per foot now days. The yacht mooring for the log boom can be reserved through the Seattle Yacht Club.

Bleachers are going to be set up this year. They will reserved seating of course, and will be erected at the Mount Baker pits across from the finish line. Tickets cost a whopping $3.50 each. They can be purchased at Sherman, Clay & Company. Amazing prices back then, they cost around $125 each in 1999.

July 23rd Friday

J. Philip Murphy's new U-22 Breathless didn't get a chance to test run on Lake Tahoe during this week as they had planned. It did get wet, but they had troubles. They didn't have enough time left to correct the problem and test run the U-22 Breathless before leaving. Instead they will wait and do their testing here on Lake Washington. Both the U-22 Breathless, and Bill Stead's G-2 Hurricane IV are expected to be here late next week sometime.

Another change in drivers just happened, and it involves Paul Sawyer, again. George Simon said that he had wanted Paul Sawyer to drive the U-2 Miss U.S. for him in Seattle, and he was, until Paul Sawyer changed his mind. The only boat he has raced has been his own, and he said he really didn't want to start driving someone else's now. He said he has plans to build his own unlimited hydroplane, and possibly race in next years Gold Cup. So much for the "grudge match" between Paul Sawyer and Stan Sayres, it was really starting gain enthusiasm, maybe next season. George Simon said he has several other drivers in mind, but he will more than likely drive the U-2 Miss U.S. himself. They are still testing the Allison in the boat. This is the reason for the delay in getting started for Seattle. She probably won't leave for the West Coast until next Monday now, and arrive here on Friday. George Simon is planning to leave Detroit next Thursday by airplane. Frank Saile Jr. and the U-45 Miss Cadillac are leaving this weekend for Seattle. Horace Dodge and the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis are scheduled to leave the "Motor City" tomorrow, but may not depart until Monday. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too, another challenger from Detroit may be the last to arrive in Seattle. Owners Marvin Henrich and Chuck Doran said they are still having engine problems and need to do more testing before coming West.

The first group of Detroiter's is expected to arrive tomorrow sometime. The truck convoy consists of the U-54 Gale IV and U-55 Gale V. They are chaperoned by Kentuckian Bill Cantrell.

July 24th Saturday

The first of the "Motor City" unlimiteds have arrived by truck today. Joe Schoenith's new U-54 Gale IV and U-55 Gale V are at the Hilltop Motel just out of Seattle on Highway 10, east of the East Channel Bridge in Bellevue. They will stay there until Monday and then move over to Jett's Boat House on Rainier Beach. Indianapolis racecar veteran and unlimited driver "Wild" Bill Cantrell made the long trip with them. Last season Bill Cantrell drove the U-5 Such Crust V for Jack Schafer, but he is staying home like he promised last year, pouting about Seattle not giving back the Gold Cup like he wanted us to, and because he doesn't have any boats to race. Maybe he will be over all this by next year; let's hope. Traveling along with them was Bud Meldrum and Bill Frick from Louisville, Kentucky, and Bob McElroy from Detroit. Both boats handled the long trip well, and arrived in good condition.

Last year Horace Dodge Jr. had a new boat built. It was another John Hacker design built by Les Staudacher. The 2-step hull ran as the U-3 My Sweetie Our Baby in its only race in the September 20th President's Cup. Driver Walter Kade was tossed into the Potomac River when it rolled over in the 2nd heat. Luckily, he was not seriously hurt. The boat was repaired over the winter and became the U-14 My Sweetie Dora this season. The two boats, the former U-3 My Sweetie Our Baby and the new U-17 My Sweetie John Francis are now on their way to Seattle by Choo-Choo, and should be here by the middle of next week.

George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S. and Frank "Bud" Saile's U-45 Miss Cadillac are leaving on Monday and will arrive by truck sometime this coming Friday. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too is the only doubtful challenger. Chuck Doran and Marvin Henrich are still being plagued with Allison problems. They did say that they would definitely have the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too here in Seattle for the Gold Cup. Time will tell. The two Lake Tahoe Yacht Club entries, G-2 Hurricane IV and U-22 Breathless should be sent North next Wednesday, and show up here on Lake Washington Friday, if everything goes as planned.

July 25th Sunday

Frank Saile and the U-45 Miss Cadillac, George Simon and the U-2 Miss U.S. are both on schedule and are leaving by truck tomorrow. The convoy is still expected to reach Seattle Friday or Saturday.

The Slo-mo's are primed and ready to run, but Stan Sayres is waiting for some new and stronger forged propellers to arrive. Once they are installed, both of them will do some serious testing then wait for qualifing to begin on August 2nd, Monday morning. They will both test off of Hunts Point where they are berthed until then.

July 26th Monday

Both the U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V went out on Lake Washington today for testing. They moved over from the Hilltop Motel this morning and are now stabled a Jett's Boathouse on Rainier Beach until Saturday, then they will move again, this time to the Mount Baker Gold Cup pits. Lee Schoenith and Bill Cantrell didn't put a strain on either boat today, just warmed them up.

There will be two TV Stations covering the Gold Cup race this season. KING TV of course and now KOMO TV will be joining them. Radio Stations will be in abundance again this year. KAYO, KIRO, KING, and KOMO will be on the air for the race fans on the road, at work, and at home.

July 27th Tuesday

Lee Schoenith took the U-55 Gale V out for a spin, and ended the day with troubles. He burned out a bearing in their gearbox; the crew is hard at work now repairing the damage. The U-55 Gale V should be back out on Lake Washington tomorrow. Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV went out and ran a few quick laps, but came back in unhappy. He was not pleased with the way the boat was handling. Both of the Gale boats were hitting speeds of around 125 mph on the straightaway today. The new U-55 Gale V was originally designed and built on speculation by Les Staudacher in early 1954, then sold to Joe Schoenith along with the U-54 Gale IV. Bill Cantrell tested the Gale V on the Saginaw River before they purchased the new hull and found out it wouldn't turn left. He could only get it about half way through the corner. The rudder on the boat was located on the right side like a normal Ted Jones design and the like the U-54 Gale IV was. They had to move it to the left side of the transom to correct the turning problem. This was the first boat to have the rudder on the left side. After the Gale V was purchased, Lee Schoenith said the first thing they were going to do was put the rudder back where it belonged, on the right side. They ended up leaving it on the left side.

July 28th Wednesday

The "armpits" of Seattle are out cruising around on Lake Washington at night, and damaging the racecourse buoys. It never fails that some kind of jerks will show up; lets hope they get caught. If they do, the hooligans will get some jail time. The Gold Cup officials said they would prosecute anyone caught stealing racecourse lanterns or messing with the course marker buoys.

The two Southern entries, J. Philip Murphy's U-22 Breathless and the Reno based G-2 Hurricane IV of Bill Stead's should arrive this Saturday evening, and may do some testing on Sunday or Monday. The U-2 Miss U.S. and U-45 Miss Cadillac are also scheduled to arrive here Saturday evening sometime.

Bill Cantrell and the new U-54 Gale IV shot out on Lake Washington today for a few circuits around the Lake Washington racecourse. He was still not pleased with the boats handling though. Anymore testing of the two Gale boats will be delayed until tomorrow. The Gale crews will be working on both boats the rest of the day. The U-55 Gale V will have her gearbox fixed by then, and the U-54 Gale IV will have a few more steering assembly adjustments done. Testing for both is scheduled for around noon tomorrow.

July 29th Thursday

Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V tested today, and he was pleased with her performance. The crew is still making a few oil pressure adjustments to the gearbox though. Bill Cantrell tested the U-54 Gale IV today and is satisfied with the changes they made to the steering assembly. They spent many hours working on this problem last night, and are very happy the test run was successful; the crew needs the break. The Gale camp will wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to qualify while the remainder of the tourist are expected to take their qualifing spins on Wednesday or Thursday.

Bud Saile Jr. and the U-45 Miss Cadillac are reported to be in Montana, so they should arrive here in this weekend. Horace Dodge Jr. 's two My Sweetie boats are expected to pull in to Seattle next Monday. George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S. should show up in a day or two. Bill Stead and J. Philip Murphy's boats are still on schedule, and will be here Saturday.

Joe Taggart is expected to take the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV out for a test run today, or tomorrow. Stan Sayres said he plans to qualify the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV Monday if she runs well this weekend. Lou Fageol is expected to steer the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V again this year. Stan Sayres talked him out of retirement again. He is flying in on his own airplane tomorrow at Boeing Field.

All of the Gold Cup challengers should be here by qualifing day on Monday, except for the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too, they are on their way, but won't arrive until later in the week. Eleven boats are entered, including Stan Sayres Slo-mo's. This beats last years crowd of seven hydroplanes.

July 31st Saturday

George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S., along with Bud Saile's U-45 Miss Cadillac pulled into the Hilltop Motel on their trucks this morning. Arriving with them was Miss U.S. mechanic Al Simon, George Simon's brother. The U-2 Miss U.S. will have to undergo some serious work before she will be ready to get wet in Lake Washington. The boat and trailer were side swiped in Montana by a big house trailer, slightly damaging her left sponson. The U-45 Miss Cadillac arrived in much better shape, no accidents along the way.

August 1st Sunday

There are several serious threats to the Slo-mo's coming from the big "D," and a couple from the South for them to be concerned about. They will have to be overcome if they expect to retain the Gold Cup again this year. Coming from the South, the U-22 Breathless built by Fred Hallet is an unknown factor, because she is new. Ted Jones is also involved with this boat. The southern G-2 Hurricane IV could also be tough. She has raced here before and done well, but is 6 years old.

Joe Schoenith's two new boats, the U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V, are going be the biggest threat to the Slo-mo's. They both showed good speed and handling last week on Lake Washington. They were running out from the Jett's Rainer Beach Boathouse earlier this week, and are now in the Mount Baker pits with George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S. and others. They had been waiting for the pits to be completely setup before moving in. Former pro-wrestler Bill Cantrell took the U-54 Gale IV out for a spin today, just warming her up a little. "Wild" Bill Cantrell won the Detroit APBA Gold Cup in 1949 driving the U-3 My Sweetie (1); the last Gold Cup won by a Detroit boat. He is very confident that the U-54 Gale IV has the speed to win here this year.

Another boat that will be here is the old U-51 Gale II, now the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too, owned by Chuck Doran and Marvin Henrich. The former U-4 Miss Great Lakes II is here now, running as the U-45 Miss Cadillac. Frank "Bud" Saile Jr. purchased her from Albin Fallon a couple of week ago. The boat ran as the U-4 Miss Great Lakes II in the Detroit Memorial on July 3rd this year. The single California boat, U-22 Breathless owned by J. Philip Murphy is ready to race.

This will be the fastest and largest field of unlimited hydroplanes for a Gold Cup since the 1948 Gold Cup in Detroit, Michigan. The East has sent seven boats, California and Nevada has sent one boat each and all of them are hot after the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. Nine against two, don't you just love a challenge?

Two of the visiting boats are running for the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club, they are the Nevada based G-2 Hurricane IV and the U-22 Breathless from Piedmont, California. The other tourists are running for the Detroit Yacht Club. Only four out of the eight visiting boats have run in Seattle before. One is the U-2 Miss U.S. owned by George Simon. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too ran as the U-51 Gale II, the G-2 Hurricane IV, when it was owned by Morlan Visel, and the U-45 Miss Cadillac running as the U-4 Miss Great Lakes II last season.

Stan Sayres now plans to try and qualify the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV on Monday afternoon. Lee Schoenith said they would try Tuesday or Wednesday. Some of the others may run on Monday or Tuesday but probably not try and qualify until Wednesday or Thursday. Sounds almost like "who's on second, " anyway everyone will qualify next week or watch from shore. Qualifying starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Pit tour's started today in the Mount Baker pits. This is cool, because you can talk to the drivers and mechanics, and get a close look at the boats. It starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs most of the day; the cost is $1 per person, and a real good deal. Into the future again, in 1996 it costs $5.00 for the tour. The pit pass goes for $20 each, and you can't even see the boats because of all the trucks and trailers. This was a big disappointment for Sharon and me, but we did have a good view for taking pictures as they left the pits. Of course this was not the Mount Baker pits, it was the new one at Wetmore Slough.

Norm Lauterbach Scat

Lou Fageol is out of retirement, back in the saddle of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V, and already making the Detroit contingent sweat. He came out from under the floating bridge today and went screaming around the 3¾-mile track setting a new Gold Cup qualifing record. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V ran 111.57 and 110.746 mph in their first 2 laps. He jumped that up to 112.594 mph in the 3rd lap, for a three-lap average of 111.632 mph. This is 4 mph faster than last year's record of 107.658 mph set by Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. Everyone now has something to shoot for. After the record setting run, the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V sprung an oil leak and Lou Fageol shut her down to keep from damaging the Roll Royce Merlin. The boat was towed back to Hunts Point where the crew went back to work.

Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV were scheduled to qualify this afternoon. Joe Taggart did bring out the boat, running two laps at 109.31 and 108.7 mph before she lost power and was taken back to Hunts Point. The mechanical troubles they suffered caused them to postpone further qualifying attempts until Wednesday. They said it was either the carburetor or the blower. The Detroit people were closely watching the speed and performance of the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV.

Both of Joe Schoenith's boats planned to go out today after the Slo-mo's were done qualifying. Lee Schoenith said that the U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V are ready to race and may try and qualify on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when the "Boss" Joe Schoenith arrives from Detroit. After the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV came back in. Bill Cantrell took the U-54 Gale IV out on Lake Washington and ran a lap of 106.3 mph in a test run, very close to the speed the Slo-mo-shun IV had run. He also looked like he was going flat out.

So far, two boats are still missing from the Mount Baker Boathouse. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too hasn't made it in yet, but was reported to be in Ellensburg, Washington this morning, on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass. They should be arriving at Lake Washington sometime this afternoon. J. Philip Murphy and the powder blue U-22 Breathless is expected in late today from California.

Horace Dodge Jr. and the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis arrived at 11:00 a.m. today. They are staying at Bryants Marina. Bill Stead and the G-2 Hurricane IV arrived in Seattle this evening and are being taken directly to Bryants Marina with the two Dodge boats. The U-45 Miss Cadillac is still at Jett's Boathouse on Rainer Beach. All the visiting hydroplanes will be in the Mount Baker pits except for two or three because of the large number of entries. The Slo-mo's will run out from Stan Sayres Hunts Point home until race day, then move to Leschi, in the Lake Washington Yacht Basin, just north of the floating bridge. The two Dodge boats that arrived today will be moved to the Mount Baker Boathouse or Leschi later in the week.

Horace Dodge Jr. tried to get the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis in the water to qualify this afternoon, but it was almost time for the Coast Guard to close the racecourse by time they were finally ready.

KING TV will be telecasting the qualifying trials each day this week. They started this morning at 10:00 a.m. Qualifying has been extended till 4:00 p.m. the rest of the week. The race on Saturday is expected to bring at least 100,000 fans south of the floating bridge to watch the "World Series" of hydroplane racing this year.

August 3rd Tuesday

The crew of the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV have the supercharger tom down today at the Jensen Motorboat Company, trying to find the trouble that kept her from completing her qualifing run on Monday afternoon. The problem is believed to be in the carburetor or supercharger itself. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V is having a new Rolls Royce Merlin installed today by their crew, replacing the one they qualified with yesterday that started leaking oil.

Lee Schoenith brought the U-55 Gale V out around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon for a quick spin on Lake Washington. The first trip was quicker than expected; the Allison quit on him after just a short run. They made a few adjustments to the carburetor in the pits then came out and ran three slow laps before bringing her back in to the dock. His speeds were 90, 96.8 and 101.51 mph for a 96.1-mph average. Lee Schoenith was unhappy with the boat's performance, and will wait until Wednesday to qualify. Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV may try and qualify later today; if the boat is in top shape, and the water is just right, if not he will qualify tomorrow. Nobody else is expected to try and qualify today.

The newly arrived U-23 Wha Hoppen Too was taken directly to the Mount Baker Boathouse after she arrived late yesterday afternoon. Owner-driver Marvin Henrich took her out for a few practice laps this afternoon, breaking in their new Allison, they only ran around 70 mph. The engine still needs more time on it before they can push her much faster.

Bud Saile Jr. and the U-45 Miss Cadillac came out on the Gold Cup racecourse for a test run today after moving from Jett's Boat House on Rainier Beach to the Mount Baker Boathouse. Bud Saile Jr. and the U-45 Miss Cadillac ran only a single lap before returning to the pits.

Horace Dodge Jr. didn't get his boats out on the water yesterday in time to qualify because of the 4:00 p.m. close of the racecourse. The U-14 My Sweetie Dora did take a short test run, but after the racecourse was closed by the Coast Guard. He has his crews working on both of his boats now, getting them ready to qualify for Saturday's big event. Veteran Gold Cup driver George McKenzie is expected to drive the U-14 My Sweetie Dora, and Jack Bartlow will wheel the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis. Both of the boats were still at Bryants Marina this morning with Bill Stead's G-2 Hurricane IV. All three may be moving to Leschi Park for the race.

August 4th Wednesday

The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V will not be out today, the crew is still having trouble putting in and hooking up the new Rolls Royce Merlin engine for Saturday's race. The cowling has now been installed on the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, finishing up the work on the boat; she is ready to go racing.

George Simon and the U-2 Miss U.S. was the first unlimited hydroplane out on Lake Washington today. He came out from the Mount Baker pits and took a quick spin around the racecourse before pulling back into the pits for a few more adjustments. George Simon and the U-2 Miss U.S. have not been as impressive as everyone has been expecting them to be. The boat was new last season and didn't run well here. Then about a month ago she was severely damaged in the July 3rd Detroit Memorial. The U-2 Miss U.S. was rebuilt after the race, but is still lacking something. George Simon returned to the racecourse after the crew finished their tune-up and ran three qualifying laps, averaging 96.497 mph. This put them fourth on the qualifying ladder today. The boat is still suffering from the Detroit accident, but the crew is busy making additional modifications to the hull, so she could very well improve her performance on race day.

The U-54 Gale IV was out early too this morning, but things didn't go well. Their first time out. Bill Cantrell broken a water line, then had carburetor trouble in their next two qualifying attempts. In their last run of the day. Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV made three trips around the Lake Washington track going north of the floating bridge, then shooting up a high roostertail flying under the west end of the bridge, practicing his starts. He started out running a fast lap that looked like it was going to be an apparent qualifying attempt, then the Allison in the boat quit while he was roaring into the north turn. Shortly after that, flames shot out of the exhaust stacks of the bobbing U-54 Gale IV. This got a rise out of the crowd on the beach, they must have thought, there goes Bill Cantrell up in flames again this year. All that happened was that he shut down the engine too early, and blew raw fuel out of the hot exhaust stacks. The boat was undamaged in the incident, and was eventually towed back to the pits.

Lee Schoenith took the U-55 Gale V out and became the second unlimited to qualify for the August 7th Gold Cup. He covered three laps running 100.45, 100, and 99.27 mph for an average of 99.9 mph. This is 11 mph under the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V qualifying speed, but he said he had a light foot today, and it can run faster. The engine was also missing during his qualifying laps, but he said the crew would have that fixed by race day. Earlier in the year, Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V won the Maple Leaf Trophy and the Detroit Memorial, so they have the speed, and ability to perform well. This is Lee Schoenith's third Gold Cup race.

J. Philip Murphy and the U-22 Breathless finally arrived here in Seattle. They will be pulling into the Mount Baker pits this afternoon. They are the last ones to arrive for the Gold Cup. The new boat has only reached 50 miles an hour in their short test run on Lake Tahoe, they had propeller trouble that time out. The U-22 Breathless has a twin keyway shouldered propeller shaft. In comparison, the two Gales and U-45 Miss Cadillac's propeller shafts are splined. Fred Hallet also built this boat with detachable sponsons, adding considerable weight to the hull. Designer Ted Jones said they plan to be in the water testing later today, and qualify tomorrow if all goes well.

The U-45 Miss Cadillac and new owner-driver Frank Saile Jr. went out on the racecourse to get a feel for the boat, and the Lake Washington racecourse. In his first attempt at qualifying, he only averaged 82.822 mph for his three laps, just under the qualifying minimum of 85 mph. He did push it up to qualify at the bottom of the ladder on his second trip out on Lake Washington today. This time out, his three-lap average was 88.428 mph. He said that the boat is faster than it has shown, and he will be out more today, and tomorrow getting more familiar with the boat, the turns, and racecourse. They have also been having some mechanical problems this week.

The U-14 My Sweetie Dora and Jack Bartlow made an appearance just before the Coast Guard closed Lake Washington for qualifying. Jack Bartlow succeeded in qualifying third, at 98.829 mph, which isn't that bad. She didn't show as much speed on the straightaway as the other hydroplanes, but they made it up in the corners. Jack Bartlow would cut close to the buoy line, then shoot out in an 180° arc for a straight shot down the straightaways. Horace Dodge Jr.'s other tail dragger, the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis, was scheduled to qualify late today, but wouldn't start when they put her in the water at Bryants Marina.

The qualifying ladder at the end of today, with only one day left:

U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV 111.632
U-55 Gale V 99.9
U-14 My Sweetie Dora 98.829
U-2 Miss U.S. 96.497
U-45 Miss Cadillac 88.428

There are still six unlimited hydroplanes left to qualify for the August 7th Gold Cup.

G-2 Hurricane IV
U-17 My Sweetie John Francis
U-22 Breathless
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV
U-54 Gale IV

The waiting game is now over, all the entries have to qualify today, no more sandbagging, or they get to watch the race from the beach. The qualifying time has been extended again, this time until 5:30 p.m. because of the large number of boats still left to qualify.

The boat crews are very busy this morning, some are getting ready to qualify and others for pre-qualifying test runs. There's quite a crowd lined up along the fence overlooking the Mount Baker pits this morning and afternoon. They were all watching and kibitzing as the work was going on. There were thousands of people lined up along the shore of Lake Washington today, watching all the testing, and qualifying trials going on. Several were carrying around picnic lunches; others were buying hot dogs and soda pops from the many vendors along the racecourse. Parking was getting very scarce around Lake Washington by this afternoon. The police were saying this is the largest advanced gathering for a Gold Cup race here on Lake Washington. The police are using a special detail to handle the large crowd, look for lost children, and help in any way they can.

Bill Stead's red and white G-2 Hurricane IV is going to be moving to the Mount Baker pits from Bryants Marina this morning sometime. They may take the boat out on Lake Washington for a test run later this afternoon before qualifying.

J. Philip Murphy's son Jay took yesterday's arrival the U-22 Breathless out this morning for testing, but because of nagging propeller troubles, he had to postpone further testing on Lake Washington today. The U-22 Breathless will not be ready to qualify today and are hoping the qualifying will be extended again. The Ted Jones designed U-22 Breathless was only finished a few weeks ago, and has had only one short test run on Lake Tahoe, California since then.

Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV put on a real good show today, qualifying second highest behind the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V, cheering up the Gale Team. They came out on Lake Washington about 3:30 p.m. Bill Cantrell ran the first two laps at 104.408 and 105.14 mph, then backed off in the third lap running 101.51 mph. This makes the U-54 Gale IV the second fastest qualifier, at 103.74 mph.

Marvin Henrich and the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too came out next and qualified at the very bottom of the ladder at 87.738 mph, but at least he's in the race and that's all that counts right now.

Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV came out from under the floating bridge this afternoon around 5:15 p.m. They took two laps and Joe Taggart was cutting the buoys real fine, missing them by only a couple of feet. On the 3rd lap, he put his foot all the way down on the throttle, pushing the "Old Lady" hard. 150 yards from the number one buoy they hit some rough water and started skipping, so Joe Taggart had to back off the throttle to bring her back down in the water. After the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV settled back down Joe Taggart put his foot back in it and shot up the backstretch. The boat was a little loose in the corners, bringing the watching fans to their feet, but they finished the lap without any more trouble. Even with the slow start and the trouble with the rough water, the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV qualified third highest at 103.11 mph. With a good start and calmer water they could have done much better. The "Old Lady" has been shelved for days, ever since her first qualifying attempt. The crew added a new Allison, but she is still not up to par yet. The crew is back at work trying to correct the problems.

Qualifying has been extended again, this time until 12:30 p.m. Saturday, just before start of the Gold Cup. Bill Stead's G-2 Hurricane IV was moved to the Mount Baker pits by truck from Bryants Marina this afternoon, and still needs to qualify, along with the U-22 Breathless, who got a reprieve with the qualifying extension, and the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis.

Several drivers still have to satisfy the Gold Cup driver committee that they are qualified to drive in the August 7th Gold Cup. The drivers committee consists of Bill Cantrell, Joe Taggart, and Lee Schoenith. The drivers must run between 85 and 95 mph to qualify. This is supposed to show they have control over boat. Three of the drivers qualified yesterday, they are:

George Simon U-2 Miss U.S.
Jack Bartlow U-14 My Sweetie Dora
Fred Saile U-45 Miss Cadillac

There is still five that have to satisfy the Board.

Bill Stead G-2 Hurricane IV
Howard Gidovlenko G-2 Hurricane IV (back-up driver)
Ed McKenzie U-17 My Sweetie John Francis
Jay Murphy U-22 Breathless
Marvin Henrich U-23 Wha Hoppen Too

 

The drivers that don't have to qualify for the Gold Cup, as drivers are the ones that have raced in an APB A sanctioned race before. They are:

Joe Taggart U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV
Lou Fageol U-37 Slo-mo-shun V
Bill Cantrell U-54 Gale IV
Lee Schoenith U-55 Gale V

 

August 6th Friday

Horace Dodge's new U-17 My Sweetie John Francis was sadly withdrawn today. The crew found a crack in the hull that was caused from some earlier test runs on Lake Washington this week. The boat will need extensive rebuilding before it can get wet again. Horace Dodge Jr. still has his other tail dragger, the U-14 My Sweetie Dora, who is now fifth on the qualifing ladder so far. The boat hardly slows down in the turns. It's around 4-seconds faster in the corners than the others, but moves slowly on the straightaway and loses what they gain in their cornering speed.

Marvin Henrich is still breaking the new Allison engine in the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too and wants to get more time on the new engine,-so he could make an appearance later today on Lake Washington.

Trouble in the U.S. Equipment camp today. George Simon broke a strut holding the driveshaft on the U-2 Miss U.S. during a workout today. George Simon was worried that she couldn't be fixed in time for tomorrow's race. Art O'Laughlin from the Seattle Gold Cup Committee phoned Boeing Airplane Company and had George Simon talk to a Boeing engineer. The Seattle firm sent out a welding crew and will fix the U-2 Miss U.S. in time for the Gold Cup race tomorrow. George Simon was impressed and very pleased, saying this wouldn't have happened in Detroit. Are we good or what?

Bill Stead and the G-2 Hurricane IV made a brief appearance, and their last appearance here this year, they dropped their propeller and driveshaft to the bottom of Lake Washington, putting them out of the Gold Cup this season, bummer. Two out of the Gold Cup race already, with one still left to qualify.

The local handicappers have come out with a "who's gonna win the Gold Cup" list that might be interesting, and if you want to put money down, but don't tell anyone because it's illegal.

Like buying or drinking beer on Sunday. My Grandpa and Dad knew a bootlegger though, so they were set.

U-37 Slo-mo-shun V
U-55 Gale V close second
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV
U-2 Miss U.S. with a slim chance at upset win
U-54 Gale IV experienced driver Bill Cantrell
U-45 Miss Cadillac has the speed
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too
U-14 My Sweetie Dora running good
G-2 Hurricane IV was running good
U-22 Breathless

I would have my doubts about these picks myself. The U-54 Gale IV qualified faster than the U-55 Gale V and has a more experienced driver. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV is always dangerous, and the U-2 Miss U.S. is having lots of trouble. The U-45 Miss Cadillac hasn't been that impressive either. The G-2 Hurricane IV is out and the U-22 Breathless is having propeller trouble and hasn't even qualified yet. The U-54 Gale IV has a new Allison powerplant in her now, but still has a few bugs to work out. The crew is hard at it today getting them fixed.

As it stands now, the qualifing ladder only has one spot left to fill; Jay Murphy will try tomorrow morning bright and early to fill it.

U-37 Slo-mo-shun V 111.632
U-54 Gale IV 103.74
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV 103.11
U-55 Gale V 99.901
U-14 My Sweetie Dora 98.829
U-2 Miss U.S. 96.497
U-45 Miss Cadillac 88.428
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too 87.73 8
U-22 Breathless not qualified
G-2 Hurricane IV withdrew
U-17 My Sweetie John Francis withdrew

 

August 7th Saturday Race Day

This morning, the people are jammed all along Lake Washington, from the Lakewood Marina to the Lake Washington Floating Bridge. There are around 2,500 boats tied up to the log boom for the Gold Cup this year. The "rail birds" are also out in force, crowded all along the floating bridge walkway, eagerly awaiting the start of the big chase. This is the largest crowd ever for a Northwest sporting event. An estimated 300,000 people are on hand to watch the world's largest canoe race in the Pacific Northwest. The first heat of the Gold Cup is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m., heat two at 3:05 p.m., and the final at 5:00 p.m. For the people at home, at work, and in their cars, radio stations KAYO, KIRO, KING, and KOMO will start broadcasting at 12:30 p.m. KING TV begins at 12:00 p.m. and KOMO TV at 12:45 p.m.

A half-hour before the start of the Gold Cup race. Jay Murphy finally was able to qualify the U-22 Breathless for the race. He pushed the boat to an average speed of 97 miles per hour, putting him in fifth place on the ladder, and getting in just under the wire.

First Heat Lineup:
U-2 Miss U.S. George Simon
U-14 My Sweetie Dora Jack Bartlow
U-22 Breathless Jay Murphy
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too Marvin Henrich
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV Joe Taggart
U-37 Slo-mo-shun V Lou Fageol
U-45 Miss Cadillac Bud Saile
U-54 Gale IV Bill Cantrell
U-55 Gale V Lee Schoenith

 

Jay Murphy was unable to fire up the U-22 Breathless in time for the first heat after his qualifying run. At the five-minute gun, everyone but two went charging for the racecourse. They all circled around getting set up for the run to the starting line. Bud Saile Jr. had trouble cranking up the Miss Cadillac and entered the race late. Charging out of the north turn and screaming to the line, Lee Schoenith in the Gale V and Joe Taggart in the Slo-mo-shun IV were a little over eager. They both jumped across the starting line too soon. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV was about 3-seconds early, but the U-55 Gale V was even earlier, they were both penalized a lap for jumping the gun. The Miss U.S., Gale IV, Wha Hoppen Too, Slo-mo-shun V, and My Sweetie Dora crossed the starting line on time and in that order. The Miss Cadillac sailed crossed a little later. Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V were trapped by the Detroit boats and were later than usual hitting the starting line; they crossed in fourth place. It didn't last long though, the Wha Hoppen Too went dead in the water across from the official barge just after the start, then Lou Fageol shot past a crowd of boats and into second place entering the south turn. In the turn, the My Sweetie Dora caught fire, coasted to a stop and went dead in Lake Washington. Coming out of the first corner the Rolls Royce Merlin powered Slo-mo-shun V showed her speed, flying by the leading Gale IV and Bill Cantrell. Shooting up the backstretch the Slo-mo-shun V steadily pulled further away with the last place Gale V and Slo-mo-shun IV just ahead. The Miss U.S. and George Simon got hosed down by the Slo-mo-shun V in the corner and were now running in the middle of the pack in third place, sputtering up the backchute. The late starting Miss Cadillac went shooting by the floating Wha Hoppen Too and burning My Sweetie Dora, chasing after the rest of the pack. Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V took a commanding lead in the 2nd lap and never had to look back. Bill Cantrell and the second place Gale IV stayed close for 2 laps, then in the 3rd lap pooped out in the north turn, becoming the third floating spectator on Lake Washington. The Miss U.S. and George Simon sailed by him moving into second place, now mnning well and keeping a steady pace. The Slo-mo-shun IV made up the extra lap shooting by the trailing Miss Cadillac and into the third spot. Joe Taggart then went chasing after the number two boat, the Miss U.S. Heading into the north turn of lap 5, Joe Taggart and the Slo-mo-shun IV gave up the ghost and died, becoming the fourth floating obstacle on the racecourse. Bud Saile Jr. and the Miss Cadillac then took over third place again for a short time, until Lee Schoenith in the Gale V shot by him on the east straightaway, then charged around the north turn chasing after the Miss U.S. Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V went unchallenged across the finish line to capture the checkered flag and the first Gold Cup heat. Out of eight starters in the first heat, only four finished under there own power. The Slo-mo-shun V finished almost two minutes ahead of the second place Miss U.S. and George Simon.

 

Heat Results:
U-37 Slo-mo-shun V 98.98
U-2 Miss U.S. 78.49
U-55 Gale V 76.0
U-45 Miss Cadillac too slow to clock
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV died in the 5th lap
U-54 Gale IV died in the 3rd lap
U-14 My Sweetie Dora died in the 1st lap
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too died in the 1st lap
U-22 Breathless DNS

Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V had a fast lap in 1st at 104.773 mph, beating the 104.231 mph record Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV set last year. Midway through the heat, Lou Fageol realized he had a big lead on the pack so he backed off the throttle saving the new Rolls Royce Merlin for the next heat.

Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV ran out of gas, literally, the crew is franticly looking for the leak so they can plug it before the next heat. Joe Taggart did a number on the U-55 Gale V and it almost worked on the U-2 Miss U.S. and George Simon. Did he sucker Lee Schoenith across the line early? They're not saying, it was probably an accident, but to the Detroit media it looked like a slick trick. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV was leading out of the north turn down the front straightaway by 300 yards with the U-55 Gale V charging hard. When they crossed the starting line Joe Taggart was around 4-seconds to early, but Lee Schoenith who had roared passed him was even earlier. George Simon was just behind those two and trying to gain when he realized he might be a little early for the start and put on the brakes. Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V came out from under the west span trailing most of the pack and got caught up in the rough water just as Detroit had planned. Whether it was on purpose or not, knowbody is saying for sure. Besides he was also penalized a lap.

The Gale crew is working on their two boats in the pits, the U-55 Gale V is having trouble keeping up with everyone, so they will change the propeller and see if that makes a difference. The U-54 Gale IV, and the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too both suffered mechanical troubles. The crews are busy getting them ready for the second heat. Both are expected to be ready in time to race.

Jack Bartlow was unhurt by the fire that broke out in the U-14 My Sweetie Dora. The wall of the supercharger blew out, pouring fuel from the cracked Allison over the hull and catching fire. The Allison is toast, so is the boat, they are finished for the day.

Second heat lineup:
U-2 Miss U.S. George Simon
U-22 Breathless Jay Murphy
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too Marvin Henrich
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV Joe Taggart
U-37 Slo-mo-shun V Lou Fageol
U-45 Miss Cadillac Frank Saile Jr.
U-54 Gale IV Bill Cantrell
U-55 Gale V Lee Schoenith
U-14 My Sweetie Dora withdrawn

The Slo-mo crew found and fixed the fuel leak in the Slo-mo-shun IV barely in time for this heat, Joe Taggart just made it out on Lake Washington in time for the start.

All the boats started leaving the pits for the second heat, but during the warm up laps "Wild" Bill Cantrell showed his "wild side" a little. While he was trying to get set up for his starting run the Gale IV went out of control when the steering control jammed, took a hard right turn and made a big circle, then went screaming towards shore. Before he could get off the throttle he hit the beach going flat out, jumped over a concrete bulkhead, leaped over a rosebush, and came to a dead stop at the edge of fish pond next to a table filled with food. The partygoers quickly scattered, running in every direction but towards the Gale IV. After Bill Cantrell and the Gale IV came to a stop, the owner of the yard. Dr. F. A. Black, came over and asked Bill Cantrell if he had an invitation to his party. Bill Cantrell replied sheepishly that he didn't, and that this was all just a big mistake. Bill Cantrell was very embarrassed, but unhurt in the incident. The Gale IV wasn't quite so lucky, she had a small eight-inch gash in the hull, the seat was tom loose, and it was stuck in a rosebush on shore.

While Bill Cantrell and the Gale IV went to the lawn party, Joe Taggart and the Slo-mo-shun IV got the early jump on everyone at the start. Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V were the second one across and hot on his tail. The Miss U.S. and George Simon was a close third and gaining quickly on them both. Lee Schoenith and the Gale V were next, followed by the Wha Hoppen Too, Miss Cadillac and the Breathless with Jay Murphy. In the North turn of lap 1, Joe Taggart and the Slo-mo-shun IV still had the lead, but the Slo-mo-shun V and Miss U.S. were closing in on him fast. By the end of the 1st lap, Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V had taken the lead away from Joe Taggart. The Slo-mo-shun IV and Miss U.S. continued to duke it out for second place while chasing Lou Fageol. In the 2nd lap, the Slo-mo-shun V pushed the Miss U.S. outside in the south corner, then the Slo-mo-shun IV shot inside taking over second place. The Slo-mo's were working well together and ganging up on "rookie" George Simon. The Miss U.S. was getting very loose in the corners because of the double team. Lee Schoenith was following a 100 yards behind the three leaders, with the others spread out farther back. The wide turns forced George Simon and the Miss U.S. to put on a tremendous drive on the straightaways, which he was

/ doing quite well. George Simon was charging both of the Slo-mo's and finally overpowered Joe

Taggart flying up the backstretch in the 2nd lap. In the north turn Joe Taggart put on a quick burst of speed then cut inside overtaking both George Simon and Lou Fageol to shoot into the lead. All four of the leading boats lapped the trailing and ailing Wha Hoppen Too in the South turn of their 3rd lap, his 2nd. Marvin Henrich and the Wha Hoppen Too then called it quits and went back to the pits after her 2nd lap. The Slo-mo-shun IV lost the lead to the Slo-mo-shun V in the north turn, and all three went roaring down the straightaway heading for the 4th lap. The Gale V, Miss Cadillac, and Breathless were still following, far behind the leading three boats. On the backstretch of the 4th lap, the Slo-mo-shun V, Miss U.S. and Slo-mo-shun IV all lapped the last place Breathless; in that order. Jay Murphy and the Breathless gave it up after their 4th lap and headed back to the Mount Baker pits. The leading three boats were keeping it close, with the Slo-mo-shun V first and the Slo-mo-shun IV second, but followed closely by the Miss U.S. and George Simon. The Gale V and Lee Schoenith were still in the race in fourth, but couldn't keep up the pace the leaders were running. In their 5th lap, the Miss Cadillac went dead leaving them floating quietly in the water and out of the race. The three leaders charged on, the distance between them not changing much until the last lap. In the north turn of the final lap the Allison in the Slo-mo-shun IV choked and sputtered letting the Miss U.S. squeeze by into second place. Joe Taggart quickly recovered and went charging futilely after George Simon to finish third. Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V sailed across the finish line taking the checkered flag again for the second time today. Out of the seven hydroplanes that started the second heat, only four of them finished without limping back to the pits or on the end of a rope.

Seond Heat results:
U-37 Slo-mo-shun V 99.459
U-2 Miss U.S. 98.804
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV 98.711
U-55 Gale V 97.31
U-45 Miss Cadillac died in 5th lap
U-22 Breathless went into pits in 4th lap
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too went into pits in 2nd lap
U-54 Gale IV went to a party

It was a great duel between the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V, U-2 Miss U.S., and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. The Slo-mo's were deck to deck for most of the eight laps. They stayed close to each other, forcing the Detroit boats either inside or outside of them with their roostertails to keep them from being overtaken. This was before George Simon took advantage of the coughing and sputtering U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV to squirt into second place. This heat was faster than the first one, and much closer, a real nail biter.

The story I heard about Bill Cantrell's little side trip to the garden party was because the Gale team was trying to be tricky, and confuse the Seattle race teams. The rudders on the two Gales are located on opposite sides of the stern, so night before the Gold Cup, the Gale crew switched rudders between their boats. The U-55 Gale V's rudder was put on the right side, the U-54 Gale IV's rudder on the left. This morning when the crew put things back, they forgot to tighten the rudder stop on the bellcrank secure enough on Gale IV. So when Bill Cantrell went out for the second heat things finally fell apart on him. When he turned the boat left, it went right instead. Bill Cantrell had set up on the outside in the warm-up lap like he and Lee Schoenith had planned earlier, but went hard right to end up in the rose garden instead. Bill Cantrell walked dejectedly back to the Mount Baker pits. Joe Schoenith was looking out on the racecourse and asking the crew where Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV was, from behind him Bill Cantrell spoke up saying here he was. Joe Schoenith turnaround and did a quick double take, looking from him to the racecourse. In the meantime, out on the racecourse, Lee Schoenith, and a U-55 Gale V was circling around the course getting set up for the start. He too was looking for Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV. They had talked about their race strategy and positioning for the start of this heat, but Bill Cantrell was nowhere in site. He came buzzing back to the pits after the heat worried about his close friend. When he jumped out of the U-55 Gale V he quickly asked where Bill Cantrell was, then saw him a sitting on the empty trailer. Bill Cantrell said this was the first time he had ever walked back from a race. Not too long after this "Wild" Bill Cantrell picked up a couple of new nicknames, ones he didn 't particularly care for too much called "Rosebud and Rose Petals. '' 1 think they snickered when they said them.

In between the heats the Gale crew changed the propeller on the U-55 Gale V again and made carburetor adjustments, hoping for better performance from the craft. The first and second heats haven't been very impressive for them. Bill Cantrell's ride is on the beach for the rest of the day, literally. The U-45 Miss Cadillac had a mechanical break down and was towed back to the Mount Baker pits. The damage won't be able to be repaired in time, so Bud Saile Jr. withdrew the U-45 Miss Cadillac from the final. We are running out of boats for the third heat.

Final heat lineup:
U-2 Miss U.S. George Simon
U-22 Breathless Jay Murphy
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too Marvin Henrich
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV Joe Taggart
U-37 lo-mo-shun V Lou Fageol
U-55 Gale V Lee Schoenith
U-45 Miss Cadillac withdrew
U-54 Gale IV withdrew

Everyone is out on the racecourse except the ailing U-22 Breathless and Jay Murphy, they are still sitting in the pits, unable to get the boat moving, so the race will start with out them again. Charging out on the racecourse the Wha Hoppen Too cut across the bow of Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V coming out of the pits, slowing him down. Then three of Detroit's finest, the Miss U.S., Gale V, and the Wha Hoppen Too started executing some blocking tactics while getting set up for the charge for the starting line. It looked like they had the Slo-mo-shun IV locked up at the start and a way for the Miss U.S. to squirt across first. Joe Taggart put an end to that idea, he quickly popped through a small gap they left open then went flying across the line in front of the pack. The Gale V pushed through second, followed by the Miss U.S. Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V were crowded outside by the Detroit boats coming out of the North turn while setting up for the start. This slowed him down and stuck him fourth crossing the line. The Wha Hoppen Too trailed last, in fifth place. Flying up the backstretch, George Simon and the Miss U.S. took over the lead from the Slo-mo-shun IV after shooting passed the Gale V. In the North turn, Joe Taggart took the Slo-mo-shun IV out wide, pushing the Miss U.S. even farther outside. This allowed the Slo-mo-shun V, who had just blown by Lee Schoenith into third place, to close up on them both. All three were screaming down the west straightaway charging for the South turn of the 2nd lap when Lou Fageol powered by them both taking the lead. George Simon and the Miss U.S. was a close second, just ahead of the Slo-mo-shun IV and Joe Taggart. Lee Schoenith and the fourth place Gale V were trailing a little farther behind, the Wha Hoppen Too was a long way back, and out of the game. The positions stayed the same throughout the 2nd and 3rd laps, with both of the Slo-mo's running on the inside. Then in the north turn of lap 3, George Simon's Miss U.S. coughed and died in the corner while the rest sailed on by. He got caught under the roostertail of the Slo-mo-shun V and flooded out the Allison's carburetor. George Simon promptly restarted the Miss U.S., but by the time he got the boat moving again they were half lap a behind. The Gale V and Lee Schoenith had now moved up into the third spot behind the Slo-mo-shun IV. The Miss U.S. was in fourth place, followed by the creeping Wha Hoppen Too. The 4th and 5th laps were basically the same, without much change in position between the three leaders. The front three boats lapped the last place Wha Hoppen Too, while the Miss U.S. was still chasing them all in fourth place. In the 6th lap, the Gale V put on a burst of speed shooting by the Slo-mo-shun IV and jumped into second place. Lee Schoenith then went roaring up the backstretch hunting for the leading Lou Fageol. In the north turn, the Slo-mo-shun V and Gale V lapped the fourth place Miss U.S. In the 7th lap, George Simon caught up and passed the last place Wha Hopped Too and Marvin Henrich, and was able to keep from being lapped by Joe Taggart. At the start of the final lap, Lou Fageol flew by the Wha Hoppen Too, lapping them for the second time, then a few seconds later the Gale V shot by them. The Slo-mo-shun IV sitting comfortably in third place lapped them towards the end of the final lap. The gap between the Slo-mo-shun V and Gale V got closer, but Lou Fageol easily won the race and took the checkered flag for the third win of the day.

Final Heat results:
U-37 Slo-mo-shun V 99.748
U-55 Gale V 99.452
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV 97.755
U-2 Miss U.S. 83.857
U-23 Wha Hoppen Too DQ
U-22 Breathless DNS

Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V set a new Gold Cup 30-mile heat record, averaging 99.784 mph in the final heat. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V also set a new 90-mile Gold Cup record at 99.108 mph. Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV held the old records, he set them last year at 95.268 mph for the heat and 92.631 mph for the race. These records are both for a 3¾-mile racecourse.

Race officials disqualified Marvin Henrich and the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too for cutting across the bow of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V at the beginning of the heat. Chuck Doran and Marvin Henrich had a tough day here this year. Their luck was just terrible. They started three heats, but died in two, and were disqualified in the final. The Detroit based Wha Hoppen team are on a shoestring budget and didn't have much money left after getting the boat ready for the long trip West. They now need another new engine for their boat. They have blown four Allison's since last November. They said they were not worried though. They will not be able to leave until Wednesday for Detroit, the last ones out of town. They only have $300 left. I hope it's enough to get home on.

Back in the pits, Lou Fageol threw Elmer Linenschmidt into Lake Washington for the celebration dunking. He came out laughing, and hugging Lou Fageol. This is Stan Sayres, and his crews fifth straight Gold Cup win, and the second win for Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. Lou Fageol started boat racing in 1928, and this is the 74th first place trophy that he has won. I heard that the engine Lou Fageol and the victorious U-37 Slo-mo-shun V used to capture the Gold Cup was the original Packard Rolls Royce Merlin out of the 1951 ill-fated U-15 Quicksilver.

The final point tally for the 47th Gold Cup:
U-37 Slo-mo-shun V 2000
U-2 Miss U.S. 769
U-55 Gale V 694
U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV 450
U-45 Miss Cadillac 169

 

Detroit has vowed to return and try again to capture the Gold Cup from the clutches of Seattle next season. Our fifth Gold Cup, again proving how unbeatable we are. They said this time that they would come out earlier, with new and more powerful hydroplanes. Horace Dodge Jr. said he would build a bigger and tougher boat for next season. George Simon, standing with a crowd of friend and relatives from the big "D" said they would definitely be back. I wonder what kind of surprises will be waiting for them when they come out here next season. After the final heat, a Seaplane tender cruised over to Dr. Black's rose garden on Lakeside Ave. S. and lifted the damaged U-54 Gale IV out of his rose bushes and fish pond, then carried her back to the pits where she was put on her trailer. There was not much damage to the boat; a short eight-inch rip in the hull and a broken seat in the cockpit were about all. As for Bill Cantrell, he just had his pride injured.

You could tell there were a bunch of hydroplane fans in attendance this year by the amount of trash that was hauled off. There were 35 truckloads of trash taken away this year, most of it from off the grass. It gives all the volunteers something more to do in their spare time.

There were an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 people watching this year's Gold Cup, on shore, the log boom, and the floating bridge, quite a crowd. 25 hundred boats left the log boom in a mass exodus filling up Lake Washington from the floating bridge to Seward Park. Even a few fans from Michigan, there was a blue sedan in the parking lot with a Michigan license plate, it had "better luck next year," written across it in lipstick by some Seattle race fan. Another great year of racing here, a few laughs at Detroit's expense, which is good, plus winning the Gold Cup again always makes for a good race. Nobody died, sunk, or blew up, just a little embarrassment, and one slightly burnt boat. By the way, there will be no mile trial on Monday, everyone wants to go home, and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV holds the record and has no reason to run.

October

Another tragedy occurred this year on Oct. 9th, east of Milan, Italy in a mile straightaway attempt to break the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV's record. Italian champion Signor Mario Verga and the Italian unlimited Laura in tried to break the world record on the calm waters of Lago d'Iseo, near Brescia, Italy. Mario Verga designed the new Laura III; a Timossi-built 3-pointer. The hull was 29 feet 10 inches in length, 8 feet 6 inches in width, and weighed only 2,094 pounds. Powering the boat were twin supercharged 159 Alfa-Romero 750 cubic inch engines, set in tandem; they produce 800 horsepower. Owner and driver Mario Verga ran an official one-way trip through the mile traps at 186.6 miles per hour, much faster than the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. The Laura III then went airborne. She sailed up thirty feet into the air and barrel rolled tossing pieces of the boat everywhere, then dived straight to the bottom of Lago d'Iseo carrying Mario Verga to his death. The Laura III seemed to glide into the sky and turn sideways to shore where you could see into the cockpit and then it just disappeared in a cloud of spray and wood chips. When the Laura III was recovered. Signor Mario Verga was still strapped in the seat. He died from the terrific 180+ mph impact of hitting the cement like water and not from drowning, but dead is still dead, no matter what the cause. This was a great loss to the sport of hydroplane racing and he will be missed.

Signor Mario Verga won the four-day International Grand Prix at the Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami, Florida on December 27th 1953. This was in his 800 Kg. European Class Laura III. His top speed on the Haulover Beach racecourse was only 70.372 mph. He also tried for the mile record and reached 132.18 mph, well short of Italian Achille Castoldi's 150.188-mph record. Mario Verga was the holder of the Italian 500 Kg. European class speed record at 226.495 kilometers an hour, or about 141 mph.

November

On the brighter side, there is an interesting note on the G-2 Hurricane IV. Bill Stead and the unlimited hydroplane were in the movie "The Magnificent Obsession," starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. Bill Stead got to play movie star Rock Hudson during the race scene. Pretty cool. They also made a mile straightaway attempt on November 8th out of Oasis, California on the Salton Sea. They waited for the smoothest water conditions possible before attempting their runs, but it didn't help. Bill Stead ran 164.91 miles per hour one-way and averaged 163.136 mph for the two trips. Not quite fast enough to beat the 1952 record, but it was the closest anyone had come to breaking it so far. Former owner and driver Morlin Visel, along with Fred Hallett were helping Bill Stead in the attempt.

Then things got hotter for the G-2 Hurricane IV. After the mile attempt Bill Stead put the boat on display at the Mapes Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada, sponsors of the Mapes Mile-High Gold Cup race. The first day it was there, someone tossed a lit cigarette into a puddle of fuel in the engine compartment. The G-2 Hurricane IV caught on fire, burning fourteen feet of the deck and a big hole in the right sponson. The charred boat was reclaimed by a crestfallen Bill Stead and taken out to his "Sky Ranch" just out of Sparks, Nevada where it was stored.

The G-2 Hurricane IV never raced again in unlimited competition. It stayed out at his ranch until 1986 getting covered by bird poop. Bob Williams, president of the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum here in Seattle came across it while picking up the old U-3 Tahoe Miss from the Harrah's Museum in Sparks, Nevada. Richard Kiley, Bill Stead's half brother, donated the hull to the museum after talking to Bob Williams. Later, Bob Williams, Kirk Pagel, Roger Newton, and Gary Oswold returned to the ranch and cleaned off 32 years of dust, dirt, and bird poop, fixed the trailer, and brought it back to Seattle. It drew quite a crowd on the way home to Seattle. Ken Muscatel now owns the boat. He had it stored in a warehouse in Burien and then one winter the snow-covered roof came down on top of it. I heard that the hull was still in restorable shape after the roof collapse. Yes, there are still plans to restore the G-2 Hurricane IV but.. .

Here's a little news from England. Donald Campbell has finished his new unlimited hydroplane and expects to test it out this month some time. His father, the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, set the Mile Straightaway Record in 1939 at 141.74 mph in the Bluebird K4. That record lasted until 1950 when the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV raised it to 160.323 mph. This boat was built in secret and will eventually try to break the 1952 straightaway record held by the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. The new Bluebird K7 is expected to be jet powered like the Crusader K6 that killed Donald Campbell's close friend, Englishman John Cobb, in 1952.

This report was with another that said Ted Jones would be back in 1955 with a new boat he has designed. Les Staudacher in Kawkawlin, Michigan will be building it over the winter. This should heat up things here in Seattle, especially with Stan Sayres. The new Ted Jones boat is being built with the mile straightaway record in mind. He would like nothing more than to take it away from his nemesis Stan Sayres. We will find out the who, what, where, and why next season.

--- Excerpts from "Roostertails Flying on Lake Washington" by Michael Prophet (1999)