1954 Season Summary
|30-May||Fite Memorial Marathon||Ocean City, NJ|
|1||19-Jun||Maple Leaf Trophy||Windsor, Ontario|
|2||03-Jul||Henry Ford Memorial||Detroit, Michigan|
|3||25-Jul||Lake Tahoe Championship||Tahoe City, California|
|4||07-Aug||APBA Gold Cup||Seattle, Washington|
|5||06-Sep||O.J. Mulford Silver Cup||Detroit, Michigan|
|6||12-Sep||Mapes Sky High Gold Cup||Chambers Lodge, Calif.|
|7||19-Sep||Presidents Cup||Washington, D.C.|
|8||26-Sep||Imperial Gold Cup||New Martinsville, W.Va.|
|9||03-Oct||International Cup||Elizabeth City, N.C.|
|10||09-Oct||Madison Regatta Unlimited Class||Madison, Indiana|
|11||10-Oct||Indiana Governor's Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|1||19-Jun||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|2||03-Jul||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|4||07-Aug||Slo-mo-shun V||Lou Fageol|
|5||06-Sep||Dora My Sweetie||Jack Bartlow|
|7||19-Sep||Gale IV||Bill Cantrell|
|8||26-Sep||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|9||03-Oct||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|10||09-Oct||Dora My Sweetie||Jack Bartlow|
|11||10-Oct||Gale IV||Bill Cantrell|
|6/19||Gale V||Lyle Ritchie||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|7/3||Gale V||Bud Meldrum||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|8/7||Slo-mo-shun V||Elmer Linenschmidt||Ted Jones||Anchor Jensen||Rolls-Merlin|
|9/6||My Sweetie Dora||Frank Nickolits||John Hacker||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|9/19||Gale IV||Bud Meldrum||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|9/26||Gale V||Bud Meldrum||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|10/3||Gale V||Bud Meldrum||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|10/10||Gale IV||Bud Meldrum||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|Driver High Points||—|
|6||Frank "Bud" Saile||582|
|14||Joe "Doc" Terry||120|
|Built||Boat High Points||Team|
|Miss Great Lakes II||—||12-270|
|4||1953||Dora My Sweetie||1235||—|
|5||1951||My Sweetie (2)||1230||—|
|8||1951||Wha Hoppen Too||550||—|
|11||1954||John Francis My Sweetie||360||—|
|18||1954||Miss Supertest II||0||—|
|21||1939||It's A Wonder||0||—|
At the end of 1953 there were six boats that had contender status. Fortunately for the Slo-mos, Such Crust III and Such Crust V were retired, Gale II was sold to two inexperienced, underfinanced young men and the status of Miss Great Lakes II was uncertain. This left the Slo-mos in a dominant position since the boats in Detroit capable of giving them a race probably would not show up at the Gold Cup starting line.
Bill Cantrell joined the Gale camp and was scheduled to drive the new Gale IV by Les Staudacher. Gale III was a disappointment, but Lee Schoenith was slated to drive her in 1954.
Slo-mo-shun V, the #1 Slo-mo, had suddenly become a wild ride on the 1953 eastern circuit and it was problematical how well she would perform in 1954. This made Slo-mo-shun IV, the defending champ, the boat to beat in the Gold Cup - a favorite for a record fourth Gold Cup win overcoming El Lagarto's three victories.
After testing in April and May, the Schoenith camp abandoned Gale III and purchased Gale V which had been built on speculation by Les Staudacher. Amazingly this hull purchased "off the shelf" went out and won her first race - the Maple Leaf Trophy. She was aided by Miss U.S. who was out in front in the first two heats before capsizing trying to catch Gale V after making a bad start in the third heat.
At the next regatta - the Ford Memorial - the Miss Great Lakes II came out of retirement and proved her ability to run with the leaders winning heat two, but was driven inconsistently and again Gale V won the race posting the fastest lap at 93.345. Miss U.S. was the quickest at Windsor going 94.687. Gale IV showed some potential in the Memorial running with Miss Great Lakes II in the second heat. Miss Great Lakes II's best lap was 89.212 m.p.h.
Miss Great Lakes II was sold to Bud Saile prior to the Gold Cup. Saile had not distinguished himself in the Miss Wayne which was the old Notre Dame built in 1940. Rivalling Saile in inexperience was George Simon who missed buoys in one heat at Windsor and tipped his mount over in the third heat. It appeared that the Sayres team had four m.p.h. on the field.
Two of the favorites - Gale V and Slo-mo-shun IV - effectively eliminated themselves before the start of the first Gold Cup heat by jumping the gun. Defending champion Slo-mo-shun IV made it certain that she would not win her fourth Gold Cup by quitting on the seventh lap. Slo-mo-shun V won the heat although being briefly headed by Gale IV before the latter expired. Slo-mo-shun V took the heat by 85 seconds over Miss U.S. who had been swamped for a period of time.
Slo-mo-shun V had a big advantage starting heat two and the question was whether her new Rolls Merlin engine could go the 90 miles. This same powerplant had been an erratic performer for the Such Crust camp in 1951.
Slo-mo-shuns IV and V ran out in front during heat two keeping the Detroiters Miss U.S. and Gale V back in third and fourth place. Slo-mo-shun V was in the lead. Slo-mo-shun IV faltered in the final lap so the Miss U.S. was able to sneak in behind Slo-mo V for second place. Slo-mo-shun IV was third and Gale V was fourth.
Slo-mo-shun V had 200 points and over two minutes in elapsed time over Miss U.S. with one heat to go. In order for the U.S. to win she would have to win the final heat at record speed to get the 400 point bonus for the fastest heat to counteract Slo-mo V's potential fastest race bonus. Also Slo-mo-shun V would have to finish fourth.
The bottom line was Slo-mo V could only lose the race by mechanical failure.
Slo-mo-shun V's path was blocked briefly by a late starting Wha Hoppen Too at the beginning of the final heat opening the door for the Miss U.S. to lead down the first backstretch. She was closely followed by Slo-mo-shun IV. The IV was able to force Miss U.S. wide on the turn and Slo-mo-shun V came through taking the lead at the first turn of the second lap.
A lap later Miss U.S. got hosed down again and Slo-mo-shun V went on to win the heat and the Gold Cup. Gale V moved past the second place Slo-mo-shun IV in the sixth lap and came within four seconds of Slo-mo-shun V at the end of the 30 miles.
Like 1951 the Slo-mos had no intention of going east leaving the Gales and Miss U.S. to fight it out for the Silver Cup. Gale V went out on the first lap of heat 1-A and Miss U.S. had engine trouble in heat 1-B putting Gale IV in a good position to take the race having won heat 1-B. The field was split since there were 10 starters
Then in the second heat Gale IV went down and Miss U.S. continued to have engine trouble leaving the also rans with a good chance to win. Miss U.S. failed to finish the third heat and Dora, My Sweetie led the field with 900 points heading into the fourth heat. The little My Sweetie and Trot-A-Long, the former Such Crust V leased to Fred Van Lennep for the race, were next with 569 points. Dora could win the Silver Cup by finishing second in the next two heats.
She was second in the fourth heat and then needed only a third in the final to win the Cup. Dora, My Sweetie won the final to give owner Horace Dodge a most cherished triumph. However Dora, My Sweetie was about 10 m.p.h. slower than Gale IV around a three mile course.
Despite this Dora, My Sweetie came alive in the Presidents Cup and ran in front of Gale IV for several laps before the later took the race. Dora was an overall second with Gale V being unable to get out of third place the entire regatta.
Gale V however came back and was victorious in the next two races at New Martinsville, West Virginia and Elizabeth City, North Carolina besting her sister ship Gale IV and Dora, My Sweetie.
At the final race of the season in Madison, Gale IV enjoyed the hegemony of Gale V over the field at the previous two races and took its second regatta in its last four trys.
Gale IV had the best competition lap of the season at 99.438 m.p.h. Gale V's best lap was 95.238 m.p.h. Dora, My Sweetie, a step boat like the Miss Pepsi, had a top lap between these two figures.
Slo-mo-shun V, still somewhat wild, was close to Gale IV's speed as was her sister Slo-mo-shun IV on the basis of her 1953 record.
Miss U.S. was rated at 95.188 m.p.h. As a result of again six contenders, 1955 shaped up as a banner year.
[Statistics from Greene, V.1]