1955 APBA Gold Cup
48th APBA Gold Cup August 7th 1955
[Excerpted from "Roostertails Flying on Lake Washington" (1999) by Michael Prophet; passages in italics are running commentaries by Michael Prophet]
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The 48th Gold Cup will be run again this year on a 3¾-mile oval racecourse. It is located basically in the same place it has been for the last four seasons between the Lake Washington Floating Bridge and Seward Park. The pits are located at the Mount Baker Boathouse, about a ½ mile south of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge. They will run eight laps per heat for 30-miles and 3 heats equaling 90 miles. The top twelve-qualifing unlimiteds will race for the Gold Cup; the rest get to watch the race from shore. There is a 2½ mile racecourse that the Limiteds will run on Saturday and on Sunday. They will race for the Seafair Trophy on the Gold Cup racecourse. The 11¼-mile qualifing speed is 85 mph this year. The points are 400 for first place followed in order by 300, 225, 169, 127, 95, 71, 53, 40, 30, 22, and 17 for last. 400 Bonus points will be given for the fastest 30-mile heat and 400 points for the fastest 90-mile race time. The boats have to complete the 90 miles to be eligible for any of the bonus points. The Gold Cup will be awarded to the boat with the highest point total from the preliminary heats and final heat, plus the bonus points if any. A cash prize of $1,000 will be divided between the top four boats that finish in heat 1 and 2. First place will receive $200, second $150, third $100, and fourth $50. The unlimited hydroplane winning the final heat may not be the winner of the Gold Cup with this screwy point system.
W. Mel Crook, chairman of the Gold Cup Contest Board for the APBA, made a rule change this year; it has to do with the qualifing trials. The boat attempting to qualify must make a left turn in front of the official barge then head for the north turn to start their qualifing run. They used to just wave their hand to notify the official referee on the barge. He is from Montclair, New Jersey and has been the official referee here since 1951. He is also a businessman, the editor of Yachting Magazine and writes a column called "More Power To You," and "More R.P.M.
Qualifying trials will start on Monday August 1st at 11:00 p.m. and run til 6:00 p.m. through Thursday, unless they're problems like usual. There will be a Gold Cup drivers meeting held at the Olympic Hotel at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning August 6th, that's usually an interesting and vocal meeting. The heat times on Sunday August 7th are scheduled at 1:05 p.m. for heat one, 3:05 p.m. for heat two, and 5:05 for heat three. Unless something happens, then who knows what time it will get over. There will be a Gold Cup Regatta banquet where the awards will be presented after the Gold Cup at the Olympic Hotel downtown Seattle. Along with the APBA Gold Cup, the Martini-Rossi Trophy for the fastest heat, and the Aaron DeRoy Plaque for the fastest lap will be given out.
On Monday August 8th, the Seattle Yacht Club and Greater Seattle Inc. expect to run the Mile Trials on Lake Washington. This will be open to any unlimited hydroplane able to meet the qualifications. This one will cost them though, $5.00 for the entree fee, big money. Most of the boats that want to try for the straightaway record will just hang around until Monday in the Gold Cup pits at Mount Baker. The Slo-mo's usually go to Hunts Point to wait. The mile course is a marked off part of the Gold Cup racecourse this year. The time trials will start at 6:00 a.m. and go to 8:00 p.m., the reason for the long time is because of the possibility that the weather could delay the trials, and waiting sometime helps. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV now holds the Mile Straightaway Record at 178.497 miles per hour; Stan Sayres set this in 1952.
Along with the Gold Cup, everyone will be shooting for all the speed records if possible. They were all set here in 1954 by Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. They are:
- Fastest qualifing lap 112.594
- Fastest qualifying 111.632
- Fastest race lap 104.773
- Fastest 30-mile heat 99.784
- Fastest 90-mile race 99.108
There will be plenty of coverage again this year. KING TV and KOMO TV will be here, plus three radio stations will be on the air, KIRO 710, KOMO 1000, and KING 1000 FM. Of course, the local Post Intelligencer and Seattle Times will be on hand to report the news, along with the other outside news media that is here again this season. The official barge is covered with large banners of TV and radio stations. KING TV has one on each end of the barge.
Detroit will be returning here again for the Gold Cup, and with a vengeance. Jack Schafer is over being upset about the Seattle Yacht Club just not handing the Gold Cup back to Detroit, because he wanted it. Plus he has one of his boats back, so he should be here. Maybe he will get the prize back, the honest way, by winning. Several other unlimiteds from the "Motor City" should be here along with a couple from the south.
The report last year was true, Ted Jones has returned from the 5-year exile Stan Sayres stuck him in. He has a new boat, the U-11 Rebel, Suh that he owns with Kirn Armistead, along with another one he designed for Willard Rhodes, the new U-60 Miss Thriftway. Willard Rhodes is the president of the Thriftway Grocery Stores in Washington State. This is an Association of 100 grocery stores. This is the third unlimited Ted Jones has designed so far since coming out of exile; last seasons U-22 Breathless was the first one. Ted Jones met Les Staudacher in Detroit last year and they got to know each other. Ted Jones had him built both of these unlimiteds in his Kawkawlin, Michigan shop this year. Charlie Volker is building the gearboxes for both Ted Jones and Les Staudacher's boats. The Thriftway's gearbox will have an adaptable gear ratio, patterned after the Indy 500 racecars. It's good to see Ted Jones back designing unlimiteds again. Ted Jones' partner Kirn Armistead is from the Southeast, in Norfolk, Virginia, so this is where the boats name Rebel Suh comes from. The two boats, though designed by Ted Jones are not the same, the U-11 Rebel, Suh is 29 feet 4 inches in length. While the U-60 Miss Thriftway is 28 feet 6 inches. Both are Allison powered.
There is plenty of tension at Stan Sayres home on Hunts Point, now that Ted Jones is back. Some people said that Ted Jones two new boats were "spite boats," but that's not all they are, as people will soon find out. Ted Jones is a boat designer, as good as anyone, better than most, and will continue to build winners for a long time.
Seattle, Washington is now the "Pleasure Boat Capital of the World." There are an estimated 60,000 pleasure craft in Seattle shooting us passed the former leader New York. Cool.
Ted Jones, designer, co-owner, and driver of the new U11 Rebel, Suh is home in bed with a dislocated sacroiliac. It started giving him trouble two weeks ago, and finally quit on him Thursday. His sprained back will keep him off his feet and out of the cockpit for a few days, but he is staying in close contact with his crew, and the Thriftway team who he is also working with. He hopes to be able to wear a special belt so can be up and around this weekend. Right now, both crews are getting the U-60 Miss Thriftway ready for testing on Lake Washington. Willard Rhodes and Ted Jones are hoping to launch the new U-60 Miss Thriftway this Sunday. Ted Jones is scheduled to be U-60 Miss Thriftway driver for the August 7th Gold Cup. He is also planning to do all the testing, but things may because of his back problems. Ted Jones figures that the new U-11 Rebel, Suh will arrive here in Seattle late this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The new unlimited left Eastern Montana early yesterday morning and was heading for Spokane, Washington. They want to get her here before the 4th of July holiday. If the U-11 Rebel, Suh doesn't reach Seattle today, the boat will have to wait until after the holiday. The Department of Transportation doesn't allow overload traffic on the highways during holidays or weekends.
July 2nd Saturday
The U-11 Rebel, Suh arrived late last night from Kawkawlin, Michigan 2,500 miles away, and is in the process of being overhauled in Ted Jones's backyard at his Kennydale home near Renton. The Allison has to be yanked out, and the inside of the hull cleaned before sticking her in Lake Washington. They may be ready on Wednesday or Thursday to make their first appearance. The U-11 Rebel, Suh was primarily designed and built to run for the mile straightaway on Lake Washington against the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and U-37 Slo-mo-shun V on August 8th, after the Gold Cup race. Ted Jones hasn't decided if he wants to race the U-11 Rebel, Suh in the Gold Cup or not yet. He said that there was already enough boats entered in the race and he is busy working with the Thriftway team for the Gold Cup. They have only a single V-12 Allison engine for the U-11 Rebel, Suh. They don't want to take the risk of losing it in the Gold Cup race, and missing out on the mile trials. Their prime objective is capturing the Mile Straightaway Record held by Stan Sayres and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. Ted Jones has a special interest in taking this record away from the boat he designed for his "nemesis" Stan Sayres. He was originally supposed to drive the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV in the mile straightaway attempt in 1950. This was according to an agreement he had with Stan Sayres. Ted Jones ended up riding along as the mechanic, Stan Sayres screwed him out of driving, saying it was his boat and he wanted the record for himself. That's a used car salesman for you. Ted Jones is up and around today, but moving very slowly. He's taking it real easy because of his aching back.
The Thriftway and Rebel crews are busy putting the gearbox in the U-60 Miss Thriftway today. They will finish up the work that needs to be done at Ted Jones Kennydale home before she is taken to Sand Point Navel Air Station tomorrow. The U-11 Rebel, Suh and the U-60 Miss Thriftway will both be berthed at Sand Point Navel Air Station where they will do all their testing. The new U-60 Miss Thriftway will be towed there tomorrow morning. They expect to give the new boat a test run on Lake Washington in the afternoon. Ted Jones said that the work on the U-11 Rebel, Suh will be put off for a while longer.
Ted Jones and his wife Jane looked over the U-11 Rebel, Suh today at his home on South 170th Street in Kennydale, just out of Renton. The crew will finish getting her prepared for the mile straightaway run on August 8th. Work on the U-11 Rebel, Suh will begin, but the boat probably will not leave for Sand Point Navel Air Station until next week. He hopes to have the boat in the water then. His plans for entering the Gold Cup are still up in the air.
This May, after two years of experimenting with the Packard built Rolls Royce Merlin in the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V, the crew has changed the G-6 Allison in the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV over to the more powerful Packard Rolls Royce Merlin this year. The Rolls Royce Merlin engine is rated with about 2,300 to 2,500 horsepower, depending on who you ask. They also added a longer and better-ventilated nose cowl and engine hood. The deck was reinforced from the sponsons to the dash with metal. This did raise the weight of the boat though, to around 5,000 pounds. These Rolls Royce Merlins have been rebuilt and modified, eliminating several of the temperamental problems that caused have them to quit. One of the problems it had was in the oiling system; the rear main has been drilled for better oiling along with other things. I talked to Pete Bertelotti in 1999; he said that after some Packard engineers saw what they had done to improve the engine they were amazed. They said if they had known this in the 1940's, the aircraft using this engine would have flown circles around the Germans during the war.
July 6th Thursday
The U-60 Miss Thriftway has been ready for testing on Lake Washington since Tuesday, but the weather hasn't been cooperating very well. The water conditions have been terrible, so the team has had to wait until today to try her out. Ted Jones and the U-60 Miss Thriftway left the north end of Sand Point at 4:55 p.m. this afternoon for her first spin on Lake Washington. The boat handled better than Ted Jones had expected. She was very smooth in the comers at the speeds he was traveling. He said he couldn't tell the speed, because the air-speed indicator doesn't kick in until you reach 100 mph. This was her first shakedown cruise, so putting on a bunch of speed was not a good idea. Owner Willard Rhodes and Ted Jones were both very pleased with the performance of the boat. This new boat makes Willard Rhodes and Thriftway Inc. one of the few professional unlimited racing teams on the hydroplane circuit. The others would be George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S., Joe Schoenith's Gale's, the Dossin brothers' U-99 Miss Pepsi (2), and Jack Schafer's "Bakery Boats." Professional, meaning they sponsor and advertise their own boats through their businesses.
Ted Jones and his crew are now working on the U-11 Rebel, Suh getting her ready for a test run on Lake Washington off Sand Point. They may not take the water though until sometime next week.
July 15th Friday
Orchestra leader Guy Lombardo is expected to send the new G-13 Tempo VII here to Seattle for the Gold Cup. It was designed and built over the winter by Les Staudacher. It is 28 feet in length, 12 feet at the beam, and weighs 5,400 pounds. The G-13 Tempo VII is Allison powered and running for the New York Yacht Club. Decca Records is helping to sponsor the boat. He is planning to ship the boat here from the big "D" on July 25th, and arrive himself on August 2nd. Guy Lombardo will also do some of the driving in the first and third heats. His old rival, Danny Foster, will drive the second heat and probably do most of the testing and qualifing.
Two of the three My Sweetie boats owned by Horace Dodge Jr. are expected to make the trip West this year, the U-14 My Sweetie Dora, U-17 My Sweetie John Francis, or the U-3 My Sweetie (2) ("Little Sweetie"). All three are representing the Dodge Brothers Dealer Association. Also coming again this year is the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too. Chuck Doran and Marvin Henrich have rebuilt the former U-51 Gale II, which they raced here in 1954. They ripped off the deck, cut it up in small pieces, and sold it as souvenirs this last winter. This helped them raise enough money to rebuild the hull. They were ready to test run early this year, but had to wait for the ice on the Detroit River to break up before they could do any. Yes, waiting was a very good idea.
Canada's J. Gordon Thompson from Windsor, Ontario is getting the Rolls Royce Griffon powered CA-1 Miss Supertest II ready to travel west for the big chase. It would be the first time a foreign unlimited has raced here in Seattle.
Frank Saile Jr. owns the U-45 Miss Cadillac, the old U-50 Miss Wayne, and a brand new boat. He will send one of them here to Seattle. The new boat is a very slim possibly, though. It might not be done yet and everything is top secret. They have been just calling it the "Mystery" boat. Surprise surprise, this became the U-50 Miss Wayne (2). The U-45 Miss Cadillac has been the boat doing all of the racing so far this season. She won the first race of the 1955 season in Windsor, Ontario. Then in the Detroit Memorial they broke their steering assembly in a three-boat collision and crashed onto the rocks. The team bounced back in their last race, placing second in the International Boundary on July 17th. They are leading the field in the National High Points standings.
July 17th Sunday
So far, nine positive entry forms have been received and approved by the Gold Cup Committee for Sunday's big chase. Ten other boats have indicated they will challenge for the coveted Gold Cup. This would push it up to nineteen for the August 7th event, the biggest field of boats ever for a Gold Cup.
Lou Fageol retired again after last seasons Seattle Gold Cup. He suggested that rookie Bill Muncey be given the job of replacing him, but Stan Sayres wouldn't do it, so they have only one driver so far. This may mean that Lou Fageol is coming back out of retirement again. He and Joe Taggart could be teaming up again this year to drive the Slo-mo's. They both will be arriving later this month. Of course, both of the Slo-mo's are the favorite to win again this year.
Ray Crawford and Howard Gidovlenko, both from Los Angles, California, have a new boat, the uniquely designed U-44 Zephyr Fury. The boat is an unusual design for an unlimited hydroplane. It has a new type of contour on the sponsons, and her engine sits very low in the hull. The Allison sits flush with the deck, and is completely covered by a cowling with a ram intake scoop. The tail fin looks like the one on the B-52 bomber only much smaller. Ray Crawford owns a store check-out stand manufacturing business in El Monte, California. He is a WWII pilot and experienced racecar driver, but doesn't have much driving experience in a hydroplane. He will be the designated driver in the race and Howard Gidovlenko will be his back up. Howard Gidovlenko has been doing all the test-driving on Nevada's Lake Mead. He said they might try for the Mile Straightaway Record while they are there.
Another new hull this year is the twin Allison powered U-56 Gale VI, owned by Joe Schoenith from Detroit, Michigan, another villain from the East, plus he said he is bringing his two other boats, the U-54 Gale IV and U-55 Gale V.
Detroit's own George Simon is bringing last years U-2 Miss U.S. back to Seattle again this season for another shot at the Gold Cup. He is expected to be the wheelman.
The U-22 Breathless will make the trip up from California again this year, hopefully with better results this season than last year. They sure don't want a repeat of that. Owner J. Phillip Murphy decided to race the full season this year. He can afford it, he owns the Judson-Pacific-Murphy Corporation. They specialize in steel fabrication and construction. The company has built several bridges on the West Coast. Over the off-season the boat was overhauled under the supervision of the boats designer Ted Jones. They made steering adjustments and strut bearing changes. It was also reported that they had installed a 24-cylinder W-24 Allison like another California boat, the U-10 Scooter Too. It was also in the Seattle program, they probably got it from the same source. This information was incorrect; they must have got it confused with Henry Kaiser's boat, he's from California too. This boat has always been and will stay underpowered. They are still using a 1,500 hp Allison like last season. Driving again will be J. Philip Murphy's older son 21 year old Jay, who is on leave from the Army.
Henry and Edgar Kaiser may enter their new U-10 Scooter Too from California in this years Gold Cup. Frank Crosby, the Seattle representative for Henry Kaiser, said that if he does, the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club would make the challenge for him. This boat hasn't competed yet this year. Edgar Kaiser said the new boat belongs to the Kaiser employees, they helped build her in their spare time; it was a real family project.
The new U-60 Miss Thriftway needs a driver. Ted Jones is expected to drive the U-11 Rebel, Suh in the mile run and in the Gold Cup if it races, but he won't be able to drive both, especially with his bad back. Willard Rhodes and Ted Jones are in the process of locating someone now. Ted Jones has somebody in mind, but won't say who it is. It's a big secret. Kirn Armistead and co-owner Ted Jones are still deliberating on entering theU-11 Rebel, Suh in the August 7th Gold Cup, they still want to challenge for the Mile Straightaway Record.
Over all, there are four brand new built hulls entered in the Gold Cup so far this season. If Frank Saile Jr. sends the "Mystery Boat" and the Kaiser's brings the U-10 Scooter Too, that will make six.
The boats and owners approved so far by the Gold Cup Committee for the race are:
|U-6||Short Circuit||Chuck Thompson|
|U-13||Tempo VII||Guy Lombardo|
|U-22||Breathless||J. Philip Murphy|
|U-27||Slo-mo-shun IV||Stan Sayres|
|U-37||Slo-mo-shun V||Stan Sayres|
|U-44||Zephyr Fury||Ray Crawford|
|U-54||Gale IV||Joe Schoenith|
|U-55||Gale V||Joe Schoenith|
|U-56||Gale VI||Joe Schoenith|
|U-60||Miss Thriftway||Willard Rhodes|
Many of the other ten boats interested in racing here will make the event, and as usual, some won't be able to for one reason or another. The more the merrier though.
There will be grandstand seating again this year. They will be on the lakeshore near the Mount Baker pits and across from the official barge. They will have a great view of the start-finish line. There will be 2,444 seats available in four sections. The tickets cost a whopping $3.50 each, including tax, such a deal. They can be purchased at Sherman, Clay & Company on 4th Avenue. They were $230 for two people for three days or $125 per person in 1999 including a Sunday buffet.
Log boom space will be available again this year. There is room for 900 boats. The cost is from $10 to $45, depending on the size of the boat. Tickets can be picked up from the Seattle Yacht Club.
July 18th Monday
There was good news and bad news today for the Gold Cup Committee and Seattle Yacht Club, more good than bad though. The Maestro, Guy Lombardo sent an official entry for the Gold Cup today, and Jack Schafer sent the Gold Cup Committee a message saying that he will enter the G-22 Such Crust III (2) for the August 7th big event. Joe Schoenith wired Seattle saying that the new.U-56 Gale VI will be withdrawn, but that the U-54 Gale IV and U-55 Gale V will make the long trip. The U-56 Gale VI hasn't been tested because it's still without a gearbox. Joe and Lee Schoenith feel they won't have enough time to get her ready to travel to Seattle and will leave her home this year. The other two Gales are expected to arrive here on Friday evening. They will be taken to Lloyd Jett's Boathouse on Rainier Beach again this year. Bill Cantrell and Lee Schoenith will do the driving. So we lost the U-56 Gale VI and gained the G-13 Tempo VII, things are still looking up.
July 19th Tuesday
Race fans are looking forward to seeing and watching bandleader Guy Lombardo operate his G-13 Tempo VII on Lake Washington. Guy Lombardo is a veteran unlimited hydroplane driver and a "Super Star" in this sport. The Maestro won the 1946 Gold Cup in the G-13 Tempo VI and finished second to the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV in the 1950 Gold Cup. The do date for Guy Lombardo's arrival is still August 2nd.
July 20th Wednesday
A disappointed Chuck Thompson has said he has had it with the U-6 Short Circuit; he's tired of fooling around with the boat. They had a terrible test run last week on Lake St. Clair near Detroit. After he cools down, he may change his mind. The boat is only two years old now and has survived five races. Chuck Thompson was the first challenger for the August 7th Gold Cup this year. Out of the six boats in the July 17th St. Clair International Boundary race last weekend, only four of them finished. Chuck Thompson and the U-6 Short Circuit returned to the pits before even reaching the first turn. Horace Dodge Jr.'s U-3 My Sweetie (2) sank when she struck something in the water that put a hole in the bottom of the boat. The new G-22 Such Crust III (2) won the troubled event with a slow speed of 73 mph, but a win is a win. The other boats were the U-45 Miss Cadillac, CA-1 Miss Supertest II, and the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too.
The U-44 Zephyr Fury didn't last long in it's first test run on Nevada's Lake Mead. The rudder let go ripping the propeller off the boat and damaging the hull. Howard Gidovlenko said he expects to have the California based U-44 Zephyr Fury fixed and ready for a scheduled mile straightaway attempt this coming weekend, and on the way to Seattle the following week. The radical looking boat was designed by Howard Gidovlenko with the help of a California aerospace team and built by Howard Gidovlenko and Ray Crawford's Zephyr Company employees this year.
July 21st Thursday
Joe Schoenith said the U-54 Gale IV and U-55 Gale V are on their way to Seattle now and are expected to reach the Lake Washington area on Sunday, instead of Friday as earlier predicted.
Horace Dodge Jr. said that all three of his boats, the U-3 My Sweetie (2), U-14 My Sweetie Dora, and the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis will probably stay home and not make the trip to Seattle for the August 7th Gold Cup. Right now, they are not running very well, but the situation could still change. Horace Dodge Jr. denied that the U-3 My Sweetie (2) had sunk in Detroit, saying it just suffered a small hole in the hull, nothing serious. He will know more about entering the Gold Cup by next week. Horace Dodge Jr. has been helping Charles Doran and Marvin Henrich, owners of the U-23 Wha Hoppen Too, and the CA-1 Miss Supertest II owner J. Gordon Thompson of London, Ontario, Canada get their boats up and running. Troubles with their superchargers are causing big problems for both of them. Horace Dodge Jr. feels that with a little help from him, they will be ready in time to race in Seattle.
Bud Saile Jr., owner of the new twin-engine monster U-50 Miss Wayne (2), said the unlimited hasn't been in the water yet, and may not be ready to race by the time the August 7th Gold Cup rolls around. If not, he will send the U-45 Miss Cadillac. Frank "Bud" Saile Jr. is president of the Wayne Tool and Die Corporation, a division of Cadillac Tool and Die Company. He also owns the U-45 Miss Cadillac. Now you know where the names for his two boats came from.
Jack Schafer has repurchased his own boat, the G-22 Such Crust III (2), from a government auction earlier this year. The boat had been sold to Van Lenneps who raced her as the G-22 Pace-Along last year in one race. The U-5 Such Crust V is now owned by Bill Stroh from Detroit, Michigan, and running as the U-5 Miss Detroit. They probably will not make it here to Seattle. Walter Kade, who is 51 years young and a veteran driver, will be the wheelman for Jack Schafer's G-22 Such Crust III (2). He is a Packard Motor Company engineer in the "Motor City." The "Soft'n Good" boat will be on her way West soon.
Chuck Thompson is still plenty disappointed with the performance of the U-6 Short Circuit, but has not withdrawn her yet. He still has hotel reservations here in Seattle for race week. Chuck Thompson could be a spectator, a driver of his own boat, or someone else's pilot here this year.
Ted Jones and Kirn Armistead, owners of the U-11 Rebel, Suh are now thinking on entering the Gold Cup. They are still waiting for racing equipment to show up from the East that was ordered two months ago. They are hoping it will arrive before the July 28th closing date for Gold Cup entries. They are still expecting Ted Jones to drive the boat, if his back holds up. They had planned to enter the U-11 Rebel, Suh in the mile straightaway trials on Monday following the Gold Cup, but the layout of the mile course has changed their minds. The mile racecourse now runs under the floating bridge, and with the boat traveling 170+ mph, they both decided they don't want to take a chance going under it.
For the Willard Rhodes owned U-60 Miss Thriftway, Ted Jones has decided on a driver for the boat, and is calling back East to finish the negotiations. He still hasn't announced who it is yet. The crew chief for the Thriftway team is Mike Pavone, a Boeing employee, and good friend of Ted Jones.
Both of the Slo-mo's are in Anchor Jensen's shop being varnished. Stan Sayres expects the crew to give them both a workout on Lake Washington off Hunts Point this coming weekend.
Gale driver Bill Cantrell, and crewman Bill Frick arrived here this Thursday, bringing news that Lou Fageol would not drive in the race here this year, before it was just a rumor. Up until today, Lou Fageol was considered the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V wheelman. They are staying the Hilltop Motel where the two Gale boats will set up headquarters. The boats will eventually be taken to Jack and Lloyd Jett's Boathouse on Lake Washington. They reported that their friend from Louisville, Kentucky Marion Cooper is leaving Detroit, all expenses paid for Seattle, and a seat in the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV on Monday. Bill Cantrell said that Joe Taggart would move over to the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. So it looks like Marion Cooper and Joe Taggart will be driving the Slo-mo's in the Gold Cup. Stan Sayres was noncommittal, but did say that Joe Taggart would drive the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, but nothing about who would drive the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. Hmm, he must know something.
|The official line up so far this year:|
|U-22||Such Crust III|
|Possible but doubtful entries:|
|CA-1||Miss Supertest II|
|U-3||My Sweetie (2)|
|U-14||My Sweetie Dora|
|U-17||My Sweetie John Francis|
|U-23||Wha Hoppen Too|
|Boats out for sure:|
|U-50||Miss Wayne (2)|
July 22nd Friday
Lou Fageol said today that he would not be driving the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V in the Gold Cup this year. He is coming to Seattle from his home in Kent, Ohio, but as a spectator and advisor only. He stated that he is still retired from last year. Lou Fageol is president of the board of directors of the Twin Coach Motor Company. The Fageol Products Company is selling Aerojet Marine engines that are produced at the Kent Plant. The Aerojet engines they make are 4 stroke, 4 cylinder engines. They produce only 26.5 horsepower, so they are not an alternative for the Allison or Merlins. They also make Fageol gas and propane engines, and Fageol-Leland diesels for buses. Under his contract, he is barred from competitive racing. He has lots of stock in the company and could lose a bunch of it if he broke the rules. Special action by the board of directors allowed him to drive for Stan Sayres last year. They set aside a special clause for him then, could that happen again?
Joe Taggart is leaving Canton, Ohio today for Detroit, Michigan, then on to Seattle after picking up a car. Stan Sayres house at Hunts Point will have a load of drivers for just two boats. Joe Taggart said before leaving that the CA-1 Miss Supertest II is a definite race casualty. The Canadian challenger popped the supercharger on their Rolls Royce Griffon in a run on Lake St. Clair. Owner J. Gordon Thompson will be unable to replace it in time for the August 7th Gold Cup here in Seattle. Replacement parts for the 3,000 horsepower Rolls Royce Griffon can only be obtained in England, tough luck. Slo-mo wheelman Marion Cooper is a limited class driver. He will run next Sunday, competing in the 266 cubic inch class in a Southern race. He also has a 7-litre boat ride coming up.
The U-54 Gale IV and U-55 Gale V are expected to pull into the Hilltop Motel late today or tomorrow morning. The motel is located six miles east of Seattle on Highway 10. Joe Schoenith will arrive with his 26-year-old son Lee on Sunday. Both of the Gale boats will be taken to Jett's Boathouse on Lake Washington Monday.
July 23rd Saturday
Ray Crawford will not be the only "rookie" driver here this year. The owner of the California based U-44 Zephyr Fury hasn't any competitive unlimited hydroplane driving experience. Two other drivers have also very limited experience behind the wheel, the driver for the new U-60 Miss Thriftway from Detroit, whoever he is, and Marion Cooper, driver for one of the Slo-mo's. Both have plenty of experience in 266 class limited's though. All drivers that didn't compete in last seasons Gold Cup will have to be qualified by the drivers committee for the Gold Cup race this year. Bill Cantrell is the chairman and will observe each driver as they take three qualifmg laps around the Lake Washington racecourse starting on August 1st.
Both of the Gale unlimiteds arrived at the Hilltop Motel late in the afternoon yesterday, they are the first challengers from the big "D" to arrive. Coming along with the boats were "Doc" Terry, their backup driver, and Chuck Melbrum, boat builder and head mechanic.
Lee Schoenith, driver of the U-55 Gale V, and crew chief Bud Melbrum should show up here on Sunday. Si McCloud, a Boeing engineer, will be helping on the Gale crew this year. The Gale team will be complete by Sunday, except for the headman, owner Joe Schoenith, and his wife, who will arrive sometime in the middle of next week. They are still scheduled to move from the Hilltop Motel to Jett's Boathouse at Lake Washington on Monday.
Horace Dodge Jr. has entered two unlimiteds in the Gold Cup this year, the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis. They are expected to leave Detroit for the West Coast next week on Monday. The last report was that they were having trouble running. So maybe they got all their problems worked out and will show up
U.S. Air Force Test Pilot Russ Schleeh took the U-60 Miss Thriftway out on Lake Washington today. This was his first time behind the wheel of an unlimited hydroplane. He ran her up to 160 mph on the straightaways and was impressive behind the wheel. Could he be the new U-60 Miss Thriftway driver?
Today on Lake Ullswater, England, Donald Campbell, Sir Malcolm Campbell's son, broke the Mile Straightaway Record in the jet powered Bluebird K7. He averaged 325.6 kilometers an hour, or 202.325 mph, setting a new World Mile Straightaway Record. The 34-year-old Donald Campbell ran the first leg at 215.08 mph and the second trip at a slower 189.57-mph. He set the record with a slipped vertebra in his back from an earlier test run, and it didn't slow him down a bit. John Cobb was the first to break the 200 mph mark, but Donald Campbell became the first to officially run over 200 mph. This shattered the 1952 U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV record by 23.828 mph. This was just a trial run according to Donald Campbell, saying they would like to come to America and "show the flag." He said it has been a long time since a British record setting craft has been in the United States. I think he wants to rub our noses in it a little, but anyone that can go that fast sure has my permission to come and visit. They started building this Bluebird in 1952, replacing the Bluebird K4 that was wrecked in October 1951, and after their friend John Cobb was killed in his jet powered Crusader K6 in 1952. Unlike the K4, the K7 was built especially for a jet turbine engine.
Stan Sayres had nothing but praise for Donald Campbell's accomplishment today, saying that he has had a lot of experience at this and has been working at this for some time now. He said he might try and regain the record after the Gold Cup. They would have to change the gearing in the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV before the mile attempt, and with the Gold Cup coming up it wouldn't be practical now.
Ray Crawford said today from California, that he feels his new two-ton "Zephyr-Fury," as he calls it, could beat the record Donald Campbell just set in England today. He believes that with the boats design and the 4,000 horsepower Allison it use's they could reach 240 mph. Ray Crawford said he didn't know just when they would be ready to shoot for the record, they are still working out some bugs, and feeding information into the electronic brain they are using. They still need to test run on Lake Mead. The electronic brain was who told them it could reach 240 mph. Aha, progress, isn't it great? The U-44 Zephyr Fury is a streamlined conventional 3-point prop-rider, 30 feet in length, 12 feet in width, and weighs only 4,000 pounds. Howard Gidovlenko's new engine is said to be the most powerful V-12 Allison ever built.
Lou Fageol will be driving in a European style auto race at the Kitsap Airport next Sunday on July 31st. He will drive a supercharged Porsche in the Seafair sponsored event. Auto racing must be safer than hydroplane racing because he got the approval of the Twin Coach board of directors.
July 24th Sunday
Something's a little different here this year. There are three two-boat race teams, two that could gang up on the Slo-mo's, and each other. Stan Sayres has two, Joe Schoenith has the U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V. Then there is Willard Rhodes and Ted Jones, who are also working as a pair. This could be an interesting development or predicament.
Ted Jones is expected to drive the U-11 Rebel, Suh, and he just acquired a driver for the new U-60 Miss Thriftway, Detroit's own Bill Muncey, who started driving unlimiteds in 1950. His first unlimited ride was in the first U-4 Miss Great Lakes owned by Albin Fallon. He tried to run in the Harmsworth Trophy race that year. Bill Muncey blew the engine running faster qualifying laps than two of the other entries did. He heard that Gar Wood had a bunch of spare Allisons in his warehouse, but they said he would never get to talk to him. Bill Muncey was persistent and did get to talk to him. After several hours of racing stories Gar Wood said he could pick any of them he wanted from his warehouse. After all the work was done the Harmsworth committee wouldn't allow them in the race. They said Bill Muncey didn't have enough experience, and the boat was too old and undependable. They did enter the Silver Cup, but things didn't go well at all for the rookie and his old boat, the bottom fell out and it sank. Before it went under Bill Muncey tried to plug the gaping hole with his life jacket, but to no avail. Ted Jones, who was there, was impressed with Bill Muncey's aggressiveness and determination. Detroit fans are not very happy with Bill Muncey driving for the enemy though. This is putting it mildly. He has just completed his tour in the Army and wanted to get back into unlimited driving. He tried for years to get a ride in a Detroit boat, but he was a West-sider and the racing fraternity was East-siders and "River Rats", so he came from the wrong side of the tracks. He did test drive Horace Dodge Jr.'s U-14 My Sweetie Dora earlier this year. Bob Grattan, a close friend of his, was driving the U-17 My Sweetie John Francis for Horace Dodge Jr., and knew he was looking for a driver for the U-14 My Sweetie Dora. They went to St. Clair, Michigan for a trial spin and he ran about half a lap when a cavitation plate fell off and the U-14 My Sweetie Dora started sinking. Bill Muncey managed to get the boat back to the dock before it went completely underwater. He didn't like the boat anyway because it, was a step design. Bill Muncey went back to his father's Chevrolet dealership in Detroit, expecting to stay there forever. Then the phone rang. Ted Jones called him and asked if he would like to drive the new U-60 Miss Thriftway in the Seattle Gold Cup. Bill Muncey was totally shocked. He had only dreamed of driving a 3-point prop-rider, and now he had a chance to drive a brand new. Bill Muncey spent quite a bit of time at Sindbad's thinking about driving for Willard Rhodes. It would mean leaving his dad and uncles Chevrolet dealership and racing for the competition. His younger brother Ray had already left to set up his own dealership in Ohio. After thinking about it he decided to go for it and told Ted Jones yes. The only problem was getting this to fly past his dad. With the help of sports writer Harry Le Duc, a friend of them both, the two put together a plan to break it to his father in a round about way that he would be leaving Detroit to drive the new U-60 Miss Thriftway for Seattle. The trick worked and his father was very excited, and pleased by the news. Boy, did Detroit miss out. Bill Muncey is a tough aggressive driver. He had to be tough to ride as Lee Schoenith's mechanic in the old U-50 Gale. Nobody else would ride as a mechanic in it more than once, not even Lee Schoenith. Bill Muncey rode in it three times; Lee Schoenith said he was the only one dumb enough to.
Talking boats, Bill Cantrell said that getting water in the carburetor would not cause him any trouble this year, because they fixed the problem so it can't happen. This is what caused the G-7 Such Crust IV to explode with Bill Cantrell driving here in 1952. It also caused George Simon and the U-2 Miss U.S. trouble last year when he got under the roostertail of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. This caused them to go dead in the water, putting them out of the race.
Guy Lombardo and the U-13 Tempo VII is the next unlimited that is expected to arrive. The fans are looking forward to seeing the old "Maestro" in action. He will do some of the driving, sharing seat time with Danny Foster in the cockpit. Danny Foster used to be Guy Lombardo's arch "Nemesis" in the 1940's, now he is driving for him. Guy Lombardo and Danny Foster are both considered by many as "Superstars" of unlimited hydroplane racing.
The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V cruised over the Lake Washington racecourse today checking out their acceleration. They were not fully opening them up, though both turned around 150 mph. They were both trying out different propeller combinations today most of the day. They are not expected to run any more until Wednesday.
The U-22 Breathless won the main event in the Chamber's Lodge Tahoe Yacht Club annual regatta today. Driving the U-22 Breathless in the Hydroplane Championship was Fred Schmidt. The other boats in the event at Lake Tahoe were the G-8 Short Snorter and U-10 Scooter Too. The G-8 Short Snorter will not be making the to Seattle.
July 25th Monday
Ted Jones and Kirn Armistead made two announcements today, saying that they will enter the U-11 Rebel, Suh in the Gold Cup, and that U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Russ Schleeh will be their driver. Ted Jones said he has a bad back and is not well enough to drive with it, so he will pass the helm over to Russ Schleeh. He is a test pilot on leave from Fort Castle Air Force Base out of San Francisco, California. He is presently flying B-47 and B-52 bombers for our Uncle Sam. He played football for the Washington Cougars at Washington State University in 1939. He's not a Washington Husky, but at least he's not from Detroit. In 1949, Russ Schleeh flew the first X-B-47 Boeing jet bomber from Moses Lake, Washington to Andrews Field, Maryland. It was 2289 miles away and he flew it in 3 hours and 46 minutes setting a transcontinental speed record qf 607.2 mph. In 1950 he was based at Wright Field, Commander of bomber testing, and development, Northrop "Flying Wings." He was almost killed in the last prototype YB-49 in the early 1950's when it crashed after a 110-mph taxi test on the runway. He broke his back, but still managed to pull the co-pilot out of the wreck. He saw the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV while flying a B-47 into Boeing Field from Wright Field one day and thought it would be great to drive. He happened to mention this to his flight crew chief Morey Laing, who said he knew people and could get him a ride in it. Later he went out with Mike Welsch and loved the experience. Morey Laing also knew Ted Jones, and introduced the two of them to each other. Russ Schleeh will also be the relief driver for the U-60 Miss Thriftway behind Bill Muncey, who is on his way to Seattle right now.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh was put in the water off of Sand Point for the first time and performed great. Ted Jones did the driving and ran the engine up to 2,000 rpm, but he quickly backed off because the V-12 Allison is not fully broken in yet. The maximum rpm for this Allison is around 3,800. U-11 Rebel, Suh is going to make daily runs on Lake Washington throughout the week getting the engine broken in, so far they have three hour's on it now, but needs six more before they will be able to really open it up. Another pilot went out in the U-11 Rebel, Suh for a spin on Lake Washington today, A.M. "Tex" Johnson, who is a test pilot for the Boeing Airplane Company. He will be flying the one and only Dash 80 over Lake Washington in an exhibition on race day.
Ted Jones said today that the U-60 Miss Thriftway would go back in the water tomorrow after the oil-scavenging pump in the Allison-113 is repaired. It was causing them trouble on Saturday.
Ray Crawford's U-44 Zephyr Fury is back in the shop today in California. They were not pleased with the performance of the 4,000 horsepower craft after they're testing yesterday on Lake Mead. Ray Crawford said that once they get the right weight distribution all set, they would try and break the Mile Straightaway Record. The new speed record set last Saturday by Donald Campbell in England at 202.32 mph in his jet powered Bluebird K-7 is not the same one as the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV speed record, but he figures he can beat them both. Ray Crawford plans to leave for Seattle early next month with the U-44 Zephyr Fury.
Four more entries were announced today. This adds up to eleven, for the August 7th Gold Cup on Lake Washington. Henry Kaiser's new U-10 Scooter Too from the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club, Jack Schafer's G-22 Such Crust III (2), and Playboy Horace Dodge Jr. has sent official entries for two of his boats, the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis. The U-3 My Sweetie (2) will not be here again this year. This boat was built in 1951 after the Seattle Gold Cup. It hasn't raced on Lake Washington yet.
This is the first time Henry Kaiser Jr. has entered one of his unlimited boats in a Gold Cup. He said that the U-10 Scooter Too was built with a potential of running 185 mph on the straightaways, and can hold high speeds in the turns. A 24 cylinder Allison-3420 provides the power for the 5,200-pound boat. This W-24 double engine is out of a WWII B-29 Bomber and is rated at 2,885 horsepower at 3,000 rpm. It has a maximum rating of 3,000 horsepower. He also has a new boat being built, but it's not quite ready to race yet. (This will be the U-9 Hawaii Kai.) Ted Jones is the designer and Les Staudacher is building the craft in Kawkawlin, Michigan. Jack Regas will be driving Henry and Edgar Kaiser's new U-10 Scooter Too. He arrived in Seattle by airplane this afternoon. The U-10 Scooter Too left Detroit for Seattle today. The designer and builder of the boat, Bart Carter, and his wife accompanied Jack Regas and his wife to Seattle. Bart Carter said he was the man for the job, and Henry Kaiser believes in him. In 1954 Jack Regas was a welder and mechanic at the Kaiser Plant in Livermore, California. He had acquired the job of overhauling the 25-foot Ventnor built 3-pointer U-12 Scooter that was owned by Henry and his son Edgar Kaiser. At that time, they were busy changing the twin Cadillac powerplant and installing a V-12 Allison engine in the boat. Jack Regas learned how to drive race boats in a large one-mile long flooded gravel pit next to the Kaiser Plant. He said that one time he was sure he had the boat up to 100 mph, after giving the throttle a quick goose. On returning to the plant dock after the run Edgar Kaiser was waiting for him, and gave him a very cold hard look. I heard Edgar Kaiser had tried the same stunt and ended 35 feet up on shore. I also heard that it was a mechanic that did it, but the first story sounds better. After staring Jack Regas down, he asked him if he would like to drive his race boat full time. So, his hobby quickly changed from fishing to unlimited hydroplane driving. This season, he is in the cockpit of the new U-10 Scooter Too. Last season Jack Regas took the U-12 Scooter to victory in the Mapes Mile High Gold Cup held in Camp Richardson, California in his first racing experience, defeating the G-2 Hurricane IV of Bill Stead's, the U-6 Short Snorter and Stanley Dollar, and Jay Murphy in the U-22 Breathless. Then he won the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club Championship race. Jack Regas is the shortest unlimited driver on the circuit at 5'6", and this shows that the small guys can race with the tall guys just fine. After his arrival today, Jack Regas reported that J. Philip Murphy's U-22 Breathless was leaving Lake Tahoe for Emeryville, California just north of Oakland to install a new Allison engine before they leave for Seattle. One of the problems they have is testing out the boat. There is no place close for them to do this, so they have to do their testing it at the race site.
The awesome 24 cylinder engine U-10 Scooter Too, and twin engine G-22 Such Crust III (2) seem to be over shadowed by Ray Crawford's U-44 Zephyr Fury. The W-24 Allison puts out around 3,500 horsepower at the rpm's it will run, while the twin Allisons produce about 3,000 horsepower. Stan Sayres Packard Rolls Royce Merlins put around 2,300 horsepower. Ray Crawford's boat has a single V-12 Allison-143/145, reported to have 4,000 horsepower. It was built by Howard Gidovlenko who custom built the Allison engines for the Slo-mo's, among others. He said the Allison has one horsepower for each pound of the boat. It weighs 4,000 pounds. The boat is still in the shop while the crew changes the weight to balance in the hull, but it will be ready to race very soon. Ray Crawford has officially entered the new U-44 Zephyr Fury in the Gold Cup.
The Rebel crew is working on the boat changing the high-speed gears to 3:1 gearing for the oval Gold Cup racecourse today. The high-speed gearing was for the mile attempt.
The U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V will test tomorrow running out of Lloyd Jett's Boathouse in Rainier Beach. The so-called experts are saying that the two Gale boats are going to be the biggest threats in the Gold Cup. They both have custom Allisons that use hi-compression pistons and are reported to put out 2,400 horsepower.
The Allison-113 in the U-60 Miss Thriftway puts out around 2,100 horsepower, while the U-11 Rebel, Suh puts out slightly less at 2,000 horsepower. Ted Jones, Kirn Armistead, and Willard Rhodes will be running the U-11 Rebel, Suh and U-60 Miss Thriftway off Sand Point Navel Air Station on Wednesday.
Bill Muncey has arrived in Seattle and is sitting in his hotel room. They told him they would call or come and get him when he was needed. He said waiting sucks.
Marion Cooper drove his 266 class limited to victory in the Governor's Cup in Gunterville, Alabama. He will be the regular or backup driver of one of the Slo-mo's this year. He will be leaving for Seattle after next week's race. Stan Sayres Slo-mo's will run from his home at Hunts Point sometime tomorrow.
July 27th Wednesday
The four unlimiteds that left the Motor City on Monday are expected to arrive here in Seattle on Friday sometime. They are the G-13 Tempo VII of Guy Lombardo's, Frank Saile's U-45 Miss Cadillac, Jack Schafer's G-22 Such Crust III (2), and the U-2 Miss U.S. owned by George Simon. J. Philip Murphy's U-22 Breathless will leave from Oakland, California on Sunday. The boat is still having a new Allison installed.
Bob Swenson, Jim White, and the rest of the crew are finishing up work on the cowling for the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V after they installed the new Packard Rolls Royce Merlin engine at Anchor Jensen's shop. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V will be on the way to Hunts Point early today. Both of the Packard powered Slo-mo's should be out on Lake Washington for a test run later today or tomorrow.
The U-54 Gale IV is ready to run today, but the U-55 Gale V is having the supercharger worked on by the crew. Some of the lower life forms in Seattle visited the Gale Camp and made their presents known. Lee Schoenith and Bill Cantrell asked for police protection.
The U-60 Miss Thriftway didn't do any testing today, and don't plan on running anymore until Friday, according to Ted Jones and the crew. Also sitting out the day were both of the Slo-mo's and the Gale camp, the only one to run was the U-11 Rebel, Suh.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh had been geared up for the mile course, so the crew had to change their 3:1 hi-speed gearing for the 30-mile heats. They finished today and were the only unlimited to go out on the racecourse. Ted Jones went out and ran her up to around 160 mph before turning over the U-11 Rebel, Suh to their new pilot Russ Schleeh. Ted Jones told him not to go too slow or the water pick-up for the Allison wouldn't cool it enough and damage the engine. He said except for that, he could go as fast as he wanted too. This was Russ Schleeh's first time driving this hydroplane. He took a few practice laps getting the feel for the turns, straightaway, and the boat.
Ray Crawford is having difficulty in Los Angles where his crew has been working on the U-44 Zephyr Fury around the clock for the past six days. While testing on Lake Mead, the boat only reached a top speed of 65 mph. So much for the reported 4,000 horsepower and 240 mph. He said they found a flaw in the hull design. Howard Gidovlenko's design should have worked, but he couldn't get it up on plane. Instead, it pushed the water instead of skimming over the top like it was supposed too. Crawling around the racecourse, it looked like a giant water plow, the U-44 Zephyr Fury was more of a hydroplow than a hydroplane. The design looked good on paper and the so-called "electronic brain" must have said it was okay. They must have dropped a decimal point or added to many zero's feeding it information. During the last six days, several changes were made to the hull below the water line to correct this problem. Howard Gidovlenko and Ray Crawford will test the boat in the San Diego Basin today to see if all the work they did solved their problems. If it works out, they will be here for the Gold Cup, if not, they will sit it out the race here. Ray Crawford's U-44 Zephyr Fury is now the only maybe in the up coming race. J. Philip Murphy's U-22 Breathless will be on their way from Oakland to Seattle on Sunday.
The U-10 Scooter Too arrived today from Lake Tahoe, and Jack Regas is eager to climb into the cockpit. The U-10 Scooter Too resembles the Slo-mo's closely, except for the powerplant. Bart Carter said he used blown up pictures of the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV when he designed the craft. The powerplant is much different though, they are the only ones to use the V-24 Allison engine. They expect to get her wet on Saturday. Jack Regas is my kind of guy, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds, able to leap tall buildings, and drive a 5,200-pound hydroplane with 3,500 horsepower. The U-10 Scooter Too will be running out of Leschi Park in the Lake Washington Yacht Basin.
There were lots of overseers on hand watching the workmen put in telephone equipment, anchor the barge, and work on the other pit facilities in the Mount Baker pits today. They should have all the work done soon and then the unlimiteds will start pouring in. There are still 1,000 bleacher seats available for the August 7th Gold Cup, better get 'em quick.
July 29th Friday
The second caravan from Detroit is expected in this afternoon. With the addition of the U-2 Miss U.S., G-22 Such Crust III (2), and U-45 Miss Cadillac, this will bring the total entries to ten, with four more expected. Three more from the big "D", Guy Lombardo's G-13 Tempo VII and Horace Dodge's two boats, the U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis. One or two more will arrive from California, the U-22 Breathless and possibly the U-44 Zephyr Fury.
The U-54 Gale IV and the U-55 Gale V are at Lloyd Jett's boathouse, south of Seward Park. The U-11 Rebel, Suh of Ted Jones and Kirn Armistead along with Willard Rhode's U-60 Miss Thriftway are at the Sand Point Navel Air Station, and you can't get in unless you're a friend of an Admiral. Henry Kaiser's U-10 Scooter Too is at the Lake Washington Yacht Basin in Leschi, while Stan Sayres two Slo-mo's are at Hunts Point. The four remaining "Motor City" boats are at the Hilltop Motel, close to Seattle, and will be brought to the Mount Baker Boathouse on Lake Washington soon.
Lou Fageol is arriving from Kent, Ohio tonight at Sea-Tac Airport on a Northwest Orient Airlines flight. He will be unable to drive the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V unless the board of directors gives him the okay. They must have given their approval for this Sunday's auto race. Lou Fageol.
is the president of the board of directors, but must not be the boss. Marion Cooper is slated to arrive soon; he will be driving here from Detroit after a limited race. Joe Taggart will be driving the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V and Marion Cooper the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, unless Stan Sayres is able to get Lou Fageol back in the cockpit, then Marion Cooper will be the back-up driver for both boats.
Guy Lombardo's G-13 Tempo VII is having troubles, well not the boat, but the truck hauling the boat. They crawled into Chinook, Montana today with the "Van" that has caused them nothing but problems on the long 2,500-mile trip. They left the "Motor City" on Monday, and so far have had three flat tires. Then the G-13 Tempo VII shifted to the front six inches on her mounts. This morning the van's brakes went out, forcing them to stop in Chinook, Montana for repairs. The driver phoned the Gold Cup Committee today, saying that they probably will not make it to Seattle until Saturday; that is if nothing else goes wrong. Let's hope the G-13 Tempo VII runs better than the "Van" does.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh was the only hydroplane out on Lake Washington today. Russ Schleeh took the boat and shot around the racecourse south of the floating bridge, whipping around the comers in a quick test run. The U-60 Miss Thriftway stayed on the beach at Sand Point. They are still working on her Allison.
The two Gale boats also stayed on shore with mechanics swarming all over them both. They are getting them ready for qualifing on Monday morning.
The Slo-mo's were at Stan Sayres Hunts Point home today keeping dry. Probably the biggest reason everyone stayed on shore was because of the terrible weather. The wind was blowing briskly, covering Lake Washington with ever-increasing whitecaps. It we have good weather tomorrow it should draw several hydroplanes out on the lake.
The second caravan from the big "D" arrived outside of Seattle at the Hilltop Motel where they will be staying tonight. The caravan consisted of the U-2 Miss U.S., G-22 Such Crust III, and the U-45 Miss Cadillac.
The U-22 Breathless is still planning to leave California on Sunday, while Ray Crawford and the U-44 Zephyr Fury will make up their mind today after more testing in San Diego Basin. The latest news from Detroit is that Horace Dodge Jr.'s U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis will not make the long trip west to Seattle.
July 30th Saturday
Lou Fageol, Joe Taggart, and their wives made it in yesterday evening and were met by Stan Sayres, who took them all out to his Hunts Point home to stay. Joe Taggart and his wife didn't have to drive up after all. Lou Fageol will assist in the Gold Cup race-strategy, while Joe Taggart will drive one of the Slo-mo's. Arriving on the same flight with them was George Simon's brother, Al Simon, a crewmember on the Miss U.S. Team.
The U-10 Scooter Too and Jack Regas took a quick spin on the rough waters of Lake Washington this afternoon. They didn't do much because of the crummy weather.
Russ Schleeh is back on duty with the USAF in California this weekend. Bill Muncey will be testing the U-11 Rebel, Suh and U-60 Miss Thriftway until he gets back. He may take them both out tomorrow for a test run.
If the weather turns better, many of the Gold Cup boats will be out on Lake Washington by tomorrow. Several others will be moving to the Mount Baker pits tomorrow, weather permitting.
Good news from Ray Crawford, he has officially entered the Gold Cup. He said that the testing he and Howard Gidovlenko have done in the San Diego Basin with the U-44 Zephyr Fury over the week has turned out great. Ray Crawford took the boat out on San Diego Basin and ran her around 110 to 120 mph. He said he could have produced much more speed, but the water was too rough. After some structural changes to the hull, the boat now reaches plane and runs faster than the 65 mph it had run earlier. They both are pleased about the way things have turned out. The boat is leaving by van tonight, and should reach Seattle Tuesday or early Wednesday morning. Ray Crawford will fly up on Tuesday. They will forget what they said about breaking both straightaway records and running 240 mph. They probably hope everyone else will too.
This makes 13 entries for the Gold Cup on August 7th. Horace Dodge Jr.'s U-14 My Sweetie Dora and U-17 My Sweetie John Francis would be the 14th and 15th, but they haven't left Detroit yet.
Joe Taggart took the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV out for a test run this afternoon off Hunts Point. The boat ran one lap at 115.88 mph then suffered overheating troubles. Trash in the water was sucked up the Merlins water intake and it plugged up a waterline; then the engine started to overheat and melt down. Joe Taggart saved the day when he quickly shut her down before it self-destructed. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV was towed to Anchor Jensen's Motor Boat Shop where the crew is replacing the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Lou Fageol is back in the saddle again. He got the okay from his company to drive the Slo-mo-shun V this year, but only for the Gold Cup. Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V went out on Lake Washington for a test run after the "Old Lady." The boat ran fine, with no serious problems at all, though it did want to kite some. The crew will be working to solve this problem.
The crew is still working on the U-10 Scooter Too. Jack Regas has been trying out different propeller combinations on the boat during the week. The U-10 Scooter Too had battery trouble in their first run today. In the afternoon run, they dodged pleasure craft that were cruising in the area at a 100-mph. They will not qualify the U-10 Scooter Too until Jack Regas feels he has the right propeller combination on the boat.
The U-22 Breathless arrived late today and went out for the first time on Lake Washington with owner J. Philip Murphy at the wheel. The boat plowed around the racecourse running around 140 mph. His son Jay Murphy will drive the U-22 Breathless in the Gold Cup. He should get here Tuesday or early Wednesday, and try to qualify Wednesday afternoon.
Bill Muncey got the call and had been testing the U-60 Miss Thriftway slowly, because the engine is new and not broken in yet. The testing in the U-11 Rebel, Suh he did turned out fine. The boat is almost ready to race.
The two Gales moved over from Jett's boathouse to the Mount Baker pits today and are getting set up and ready for testing tomorrow.
August 1st Monday
The trouble plagued "Van" arrived this morning with the G-13 Tempo VII and was taken straight to the Sand Point Navel Air Station. Roy Duby the crew chief for the Maestro and the crew traveling along were glad the terrible trip was finally over. They will move to the Mount Baker Boathouse later in the week. Three unlimiteds are supposed to pull into the Mount Baker pits today. They are Jack Schafer's G-22 Such Crust III, George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S., and Frank Saile Jr.'s U-45 Miss Cadillac.
Qualifying starts today at 11:00 p.m. and will last until 6:00 p.m. this afternoon. The time trials will run through August 5th. The weather is not the best and not all of the entries are set up in the Mount Baker pits yet. Stan Sayres two boats may try, but we will have to wait and see about the out of towners.
Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V went out for a spin just to feel out the boat and racecourse. The U-55 Gale V averaged little over 100 mph with one lap around 114 mph. Bill Cantrell took the U-54 Gale IV out for a test run later, and ran her just over 100 mph, but her fast lap was 7-mph under what the U-55 Gale V ran. The team is waiting for the owner Joe Schoenith to arrive before trying to qualify the two Gale boats. He should be here on Wednesday.
The Ted Jones designed U-60 Miss Thriftway is at Sand Point Naval Air Station and will spend the day on shore with the U-11 Rebel, Suh. Ted Jones and the crew are working on both the U-11 Rebel, Suh and the U-60 Miss Thriftway getting them ready for more testing on Lake Washington. The U-60 Miss Thriftway needs 6 more hours on the new Allison to complete her break in time, but the U-11 Rebel, Suh is about ready now. Bill Muncey will be busy adding hours to the engine during the next few days. Ted Jones said that they would both probably be late qualifiers. Guy Lombardo's U-13 Tempo VII is at Sand Point Navel Air Station with the U-60 Miss Thriftway and the U-11 Rebel, Suh, but will move to the Mount Baker pits tomorrow morning.
Lou Fageol brought the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V out from Hunts Point for a test run before trying to qualify for the Gold Cup today. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V was running perfectly up at Hunts Point today before he brought her down to the Gold Cup racecourse. Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V were traveling around 155 mph when he hit a roller from a pleasure craft. He was tossed out of his seat as the boat twisted out of the water, then he came crashing back down into Lake Washington. After the terrific shock of the landing, Lou Fageol suffered a momentary blackout and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V started to go out of control. Lou Fageol quickly recovered and pulled her back on track. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V was undamaged except for a broken steel seat bracket, caused from Lou Fageol's rear end slamming back down into the seat. Lou Fageol on the other hand badly bruised his thigh while breaking the seat bracket. Otherwise, the test run was successful. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V handled the water much better and didn't kite heading into the wind as she had a tendency to do. The crew had been working on this earlier today and must have fixed the problem. Before the run Lou Fageol looked over the racecourse for boats, but didn't see any at the time, then he forgot to take another look until it was too late.
August 2nd Tuesday
The Seattle Yacht Club appointed W. Mel Crook from Montclair, New Jersey as head referee yesterday. He is an editor for Yachting magazine. The referee has to be sanctioned by the APBA then picked from their list. Only a few people were consulted about the decision to pick someone from the East, instead of someone local, evidently not the ones that counted. Several of the Detroit owners do not like Stan Sayres floating bridge start. They may now have someone to back them up in stopping this kind of start. There are three narrow spans near the shore for boats to enter the racecourse, other boats are unable to see them coming out from under the span and say it is unsafe. Lou Fageol started this in 1951, and it has been very successful for both of the Slo-mo's, which is probably why Detroit doesn't like it. Another reason for their general dislike of the two Slo-mo's, is that Detroit is envious of Stan Sayres and resent his receiving $30,000 a year in public support for them. This is with the help from Greater Seattle Inc., other businesses, and fans. They must not have very supportive fans in Detroit like there is here in Seattle, well that's not our fault. They would also have a lot of boats to support, where we only have two. They have about fifteen this year.
Guy Lombardo's U-13 Tempo VII left the Mount Baker Boathouse in the pouring rain for a run on the Lake Washington racecourse. The boat came tearing out of the northwest turn with Danny Foster at the wheel and ran three fast laps for her first time out. The first lap was 114 mph followed by laps of 116 and 118.6 mph for an average lap speed of 116.2 mph. This was an unofficial run, because Danny Foster felt that the U-13 Tempo VII isn't quite ready yet, and he wants to hit the magical 120 mph mark. It sounds like its ready to me. I hope it doesn't backfire on them. Guy Lombardo should reach Seattle this evening. He and Danny Foster will split the driving duties.
The three-boat caravan from the "Motor City" arrived in the Mount Baker pits last night, two of the boat went out on Lake Washington today. George Simon and the U-2 Miss U.S. shot around the racecourse, running an unofficial speed of 107 mph. The U-45 Miss Cadillac and Bud Saile Jr. went out for a quick spin turning 93.11 mph, also unofficially. Jay Murphy took the U-22 Breathless out today just putting time on the boat and maybe a wash job in the rain.
Bill Muncey was having trouble starting the Allison in the U-60 Miss Thriftway, but after working on her this morning they solved the problem. The U-60 Miss Thriftway left Sand Point this afternoon with Ted Jones at the wheel, getting some more time on the Allison. It was around 6:00 p.m. when they came back in. The weather and water conditions were so bad water was pouring into the cockpit from the lake and the sky.
Jack Regas was out testing the U-10 Scooter Too of Henry Kaiser's again today, still trying out different propeller combinations. Because of the lousy weather conditions, there were no qualifing attempts made today.
Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V were out trying the racecourse today sore rear end and all. He didn't have any problems today with rollers.
Jim Crawford and the radically designed U-44 Zephyr Fury arrived from Los Angles this evening and is in the Mount Baker pits. After rebuilding the boat and making several changes below the waterline, he feels that the U-44 Zephyr Fury will be able to keep up with anyone here. They have a 4,000 horsepowered Allison built by Howard Gidovlenko to back them up. The boat sits low in the water with the engine sitting flush with the deck. The Allison is completely covered over making a flat appearing deck, except for the snorkel. Jim Crawford is a WWII jet pilot and racecar driver, this is his first unlimited hydroplane event. He won the 1955 Pan American Road Race in the large stock car division. He also drove in the Indianapolis 500 this year running 110 laps before forced to drop out. It sounds like he has lots of experience at going real fast.
Another jet pilot making his first attempt in an unlimited hydroplane as a driver is Russ Schleeh, who will pilot the U-11 Rebel, Suh for Ted Jones and Kirn Armistead. This is the first unlimited hydroplane race for them both.
Young Jay Murphy, driver of his Dads U-22 Breathless, arrived from Fort Belvoir, Virginia where he is stationed in the Army. He joined the rest of his family. This was the first time they have been together since Christmas. Present are 11 year old Judy and 18 year old Roger, along with his parents. Roger and Judy Murphy both race limited class boats. Roger Murphy will be driving unlimiteds soon. Jay Murphy is the youngest driver here at 22 years of age. He drove the U-22 Breathless here at the Gold Cup last year, running three laps before the engine went to pieces on him and ended their day at the races. Hopefully, he will have better luck this year.
August 3rd Wednesday
Danny Foster and the U-13 Tempo VII made an unofficial test run this morning. They turned three laps around 116 mph again today. He said he would attempt to qualify the U-13 Tempo VII later if the water conditions were good enough. After going back to the Mount Baker pits, the crew changed spark plugs in the Allison. The Gold Cup Committee has now ruled that Danny Foster cannot qualify the U-13 Tempo VII, because he doesn't have permission from the owner Guy Lombardo. The matter was quickly resolved when he went over and signed the correct papers. Twenty minutes after qualifing opened at 11:00 p.m., Danny Foster took the U-13 Tempo VII out for a qualifing run around Lake Washington. The U-13 Tempo VII went charging by the official barge and shot around the comers running three very good laps. The first was 116.4 mph, followed by 115.2 and 118.734 mph for an average of 116.771 mph. This beats last year's Gold Cup qualifing record of 111.632 mph set by the U-27 Slo-mo-sun IV and Joe Taggart.
Just after the U-13 Tempo VII made it back to the dock, Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-Mo-Shun IV came screaming out on the racecourse. Joe Taggart was cutting the turns very close, the engine sputtering at times, but he was going flat out. Their first lap was 117.4 mph. The next two were run at 115.5 and a blazing 119.575 mph for a three-lap average of 117.391 mph. This topped Danny Foster's last record run and last year's Gold Cup qualifing record.
The U-54 Gale IV and Bill Cantrell went out and tried to qualify today. They started out fast roaring down the backstretch and went heading for the north turn. Flying around the comer the Allison in the boat started coughing, and choked badly, then came to a crawl. Bill Cantrell took the ailing U-54 Gale IV creeping back to the pits for more work.
Walter Kade took the newly arrived G-22 Such Crust III (2) out for a qualifing run. This was their first time out on the Gold Cup racecourse. Things did not go well for the "Bread Team" from Detroit. After Walter Kade hit Lake Washington, the "Big Train" whizzed around the course for two laps then the rudder came loose from the vibration and ripped a big piece off the transom. Walter Kade jumped out of the "Bread" boat when she started going down, swam over the Coast Guard patrol boat, and climbed on. She was towed back to the pits almost completely under water. After they reached the Mount Baker pits and parked, the G-22 Such Crust III quickly settled to the shallow bottom of Lake Washington. The only thing sticking above the water was her tail fin and engine cowling. A tender pumped out the water and a crane slowly lifted the boat out and put her on their trailer. The G-22 Such Crust III will be taken back to Jack Jett's Boathouse on Rainier Beach for repairs. This is the second time that this has happened to them. The last time it happened was the evening before the 1953 Gold Cup race when they hit a log. At least this time they have more time to fix the damage. After looking at the broken hull. Jack Schafer said she would be back in the water on Thursday. He said the Seattle racecourse was one of the finest and cleanest on the circuit, but they always seem to hit something here.
This afternoon the Slo-mo's spent 30-minutes up at Hunts Point cruising around before coming to the racecourse for a spin. Lou Fageol brought the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V down, while Marion Cooper and Joe Taggart came along in the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. After getting the signal from referee Mel Crook, Marion Cooper shot away in the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and qualified as an unlimited driver for the Gold Cup race. Neither boats ran any other qualifing laps, just took a few spins around the Gold Cup course, and returned to Hunts Point.
Willard Rhodes U-60 Miss Thriftway was taken out to qualify by their new driver Bill Muncey from the "Motor City." This was Bill Muncey first time at qualifying a boat since 1950 and he was a little bit nervous. He has been kind of ignored all week by the Thriftway crew, treated kind of like a stepchild. He's spent a lot time sitting in his hotel room alone, anxiously waiting for the phone to ring telling him to come down again and test the boat. He took the boat out from Sand Point and sailed up Lake Washington to the racecourse and ran her as fast as possible around the track, faster than he had ever went, then returned to Sand Point after receiving the checkered flag from the official barge. He was depressed because he didn't know how well he had done. When he returned to the dock, there was no one around, and he thought he had really blown it, and failed big time. Shortly after coasting to the dock, a crowd came running out of the rear of a hanger yelling where they had been watching his run on TV. They told him that he had qualified at 103.841 mph, 13 mph over the minimum. Team manager Ted Jones, owner Willard Rhodes, and the crew were pleased with the performance of Bill Muncey and the U-60 Miss Thriftway. Before the trial spin, Ted Jones had told Bill Muncey to run her around 100 mph, which he did. They both feel this will be fast enough to make the cut; they may still improve on this though. From this moment on Bill Muncey was a full member of the crew, liked and respected by everyone on the team, and consulted on boat matters. This was the beginning of a true "Legend."
Bart Carter, the designer, builder, and crewmember of Henry Kaiser's U-10 Scooter Too had to leave Monday night for Livermore, California, to be Mayor again, and attend a council meeting. He just made it back this afternoon and is now back working on the U-10 Scooter Too.
Chairman of the Gold Cup Contest Board and official referee Mel Crook has ruled that the Lake Washington Floating Bridge start that the Slo-mo's use is now out and they will have to start on the south side of the bridge this year. This ended a four-year battle by Detroit and started another. The rule says than anyone coming out from under the west span of the floating bridge between the one-minute gun and the official start will be disqualified. This was mainly aimed at Lou Fageol and the Slo-mo-shun V. Later on, the newspapers and radio said that Mel Crook had "Sold Out" to Detroit. They 're Slo-mo fans too.
August 4th Thursday
The injury to Lou Fageol that happened Monday may keep him out of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V and the Gold Cup race on Sunday. His doctor suggested he stay out of the boat until Friday, and added that he should not drive at all this weekend. If he stays out of the cockpit, Louisville, Kentucky native Marion Cooper will probably drive the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V on Sunday. The Directors of the Twin Coach Motors Company asked Lou Fageol not to drive in the Gold Cup. He is president of the company, but doesn't have all that much pull. Meanwhile, Lou Fageol had the crew add a series of air dams across the bow of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V to get a little more lift and speed out of the boat. He and Joe Taggart both took the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V out on the East Channel for test runs. They each ran the boat up around 170-mph with no ill effects.
Jack Schafer has a new propeller for the G-22 Such Crust III (2) and he is gloating over it. The three-blade propeller is from Italy and made of forged steel. He said it would make the G-22 Such Crust III (2) ride smoother, and save wear and tear on the gearbox. It should also bring the boat out of the turns much quicker. It cost him $600, but he feels it will be worth it, if he can beat the Slo-mo's. Guy Lombardo has a similar propeller, but his is made in the United States, he's also Canadian. Jack Schafer is an American, go figure. A propeller now days cost around $10,000, quite a difference. The G-22 Such Crust III is still in the shop getting repaired. Jack Schafer said it wouldn't be ready until tomorrow now.
The U-22 Breathless from Piedmont, California was taken out for a test run by Jay Murphy on the sun covered Lake Washington racecourse. He said he might try and qualify later this afternoon before the 6:00 p.m. deadline.
Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV went out on the racecourse around noon today and tried to qualify for the second time today. The Allison sounded terrible; it spitting and sputtering then took of with a roar. Just as the U-54 Gale IV shot passed the official barge, the Allison engine froze up and died and the boat coasted to a stop on Lake Washington. After the U-54 Gale IV was towed back in. Bill Cantrell said that the engine would have to be rebuilt putting the crew back to work again.
The U-2 Miss U.S. of George Simon's didn't fare any better. The boat quit on him too, and was dragged back to the pits for more work by their crew.
Henry Kaiser Jr.'s U-10 Scooter Too ran several laps today, getting wanned up for a qualifying run. Jack Regas and the U-10 Scooter Too popped back out a little later and he qualified himself for the Gold Cup race on Sunday.
After the crew had finished working on the big Allison in the U-55 Gale V, and the U-54 Gale IV was back at the dock, Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V shot out of the Mount Baker pits. He cruised carefully around the racecourse for a few circuits. As Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V went out on the racecourse, Russ Schleeh and the U-11 Rebel, Suh joined them, and started chasing them around the racecourse. Just before the official timers went home, Lee Schoenith signaled to referee Mel Crook that he was going to take the U-55 Gale V for a qualifing run on the Gold Cup course, then turned back to the pit to get the boat ready for her attempt.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh continued to whiz around the 3¾ mile track after the U-55 Gale V returned to the pits to get ready to qualify. The officials on the barge thought that Russ Schleeh had forgot the new rule about turning left in front of the barge before starting his qualifying run, so they started the timer anyway. Just as the U-11 Rebel, Suh crossed the finish line on her 4th lap, the Allison started smoking badly, and Russ Schleeh quickly shut her down. An oil line that had been giving them trouble earlier was the culprit. Referee Mel Crook asked Ted Jones if he wanted to accept the qualifing speed Russ Schleeh had just ran. After checking the speed he told him no thank you. Ted Jones said it was too slow and would have put them on the bottom of the qualifing ladder and possibly get them bumped out of the race. Only the twelve fastest qualifiers will make the Gold Cup on Sunday and he didn't want to take a chance.
While the U-11 Rebel, Suh was being towed back to the pits, the U-45 Miss Cadillac roared out onto the racecourse. Frank Saile Jr. wheeled the boat around the Lake Washington racecourse, completing her three-qualifing laps, running 96.429, 96.085 and 96.154 mph. They were not as fast as he would have liked, but were very consistent speeds. He qualified with a three-lap average of 96.222 mph.
Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V came out again after the U-11 Rebel, Suh and the U-45 Miss Cadillac were finished running and took over the racecourse. Lee Schoenith didn't hold anything back, pushing the U-55 Gale V hard, and screaming around the comers. Flying out of the north turn the U-55 Gale V came close to sliding out of control, but Lee Schoenith held on, bringing her back on track. The U-55 Gale V barreled across the line completing her three laps around the racecourse at 111.663, 112.594, and 114.117 mph for the fastest average speed of the day at 112.782 mph, the third highest qualifier so far. About a ¼ mile past the official barge, the Allison in the U-55 Gale V went belly up and quit, leaving the boat dead in the water. The Coast Guard towed her back to the Mount Baker pits where the crew started swarming over her looking for the problem.
Ted Jones and the crew fixed the trouble on the U-11 Rebel, Suh, and sent Russ Schleeh back out to qualify the boat. Their performance this time was much better and justified Ted Jones decision to not take they're last times. The U-11 Rebel, Suh and Russ Schleeh ran laps of 105.882, 104.732, and 108 mph averaging 106.187 mph for the three laps, putting them fourth on the ladder.
Jay Murphy took the powder blue U-22 Breathless out on the wind blown Lake Washington racecourse and qualified her running three laps of 94.406,96.017, and 95.093 mph for an average of 94.172 mph.
|The qualifing list so far has eight hydroplanes on it for this Sundays Gold Cup with five still left to make the mark.|
|The five that are left to qualify are:|
|G-22||Such Crust III|
August 5th Friday
Most of the Detroit faction has been burnt by the Slo-mo's flying start from under the west span of the floating bridge, and they don't like it at all. Lou Fageol and Joe Taggart have a checkpoint under the span to set their rpm at for a full-blown charge to the starting line. They can hit it just as the timers gun fires and while the others are just starting to accelerate and get up to speed. Detroit used to mill around in the north turn and try and block them as they come roaring out from under the bridge, but that didn't always work. Now they have played upon the safety of coming from under the bridge at around 150 miles per hour. Mel Crook, head referee and chairman of the Gold Cup Contest Board of the APBA ruled earlier in the week that the Slo-mo's could no longer come screaming from under the west end of the floating bridge to start the race; as they have for the passed four years. Mel Crook made another ruling that didn't sit well either, saying that any boat that came out from the Mount Baker pit area between the one-minute gun and the start would be disqualified. These two changes were probably the result of an incident that happed in last year's Gold Cup. The U-23 Wha Hoppen Too came tearing out of the pits late, then cut across the bow of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V who had come out from under the west span of the bridge. They came very close to colliding, but it wasn't Lou Fageol's fault. They disqualified Marvin Henrich for the near miss. The third change this year was the start for a qualifing run. Some people just don't like change.
All the Detroit owners agree with the Lake Washington Floating Bridge decision. California has not, Ray Crawford, J. Philip Murphy, and Henry Kaiser Jr. have all backed Stan Sayres in this issue. The Detroit faction has known about this decision three or four days before Mel Crook even announced it. The competition has been practicing their starts from the racecourse, while the Slo-mo's and three others have been practicing coming out from under the floating bridge. This puts these boats at a big disadvantage by missing four days of practice starts from the racecourse. This is probably just what they had planned, East against West.
Stan Sayres called Mel Crook over to his house on Hunts Point to talk to him about his decision. It didn't go well for either of them. Mel Crook felt he had been pressured into a position he shouldn't have to be in, and decided to resign bringing this to a head. The Seattle Yacht Club, as sponsoring Yacht Club picked Stanley Donogh from Seattle to replace Mel Crook as head referee, and he quickly rescinded the ruling. This infuriated all of the Detroit owners, Joe and Lee Schoenith, Jack Schafer, Guy Lombardo, Bud Saile Jr., and George Simon. They quickly threatened to boycott the Gold Cup. Ted Jones spoke for the Thriftway and Rebel, Suh Camps supporting them. The traitor; I guess this is some payback for Stan Sayres. They, along with several drivers felt that Mel Crook's decision was the right one, and it was unsafe, and should be stopped. Their timing was not fair to the rest who have been practicing the flying start from under the bridge. It should have been done sooner to give them more of a sporting chance. Henry Kaiser said that he hasn't heard any of the details yet, but if there were any danger to his driver's life, he would agree with the decision; who wouldn't. This afternoon Henry Kaiser Jr. was in the pits with the crew watching the U-10 Scooter Too run. Later he was sitting in the cockpit with his hands on the wheel and a smile on his face. I wonder if he wants to drive. He used to, but they just got too fast for him to handle.
Mel Crook contacted Louis Eppel in Cedar Grove, New Jersey who is safety inspector for the Gold Cup and Abbott Gear in New York, a public relations man and boat enthusiast. They both encouraged Mel Crook to resign because of the extreme pressure from the defending Gold Cup team. Stan Sayres had asked him several times to rescind the ruling, but never to resign. Mel Crook said that safety was the only reason for his decision, but the Detroit owners have been complaining for years that they had a big disadvantage because of Slo-mo's start, but they were not talking safety then, just whining. A few of them have used this start themselves a couple of times, the 2-G Hurricane IV and G-7 Such Crust IV in 1952, and the U-2 Miss U.S. in 1953. The safety angle may have come from that incident last year between the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V and the tardy U-23 Wha Hoppen Too, but any excuse will do for Detroit. Lou Fageol and Joe Taggart do not want to get hurt any more than the rest of the drivers do, and neither does Stan Sayres, but they all feel that the way they have been starting the race the last four years is safe. He said that the better-designed hull and faster speeds are more of a threat to safety than any starting position, regardless of which side of the bridge you're on. It's not even safe on the straightaway with know other boats around, look at what happened on Friday to Lou Fageol.
Mel Crook's heart might be in the right place though. He has been safety conscious ever since Orth Mathiot and Tommy Whitaker died in the 1951 Gold Cup here in Seattle. Then again, he's from the East Coast. Stan Sayres stated that he was sorry for Mel Crook's decision to quit over this. He said that his boats were not the only ones to start this way, and anyone of them can do the same thing. Well not everyone, there isn't enough room for too many boats to come out from under the Lake Washington Floating Bridge at the same time.
Radio stations, TV, and the newspapers notified everyone of the threatened strike by the Detroit and California boats. Jack Schafer is the spokesman for the unhappy group of owners. In 1953, he was one of the head whiners, saying Detroit should be given the Gold Cup without winning it fairly. J. Philip Murphy will not strike, he said that he is here to race the U-22 Breathless. Bud Saile Jr. wants to race but is staying neutral. He doesn't want to stop the Slo-mo's floating bridge start, just slow them down, and leave it up to the Gold Cup Committee to disqualify them if they feel they come out recklessly at high speeds. Well Duh! Stanley Donogh replaced Mel Crook as official referee, which is good for Stan Sayres because they are good friends. In his spare time, Stanley Donogh is an executive of Sears and Roebuck in downtown Seattle. Stan Sayres, Lou Fageol, and Joe Taggart talked Stanley Donogh into reversing Mel Crook's decision on the flying start. Gold Cup chairman, Donald Cooney agreed with Stanley Donogh's decision. What a total mess, enough politics already, let's get back to racing.
"Lead Foot" Lou Fageol and the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V shot out from under the floating bridge for a qualifing run and wanted to set the record while doing it. The first two laps were both run at 117.391 mph. Then heading into the final lap, he found out that the previous record, earlier in the week, was also 117.391 mph. He was on his way to breaking the qualifing record when he entered the first turn and into trouble. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V started vibrating badly, then began kiting and skidding across the surface, and starting to fly. Hitting the backstretch, Lou Fageol regained control and put the pedal to the metal, running her up to 165 mph. When he backed off the throttle entering the north turn, it looked like he hit a roller coming from the log boom. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V vibrated, rocked from side to side then popped her nose up into the air. A gust of wind quickly caught the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V and did the rest. She gracefully started to leave the water. Then all of a sudden, her nose was pointing skyward. She soared 50 feet into the air, and completely over, doing a 360° back flip. Parts of the tail assembly, rudder, and planking were ripped off when the transom dragged the water as she started into her loop. At the apex of the boats arc, Lou Fageol bailed out headfirst into Lake Washington with his hands out in front of him for protection. He came down fast hitting the water hard, then popped back to the surface, face down, and unconscious. The propeller shaft broke loose in mid-flight and slammed into the bottom of the bow when the hull came around to meet it. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V continued on around completing the 360° loop, landing partly on her nose, punching large holes in the bottom of her bow. The landing ripped decking up from the stem to the cockpit on both sides of the hull after slapping down in the water, then coasted 100 feet towards the floating bridge before coming to a stop. Eddie and Mike O'Byme, 14 and 16 years old, were two members of a volunteer patrol boat crew. They were running north along the log boom in their 14-foot outboard and were about 200 yards from the final resting place of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V and 150 yards from the injured Lou Fageol. They shot straight over to Lou Fageol. When they got to him, he was laying face down in the water. His shredded life jacket and white helmet were the only things keeping him from sinking to the bottom of Lake Washington. It took them only about 20 seconds to reach him and then their training took over. They supported him and held his face out of the water for the 50 seconds it took the Coast Guard rescue boat to reach them. During this time, Lou Fageol was unconscious, bleeding from the mouth, and breathing hard. When the Coast Guard cutter arrived and lifted him out of the water and into their boat, he regained consciousness and repeated "easy" a couple of times. When Lou Fageol reached medical attention, he was in extreme shock. It took them only 3½ minutes to reach the ambulance in the pits after the patrol boat rescued him, under 4½ minutes since the accident. He was quickly transported to the Maynard Hospital in Seattle and given a blood transfusion in Emergency. The Coast Guard helicopter had Lou Fageol at the hospital within eleven minutes. He had to wait hours before they could take X-rays because of the shock he was in. His wife reported later that he is listed in serious condition and was lucky to be alive. They found that he had a punctured left lung, four broken ribs on the right side, lower back injuries, and bad muscular damage. The way it stands now, it looks like his long career, as an unlimited hydroplane driver is over. This retirement this time will be final. Lou Fageol averaged 124 mph for those 2½ laps in his chase to set a record.
Watching the accident, it looked kind of graceful, the Slo-mo-shun V seemed to land flat on her bottom then keep running like nothing was wrong; looks can be very deceiving. Once she came to a stop, you could see there was nobody at the wheel and pieces were missing. Earlier in the week the Slo-mo crew had added strips to the deck of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V, trying to increasing the deck air pressure to keep the boat from kiting. Ted Jones told them it would lift the boat instead; they wouldn't listen. Lou Fageol later said the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V was running straight into a 15 to 18 miles an hour head wind. He believes that he hit his own wake when he came around the racecourse and the wind did the rest, sending him upside down and into the hospital. He said that he tried to enter the water like a diver would, but with a life jacket on it didn't work out as planned. Race official Lou Eppel said it was the most frightening thing he has seen and Bill Cantrell covered his face when he saw the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V upside down and Lou Fageol fall out. The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V will be rebuilt, but not for the Gold Cup this year.
Later after the pieces of the wreck were picked up and Lou Fageol taken to the hospital, the U-10 Scooter Too came out and qualified, but on the very bottom of the ladder, making them the first to be cut. Jack Regas and the U-10 Scooter Too turned three qualifing laps at 92.784, 95.137, and 95.205 mph, averaging only 94.362 mph. With the increasing wind, and choppy water on Lake Washington, Jack Regas was very careful. He sailed out wide in the north turn by the floating bridge to keep the nose down and the boat out of the air.
As a footnote to this accident and to show how important the Slo-Mos are the people of Seattle, KING TV interrupted the regular programming to show Lou Fageol's qualifying attempt. Thousands of fans at home saw the terrible accident as it happened live and in black and white. Everyone watching at home and at the lake was shocked as the pride of Seattle crashed. People held their breath waiting to find out about Lou Fageol and breathed a sigh of relief when they found out he was still among the living. This footage, taken by KING TV cameraman Al Smith, has been shown almost on a regular basis ever since it happened, and this is 1999. It's awesome, a must see film. The Seattle Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum has it all on tape.
"Wild" Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV came out to play next, and qualified for Sunday's main event. Bill Cantrell pushed the craft around the track at speeds of 103.906, 103.053, and 104.086 mph flying to an average speed of 103.687 mph for his 11¼-mile spin.
George Simon made the second one of the day, taking his U-2 Miss U.S. out on Lake Washington and running her 101.80, 103, and 100.75 mph for a three lap average of 102.092 mph. When George Simon went out on Lake Washington to take his qualifing laps, he didn't signal the official barge that he was going to qualify the boat for the race as required, the race committee excepted his three laps anyway.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh and U-60 Miss Thriftway stayed on the beach today. Bill Muncey was shocked and scared by the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V accident. He had just been talking to Mrs. Fageol before the wreck about a similar accident he had had in Columbus, Ohio driving a limited; then this happened. Bill Muncey said he almost took the train home. This is only his third unlimited race.
The U.S. Navy is using sonar, checking out the racecourse for floating debris and trash that's on the Lake Washington Gold Cup racecourse. Each morning a boat patrols the racecourse seeking out junk under the water, and swabbies on the deck look on top for floating trash. They have been doing this since 1951. They will sweep the racecourse twice on race day. It didn't work very well in 1951, 1953, or 1954. The U-51 Gale II, G-22 Such Crust III hit something and sank in 1951 and 1953. Last year the U-10 Scooter Too went under. The Lt. Commander D.A. Maclean, the Patrol Commander has around 175 men available for race purposes. Chief Boatswain's mate Joe Grese has been working with the Coast Guard detachment since the first race here in 1951. On Sunday, there will be 25 Coast Guard boats, 21 outboard cruisers staffed with volunteers, 6 Coast Guard auxiliary craft, and 1 helicopter. There will also be 16 scuba divers that will be on duty in case of emergency. No Swimming from shore will be allowed on race day. This is quite an effort by the U.S. Navy and Seattle. Are we good or what?
Qualifying has been extended again so the G-22 Such Crust III and U-44 Zephyr Fury will have a chance to get in the Sunday race. Qualifying will go until an hour before the race.
August 6th Saturday
There is another big meeting coming up today. So it looks like the only good thing happening today will be the weather. It's expected to be sunny and warm, reaching the mid-70s by this afternoon and possibly into the low 80s.
Hopefully, all this trouble about drivers and the floating bridge start will be straightened out at the drivers meeting this morning. Yeah, right. Gold Cup chairman Don Cooney has backed up Stanley Donogh's decision, not to change the rules that have been in effect since 1951. Another rule change this year had to do with qualifing trials. The boat attempting to qualify must make a left turn in front of the official barge then head for the north turn to start their qualifing run. This rule was ignored when George Simon forgot about it when he qualified. The third rule change by Mel Crook is leaving the pits between the one-minute gun and the start of the heat. The fourth rule was about placing eight judges around racecourse, with specific instructions to watch for driver violations. Even with the strike looming in the distance, the Detroit faction says the threat was only for Sunday's race, not for the qualifing and testing. This must be just in case they change their minds and want to race in the Gold Cup.
Still more trouble in Paradise, as of noon, the Gold Cup Drivers Committee has ruled that Russ Schleeh would not be allowed to drive the U-11 Rebel, Suh in the Gold Cup this weekend. At the meeting, Ted Jones asked several times why Russ Schleeh had been disqualified, and they would not give a reason. Kirn Armistead bitterly said that the committee has avoided answering the question. He has already qualified the boat, and by the rules himself on Thursday by running the required 85 mph. Ted Jones, Kirn Armistead, and Willard Rhodes all disagreed with the decision of the Drivers Committee and it's composition. Except for Stanley Donogh everyone else is from the Midwest. Joe Schoenith came storming out of the heated meeting after Stanley Donogh said something he didn't like, and then told race chairman Don Cooney that he resigned as chairman of the drivers committee. He said that he would still race the two Gales though. After cooling off, he was persuaded by Don Cooney to return to the meeting as chairman. Ted Jones, Kirn Armistead, and Willard Rhodes held their own council with their drivers after the committee meeting and are planning to withdraw both of their boats if the decision is not reversed.
Drivers Committee members, Joe and Lee Schoenith, Joe Taggart, and Bill Cantrell all voted against the floating bridge start, reversing Stanley Donogh's decision, Joe Taggart declined to vote in the issue, and Stanley Donogh voted for it. They chose Bill Braden, from Freeport, New York and driver of J. Gordon Thompson's CA-1 Miss Supertest II as the driver representative for Sundays race. The CA-1 Miss Supertest II was unable to run here this year because of engine problems. He will qualify as a backup driver for Bud Saile Jr.'s U-45 Miss Cadillac. The decision about letting owner Ray Crawford drive in the Gold Cup will be held off until after he qualifies the U-44 Zephyr Fury. Officials have extended the qualifmg trials today for the U-44 Zephyr Fury and the G-22 Such Crust III, in hope that they will be able to qualify later today and race tomorrow. A new committee will now decide on the Lake Washington Floating Bridge start, and possibly Russ Schleeh. According to chairman of the Drivers Committee Joe Schoenith, he has the last decision on Russ Schleeh though.
The new Committee members are Russ Merrill, Seattle Yacht Club proxy president for the APBA; Lou Eppel, proxy chairman for the Inboard Racing Commission; Al Hart, chief APBA inspector; Otto Crocker Seattle Yacht Club chief APBA timer, and Dan Cooney, representing the Seattle Yacht Club Gold Cup Committee. At the Olympic Hotel this afternoon, the 5-man National Gold Cup Committee, all of these big shots, have decided that; get this, no decision was made on the floating bridge start, but the race will go on regardless. These guys should work for the government; they would fit right in.
The Drivers Committee got back together this afternoon and reversed their earlier decision, and are now allowing USAF Lieutenant Russ Schleeh to drive the U-11 Rebel, Suh. This ended a threat by Ted Jones and Willard Rhodes from withdrawing both the U-11 Rebel, Suh and U-60 Miss Thriftway from Sundays race. You would think, that someone who could pilot a 50 million dollar U.S. Air Force jet 800 miles, twice a day, at 600 mph plus, would be able to handle an unlimited hydroplane that he has already qualified at 106.187 mph. He had been flying these twice-daily trips for three weeks to practice driving the boat. Still no official reason was given for not letting him drive in the first place. Ted Jones said it was because of Stan Sayres, and his friends. They later said it was because of his inexperience as a hydroplane driver. Ted Jones and Stan Sayres are feuding this year, big time.
After a lengthy 3½-hour conference this afternoon, a decision was made; twenty-four hours before the start of the Gold Cup, to restore Mel Crooks ruling about the floating bridge start. Only two or three boats are able to safely use this start, giving them an unfair advantage; so, if everybody can't use it, nobody should. Voting against the motion was Stan Sayres and Stanley Donogh, voting for it was Guy Lombardo, Joe and Lee Schoenith, Jack Schafer, Frank Saile Jr., George Simon, Ted Jones, Bill Cantrell, and Jay Murphy. We were a little outnumbered there all right.
Stan Sayres has announced that he is retiring after the Gold Cup race this year. Health trouble and the accident seriously injuring Lou Fageol, plus all the politics this year have made up his mind. If it weren't for all the unpleasantness that has been going on this past week, he wouldn't have wanted to retire. He said that if the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV wins the Gold Cup this year, it would defend it next season. He plans to put the "Grand Old Lady" up for sale, lease it, or just loan it to the Seattle Yacht Club and Greater Seattle Inc. to defend the title in 1956, if she comes out on top this year. He also plans to sell the damaged U-37 Slo-mo-shun V. He also said his retirement is not written in stone, so things could change, specially if he wins again this year. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV is the favorite to win the Gold Cup now that the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V is broken.
|The qualifing ladder as it stands now is at ten, with two more expected:|
|U-27||Slo-mo-shun IV||Joe Taggart||117.391|
|G-13||Tempo VII||Danny Foster||116.8|
|U-55||Gale V||Lee Schoenith||112.782|
|U-ll||Rebel, Suh||Russ Schleeh||106.187|
|U-60||Miss Thriftway||Bill Muncey||103.846|
|U-54||Gale IV||Bill Cantrell||103.687|
|U-2||Miss U.S.||George Simon||102.092|
|U-45||Miss Cadillac||Bud Saile||96.222|
|U-10||Scooter Too||Jack Regas||94.362|
|U-44||Zephyr Fury||Ray Crawford||NQ|
|G-22||Such Crust III||Walter Kade||NQ|
Capital Industries Inc. crew Dave Taylor and Roy Erickson along with Lloyd Jett's crew are still busy building a new transom and rudder housing for the U-22 Such Crust III. They said it would be ready to qualify in time for the Gold Cup race tomorrow. The Coast Guard will be on hand at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning for qualifying. The official timer will be out at the owner's request.
August 7th Sunday Race Day
They are expecting around 250,000 spectators today for the big chase. The race this year will depend on the boat's stamina and durability, and not so much on just speed alone. This is mainly because of the large turn out of boats this year. 90 miles is a long way to go. There are three heats and eight times around the 3¾-mile racecourse per heat. The sun is expected to make an appearance by race time this afternoon. The clouds should leave soon and the temperature could reach 80° by this afternoon. Hopefully, the race won't last too long, because they are talking about showers and thunderstorms by this evening. Because of the expected hot temperatures today, they wet down the pit area as a safety precaution to prevent fires. The first heat is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. The next heats will be run at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., unless; well you know the drill.
There will be three Seattle based hydroplanes racing today instead of four, all hoping to keep the Gold Cup here, the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, U-11 Rebel, Suh, and U-60 Miss Thriftway. They have a big challenge ahead of them from Detroit and California.
The injured seriously Lou Fageol said he would be watching the Gold Cup from his bed at the Maynard hospital with his wife and cheer on Joe Taggart and the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV.
Both the U-44 Zephyr Fury and the G-22 Such Crust III tried to qualify this morning, but the G-22 Such Crust III and Walter Kade were the only ones to successfully make the speed needed to qualify. He qualified the boat just an hour before the start of the race. The unqualified U-44 Zephyr Fury, Ray Crawford, Howard Gidovlenko, and the crew will have to watch this years Gold Cup from the sidelines. The Zephyr team altered the sponsons, added a new strut, and made several other modifications trying to get the boat to run properly, but to no avail.
Race fans flocked to vantage points all along the west shore of Lake Washington, staking out their claim on a small piece of choice real estate. There were 2,000 people that camped out over night, staking out the best plots of land for the big chase this afternoon. Chairs, lumber, cushions, and tents were in use, someone even brought a keg of beer and a tub of ice, try that nowadays and they will haul you to the pokey. One very big party is just about to start, and people are getting ready. Hawkers peddled hot dogs, soda pop, binoculars, straw hats, parasols, miniature Gold Cups, and just about everything you could want, or not want. If that's not enough, there's a Navy blimp floating above Lake Washington encouraging young people to sign up to be a Naval Aviation Cadet. The only space left was the pay bleachers that were going for the giant sum of $3.50 a seat. There were very few left.
Police were in attendance, but mostly as baby sitters, picking up stray children and collecting a few of the adults that were staggering around. Officers, Helen Karas and Maiy Stone, rescued several lost kids and reunited them with their frantic parents. A few celebrity's that are here to watch today's Gold Cup are, Canadian J. Gordon Thompson, owner of the broken CA-1 Miss Supertest II, and Italian Count Theo Rossi, who was on vacation in Banff, Alberta Canada when he heard all the noise about the floating bridge start. He won the 1938 Gold Cup in Detroit in the IU-121 Alagi. It looks like he doesn't hold a grudge; after all we bombed his boat, his house, and his Vermouth business in Italy during WWII, luckily he wasn't home at the time. He was the first foreigner to win a race for the Detroit Yacht Club. Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku is here watching, while ex-Heavyweight Champion Max Baer is helping broadcast for Radio Station KJR.
The sky is full of helicopters and one Navy Blimp today. The Blue Angels are here to put on a great air show as usual, plus there will be a Boeing 707 air show between heats. Ohhs, Ahhs, and a thundering roar will be heard from Seward Park clear to Sand Point this afternoon. Coast Guard volunteer craft will patrol the shoreline, fishing out trash thrown in the water by the litterbugs of Seattle, and be on hand if trouble pops up on shore, or on the racecourse.
Virginian Kirn Armistead, U-11 Rebel, Suh owner, gave a bunch of Southern sailors on the Coast Guard salvage derrick a Confederate flag to fly, which they did proudly. Until they got a phone call, politely asking them to take it down, because it might be confused with the racecourse "Danger" flag.
Trouble jumped up and bit 31-year-old owner George Simon right on the boat, just a half-hour before the start of the Gold Cup. In a pre-race warm-up run Jack Bartlow and U-2 Miss U.S. went out on Lake Washington, sheared the pin holding the propeller, which then hit the rudder, then blew up her supercharger. George Simon asked for a 30-minute delay to repair the boat, but soon found out how serious it was and sadly, he was forced to withdraw the boat. The blower drive had been defective, but they had no replacements or enough time to repair the trouble. All he and his pretty wife Penny got out of this year's Gold Cup trip was a $5,000 vacation, and no boat race. It was a tough break for them, and us.
|First heat lineup:|
|U-10||Scooter Too||Jack Regas|
|U-ll||Rebel, Suh||Russ Schleeh|
|G-13||Tempo VII||Danny Foster|
|U-27||Slo-mo-shun IV||Joe Taggart|
|U-45||Miss Cadillac||Bud Saile|
|U-54||Gale IV||Bill Cantrell|
|U-55||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|G-22||Such Crust III (2)||Walter Kade|
The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV is berthed at the Harbor Patrol dock at Leschi Park. They put the boat in the water at 12:25 p.m., and then towed her south under the floating bridge to the racecourse for the first heat. So much for the flying start, it's more like a towing start this year.
The first heat started without the G-22 Such Crust III (2) and Walter Kade. They were unable to get her re-started by the time the one-minute gun went off. Jack Regas and the U-10 Scooter Too jumped out of the Mount Baker pits, and went charging for the racecourse. About 15 second before the start. Jack Regas felt the U-10 Scooter Too hit a pop bottle or something. It put a large hole in their hull and water started gushing in. He tried to bring her back to in the Mount Baker pits, but only got her close, then the boat started sinking and he bailed out into Lake Washington. So much for going down with the ship.
In the mean time, seven hydroplanes were charging around the racecourse, all getting set up for a blistering start. Joe Taggart and the Slo-mo-shun IV came screaming out of the north turn and went roaring down the front straightaway. Joe Taggart jumped into a quick lead as he crossed the starting line. As the Slo-mo-shun IV was flying into the first turn, both the Gale V and the Gale IV overpowered him. Coming out of the south turn, Joe Taggart was now stuck in third place and chasing the two Gale's. The Miss Cadillac was fourth, followed by the Tempo VII, Rebel, Suh, Miss Thriftway, and Breathless. In the south turn of lap 1, Danny Foster hit the wreckage from the Scooter Too and popped the gas cap off. Fuel started squirting out of the tank and pouring onto the deck, and into the cockpit. Then entering the north turn, the Tempo VII's exhaust manifold ignited the fumes catching the boat on fire. He ducked under the billowing flames and came off the throttle killing the fire. Danny Foster kept the Tempo VII going until the oil pressure dropped too low, then was forced back to the pits. Two out already, and we haven't even finished one lap. The lead stayed the same through the 1st and 2nd lap, and then entering the south comer of lap 3, Joe Taggart and the Slo-mo-shun IV blew by the leading Gale V after overpowering Bill Cantrell in the Gale IV. The Miss Thriftway, Miss Cadillac, and Rebel, Suh were trailing them, while Jay Murphy's Breathless was still running, but way behind. Joe Taggart lapped the Breathless at the end of the 5th lap. By the 6th lap, everyone was spread out over the racecourse. The Slo-mo-shun IV had an eleven-second lead over second place Lee Schoenith's Gale V, who then lapped the Breathless. The Miss Thriftway passed the Gale IV and took over third place. In the 7th lap, Russ Schleeh broke the quill shaft in the Rebel, Suh and went dead in Lake Washington. The Gale V started charging harder after the Slo-mo-shun IV in lap 7, cutting her lead to only eight seconds. Bill Muncey and the Miss Thriftway, along with Bill Cantrell lapped the Breathless in the 7th lap. In the final lap, Joe Taggart had a nine-second lead over the Gale V, and flew across the finish line to capture the checkered flag and the first Gold Cup heat.
Someone was asleep at the switch on the official barge, causing several boats to run two extra laps; they failed to wave the checkered flag at Joe Taggart at the finish of the 8th lap. Even with the extra laps the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV still won. The U-45 Miss Cadillac, U-55 Gale V, and U-60 Miss Thriftway also ran the two extra laps. This was a 31-lA mile heat, instead of 30-miles.
|U-60||Miss Thriftway||98.027 (incorrect time given by officials)|
|U-11||Rebel, Suh||blew supercharger in 7th lap|
|U-13||Tempo VII||caught fire in 1st lap|
|U-10||Scooter Too||hit something at the start then sank|
|G-22||Such Crust III (2)||DNS|
By the end of the first heat, Joe Taggart was roasting, and well done by the time he reached the Leschi dock, the extra laps didn't help matters either. The crew removed the engine cowling and cut the windshield down an inch for better cooling. The crew also changed a cracked exhaust stack on the engine while they had the boat on the trailer. Joe Taggart said the boat was running better than ever in the first heat. When they didn't give Joe Taggart the checkered flag after crossing the finish line first, he thought he had jumped the gun at the start and had to run extra laps because of this. But he did win the heat the officials just messed up. He ran a fast lap in the 3rd at 107.91 mph, breaking the lap record set in 1954 by his teammate Lou Fageol and die U-37 Slo-mo-shun V.
The reason that the $50,000 G-22 Such Crust III (2) missed the first heat was a problem caused from a 50¢ starter switch that went bad. The lousy switch was replaced and they are now ready to run the second heat.
The Coast Guard rescued Jack Regas, who was unhurt, just wet, and disappointed. Six Coast Guard standby craft rushed to Edgar Kaiser's boat, then divers jumped in to hook up lines to the sunken hull. The U-10 Scooter Too sank in the shallow waters off the Mount Baker pits, slowly leaking fuel. Two crewmen stood on the deck in a couple of inches of water waiting for the water to be pumped out. The craft was resurfaced and towed to Leschi Park after the heat was finished. They drained out the water, and put her on their trailer where she will spend the rest of the day. Henry Kaiser took the news of the U-10 Scooter Too's sinking with good grace saying, "that's the kind of game we're in." Jack Regas said they were in a great spot with 15 seconds to go for the start when he hit something in the water, and the "Lake" started pouring in the boat. He turned back and made a dash for the Mount Baker pits, but didn't quite make it there in time before it started sinking. He quickly jumped out of the cockpit, took off his lifejacket, and stuffed it in the hole. It didn't work though, and the boat kept sinking until it reached the shallow bottom of Lake Washington. The crew found out the hull had a 3-foot by 8-inch wide hole in it after putting her on the trailer a Leschi Park.
Canadian Guy Lombardo's toasted U-13 Tempo VII looks like its done for the day. There was a minor explosion and a fire that seriously burned Danny Foster's right arm. He tried to tough it out anyway, but lost oil pressure in the Allison. His burn was taken care of and will be all right. In fact, he wanted to drive the second heat, but the crew found a bad bearing in the gearbox. Crew chief Roy Duby and the crew also found a small piece of brass in the scavenging oil pump that circulates oil from the gearbox. This would have wiped out the engine anyway. Too bad, Guy Lombardo was looking forward to driving his boat. Guy Lombardo's wife, Lillie Belle and Pat Taggart had been talking about a duel between their two husbands. They were going to have a straightaway race after the Gold Cup, but it doesn't look like it will happen this year. After their disappointing finish here in Seattle, the G-13 Tempo VII went wild, winning their last four races. The press started calling the G-13 Tempo VII "The Sweetest Boat This Side of Heaven. '' They finished second to the Gale V in the National Championship, because, well you 'll find out.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh went out and twisted her quill shaft in a couple of pieces, and they have no more racing Allisons left, or part to repair it. Despite the riff between Ted Jones, Stan Sayres, and the Slo-mo Team loaned them one of their stock Allisons, the only one they had left. It only puts out around 1,500 horsepower, compared to their own racing Allison that put out 2,000 horsepower. Kirn Armistead hated having to put in a stock engine, but he said he would have put on an outboard to keep them in the race. It's much better than sitting on the beach and watching.
Another Canadian, Bill Braden, driver of J. Gordon Thompson's broken CA-1 Miss Supertest II will be driving Frank Saile Jr.'s U-45 Miss Cadillac in the upcoming second heat.
The sun is out burning off the cloud cover turning the sky blue and the air warm. In heat 2, there are only eight unlimiteds, the only ones left running. Missing were the G-13 Tempo VII of Guy Lombardo's who caught fire and burned, and the U-10 Scooter Too who can't run full of water.
|Second heat lineup:|
|U-11||Rebel, Suh||Russ Schleeh|
|G-22||Such Crust III (2)||Walter Kade|
|U-27||Slo-Mo-Shun IV||Joe Taggart|
|U-45||Miss Cadillac||Bill Braden|
|U-54||Gale IV||Bill Cantrell|
|U-55||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|U-60||Miss Thriftway||Bill Muncey|
At the beginning of heat 2, Joe Taggart, and the Slo-mo-shun IV got a terrible start in the choppy water. He was charging to the line and thought he was early and backed off the throttle. Walter Kade and the Such Crust III (2) then hosed down Joe Taggart in the first comer. Even worse luck struck the Rebel, Suh, or actually he hit it. As Russ Schleeh approached the starting line while jockeying for position, he ran into a pop bottle or something, and put a large hole in the bottom of the hull. He turned the Rebel, Suh off the racecourse then it started to sink, so Russ Schleeh decided discretion was the better part of valor jumping out of the cockpit and into Lake Washington, watching the boat sink to the bottom. A near by patrol boat quickly rescued him. Lee Schoenith and the Gale V took a short lead crossing the starting line first. While screaming into the first turn, "Wild" Bill Cantrell and the Gale IV went dead in the water with a blown engine, leaving them both spectators in the heat. Two down already and we just crossed the starting line, not good. Coming out of the turn. Bill Muncey and the Miss Thriftway charged into the lead after passing the Gale V on the backstretch, and headed for the north turn. Further back, the Slo-mo-shun IV and the twin engine Such Crust III (2) were dueling it out for third place. The Miss Cadillac and Breathless were bringing up the rear of the pack. At the end of the 1st lap. Bill Muncey had a 5-second lead over Lee Schoenith in the Gale V. Through the next couple of laps nothing changed much; the Miss Thriftway was still leading, with the Gale V chasing him hard. The Such Crust III (2) had a short lead over the Slo-mo-shun IV, with the Miss Cadillac next, and following a ways back was Jay Murphy and the Breathless. In the 5th lap, the Miss Thriftway lapped the Breathless in the first turn; then Lee Schoenith lapped him in the north turn. Coming up next, Joe Taggart and the Slo-mo-shun IV swung out wide in the south turn of lap 5, shooting by the Such Crust III (2), and into third place. In lap 6, the Gale V had a 7-second lead over the Slo-mo-shun IV when Joe Taggart lapped the Breathless. Lee Schoenith cut Bill Muncey's lead to 15 seconds in that same lap. Walter Kade lapped the Breathless in his sixth circuit. The Miss Thriftway had a 16-second lead after 7 laps, and passed the Miss Cadillac and Bud Saile Jr. on the backstretch of the final lap. The Miss Cadillac lapped the Breathless just as they crossed the finish line in fifth place. The only ones that didn't lap the Breathless were the boats that broke down, or sank, but at least he finished the heat.
|G-22||Such Crust II||96.392|
|U-54||Gale IV||blew engine in 1st lap|
|U-II||Rebel, Suh||hit something and sank|
Bill Muncey and the U-60 Miss Thriftway are in a good position to win the race, if they can beat the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and Joe Taggart in the final heat. They ran slower than the "Old Lady" did in the first heat, but faster in the second heat. Ted Jones told Bill Muncey to try and finish at the top in the first heat, and he was happy with his third place finish. One of the crewmen asked him if something was wrong with the boat and couldn't he go faster. He showed him there wasn't anything wrong with the U-60 Miss Thriftway or him in the second heat. Their strategy for the final heat will be for Bill Muncey to charge faster, and push the Allison harder without blowing it sky-high.
The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV is on the truck at Leschi Park, and the crew is swarming over her looking for any trouble spots. They changed a propeller shaft because it looked a little worn, why take a chance, they want to win this race. Joe Taggart says the boat is running well, and he blamed his finish on the choppy water on Lake Washington.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh is still on the bottom of Lake Washington resting, but Russ Schleeh is back in the pits getting dried off. This was not their lucky day, after lunching their motor in the first heat, now filling it up with water in the second heat, a real bummer. He can get dried off and watch the rest of the Gold Cup from the beach. Oh well. This happened in almost the same spot as the U-10 Scooter Too incident. They found out it was a milk bottle that he hit. I wonder it this was the same one that sank the U-10 Scooter Too in the first heat? Nah, that couldn't happen, even here.
Bill Cantrell and the U-54 Gale IV were towed back to the Mount Baker pits. The boat was put on their trailer finished for the day. The U-54 Gale IV tossed a rod through the Allison's block. Bill Cantrell said that the U-54 Gale was one sick puppy before the start of the second heat. It could hardly crawl let alone run. Now Bill Cantrell can watch the rest of the Gold Cup with Russ Schleeh, from the beach. At least he's not in a rose bush this year. The second heat has been very unlucky for Bill Cantrell. In 1952, the G-7 Such Crust IV blew up under him, and in 1953 the U-5 Such Crust V lost a propeller. It was fixed in time for the final though. Then in 1954, the U-54 Gale IV landed in a fishpond. I can hardly wait until next season to find out what will happen to him, hopefully nothing.
The Navy Blue Angels flew again this year and the crowd loves them as much as the hydroplanes. Bill Cantrell has 25 years of driving experience in auto racing and boat racing. He said you couldn't get him up there for anything. Earlier in the day. Navy Blue Angel pilot Lt. Nello Pieozzi was in the pits sitting in the U-60 Miss Thriftway, and said he wouldn't drive one of these things for anything. Go figure.
In another air show Boeing test pilot, Tex Johnson flew a new Boeing Dash 80, which is now the Boeing 707 over Lake Washington and did a "barrel roll." This was a first ever stunt like this and a remarkable feat for such a large airplane as this. It was also totally amazing to watch. For a while he was a giant Blue Angel. Tex Johnson and the Boeing 707 flew low over Lake Washington then the wing started to roll over like he was making a turn. The crowd watched in awe as the giant airplane continued to roll all the way over. After the barrel roll, the prototype gained altitude and then circled back around and Tex Johnson did it again in case someone missed the first one, or to show everyone the first one wasn't just luck. Boeing president William Allen, other board members, stockholders, and potential buyers were watching this all happen on Lake Washington. They were probably holding their breath and trying to keep from messing their shor... well they almost had a stroke. They had no idea he was going to do this with "Their" one of a kind 20 million dollar airplane. I'm sure they had visions of the wings coming off and sinking every boat on Lake Washington, then crashing into the Lake Washington Floating Bridge and killing thousands of people. Of course, the thousands of people watching on shore and on television at home loved the stunt. I talked to a friend of Tex Johnson's that worked with him while I was at the 1999 Seafair race. He told me that Tex Johnson said that it was a "chandelle, " he did not do a barrel roll. Tex Johnson said that he was fooling the plane into thinking it wasn't rolling over. He also did it twice that day. The first was over the Cascade Mountains on the way to Boeing Field, then over the Lake Washington racecourse. You've heard the saying, "you 'll never work in this town again, " well it wasn't quite that bad, but Boeing wouldn't let him fly 707's again after that. It was an awesome site to see, almost unbelievable.
Here is a little more information on amazing test pilot Alvin Melvin "Tex" Johnson. This guy was something else when it came to flying airplanes. Right now, I hope, he is the chief test pilot for Boeing. This little stunt today was in front of almost every head of major airlines in the world, and many Boeing executives on the official barge. They were here to see a routine fly over of a new Boeing prototype. What they say was the first ever-barrel roll of a jet airliner in aviation history. I wonder how many they bought, or didn't because of this. "Tex" Johnson started flying at 19 and has been doing it ever since. He was a flying circus performer for the Inman Brothers Flying Circus, doing stunts in the Mid-West and Southwest. He worked for Bell Aviation in 1942 and flew the first L-39 and the first X-1 rocket plane (B-29), using all four rockets. He reached Mach .99, just shy of the sound barrier. This was only because the U.S. Air Force wanted a serviceman to do it. Chuck Yeager was the one that broke the sound barrier with it. He was the first to fly the Bell XP-59A jet above 40,000 feet and set a closed course speed record at 376.4 mph in the 1946 Thompson Trophy race in Cleveland, Ohio in a modified Bell P-39. Tex Johnson started working for Boeing in 1949, and was also the first test pilot to fly the B-47 and B-52 bomber. His friends said he could fly a bathtub if it had wings and an engine on it. He never took chances with an airplane, never did more than he knew it could do. This stunt with the 707 was a sure thing for him; he knew without a shadow of a doubt the plane could do this. It was quite a sale pitch for Boeing. Boeing had gambled 20 million dollars on this aircraft. They were betting their future on this single prototype, so for some it was a little more than just a thrill. It was 22 years later before president William Allen could look back on this and see a little humor. Tex Johnson did survive all the turmoil he caused for Boeing. He was a supervisor of600 people, 15 of them pilot, and respected by them all. He died October 29th 1998 at age 84 from Alzheimer's disease in Edmonds, Washington. He was quite a man, a civilian pilot with "the right stuff. "
Before the final heat was run and after the terrific air show, the racecourse was swept for any debris in the water by patrol boats hoping to keep the rest of the boats from sinking like the U-10 Scooter Too and U-11 Rebel, Suh did earlier. I wonder if they found any more wayward milk bottles in their sweep. The Coast Guard's sonar doesn't seem to be working all that well, one boat last year, and now two this year. So far, there's still one heat left to go.
Bud Saile Jr. is back in the cockpit of the U-45 Miss Cadillac for the final heat. There will be six boats in the third and final heat, all that are left running, or kind of running, like Jay Murphy's boat.
|Final heat lineup:|
|G-22||Such Crust III (2)||Walter Kade|
|U-27||Slo-mo-shun IV||Joe Taggart|
|U-45||Miss Cadillac||Bud Saile Jr.|
|U-55||Gale V||Lee Schoenith|
|U-60||Miss Thriftway||Bill Muncey|
The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and the U-60 Miss Thriftway are both tied in points, the U-55 Gale V is only 25 point behind them, so the final heat will tell the tale, or it should.
Everyone is out and charging to the starting line in a crowd. Joe Taggart took out fast overtaking the Miss Cadillac at the beginning and jumped out to a quick lead over the rest. Lee Schoenith and the Gale V were second, followed closely by Bill Muncey in the Miss Thriftway, and Such Crust III (2). The Miss Cadillac and, you guessed it, the Breathless coming up last. Bill Muncey quickly powered by the Gale V in the south turn and went roaring up the backstretch with the Such Crust III (2) hot on his tail. Then entering the north turn, Walter Kade shot by the Miss Thriftway and started after the Slo-mo-shun IV. By the end of the 1st lap, Joe Taggart had a 10-second lead on the hard charging Such Crust III (2), but Walter Kade was closing the distance fast. The Miss Thriftway and Such Crust III (2) were fighting it out for the second spot in the north turn of the 2nd lap. Bill Muncey soon lost the battle though. Lee Schoenith and the Gale V were next in line at fourth place. Joe Taggart still had a substantial lead in the 3rd lap. The Miss Cadillac and Breathless were so far back that they were out of contention. The battle between Walter Kade, Bill Muncey, and Lee Schoenith continued hot and heavy. In the 3rd lap, the Miss Thriftway came within 4 seconds of the Such Crust III (2), and the Gale V was about 15 seconds behind the Miss Thriftway. The Miss Cadillac and Breathless were steadily dropping farther and farther behind, but were still moving. Bill Muncey closed up on the Such Crust III (2) at the start of lap 4 when he tried to go outside and pass Walter Kade in the south turn. It didn't work, but by the end of the 4th lap, he was much closer. The Gale V was still pushing Bill Muncey from his fourth place position. Joe Taggart lapped the Breathless in the first turn of lap 5. On the backstretch of the same lap. Bill Muncey finally over took the Such Crust in (2) who got stuck behind the slow-moving Breathless. Bill Muncey pulled out from the behind Walter Kade's roostertail where he was hiding and shot by the surprised Jay Murphy, jumping quickly into second place. The Gale V was now following the third place Walter Kade. By the end of the 5th lap, the Bill Muncey and Miss Thriftway had pulled within 9 seconds of the Slo-mo-shun IV and Joe Taggart. By the 6th lap, he was sitting on his hip, one-second back. Bill Muncey was running in Joe Taggart's blind spot, like he did to Walter Kade, waiting for an opportunity to take away the lead. At the end of the lap, trouble popped up for the Slo-mo-shun IV and Joe Taggart. With two laps to go, Bill Muncey popped out from behind the Slo-mo-shun IV's roostertail, and started to charge by them. Joe Taggart looked over and was surprised to see the Miss Thriftway so close. He quickly put his foot to the floor to regain the lead. Reaching the first turn buoy, Joe Taggart looked over and saw the deck starting to glow. Then a fire quickly erupted. An exhaust stack had broken loose again, this time shooting flames up over the deck. Joe Taggart continued to race, chasing Bill Muncey through the 6th lap. At the start of the 7th lap, the fire got too serious, and Joe Taggart had to call it quits. The Slo-mo fans looked on in shock as Joe Taggart and the "Old Lady" pulled into the infield and went dead in the water, caught fire, then started burning in earnest. Hope for keeping the Gold Cup here in Seattle was still kept alive when Bill Muncey and the Miss Thriftway roared by the burning Slo-mo-shun IV and charged by the grandstands to take the lead. The Miss Thriftway was leading the Walter Kade and Such Crust III (2) by almost half a lap by the end of lap 7, Lee Schoenith and the Gale V were 43 seconds behind him. The Miss Cadillac and Breathless were still moving, but way out of the running. Bill Muncey had such a big lead in the final lap, and the win locked up tight, that he slowed down. He ran the last lap at only 93.85 mph. He crossed the finish line to capture the checkered flag and win the final Gold Cup heat, his second one of the day. But Not The Gold Cup.
|U-22||Such Crust in||98.46|
|U-27||Slo-mo-shun IV||burst into flames in the 7th lap|
Before the last heat, the Detroit owners and drivers put their heads together for a strategy meeting. The plan was to gang up on the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and Joe Taggart. Joe and Lee Schoenith, Bill Cantrell, Jack Schafer, and Walter Kade were the gang. The "Plan," was for the G-22 Such Crust III (2), who had no chance to win, to jump the gun, and along with the U-45 Miss Cadillac block the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV at the beginning of the heat. But the best-laid plans of mice and whatever didn't work on the "Old Lady," because she blew through them both. Walter Kade and the G-22 Such Crust III (2) did trap the U-60 Miss Thriftway and Bill Muncey on at least six turns during the race, holding him back and slowing him down. Walter Kade said that this was not on purpose though, and didn't even know Bill Muncey was there. He absolutely denied trying to hold up Bill Muncey, saying he was just trying to pass Jay Murphy and the U-22 Breathless, and got stuck behind him. Bill Muncey said that the "old guy" could race, and did a real number on him for a while. This also cost Bill Muncey, big time.
Joe Taggart set a new Gold Cup lap record in the lstlap, before burning up in the 7th lap, running 107.965 mph beating the one he set in the first heat. Stan Sayres had ordered two new sets of exhaust manifolds from London, England and had them flown in to Seattle last week, just in case something like this happened. They changed one earlier today, but in the 7th lap of the final heat there is not much you can do about it. The second section of the port manifold broke off at the weld and started a fire. The crack started early in the 6th lap, and Joe Taggart raced until flames started eating the hull. Even with Bill Muncey hot on his tail, he had no choice but to pull into the infield and shut down. The other option was to continue with the possibly of blowing up. Tough luck for Stan Sayres this year, with Lou Fageol's accident, and now the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV burning. The hull had a 30-inch by 1½-inch deep strip burned in the hull from the fire. The crew picked up the equipment from the Harbor Patrol Dock at Leschi where the Slo-mo was berthed and went to pick up the burnt hull. The U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV was towed straight back to Hunts Point from the racecourse, with four crewmen at the stem, Joe Taggart standing dejectedly on the bow, and a crewman kneeling on the nose by the tow rope. Once they are back at Hunts Point, the crew will start at once repairing the damage. Could this fire have been prevented if they hadn't had to ran those extra two laps in the first heat? Without running them, Joe Taggart may have been able to finish the last 1½ laps of the heat and captured their sixth Gold Cup, we 'll never know.
Kit Muncey and Joe Taggart's wife were watching the race together on the official judge's barge. Kit Muncey was an old hand at this, having watched her husband many times before. She was calm, cool, and collected. Mrs. Taggart, also and old pro, was much more nervous, begging, pleading, and praying as her husband rounded the racecourse in the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. Kit Muncey cheered the U-60 Miss Thriftway as it tried to pass Joe Taggart and when the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV quit she jumped up clapping her hands in delight. Joe Schoenith's wife said she was always nervous for her son Lee on race day. Her stomach is full of butterflies until the five-minute gun, and then she stops worrying until the race is over.
The real race was between the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and the U-60 Miss Thriftway. Ted Jones vowed to build a boat that would beat the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and he succeeded. He was very pleased just beating Stan Sayres. It has been something he has been waiting for since his forced exile in 1952.
The U-11 Rebel, Suh was a hopeless wreck after sinking to the bottom of Lake Washington. After the final heat was finished, skin divers hooked up the submerged hull to a couple of patrol boats. They brought it up from the bottom and hauled her back to the pits, with the nose of the boat pointing straight up into the sky, the stem dragging on the bottom. The water was drained out, and the boat put on their trailer. They found a 1½ foot hole in the sponson. The damaged U-11 Rebel, Suh will be taken to Ted Jones place in Kennydale to be repaired. The U-60 Miss Thriftway will be taken there also, where the crew will look over the hull for any damage they picked up from the race. They will be sending the U-60 Miss Thriftway to Detroit soon for the August 17" Silver Cup.
Jay Murphy and the U-22 Breathless finished the 90-mile race sixth, with an average speed of 76.206 mph; this would have been a world record in 1950. In the first heat Jay Murphy pushed the boat to an average speed of 82.318 mph, the fastest heat she had ever run. This was Jay Murphy's learning experience. He just followed behind the pack in last place watching what they did, but at least he finished the 90-miles. A few didn't again this year.
Over the public address system on the official barge someone announced the winner at the finish of the heat without counting the points, the broadcasters added to the coming confusion by repeating this over the airways.
Mel Crook, APBA Gold Cup chairman, and former head referee was on the official barge watching the final heat, and said that he thought the U-55 Gale V had won the Gold Cup. He knew about the point system and the times. If he had still been the referee, what happened next may not have happened. It could have saved Bill Muncey and the crew from getting wet and everyone from getting all excited celebrating over finishing second. Stanley Donogh said that the U-60 Miss Thriftway was the "unofficial" winner. They wouldn't know the official winner until they audited the timer's tape. This didn't slow anyone down from celebrating Bill Muncey's win.
Someone announced that the U-60 Miss Thriftway had won the Gold Cup without counting the points. Around 500,000 race fans, Bill Muncey, his crew, their owners, along with Joe Schoenith and the Gale team, plus the rest of the teams thought that the U-60 Miss Thriftway had won the Gold Cup. Fans, family, and the Thriftway crew in the pits were going nuts, cheering, screaming, and crying. Bill Muncey came back to the pits with a grin on his face you wouldn't believe. Ted Jones grabbed Bill Muncey hugging him and saying what a great boat and driver they had. Bill Muncey's wife Kit, son 2 year old Bill Jr. and his son Dorian Graham 10 week old were on hand to cheer him on. He and the crew were being tossed into Lake Washington right and left. There was plenty of backslapping with hugs for everyone from Ted Jones and owner Willard Rhodes. Ted Jones was so proud of the performance of his boat that he said Bill Jr. could drive her and win. Ex-Heavyweight Champion and CBS commentator Max Baer gave Bill Muncey his famous bear hug and a kiss on the cheek. The crew carried him around the pits on their shoulders. Needless to say, they were pretty happy about the whole thing.
After the race television stations, radio stations, newsmen, and wire services all added to the confusion, because they didn't know about the point system. They put out the wrong information a ½ hour after the finish. Grins quickly turned to grimaces, and cheers to groans as the word finally came down later.
While the Thriftway Team was celebrating their win, it was announced an hour later that the U-55 Gale V and Lee Schoenith had really won the Gold Cup. Bill Muncey and everyone else couldn't believe what they had just heard. Even Lee Schoenith had his doubts. Bill Muncey had won two heats and finished third in the other, the U-55 Gale V never won a single heat. They finished second in the first and second heat, and third in the final. Lee Schoenith was asking how this could be; he couldn't believe it either. To add a little salt to the wound, Bill Muncey had to remind his crew about the traditional dunking. He got all wet for finishing second.
This wasn't the first time this has happened though to the Gale team. Lee Schoenith did the same thing to Jack Schafer's G-22 Such Crust III (2) in 1953, winning the Detroit Silver Cup with out winning a heat. The U-51 Gale II won by 56 points over the G-22 Such Crust III (2), 1494 points to 1438. Who cares though, we lost and it sucks.
So as the Thriftway team dried off with a large black cloud hanging over their heads, the Gale Team started celebrating, tossing everyone into Lake Washington. Lee Schoenith leaped into the arms of his parents happy as could be; then the crew grabbed him and tossed him into the water. He came out of the lake smiling just glad to win no mater how it happened. Lee Schoenith had said for some time now that he wouldn't get married until he had won a Gold Cup, oh ohh. His fiancee Shirley Harrington wept tears of joy, for her boyfriend Lee's win, and probably for their future marriage. He has been driving in the Gold Cup since 1950, missing the one in 1952 when he was unable to get leave from the Army. Lee Schoenith was also reminded by his fiancee that he had also won a $110 watch, put up by Detroit fan Bill Caltrider, for any Detroit driver who won the Gold Cup. Jack Schafer was almost as happy as Joe and Lee Schoenith. He thought they had lost by one tenth of a mph, he was glad he couldn't add. It wasn't long before the news media same rushing over to interview Lee Schoenith and the Gale Team, and take pictures, at least the ones that still had film left did. The Gale team accomplished this win after using up seven propellers, burning up four of the engines they had, and wrecking three gearboxes. They ran out of propellers early on and had to borrow the propeller off Guy Lombardo's U-13 Tempo VII to finish the race. The Saturday night, before the Gold Cup, both engines were out of the two Gales, along with their oil filters and oil tanks. This crew must be real tired, and grateful the race is finally over so they can take a well-deserved break.
The timers tape and the final count of the points told the final story, kind of. Bill Muncey lad 1,025 points at the end of the final heat; Lee Schoenith had 825 points at the end of the heat. 3ut there were still 400 bonus points to be had for the fastest 90-mile time. In the first heat, the incorrect speed had been given out for Bill Muncey's third place finish in the U-60 Miss Thriftway adding to the trouble. It was changed from 98.027 mph to the correct 97.2322 mph. Andy Joy, official scorer said he didn't know how this happened; neither did anyone else. So, Lee Schoenith and the U-55 Gale V had a 37 second lead going into the final heat over Bill Muncey. At the end of the race the U-60 Miss Thriftway had a total time of 54 minutes 20.73 seconds, while the U-55 Gale V ended up with 54 minutes 16.2 seconds, a total of 4.53 seconds difference, in favor of Lee Schoenith, giving him the win.
|U-60||Miss Thriftway||1st heat||97.2322||2nd heat||100.9119||3rd heat||99.993||total||298.1692|
|U-55||Gale||1st heat||102.469||2nd heat||99.103||3rd heat||97.0841||total||298.6561|
Bill Muncey shook hands with Lee Schoenith after the decision was final. Both were still wet from their celebrating. They are close friends and have been for years. Bill Muncey was the only one Lee Schoenith could get to ride in the old U-50 Gale with him more than once. They remain friends even after races like this.
Bill Muncey had the race won by the 7th lap, then slowed down in his last lap to average only 93.85 mph for the heat. He had been averaging over 100 mph per in the first two heats. You can bet your life that Bill Muncey will NEVER take his foot off the throttle like that again, not in this lifetime. Live and learn, and he learned the hard way in his very first complete unlimited race. The winner of the race should not have been announced before the point total was officially added up, why it was called early is a mystery. People unaware of this point system, may have not known it was possible for the second place boat to win the race, especially since they were third going into the final heat. With all the rhubarbs this week, referee changes, the floating bridge start, threat by Detroit to walkout, the U-11 Rebel, Suh and U-60 Miss Thriftway threat, and now this. Not to mention two boats sinking, let's hope next years race will be better. It's goodbye Gold Cup though.
The Award Ceremony was held in the Spanish Ballroom of the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. Joe and Lee Schoenith reminded Seattlites that we have to come to Detroit to get the Gold Cup in 1956. It's something we will sure not forget about.
Willard Rhodes, owner of this years ex-defending Gold Cup Champion U-60 Miss Thriftway told Joe Schoenith, as he handed over the Gold Cup to Lou Eppel, official representative for the APBA, that it's only fair that they have the Gold Cup, but to keep it shined up. He said they were coming back to the "Motor City" next season to get it back. Lou Eppel winked at the camera then slipped a tag on the Gold Cup as it was handed over to Lee Schoenith. It said, "to be returned to Seattle in 1956." Frank LeMor, representative for Roosevelt Transfer Company, who is transferring the Gold Cup to Detroit, instigated the joke. The big feud between Seattle and Detroit continues. It just got hotter, and bigger than ever because of this race.
When Bill Muncey was introduced, the crowd showed their appreciation, almost bringing the roof down on everyone's head with a tremendous burst of applause. Everybody, even the Detroit owners and drivers at the Sunday banquet praised him on his driving skills. Bud Saile Jr. said Bill Muncey took the comers better than he's seen anyone do.
Police estimated the crowd here at the race this year at 500,000. This was the biggest assembly of people for a Pacific Northwest sports event, a Gold Cup, or in the World. The largest crowd for a football game was 110,000 and baseball 73,500, and the Indianapolis 500 isn't even that close. This was a very close estimate according to Police Chief, Captain M. E. Cook. Most of the half million fans were on their way home when Lee Schoenith was announced as the winner of the Gold Cup race. Just as well, he might have been mobbed or strung up when they found out how he had won. Along with the Gold Cup traveling back to Detroit, volunteers picked up 112 truckloads worth of trash off the Lake Washington shoreline; last year there was only 35 truckloads hauled off. They must have all been from Ballard, or White Center; what am I saying, I lived in White Center.
After the dust kind of settled, the remarks started coming out. Such as, "There should be a CPA riding with the drivers," "A marine triumph for Seattle, but a statistical victory for Detroit," "Detroit won with adding machines and Einstein," or my favorite, "They gave the slow boat to China the Gold Cup." You can tell losing doesn't bother us any. If you listen closely, you can hear Detroit giggling from here. Oh well, there is always next year.
This was the longest Gold Cup in unlimited history, 97½ miles, because of the two extra laps in the first heat.
In between the Gold Cup heats, Ray Gassner won the fourth Seafair Trophy race, driving his 266 class Sunshine Baby III. He is from St. Petersburg, Florida. His average speed was 88.247 mph. The Limited Class boats have run this race since 1953.
There will be no Gold Cup here in Seattle next year, but we will have an unlimited race, the second unlimited and fifth overall Seattle Seafair Trophy Race. Walter Van Camp, managing director for Gold Cup Inc., is in full agreement for having the Seafair Trophy Race next year; we have a Trophy already. The first one was in 1951, and the only unlimiteds running in it were the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV and Slo-mo-shun V. Three 135 cubic inch class limited's filled out the field to make it an official sanctioned race. The reason for only the Slo-mo's in the race was because all the tourist boats went home, in pieces. In 1952, the only boat left running was the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV, and it was leaking oil and not running well. The Seafair Trophy is at the Seattle Yacht Club and does travel with the winning team like the Gold Cup does. The winner's name will be engraved on the Trophy. It was valued at $4,000 in 1951 and can't be bought for a $100,000.
If Seattle has decent prizes and awards in the 1956 Seafair Trophy race, and a schedule that fits, Detroit will be here. Next years contestants could include both the Slo-mo's, maybe under different names and owners, Willard Rhodes' U-60 Miss Thriftway, and the U-11 Rebel, Suh from Seattle. Other boats from the east and west that are interested include the U-10 Scooter Too, George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S., and of course the Gale Team. Lee Schoenith was asked before the race if he would come back and he said no, not after the way he was treated in the last week. He was asked after winning the Gold Cup if he would come back, he said yes he would, saying that we have a very nice racecourse here. Jack Schafer said that if we come out there, he'd come out here. No problem there, were going to get the Gold Cup back, and then he won't have a choice. Danny Foster said that they have the boats, and want to race them, so George Simon and the U-2 Miss U.S. will be returning. J. Philip Murphy from California is interested in entering the U-22 Breathless, he is coming out here anyway for the limited races. Al Fallon and the U-4 Miss Great Lakes II owner was a member of the Guy Lombardo team this year and wants to come back next season to race.
Henry Kaiser Jr. and Ray Crawford both talked to Les Staudacher about new hulls for the 1956 season. Henry Kaiser will have one next year for sure, while Ray Crawford wants to replace his radical and unsuccessful U-44 Zephyr Fury. Ray Crawford returned to making grocery check out stands with his company and never raced this boat again. He turned the poor U-44 Zephyr Fury into a giant flowerpot. Then after several years, it was burned up.
Jack Elliot, former APBA official, said he's never seen so many people with so much enthusiasm, and such a beautiful setup as on Lake Washington. Bill Muncey said that we draw more people here between the Lake Washington Floating Bridge and the Mount Baker pits than they do around the whole Detroit River racecourse. He said they are lucky to get 15,000 people for a race.
The U-37 Slo-mo-shun V is at Stan Sayres home, the repair work hasn't been started on her yet. The crew will have to replace some damaged ribs and decking from the 360° flip by Lou Fageol. Wes Kiesling and George McKernan, crewmen on the Slo-mo team, are working on the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV at Stan Sayres Hunts Point home. The day after the race they were trying to repair the broken stack and get her running by that afternoon and succeeded. Eddie Meyer, a veteran Hollywood race driver, and Slo-mo relief driver Marion Cooper from Louisville, Kentucky took the repaired "Old Lady" out on Lake Washington off the East Channel Bridge in the measured mile, and joining the 100 Mile an Hour Club. Joe Horter of the Chrysler Corporation and Marv Russell of the Ethel Corporation were two others that got a ride in her. She made four runs through the measured mile today.
The U-22 Breathless and J. Philip Murphy are heading to Lake Tahoe, the U-44 Zephyr Fury and Ray Crawford back to El Monte, California. They will be the last ones out of the Mount Baker pits. The U-13 Tempo VII and G-22 Such Crust III are at the Hilltop Motel across the floating bridge. Bud Saile's Jr.'s U-45 Miss Cadillac, and George Simon's U-2 Miss U.S. are at Lloyd Jett's Boathouse resting up for a few days before leaving town. The winning U-55 Gale V, U-45 Miss Cadillac, and the G-13 Tempo VII are planning to run in a 45-mile race in Montana on Flathead Lake next Sunday before going home for the Silver Cup. This will be an exhibition event.
Bill Muncey and the second place U-60 Miss Thriftway are on their way to Detroit, Michigan for the August 27th Silver Cup. They have been talking about using a two-way radio between the pits and cockpit next year so something like this can't happen again. Next time he just needs to go faster and not slow down.
Lou Fageol watched the Gold Cup from his bed at the Maynard Hospital with his wife, who was staying there with him. The pain from the terrific impact from hitting the water showed on his face even through all the sedatives. Three-months ago in June, he suffered a head injury in a car race in Florida. He went skidding into a turn, and was hit by another racecar. His wife suggested he retire from racing then, and I think he will have to listen this time. You can push your luck only so far before it ends tragically, especially in this sport. He met and shook hands with 14-year-old Eddie O'Byme, who with his brother 16-year-old Mike saved his life. Mike O'Byme was on a Sea Scout cruise in the San Juan Islands and will visit Lou Fageol later. The two boys heard that Lou Fageol wanted to see them, but Eddie was the only one that could make it for now. From his hospital bed, he thanked them both. Lou Fageol knew he had to get out of the boat and hit the water just right. He was scrunched up tight when he hit Lake Washington and sliding across it like a water skier without a ski on his tailbone. The two boys found a piece of the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V and Lou Fageol said he would autograph it for them. He smiled and said he wanted to get them another gift too, "maybe an extra gaff hook or something." That's what the two boys used to grab hold of him. Eddie O' Byrne goes to Nathen Eckstein JHS and will be entering the ninth grade. Mike O' Byrne is a sophomore at Roosevelt H.S. Lou Fageol said that he plans to retire from unlimited hydroplane driving now, for good. He will be missed, a great loss to the sport. Lou Fageol spent three weeks in the hospital recovering before going home to Kent, Ohio. He will never race again. Lou Fageol's boat racing experience dates back to the middle 30s. In 1939 he drove his 3-point 7-Litre 10-G So-Long in his first Gold Cup. In 1940 he set a mile record in this boat at 97.451 mph. He was considered the father of the 7-Litre Class and raced several of his own boats. He won the 1946 Silver Cup, Miami race, and the one in Davenport, Iowa in his So-Long Jr. His first experience with unlimiteds was in Jack Schafer's U-11 Such Crust II in the 1949 President's Cup. He drove this boat until it sank on him then finished the season in the U-1 Such Crust I. Lou Fageol joined the elite class in the 100 Mile an Hour Club in New Martinsville, West Virginia driving the same boat that year. He raced against the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV in the 1950 Gold Cup driving the U-3 My Sweetie after replacing Bill Cantrell in one heat. He set a lap record during this heat. This earned him a seat in the Slo-mo's where he won the
1950 Harmsworth Trophy, 1951 Gold Cup, and 1953 Gold Cup with Joe Taggart, 1953 President's Cup, and 1954 Gold Cup.
There was a closed-door meeting at the Olympic Hotel this evening. It lasted three hours and broke up around midnight. Mel Crook chairman of the Gold Cup race committee was in charge. The bonus point system was at the top of the list. There were no heated arguments by the owners or drivers, which surprises me. Mel Crook thought the bonus point's rule should be changed, but everyone else said it should stay the same. The reason is that it keeps boats that have won earlier heats from coasting in the final heat. They have a very good point if you think of it that way. That's what Bill Muncey did this year and it cost him the race. It's not like Lee Schoenith cheated him out of it. The rule was there all the time, just waiting for the unwary.
There will be a new rule change for next year if there are over 8 unlimiteds entered in the race. The first heat will be sectioned into A and B sections. This will be an elimination heat, with the eight fastest from these sections racing in heat two and three.
Joe Taggart presented a motion banning spoilers on the bow of unlimiteds. This is what caused the U-37 Slo-mo-shun V to flip at 160 mph and end the driving career of Lou Fageol. No action was taken however. Joe Schoenith said that it wouldn't be a problem next year, because boats can't go that fast on the Detroit River where the Gold Cup will be held. Go ahead rub it in. The Gold Cup racecourse has been changed from 3¾ miles to allow Detroit to use a 2-1/2-mile racecourse if they want next year. The Detroit River is unsuitable for a 3¾-mile racecourse. They are expected to use their normal 3-mile Silver Cup racecourse in 1956. The official APBA Gold Cup board meeting will be held in November. The Gold Cup rule changes won't affect us next year. But I would guess that the Seafair Trophy rules will be close to what the Gold Cup rules are. It will be less of a change when we get it back, hopefully in 1957.
Joe Taggart, Bill Cantrell, and Ted Jones were appointed to draw up recommendations for stronger driver qualifications for next season.
August 12th Friday
There is a new rumor floating around about a possible new unlimited hydroplane. Boeing employees are looking for approval from the Boeing Airplane Company officials, in regards to building an unlimited for the Gold Cup next year. Phil Morrell, a Boeing employee, said that a plan is in the works. It needs to be approved, and they plan to incorporate the Boeing Employees Power Boat Association as soon as they get it. They will build and operate the boat. They have already asked a former Boeing employee, Ted Jones, if he would help build them one. Ted Jones said he would be more than willing to work on the project, after talking with them several times. He agreed to design a hull for them and oversee the building of the boat. They said that there would be a booster group, as well as stockholders in the Corporation. The Boeing Company has nothing to do with this idea, but the organization just wants their approval. Jack Errington, the spokesman, said that it has 40,000 potential owners, and any employee can be included. They also plan to issue stock in the boat. Their dream will cost around $40,000 to build, and get the equipment needed for her to run her. Ted Jones is a former Boeing employee himself; he worked there in 1942 as a mechanic and assistant supervisor. Another employee group is also interested in getting wet. They are the employees of the Seattle branch of Kenworth Motors. If the boat does get built in time for next year's Gold Cup, there may be more Seattle entries than Detroit for a change.
Stan Sayres said that there has been no challenge for the British International (Harmsworth) Trophy, but one is expected from the CA-1 Miss Supertest II owned by J. Gordon Thompson from London, Ontario. Bill Braden, driver of the CA-1 Miss Supertest II, and the owner were both here in Seattle for the Gold Cup race. J. Gordon Thompson said he was seriously considering challenging the U-27 Slo-mo-shun IV. Detroit would also like to get in on the action. The Harmsworth Trophy race would be held on the Detroit River and not here in Seattle. Stan Sayres doesn't have as much to say about where it is held like the Gold Cup. The Harmsworth Racing Board carries all of the votes. The race will probably be held in July or August next season, if he enters a challenge.
Donald Campbell's World Speed Record is now official. On July 23rd, he flew to runs of 215.8 and 187.57 mph for an average of 202.32 mph. The British Marine Motoring Association officials received a telegram from the Union of International Motorboating, accepting Donald Campbell's performance on Ullswater Lake in England. This officially set a new world record for a "non-propeller" driven unlimited hydroplane.
Guy Lombardo said he was going to attempt to break the straightaway record October 2nd on the Pasquotank River. This was supposed to be the highlight of the second annual International Cup regatta this weekend in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His crew doubted that the G-13 Tempo VII would be able to, because they damaged their speed propeller in an earlier test run and would have to use the racing propeller. Danny Foster will be the designated driver this weekend. The time set for the mile attempt was 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning. As it turned out the G-13 Tempo VII didn't shoot for the record. Instead, they saved the boat for the International Cup. A wise choice on their part, they won the event.
On Monday October 3rd, Englishman Donald Campbell loaded the Bluebird K7 into an airplane for the long and expensive trip to the United States. He is coming to Nevada in an attempt to break the mile record on Lake Mead, his own record that he set this July. The cost of the plane ride for the boat was between $19,600 and $22,400. The full cost for the mile attempt is around $56,000. The donations from his British supporters were only $980. The Las Vegas Sahara Hotel sponsored his trip to America so he could attempt to set the record here and publicize Lake Mead as a future race site. The 35-year-old Donald Campbell said this was a "scientific investigation" looking into breaking the "water barrier." He said it was between 200 and 250 mph, a point where unknown forces cause a boat to pitch rapidly and destroy the structure of the hull. Well, it must not be 202.34 mph, because he's already been there. Ted Jones doesn't believe there is such a thing as the water barrier, and he has a good point. A hydroplane rides mostly on top of the water, not in the water, unless it's the U-44 Zephyr Fury. He said that the "sound barrier" then comes into effect. 200 mph is a long way from the 708-mph sound barrier.
There is a conflict of dates for next years Seafair Trophy race and the Gold Cup. Earlier Seattle asked for August 11th, well now the Detroit International Regatta Association has petitioned for the same date. They said they didn't do it on purpose, yeah right. They said it was a club decision, and chairman E. O. Bodkin apologized for the conflict. APBA executive secretary Carl Johnson said that the Contest Board approved the Gold Cup event. The Gold Cup board meeting November 4th in Las Vegas will settle the dispute.
Greater Seattle Inc. president R.C. "Torchy" Torrance said that Detroit set the date knowing that we had already set ours for August 11th. The Detroit faction wants to inaugurate its Riverama Festival (like Seafair) with the August 11th Gold Cup and close it at the Silver Cup August 25th. I hate to admit it, but their reason sounds good to me, bummer.
On October 4th, the $70,000 Bluebird K7 arrived at the Las Vegas Airport in pieces, three of them. It's okay though it was by design. The crew is putting it back together now. Donald Campbell will arrive from England next Monday. He is scheduled out for testing on Lake Mead's 7-mile course October 14th or 15th. According to him. Lake Mead is larger and smoother than England's Lake Ullswater. He must not have seen Lake Mead on a windy day. He expects to try for the record October 16th.
Donald Campbell arrived today for his mile straightaway assault. The record he set in England this year was just a trial run according to him, to find out how the steering adjustments they made worked. Well, they broke the 200-mph barrier finding out. He said then that he wanted to come to America, and here he is in Nevada.
Joe Schoenith threw out a challenge Wednesday October 12th to Donald Campbell for a "match" race between the U-55 Gale V and the Bluebird K7 while he is here in the United States. The proposed race was 30 miles in length and for $50,000. Donald Campbell rejected the offer, saying he was here to set the Mile Straightaway Record. It would have been a very interesting race if it had happened. The only thing is that the Bluebird is not designed to turn and the U-55 Gale V is not designed to run straight for long distances. Besides there is quite a difference in their top speeds, at least 50-mph on the plus side for the Englishman.
On Thursday, Donald Campbell said that he was pleased with the public response from the locals and the fine set-up on Lake Mead. He will make a trial run on Saturday and a mile attempt on Sunday. The Bluebird is covered and kept under guard. Some "reliable" people have said that Donald Campbell plans to put on a good show, but not necessarily try for the record. They said he would keep all record-breaking attempts in England. It makes you wonder just how reliable these sources are and how much they know.
Saturday October 15th was not a good day for the Bluebird K7. Donald Campbell had a flame out four different times today while trying to tune up the boat for the mile assault tomorrow. He said it was caused from stalled air in the compressor. The Bluebird K7 was towed back to their tent where the crew will correct the problem.
Sunday October 16th, the big day arrived. It was disappointing. The Bluebird K7 ran 160 mph in a test run, but the wind picked up causing high choppy water preventing him from trying for the mile record. Donald Campbell was disappointed with the speed and performance of his boat today. He was only able to average 147.179 mph in his two trips due to the rough water. He was hoping for 220 mph, but fell way short. Things quickly got worse. The wind blown lake was full of pleasure craft making the high chop even higher and causing the poor runs, then sinking the Bluebird in 30 feet of water. Part of the lake was sucked up the tail pipe of the Bluebird K7, unbalancing the boat and sending the stem south. A crewman jumped into the water and hooked up a rope to the strut so it could be pulled out. The bow stayed above water. The British boat was drained of water and resurfaced. Brigadier General James G. Roberts offered the repair facilities at Nellis Air Force Base, which is close by. It was taken there to be rebuilt for another mile attempt on Lake Mead later this month or next. It will be out of action for at least two weeks. They will have to check out the sensitive electronic equipment and controls for damage, and replace a section of the exhaust pipe they lost when it sank. The crew will also change the jet engine. Luckily a spare engine flew over with the boat. The 5,000-pound Bluebird K7 is powered by a Metropolitan Vickers-Beryl turbine engine that is used in the F-86 Sabre jet. In the mean time Donald Campbell said he would look over Lake Mead and see if he can't find a better spot for the next mile attempt.
Ted Jones arrived back from Las Vegas after watching the Bluebird K7 mile attempt and it's sinking. He said that he plans to try for the propeller driven Mile Straightaway Record next year with the U-11 Rebel, Suh. If he feels he can't succeed in it, he will build a jet-powered hull for the attempt. Any mile assaults will be run here on Lake Washington. Ted Jones said that money would not be a problem. He already has full support for the project. He said that he would like to set the jet powered record so high people would forget about it and turn their interest back to unlimited racing. A jet-powered boat is totally unsuitable for closed course racing. In these days, the jet boats had no propeller, just a rudder. Now days the turbine boats use a propeller.
Ted Jones escorted the U-60 Miss Thriftway home from Nevada on her way back from President's Cup race. When they reached Bend, Oregon, the police decided they needed double escorts across the Cascade Mountains. Bud Bettie, a Seattle Bethlehem Steel supervisor, cut into his vacation to help them cross the 4,800-foot pass. I put this in here because I worked for Bethlehem Steel for 23 years. This was way before my time there though. Ted Jones said he watched Donald Campbell and the Bluebird run only 155 mph or so on calm water, and couldn't understand why it sank. He thought water got in the one of the sponsons unbalancing the hull, or the wakes from all the pleasure craft lifted it up causing water to get into the exhaust pipe.
Bill Braden and the Canadian built CA-1 Miss Supertest II made a straightaway record attempt by a propeller driven unlimited on October 31st. North American J. Gordon Thompson owns the boat. He is from London, Ontario Canada, not England. They had to settle for setting the Canadian Mile Straightaway record. Bill Braden could only push the Canadian boat to an average speed of 154.845 mph, leaving the American record intact and still in Stan Sayres hands. The CA-1 Miss Supertest II was designed by an American then built in Canada by Americans It is powered by a big British Rolls Royce Griffon engine. Three countries were involved with this unlimited.
The Detroit race was set for Saturday August 18th by APBA, but has not been accepted by Detroit Yacht Club sponsor yet. They want August 11th and Silver Cup on August 25th according to Clyde Palmer. Detroit Yacht Club and Riverama are the sponsors in 1956. They also may have to sponsor Harms worth Trophy race this year. They won't have any problem in 1957, because we are going to take the Gold Cup away from them next year. We hope anyway. Seattle wants August 11th for our $25,000 Seafair Trophy race, but would take August 4th. Seafair runs from August 3rd through August 12th. Jerry Bryant went to the November meeting representing the Seattle Yacht Club and Greater Seattle Inc. We had to settle for Sunday August 5™ instead. They got the Gold Cup scheduled for September 1st, so neither of us got the date we wanted.
--- "Roostertails Flying on Lake Washington" by Michael Prophet (1999)