1955 Season Summary

Statistics

1 18-Jun Maple Leaf Trophy Windsor, Ontario
2 15-Jun Henry Ford Memorial Detroit, Michigan
3 17-Jul International Boundary St. Clair, Michigan
4 24-Jul Lake Tahoe Championship Homewood, California
5 07-Aug A.P.B.A. Gold Cup Seattle, Washington
6 14-Aug Copper Cup Polson, Montana
7 27-Aug O.J. Mulford Silver Cup Detroit, Michigan
8 11-Sep Mapes Mile High Gold Cup Tahoe City, California
9 18-Sep President's Cup Washington, D.C.
10 18-Sep Will Rogers Memorial Washington, D.C.
11 02-Oct International Cup Elizabeth City, N.C.
12 23-Oct Indiana Governor's Cup Madison, Indiana

 

  Date Winner Driver
1 18-Jun Miss Cadillac Frank "Bud" Saile
2 25-Jun Gale IV Bill Cantrell
3 17-Jul Such Crust III (2) Walt Kade
4 24-Jul Breathless Fred Schmidt
5 07-Aug Gale V (1) Lee Schoenith
6 14-Aug Tempo VII Danny Foster
7 27-Aug Tempo VII Danny Foster
8 11-Sep Breathless Ciochon-Murphy (R)
9 18-Sep Tempo VII Danny Foster
10 18-Sep Miss U.S. (1) Jack Bartlow
11 02-Oct Tempo VII Danny Foster
12 23-Oct Tempo VII Danny Foster

 

  Winner Crew Chief Designer Builder Engine
6/18 Miss Cadillac Bob Mcelroy Dan Arena Dan Arena Allison
6/25 Gale IV Bud Meldrum Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
7/17 Such Crust III (2) Clark Onnan Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
8/7 Gale V Bud Meldrum Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
8/14 Tempo VII Roy Duby Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
8/27 Tempo VII Roy Duby Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
9/10 Breathless Floyd Ciochon Ted Jones Fred Hallett Allison
9/17-18 Tempo VII Roy Duby Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
9/18 Miss U.S. Jack Bartlow Dan Arena Dan Arena Allison
10/1-2 Tempo VII Roy Duby Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison
10/22-23 Tempo VII Roy Duby Les Staudacher Les Staudacher Allison

 

  Built Boat High Points  
1 1954 Gale V (1) 2800
2 1955 Tempo VII 1910
3 1955 Miss Thriftway (1) 1440
4 1953 Such Crust III (2) 1440
5 1952 Miss Cadillac 1388
6 1954 Gale IV 1350
7 1953 Miss U.S. (1) 1318
8 1950 Miss Pepsi (2) 810
9 1953 Dora My Sweetie 735
10 1954 Breathless 705
11 1951 Wha Hoppen Too 675
12 1950 Slo-mo-shun IV 630
13 1954 Miss Supertest II 540
14 1955 Miss Wayne (2) 450
15 1954 Short Circuit (1) 225
16 1953 Miss Detroit (2) 180
17 1955 Hawaii Ka'i III 90
18 195l My Sweetie (2) 90
19 1955 Scooter Too 45
20 1951 Slo-mo-shun V 0
21 1955 Rebel, Suh 0
22 1955 Gale VI (1) 0
23 1955 Zephyr Fury 0
24 1954 John Francis My Sweetie 0

 

  Driver High Points  
1 Lee Schoenith 1575
2 Danny Foster 1029
3 Frank "Bud" Saile 962
4 Bill Cantrell 885
5 Bill Muncey 870
6 Walt Kade 765
7 Chuck Thompson 570
8 Bill Braden 510
9 George Simon 480
10 Joe Taggart 390
11 Marv Henrich 345
12 Jay Murphy 345
13 Don Wilson 255
14 Jack Bartlow 248
15 John Ban 165
16 Ken St. Oegger 75
17 Fred Alter 75
18 Bill Stroh 75
19 Bob Grattan 60
20 Joe "Doc" Terry 47
21 Jack Regas 45
22 Floyd Ciochon 45
23 Bob McElroy 45
24 Roger Murphy 15
25 Russ Schleeh 0
26 Ray Crawford 0
27 Al D'Eath 0
28 Fred Schmidt 0

 

1955

Seattle's Slo-mo-shuns were joined in the defense of the Gold Cup by two new hulls by Ted Jones, who had left the Sayres team back in 1952. The prime threat was Miss Thriftway, sponsored by a Seattle grocery chain, which was designed for competition like Slo-mo-shun V. Rebel, Suh, built in 1954 and Ted Jones' main challenger until Thriftway came along, was to be the camp's straightaway boat.

Fortunately unlike 1954 none of the top contenders retired in 1955. Both Gales figured to be formidable competition for the Slo-mos with the V being the most consistent performer.

Nevertheless Miss Cadillac upset the experts to win the Maple Leaf Trophy. Cadillac was a contender as Miss Great Lakes II, but was an average boat when run by Bud Saile in 1954. Cadillac won the first heat when Miss Supertest II faltered and then placed second in the next heat to take 700 points into the final heat - a 250 point lead against her nearest competition. She needed only a fourth in the third heat to take the regatta which she accomplished.

However the star of the show was Miss Supertest II which ran out in front in the first heat before losing her cowling and then after having mechanical problems in the second heat won the final in a thrilling battle with the Gales - less than two seconds separated the top three boats at the finish. In 1954 Miss Supertest II was not fast enough to qualify for the September Silver Cup after debuting in June.

The next weekend Bill Cantrell in Gale IV drove one of the best races of his career to win the Ford Memorial by taking two good firsts in the opening heats and then placing the required third in the final heat to annex the trophy. Gale V posted the fastest lap at 99.521 (four m.p.h. faster than 1954)- probably due to Ted Jones changing her tear drop sponsons to a conventional configuration.although running off the pace except in the final heat. Miss U.S. was a second place boat all the way.

Ten boats qualified for the 1954 Silver Cup and the Detroit Yacht Club had the good sense to split the field as in the 1946 and 1948 Gold Cups. However in the second heat nine boats started as in the 1950 Silver Cup and there were no incidents. Pushing the envelope, the Detroit River Racing Association decided to start 10 boats in the Ford Memorial. Unlike the Detroit Yacht Club the D.R.R.A. started their races off the Detroit shoreline rather than in front of the Yacht Club, which left a little more margin for error.

They might have gotten away with it had it not been for the little 26 foot My Sweetie of Horace Dodge. The Sweetie always an unstable boat got caught in the wash of a number of boats and went out of control. First she hit Tempo VII and then she worked free and slammed into Miss Cadillac which hit Miss Supertest II. Tempo VII continued on in the race albeit ingloriously, but Supertest II and Cadillac along with My Sweetie were out of the regatta for good. After this incident the Coast Guard would not let as many boats start on the Detroit River.

Approaching the Gold Cup Gale IV had won three of her last six races and was not out of the ball game in the three races that she lost. Gale V had won two of her last six races, but was inconsistent in two of the four regattas she lost and out of it in the others. Miss U.S. had not been a first place boat since the 1954 Maple Leaf Trophy. Miss Cadillac had bested Gale V twice in her Maple Leaf triumph and rated consideration.

Slo-mo-shun V had won the 1954 Gold Cup, but was still flighty while going over 150 m.p.h. unlike 1951 the year she was launched. In another move to try to stabilize her, deck fences were installed. Having had success with a Rolls Merlin engine in the V, Sayres put a Merlin in Slo-mo-shun IV for the 1955 Gold Cup.

A tumultuous race week unfolded as the flying start underneath the floating bridge was banned due to the Slo-mo-shun V almost hitting Wha Hoppen Too in the final heat of the 1954 Gold Cup. The Sayres team threatened to withdraw, the referee resigned, and the new referee affirmed the ban due to a vote of the drivers. The drivers also approved rookie Russ Schleeh to pilot Rebel, Suh. The two entry Thriftway team had threatened to withdraw if Schleeh were not approved.

The same Rebel, Suh had needed parts to qualify due to a pre-race mishap. Parts and personnel were supplied by Stan Sayres to the Rebel, Suh partially owned by the "hated" Ted Jones. Jones had helped the Sayres team when they had the Slo-mo V at Detroit in 1953. All of this happened after the breakup in February 1952.

But the most explosive pre-race bombshell was the defending Gold Cup champion Slo-mo-shun V going end over end in the first classic blow over in Unlimited racing. Tempo VII had stunned the racing fraternity by raising Slo-mo-shun V's qualifying record at 111 m.p.h. by five m.p.h. Then Slo-mo-shun IV came out and beat Tempo's record by one m.p.h. in turning three laps at 117 m.p.h. Finally Slo-mo-shun V came out to qualify several days later.

Earlier in the week the V had done a wing ding which injured driver Lou Fageol. Prior to this Slo-mo V had kited dangerously while running in front of Stan Sayres' estate off Hunts Point. Under doctor's orders Fageol was not to run the boat until his qualifying run.

Slo-mo V's first lap was at Slo-mo IV's record pace. Then another lap at the same speed. The final lap would be crucial. Halfway through this lap Fageol and the V were on a pace to go 122 m.p.h. Then #5's bow lifted, she went up and performed a complete loop before returning to the water without her driver Lou Fageol.

Fageol survived, but Slo-mo-shun V would never again run for Stan Sayres. The hull might have been repaired to run for back up driver Marion Cooper, but Sayres wisely decided not to go in the 1955 Gold Cup with Slo-mo-shun V

As a result the race shaped up as a battle between Slo-mo-shun IV and the two Gales. The new Tempo VII, running out of Detroit for the Detroit Yacht Club, rated consideration on the basis of her blistering qualifying run. Miss U.S. withdrew.

In the first heat Gale V broke out in front and led Slo-mo-shun IV for a couple of laps. The IV then went by to win the heat. Gale V was second. Surprisingly the new Miss Thriftway placed third over Gale IV. Miss Cadillac confirmed her 1954 status as a non contender by placing fifth. Tempo VII had made a relatively late start and was in third place heading into the first north turn when she blew her gas cap burning driver Danny Foster.

Tempo VII was not able to start heat two. Gale V and Miss Thriftway made a good start with the rest of the field being virtually off plane. Miss Thriftway got the best of Gale V on the first backstretch with Gale IV dying in the initial turn of the heat. Slo-mo-shun IV was a little better off for her off plane start and followed Such Crust III up the backstretch. Miss Thriftway continued to run in front of Gale V and won the heat. Slo-mo-shun IV eventually went by Such Crust III to take third behind Gale V.

Slo-mo-shun IV and Miss Thriftway led the field into the final heat with 625 points. Gale V had 600 points. However Slo-mo-shun IV had the fastest heat at that time and Gale V led in elapsed time for the fastest race bonus. Miss Thriftway was tied for the lead in heat points, but needed some bonus points to win the Gold Cup.

Slo-mo-shun IV got out in front at the start of the final heat and led at the halfway point by a good margin. Such Crust III was second with Miss Thriftway and Gale V occupying the next two positions. Then Slo-mo-shun IV started to slow down in lap 6. Miss Thriftway had finally passed Such Crust III in lap 5. Gale V was still in fourth place. Miss Thriftway went by a faltering Slo-mo-shun IV and moved away to win the heat. However in the final lap driver Bill Muncey backed off nearly 10 m.p.h. in lap speed to save his engine.

Muncey did not understand the strategic situation at the time for he needed bonus points^to win. His chances for the fastest heat were nil as he had spent half the heat back in the pack. His only hope was to beat Gale V in the final heat by 37 seconds. Thriftway did not have the speed over Gale V to beat him in a heat by 37 seconds in a normal situation. But in the final heat Gale V was not running that well and Muncey would have won the Cup if he had not backed off in the final lap.

As a result, there was no joy in Seattle after the race as Gale V had won the Gold Cup and would take it back to Detroit. Unfortunately Stan Sayres had to endure charges of throwing the race as Slo-mo-shun IV had shut down starting the seventh lap.

Slo-mo-shun IV was averaging 100.6 m.p.h. after six laps. If she could have done the last two laps at 87 m.p.h. she would have finished third giving her 850 heat points and a total including bonus points for the fastest heat of 1250 Gale V would have had 1169 points with Miss Thriftway totaling 1025.

The reason Slo-mo-shun IV quit was due to a hole in her exhaust stack and as a result her hull was starting to burn. When the fuel the IV was carrying is considered, it is hard to fault driver Joe Taggart for shutting down.

Five years later Don Wilson in the Miss U.S. 1 was in a similar situation. About two laps after he discovered the problem his boat caught fire, stopped and Wilson went to the hospital with burns.

Miss Thriftway, nevertheless, was made the favorite for the Detroit Silver Cup.even though she was running a stock engine. She would have as competition not only the Gales with their high dome pistons, but also the Tempo VII with her exotic fuel mixture. Tempo had won a regatta at Polson, Montana against Miss U.S. and Gale V, albeit driven by Joe "Doc" Terry instead of now Gold Cup champion Lee Schoenith. Miss Pepsi was coming out of a two year retirement.

Miss Supertest II would also be there.

Prior to the race the drivers decided and the Coast Guard insisted on only six boats starting a heat. As a consequence a starting field of 13 was divided into three sections. The second heat was to be run in two sections for the top 12. The leading six point scorers were eligible for the final heat. This format prevailed in Unlimited racing for many years.

Miss Thriftway started heat 1-A on the backstretch placing third with Gale V winning the heat. Gale IV took heat 1-B easily over Miss U.S. and comebacking Miss Pepsi defeated Tempo VII after the latter led for the first couple of laps in heat 1-C.

In the second heat Tempo VII came back to beat Miss Pepsi in section A -- Miss U.S. not being a factor. Miss Thriftway also came back to take heat 2-B. Even Miss Detroit, the ex-Such Crust V now owned by newcomer Bill Stroh, took the measure of Gale V and Miss Supertest II.

Heading into the final heat Tempo VII (700), Miss Pepsi (700) and Miss Thriftway (625) all could win the Silver Cup by placing first in the final stanza.

Fortunately for Tempo VII both Miss Thriftway and Miss Pepsi were watered down in the first turn. Tempo VII did not have to take first place from Gale V in order to score a victory in the regatta, but battled Bill Cantrell now in the Gale V anyway. The V was watered down in a late lap and Tempo VII went on to win the heat and the trophy.

At the President's Cup Tempo VII won again this time having four m.p.h. on the field. She needed it since Guy Lombardo's entry survived a hosing in her second heat and a bad start in the final.

She got an assist from Miss Pepsi, who would have won but for jumping the gun in the third heat.

Miss Pepsi was surprisingly defeated in the two heat Rogers Memorial by Miss U.S. 1 with Jack Bartlow in the cockpit rather than George Simon. Miss U.S. 1 posted a lap of 101.408 m.p.h. in defeating the Pepsi twice. Tempo VII had 103.647 m.p.h. in the President's Cup.

Her new found speed did Miss U.S. little good at the International Cup at which Tempo VII trounced the field. Tempo racked up an all time heat record for 15 miles on a 3 mile course at 104.775 m.p.h. This was 2½ m.p.h. faster than Slo-mo-shun V which did the first five laps of heat one in the 1952 Gold Cup at 102.040 m.p.h. Tempo's lap of 105.987 for a three mile course beat Miss Pepsi's 103.927 also posted in the 1952 Gold Cup.

Tempo VII continued her rampage the first day of the Governor's Cup at Madison beating her new lap record by doing 106.007 m.p.h. This allowed her to beat Gale V by 5 m.p.h. The second day the water came up rough and Tempo VII just barely prevailed over the heavier Gale V in heat two and then in heat three to take the regatta. Miss U.S. was erratic, but was able to run with Tempo VII when healthy on both days of the contest.

Tempo VII qualified within range of Slo-mo-shun IV at the Gold Cup when she was not a record setter. She gained maybe eight m.p.h. as the season progressed. On smooth water Tempo VII would seem to be an overwhelming choice for 1956. Her best lap was about four m.p.h. faster than any other contender in 1955.

[Statistics from Greene, V.1]