1955 Silver Cup

Detroit's Silver Cup Won By Tempo VII

Unlimited class speedboat racing is unpredictable, as ever. The Detroit Y.C. Silver Cup Race was figured to be a scrap between Bill Muncey with Thriftway and Lee Schoenith with Gale V, since Schoenith had taken the Gold Cup in Seattle, where Gale V with two seconds and a third had beaten Thriftway with two firsts and a second because Gale got 400 extra bonus points for the fastest elapsed time.

But it didn't work out that way. Danny Foster, the driver they love to call "the old pro" around Detroit, won the Silver Cup driving Guy Lombardo's Tempo VII. And his big races came with Chuck Thompson driving the just-out-of-retirement Miss Pepsi and Gale V with Bill Cantrell after he had replaced Lee Schoenith for the final heat.

Drivers, owners and officials met on the eve of the race, but the meeting was just so much hand-holding in comparison with the "Seattle Discussions" during the Gold Cup. There were too many unlimited class entries. (At one time Chairman Clyde Palmer had 17.) There were to be no more than six boats in any heat, after the memorable mixup of ten boats in the Windmill Pointe Y.C's Memorial Race in which 10 started and five mixed up at the first turn. The drivers and owners finally presented a plan which was acceptable. Drivers drew for their places in the heats, and with 13 boats, three heats (5-4-4) were necessary. After these heats there was a second draw and 12 boats raced in two semifinals the 13th, or slowest, boat being dropped. Then the boats with the six highest scores went into the final heat.

This is dwelled upon at some length because the Gold Cup will be held in Detroit next summer and, under present rules, 12 boats can start in a heat. Not only is the Detroit Y.C. in favor of six but the U.S. Coast Guard here will not allow more than six. The system used in the Silver Cup met with hearty approval among drivers, owners and officials and resulted in the finest Silver Cup Race in the six years the goblet has been up. The crowd, estimated at 100,000, liked the show.

Lee Schoenith won the first heat. Gale V moved in front with the starting gun and was nearly a mile ahead of lack [text missing; I'll try to track it down. --LF]

(Reprinted from Yachting, October 1955)