1959 APBA Gold Cup
Hydros Groom for Gold Cup... Lake Washington... August 9th
The possibility of an underdog or dark horse winning the Gold Cup this year became more apparent when Miss Pay 'n Save took the Apple Cup at Lake Chelan in the hydroplane season opener May 10.
The classic on Lake Washington August 9th this year will bring together a mighty array of talent, engine know-how and fast new hulls. But the ultimate determination will be made as always by a heavy-footed pilot with the will to win and Lady Luck riding by his side.
In the wicked, choppy, wind-swept water of Lake Chelan Chuck Hickling won because he pushed his craft to the ultimate. An observer reports that during one stage of the contest Miss Pay 'n Save was porpoising wildly in gigantic leaps and looked about to plunge into the deep, deep lake to disappear forever. Chuck Hickling spared neither himself your equipment in driving Miss Pay 'n Save to take first in the first two heats. When the wind-lashed waters forced the third heat to be canceled, the Pay 'n Save boat was the winner.
This is a comparatively new boat, built in 1958 by Les Staudacher in Bay City, Mich. The hull designed is basically the same as the Ted Jones-designed Hawaii Kai, last year's Gold Cup winner, with some modifications in the upper surfaces by Staudacher.
The craft is owned and operated by a Seattle group, Hydros Inc., including Jim Ausland, John and Hugh Anderson, Milo and Glen Stoen, Pay 'n Save Drugs, the Seattle drugstore chain, LaMont Bean, president, has a contract with Hydros Inc. to pay the tab of running the boat in competition, using the Pay 'n Save name. Hydros Inc., is an outgrowth of Roostertails Inc., who several years ago purchased the older Slo-Mo V from Stan Sayres and ran it in several seasons past as Miss Seattle.
The drugstore boat hit the paying combination when Wes Kiesling of last year's Hawaii Kai crew joined the Pay and Save operation this year as crew chief and put together a full-time crew, and solved the mechanical difficulties which kept the boat out of the win columns in the past.
In an early season tryout Al Benson hit a cruiser swell on Lake Washington during a high-speed run and was put out of competition with a broken vertebra. Hickling, who has been racing outboards, limiteds and recently Miss Seattle moved into the driver's seat.
Second-place winner in the Apple Cup, Miss Bardahl, this year driven by Jack Regas and backed by a good organization, should make a strong Gold Cup showing. But the Bardahl boat was beaten by Hickling in the second section of the first heat in the Apple Cup. When the last heat was canceled Ole Bardahl and Jack Regas never had a chance to redeem themselves.
The new Miss Thriftway, third-place boat, is a brand-new Ted Jones design and should perform well on Lake Washington but she lost to Miss Bardahl in the second heat, second section of the Apple Cup after winning heat 1-A against a different combination.
The Apple Cup was also the first test for the new Maverick, replacing Bill Stead's former steed from the William Waggoner stable. Maverick went out of the race when a broken hydraulic system blew a hole through the starboard side. Earlier Stead had qualified at 117.640 mph to win the Harry Wolfe trophy for the fastest qualifying time.
Other race casualties included a damage sponson for Miss Thriftway, a broken gear for Thriftway Too. Miss Wahoo, Bill Boeing's entry with Mira Slovak driving, had steering trouble. Miss Burien threw a rod and Miss U.S. 1 had throttle trouble and hull damage. The only other new boat to show up at Chelan was Samuel du Pont's Nitrogen of Wilmington DE.
The next unlimited race in the Northwest will be the the Diamond Cup Race on Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, near Spokane, unless a current wrangle over TV in radio rights cancels it out after these words are in print. The odds on the Gold Cup race may have changed by the time the Diamond Cup is over.
But on Lake Washington during Gold Cup time look for smooth water, fast times. The south end of the lake will be full of buzzing hydroplanes from August 3rd to race time.
The best place to see the race again will be on your own or somebody else's boat on the log boom on the east side of the course. There will be no spectator boats anchored off the first south turn this year in order to prevent a repetition of the spectacular accident last year when Bill Muncey in last year's Thriftway became the first man to sink a U.S. Coast Guard boat since the Spanish-American war.
The Harmsworth trophy race, emblematic of international unlimited hydroplane championship, will be held in Detroit August 28, 29 and 31 this year, according to Leonard H. Thompson, secretary for the Yachtsmen's Association of America. Both the hull and engine of the contenders must be built in the country represented by the boat. The challenger this year again is Miss Supertest of London, Ontario, Canada, and can be powered by a Rolls-Royce. The American defender must be powered by an Allison or similar American-made motor.
Inboard racing craft of the unlimited classes are increasing in the Seattle area. Six years ago, when the Memorial Day races were held on Green Lake, there were 16 boats. The annual event here this year drew about 95 boats.
Newest limited class to start here is the seven-liter class, with Bill Muncey, the Miss Thriftway pilot, coming up with a brand-new junior gold cupper. There boats are 19 feet LOA, weigh 1500 pounds, have speeds up to 150 mph. James Stirrat And Wally Pannebaker also have seven-liters.
In the warm-top race at Lake Sammamish this year, sponsored by the Seattle Inboard Racing Association, Ted Knudson took first in the 280's, Chuck Lyford driving Jack Colcock's Racket III won the 48 class; Harry Reeves took the 225's in his Birdie; and Robbie Tucker beat the 136's, this time in Shifty.
(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, July 1959, pp. 36 +)