1960 Season Summary
|1||May 8||Apple Cup||Chelan, Washington|
|2||June 25||Detroit Memorial||Detroit, Michigan|
|3||July 10||Conners Memorial||Buffalo, New York|
|4||July 24||International Boundary||St. Clair, Michigan|
|5||July 23-24||Diamond Cup||Coeur d'Alene, Idaho|
|6||August 7-8||Seafair Trophy||Seattle, Washington|
|7||August 19-20||Harmsworth Trophy||Picton, Ontario|
|8||August 27||Silver Cup||Detroit, Michigan|
|9||September 17-18||President's Cup||Washington, D. C.|
|10||October 1-2||Indiana Governor's Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|11||October 29-30||Mapes Trophy [Reno Regatta]||Reno, Nevada|
|12||November 13||A.P.B.A. Gold Cup||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|08-May||Miss Thriftway (3)||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|25-Jun||Miss Thriftway (3)||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|10-Jul||Gale V (3)||Pat Solomie||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|24-Jul||Gale V (3)||Pat Solomie||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|24-Jul||Miss Seattle Too||Wes Kiesling||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Rolls Merlin|
|07-Aug||Miss Thriftway (3)||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|20-Aug||Miss Supertest III||Victor Leghorn||Jim Thompson||Victor Leghorn||Rolls Griffon|
|27-Aug||Nitrogen Too||Amp Orth||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|18-Sep||Miss Detroit (3)||Chuck Thompson||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|02-Oct||Miss Thriftway (3)||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|30-Oct||Hawaii Kai III||Ray Morey||Ted Jones||Les Staudacher||Rolls Merlin|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total|
|1||1959||Miss Thriftway (3)||2994|
|4||1958||Miss Bardahl (2)||1340|
|6||1955||Miss Detroit (3)||921|
|7||1960||Miss Burien (2)||891|
|8||1958||Gale V (3)||864|
|10||1957||Miss U.S. 1 (2)||727|
|11||1956||Hawaii Kai III||719|
|12||1958||Miss Seattle Too||719|
|13||1954||Miss Supertest II||690|
|23||1956||Such Crust IV (2)||121|
|24||1956||Miss Tool Crib||90|
|27||1959||Miss Supertest III||0|
|28||1959||Gale VI (2)||0|
|29||1953||Such Crust III (2)||DNQ|
|Driver High Points||Total|
After a difficult season in 1959, Miss Thriftway's problems with stability were substantially solved and she went after Hawaii Kai III's mile and kilometer records. The third Thriftway's sponsons were narrowed to compensate for her reverse bottom which in 1959 made the hull ride too high on the water.
Miss Thriftway went through the mile trap at 192.001 m.p.h. which bested the Hawaii Kai's mark by 4-1/2 m.p.h. However the Kai's kilometer record of 194.649 m.p.h. remained intact. Thriftway did not approach Hawaii Kai III's one way pass through the kilometer at 200.409 m.p.h.
At the end of the 1959 season, the top six boats were within 2 m.p.h. of each other. Another four entries were within 5 m.p.h. of the fastest boat Wahoo. This was the most competitive situation in the long history of the sport.
Of these ten boats fortunately only Maverick retired. She had won 5 of the ten races she entered, but decided to drop out due to the poor health of her owner Bill Waggoner.
Miss Spokane hired a rookie driver in Rex Manchester to replace Norm Evans who had opted for the Nitrogen, a bigger money operation, but a slower boat than Miss Spokane. Gale V had installed a twin stage blower like Maverick and the Bardahl as the Spokane had hired a new rookie driver in Jim McGuire.
All the hot western boats except the defending champion Miss Pay'N Save (now Miss Seattle Too) showed up at the lid lifter at Lake Chelan in the Apple Cup. In heat 1-A Wahoo cut off Miss Thriftway and won easily. Miss Bardahl won heat 1-B, but did not set the world on fire. In the second heat Thriftway got off in front and led Wahoo on the inside down the second backstretch. In the turn Wahoo drifted out albeit legally and washed down Miss Thriftway once again. However the U-60 recovered and ran down the Wahoo causing her to go dead in the water.
This gave Miss Thriftway a clear advantage heading into the final heat. The other favorite Hawaii Kai III along with the Wahoo had gone dead in the water. Miss Bardahl and Miss Spokane with their new drivers had not acquitted themselves well.
Miss Thriftway went on to win the regatta in taking the final heat, but her best lap was not any better than last year. Driver Bill Muncey won although being wet down by Wahoo in his first two heats. Muncey was very upset with Wahoo driver Mira Slovak, but no fouls were called - shades of the Fageol-Thompson controversy of 1953.
Miss Thriftway scored her second triumph of the season in the Ford Memorial in relatively rough water. Miss U.S. 1 scored victories in her two preliminary heats, but died in the final in her first confrontation with the Miss Thriftway. Other contenders present - Miss Bardahl and Gale V - were not a factor.
Miss Seattle Too won heat 1-A in the Diamond Cup, but with Norm Evans in her cockpit instead of Dallas Sartz. Miss Thriftway's heat winning streak was halted in heat 1-B by Hawaii Kai III who came from behind to win.
Miss Seattle Too took Hawaii Kai's measure in heat 2-A when the latter experienced mechanical trouble. Miss Thriftway easily took heat 2-B and along with Hawaii Kai III and Miss Seattle Too could win the regatta by winning the final heat.
Ironically the underpowered new Miss Burien jumped out in front in the third heat, but was closely followed by Hawaii Kai down the first backstretch until the U-8 lost her prop. The other competition Miss Thriftway had died in the first turn, so when Miss Seattle Too, now driven by Dallas Sartz as in the second heat, went by the race was hers. Miss Burien won her first heat. Miss Seattle Too's second place was good for the regatta win.
The Seafair Trophy at Seattle shaped up as a major confrontation between Miss Seattle Too, Miss Thriftway, Wahoo and Miss U.S. I. Hawaii Kai III was out due to damage sustained at Coeur D'Alene. As a result of the upcoming Harmsworth Trophy, Nitrogen and Gale V opted out of Seattle's Seafair.
Miss U.S. 1 had an easy draw and took heat 1-A. Incredibly Wahoo, the fastest boat of 1959, was led down the first backstretch of heat 1-B by Miss Seattle Too, who was pulling away. Wahoo trying to make up the difference went into the second turn of the first lap too hot and capsized putting her out for the day.
In the re-run Miss Seattle Too won the heat over the surprisingly quick Breathless II. Miss Thriftway, like Miss U.S. I, had an easy draw and took heat 1-C.
Rex Manchester got the hang of driving Miss Spokane and triumphed in heat 2-A. The again surprising Breathless II beat out Miss Thriftway for second. Miss U.S. 1 followed Thriftway Too driven by Russ Schleeh for a couple of laps and then went by to get the win in heat 2-B
Before the final heat Miss U.S. 1 led the field with 800 points, but was maybe the #5 boat with regard to speed. Both Miss Thriftway and Miss Spokane could win the regatta by taking the final heat if Miss U.S. 1 could be kept out of second place.
Thriftway made another bad start and Miss Spokane led the final heat into the last lap. Miss U.S. 1 was in third place and then suddenly exploded in flame when Miss Spokane was coming off her last turn heading for the checkered flag. Flares were fired and a closing Miss Thriftway had another chance.
In the re-run only Miss Thriftway and KOLroy I got a good start Miss Thriftway took over the lead at the second turn after a good battle with the aforesaid Bob Gilliam entry. However the third place Thriftway Too was on fire and the heat was shut down again.
At this point darkness was approaching and another re-run was not possible. Even though his boat was responsible for the stoppage of the first running of the final heat. Miss U.S. 1 owner George Simon asserted that under the rules the race could not be extended to Monday since the first heat had been completed. This would result in Miss U.S. 1 being declared the winner of the regatta. Even though the rule was specific, a re-run for Monday was allowed.
Muncey and Thriftway were well on the way to the bank in the second running of the final heat and unlike the Miss Spokane in the initial running of heat three was able to do it again in the final match up Thriftway won the heat and the race as Miss Seattle Too had engine trouble again. Miss Spokane made another bad start and Breathless II was back in the pack as in the second running of the final.
Miss Thriftway may have won the battle, but she was losing the war as she got a lot of bad publicity as a result of the feeling that Miss Spokane had been robbed. Ironically under the 1959 rules Miss Spokane would have won since over half of the heat had been completed. The new rule that all five laps of the final heat had to be completed was pushed by the Thriftway camp over the winter as a result of the 1959 Diamond Cup.
Gale V, Nitrogen and Miss Burien were selected to recapture the Harmsworth Trophy from Canada. These were not the best American boats available as the leading entries from the United States were prohibited from competing due to their use of the British Rolls-Merlin engine.
Miss Burien was replaced on the team by Nitrogen Too since the Peter Woeck entry sponsored by a south Seattle suburb did not have the money to make the trip to Picton, Ontario. On the basis of lap times Gale V figured to take the race as she did 109.801 m.p. at Detroit in 1959 with a number of other boats on the course. Miss Supertest III, the Canadian defender, did her 109.334 m.p.h. with only Maverick to contend with. In addition the Gale V had a twin stage blower in 1960 which should have added a few m.p.h. to her speed profile. Miss Supertest III could only do 104.600 m.p.h. against Maverick until a smaller prop was installed before the final heat in 1959.
Gale V was coming off race wins at Buffalo and St. Clair, Michigan prior to the Harmsworth. The other challengers the Nitrogens of Sam DUPont were running stock Allisons and therefore were out of the ball game. Nitrogen turned a lap at 109.533 m.p.h. in 1959, but could not live at that speed.
Nevertheless Miss Supertest III decisively defeated Gale V in the first heat. The V couldn't get started in heat two and only the Nitrogens were available to stop the Supertest version of Sherman's march to the sea.
However Nitrogen Too was equipped with a twin stage blower for the second heat and this boat and her sister Nitrogen boxed Supertest III in at the start. Nitrogen Too led the first lap, but Supertest III was hot on her heels beginning lap two as she had passed Nitrogen in the second turn of lap 1. Miss Supertest III powered past on the second backstretch and won the heat to take the regatta. Nitrogen Too had bowed out in a middle lap. Superior Canadian horsepower had carried the day due to the Rolls Griffon engine.
Nitrogen Too went back to a conventional set up for the Silver Cup and won the race anyway. It was a real tribute to her driver Ron Musson as she defeated the Merlin powered Miss Thriftway and Gale V with her twin stage blower.
The President's Cup was next and was won by the underpowered Miss Detroit when the race committee reversed themselves after awarding the Cup to Miss Thriftway. Miss Detroit came into the final heat with a chance to win since the Nitrogens and Miss U.S. 1 had failed in the preliminary heats. Miss Thriftway for her part had been drenched legally in heat 2-A by Miss Detroit driven by Chuck Thompson.
Nitrogen got off in front in the final and ended the five laps in first place, but was given the green flag. This gave the heat and the regatta to Miss Thriftway 1025 points to Miss Detroit's 1000 markers.
However sometimes it pays to protest which is what Nitrogen driver Norm Evans did. The rule book, although providing for a separate individual to keep track of each boat at the start, also provided that the validity of the start was to be determined by the photograph thereof. Since Miss Bardahl was the only gun jumper depicted in the photograph, Nitrogen was restored to first place and Miss Detroit won the President's Cup.
Undaunted, Miss Thriftway went on to take the Indiana Governor's Cup with little trouble. Nitrogen Too went into the final also with 800 points, but was not only beaten by Miss Thriftway but Miss Bardahl too.
The boats then went out west to Lake Pyramid outside of Reno for the Mapes Trophy. This race shaped up as a preview of the upcoming Gold Cup at Las Vegas as all the major entries except Wahoo and Miss U.S. 1 would be there.
Hawaii Kai III got good draws in both her preliminary heats and led the field into the last heat with 800 points. Nitrogen was next with 700 points compiled in two very competitive prelims. Miss Bardahl also had 700 points, but was about four m.p.h. off the pace. Miss Spokane at 625 points like Miss Bardahl would need some help in the final in order to take the regatta by winning this heat.
Either Hawaii Kai or Nitrogen could win the race by prevailing in the third heat.
Miss Thriftway, who was out of the ballgame since driver Bill Muncey had had another bad day in the initial two heats of Charlie Mapes' event, came alive to take the final heat. Hawaii Kai III in second place prevailed overall however as Nitrogen placed last. Miss Spokane was third and Miss Bardahl was fourth.
All was then in readiness for the Gold Cup which shaped up as the greatest race in history with eight front runners in the field and another five near contenders. However the weather man would not cooperate and this potentially fabulous Gold Cup was blown off the race course. Unlike Seattle, Las Vegas was not prepared to run Monday.
The most important development of the year was the losing by Gale owner Joe Schoenith of his tax case with the U.S. Government. Schoenith had attempted to write off his racing activities as a business expense for his company W.D. Gale Inc. The government and subsequently the tax court held that Schoenith's boat racing was a hobby rather than a business activity thus denying the write off.
Even though this was just a District Court opinion as opposed to a Circuit Court or a Supreme Court decision that would have controlled the entire country, the decision was potentially devastating to Unlimited Hydroplane Racing.
There are very few individuals with the money to run an Unlimited Hydroplane over the entire country as opposed to the Northeast quadrant as was the case before World War II. To get these individuals interested in running a boat to the extent that they would be willing to lose 50 to $60,000 of their wealth each year would be difficult to say the least. When regattas were being run by Yacht Clubs this was not such a difficult sell, but now civic organizations were putting on the races for the most part.
Corporations who could write off racing expenditures as a business expense would be more likely to get into the sport. For them there is a positive return in increased business as opposed to individuals just spending money to have a good time.
At the end of 1960 there were eight entries within 5 m.p.h. of each other and 14 boats within 7 m.p.h. of each other. In spite of the problems on the race course, 1960 was the most competitive season in history.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]