1963 APBA Gold Cup
Bardahl Cops the Gold Cup
Gold Cup racing history looks like it is about to repeat itself after the 55th running for the most famous unlimited bauble in Detroit this summer.
Ron Musson, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Bill Muncey, won the event hands down to give the West its 12th victory in the 13th Gold Cup Races staged since the late Stan Sayres brought the race to the West for the first time with his Slo-mo-shun IV.
Musson, who exactly like Muncey moved from a successful career as a limited class driver in the flatlands of the Midwest to the king's throne bolted to a flying hydroplane based in Seattle, swept his three elimination heats and then coasted home in second place in the final heat with his most cherished victory assured on points.
It was Musson's third straight victory in his last three outings. And barring mechanical or more serious difficulties, his string should grow all through the season.
Miss Bardahl gave an indication of things to come in the Tahoe Race last September to close out the 1962 season. A new boat last year, Musson and Miss Bardahl used up five races to get the kinks out.
They had their problems licked by the Tahoe Race and showed their victory in that race was no fluke as they swept all three heats in the season's opener this year at Guntersville, Alabama, two weeks before the Gold Cup Race.
Musson and Miss Bardahl proved they had too much of everything for entire Gold Cup fleet on the bumpy Detroit River course. They had the combination of speed and dependability with which Muncey and Miss Thriftway swept through their competition last year.
And Miss Bardahl showed she had even greater riding qualities.
The Gold Cup Race course varied from smooth to rough during the running of the seven 15-mile heats. And Miss Bardahl took come what may in stride as she left both the Gold Cup lap and race records in her wake.
Miss Bardahl averaged 105.212 miles an hour to better the race record of 104.003 miles an hour set by Bill Stead in Maverick on Lake Washington in 1959.
In his second elimination heat, Musson stood on Miss Bardahl's throttle all the way on the first lap as he averaged 114.650 miles an hour to shatter the mark of 113.924 miles an hour set by Mira Slovak in Wahoo in 1959.
It was Musson's record-setting lap which really won the race.
Muncey and Miss Thriftway had won Heat 1A with an average speed of 102.428 miles an hour, and Miss Bardahl won heat 1B with a speed of 104.936 in the first round of elimination heats.
Detroit's two top hopefuls, Miss U.S. 1 and Miss U.S. 5, were knocked out in the rough going. Driver Roy Duby was thrown out of Miss U.S. 1 in the Heat 1A and injured his back when he landed on the cowling of his boat. He was through for the day.
In Heat 1B, Miss U.S. 5, the former Hawaii Kai, smashed its sponson as Don Wilson fought with Musson for the lead and was out of the race.
This set up a Musson-Muncey showdown. But it never came off.
Musson and the veteran Chuck Thompson in Bill Harrah's new Tahoe Miss fought a side-by-side duel for the start with Miss Thriftway left behind them looking for a hole to slip through.
The hole wasn't there and Miss Thriftway got the bath of her life from the two roostertails. She was dead in the water with a forlorn Muncey trying to get her started again.
Muncey got started as Miss Bardahl and Tahoe Miss were on their fifth lap but not even an engine change-allowed under the Gold Cup rules this year-could help the defending champion.
Miss Thriftway was a cropper the rest of the way, finishing fifth, fourth and fifth in her next three heats as Muncey found the white beauty to be just another rough riding boat when she is back in the pack.
Miss Thriftway finished sixth in the final standings, behind the surprising new Tahoe Miss and the erratic Miss Exide.
The two new Ted Jones' creations were tabbed the "wild" ones of the fleet.
Mira Slovak had the ride of his life trying to keep Miss Exide from becoming airborne. He stuck to it to take fifth place overall behind Detroit's not-fast but steady-going Notre Dame.
More hull work was being done on Tahoe Miss and Miss Exide which should make the two boats top competitors for Miss Bardahl in the Seafair Race in Seattle in August.
Detroiter George Simon retired his Miss U.S. boats immediately after the Gold Cup Race so the Seattle event might easily be a Gold Cup rematch of the six finalists.
The loser of the six finalists, their position finishes and their race average speeds were: 1- Miss Bardahl (1-1-1-2) 105.212 M.P.H.; 2-Gale V (2-1-2-1) 102.809; 3-Tahoe Miss (2-2-1-3) 101.639; 4-Notre Dame (3-3-1-6) 95.741; 5-Miss Exide (3-3-3-4) 94.351; 6-Miss Thriftway (1-5-4-5) 90.888.
California's entry, $ Bill, was fourth in her first elimination heat with an average speed of 87.634 and was disqualified in her second heat for striking a buoy. She didn't make the final two heats.
(Reprinted from Boating News, August 1963, p.43)