1969 APBA Gold Cup
Gold Cup: Sept. 28 At San Diego
A 15-boat fleet is anticipated for the 61st running of the Gold Cup Sept. 28 on San Diego's swift Mission Bay course, providing a climax for one of the most fascinating unlimited hydroplane racing campaigns in some years.
The season started without a defending national champion, Miss Bardahl, but Ole Bardahl's lusty black-and-yellow checkered speedboat may answer the rollcall when Gold Cup qualifying runs begin on Sept. 24. The Bardahl team was reactivated for the Seafair Trophy race at Seattle Aug. 3 and at that time consideration was being given to let her defend her title in the Gold Cup, the unlimiteds' premier event of the season.
Ole Bardahl took possession of this big ornate saucer three times on the efforts of the late Ron Musson (1963, 1964 and 1965) and then captured it twice with driver Billy Schumacher (1966 and 1967). Fred Alter was slated to drive Miss Bardahl in the Seafair effort, and presumably he would follow through on the assignment if Ole gives the "Go" signal for the Gold Cup.
Before the season opened, Dave Heerensperger of Spokane unveiled a unique outrigger hydro, Pride of Pay 'N Pak, and made an unsuccessful attempt to break the unlimited straightaway world speed record at Lake Guntersville, Ala. Tommy Fults, 1968 Rookie of the Year, piloted Pride of Pay 'N Pak in the speed attempt and struggled with tuning problems in the early races of the season.
There also were pre-season rumors of a turbine-powered hydro and veteran offshore racer Bill Cooper tried to get a tunnelwing design, powered by two MerCruiser inboard engines, ready in time, but neither had made the line through the first five regattas.
The season started with the veteran combination of Miss Budweiser and driver Bill Sterett dominating the first two regattas at Guntersville, Ala., and Owensboro, Ky. Wily Bill Muncey broke the Budweiser spell, however, by successfully defending his world championship with the blood red Miss U.S. at Detroit. Then while the veteran campaigners were choosing up sides, Dean Chenoweth, sophomore on the circuit, sent the remodeled Myr's Special (ex-Smirnoff) charging out front to win the fourth and fifth tests of the season at Madison, Ind., and Pasco, Wash.
The mid-season surge carried Chenoweth and Gale Enterprise's Myr's Special into the lead in the driver and boat national championship standings. This scramble for the two national titles also will be decided during the Gold Cup finals on Sept. 28. If Miss Bardahl does show tip to defend the Gold Cup, she will not be in any position to recapture the national championships she and Schumacher won the past two seasons.
In the revised Gold Cup format, all boats which check in at Mission Bay will race the first two rounds. The fleet will then be trimmed to the top ten scorers for the third round, and then the top five boats after that will meet in the finals. The San Diego Cup will be awarded for the consolation final this year.
All heats will be 15 miles, over a 2½-mile course, so finalists will have to race 60 miles. It is proposed to start racing it 11 a.m. to ensure having the program completed by 5 p.m.
Driver and boat standings after five regattas:
1. Myr's Special, 4,925; 2. Miss Budweiser, 4,175; 3. Miss U.S., 4,125; 4. Notre Dame, 3,444; 5. Miss Madison, 2,625; 6. Atlas Van Lines, 2,253; 7. Miss Owensboro, 1,463; 8. Pride of Pay 'N Pak, 1,132; 9. Savair's Mist, 1,121; 10. Miss Schweppes, 927; 11. Parco's O-Ring Miss, 282; 12. My Cupiee, 169.
1, Dean Chenoweth, 4,925; 2, Bill Muncey, 4,175; 3, Bill Sterett, 3,675; 4, Leif Borgerson, 3,444; 5, Jim McCormick, 3,325; 6, Tommy Fults, 2,251; 7, Earl Wham, 1,553; 8, Fred Alter, 1,546; 9, Walter Kade, 1,121; 10, Norm Evans, 282; 11, Ed Morgan, 225; 12, Mike Wolfbauer, 169.
— Harry Monahan
(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, September, 1969, p.28)