1975 APBA Gold Cup

Henley Steers Pak To Gold Cup Win

By Chuck Ashmun, Times Staff Reporter

TRI-CITIES — George Henley lost his shirt, but he certainly had enough money today to pay for a new one.

"This made coming out of retirement well worthwhile," Henley said after he won his second straight Gold Cup race yesterday. "The point thing was a bonus we didn’t even count on."

Henley steered the Pay ‘n Pak into the lead in the race for the national point championship, and that title quite likely will be decided Sunday when the unlimited hydroplanes go at it again in Seattle’s Seafair Trophy Race.

Genial George took it easy in the final heat, cruising to a third-place finish in what turned into more of a parade than a race. He had piled up all the points he needed in earlier heats.

"I’m going to go out and do the Eatonville stomp," Henley said when asked about his celebration plans. Many of the Pak supporters in Henley’s home town probably were doing similar dance steps last night.

"It just goes to show you that the throttle works two ways — you’ve got to back off once in a while, too," said Dave Heerensperger, Pay ‘n Pak owner, in obvious reference to the Weisfield’s performance here.

The Weisfield’s, considered by many the boat to beat, let the point lead and the Gold Cup slip away in a deluge of mechanical misfortunes that erased any edge its driver, Billy Schumacher, had in speed.

As is usual in Gold Cup races , the unusual happened. For example:

— One heat race was halted early by red flares as the damaged Miss Budweiser headed for the bottom of the Columbia River.

— The Lincoln Thrift, obviously en route to a wide win in another heat, went dead in the water with less than a lap to go.

— The anticipated bow-to-bow clashes between Pay ‘n Pak and Weisfield’s never materialized, but Miss U.S. hooked up in a pair of dandy duels with the Lincoln Thrift and the Pay ‘n Pak.

— The "great beer bust," a threat of mass arrests if spectators showed up in Columbia River Park with sudsy stuff, never happened — even though alcohol consumption was obvious along the waterfront.

— And the only boat to set a record was neither the Pay ‘n Pak nor the Weisfield’s. Miller Irvin got it, establishing course and Gold Cup records for a 15-mile heat when he averaged 113.084 miles an hour in Heat 3B.

Henley lost his shirt, or his driving outfit to be more exact, sometime during the night before the race. Both of his suits were stolen from the pit area, but one was found beneath a truck, outside the pits, the next morning.

The 39-year-old driver, who rejoined the Pak team three races into the season, did so with a more lucrative agreement that gives him, among other benefits, a percentage of the $13,920 first-place prize here.

Heerensperger, whose boat earlier this season trailed Weisfield’s by 2,355 points, admitted he is surprised by the Pak’s swift ascent to the top.

In reference to their new financial arrangement, he told Henley: "It looks like the kid from Eatonville outwitted the fox."

George has won three straight races — and the cash that comes with winning.

Schumacher, speeding into the lead in the opening race, Heat 1A, failed to pick up a point when the Weisfield’s supercharger blew. He lost two later races, plagued by a faulty nitrous-oxide system.

The Budweiser started sinking during Heat 1B after Mickey Remund, the driver, was washed down and cut into the infield early in the race. He resumed racing before discovering the boat was taking on water through a damaged left sponson.

"I was running in a wall of water in that south turn and didn’t have any idea where I was for three or four seconds," Remund said. "I finally noticed something was wrong, because the boat became uncontrollable."

The Budweiser crew will be busy this week, but Remund insisted "the boat will be ready for Seattle." In addition to patching a section of sponson about 12 inches wide and 48 inches long, the crew will have to replace water-damaged equipment inside the boat.

Lincoln Thrift lost its huge advantage near the end of Heat 2B when wiring came loose from the distributor. In that same heat, Atlas Van Lines limped back to the pits before the start with a thrown engine rod.

Tom D’eath, who drove the Miss U.S. to first place in the last heat and an over-all second-place finish, hooked up with the Pay ‘n Pak in Heat 2A and the Thrift in 2B. On both occasions, D’Eath lost the duel, but not before giving the sun-broiled fans lining both shores something to shout about.

D’Eath pushed Irvin to his record run in a side-by-side set-to which stretched through all six laps of the best race of the day.

But those hot heats meant little when it came time to hand out the awards.

Henley, beaming over his, said: "The crew did it. They kept the son-of-a-gun running for the whole race."

Final heat — 1. Miss U.S., 109,756 m.p.h.; 2. Lincoln Thrift, 106.677 m.p.h.; 3. Pay ‘n Pak, 101.656 m. p h.; 4. Hamm’s Bear, 96.658 m.p.h.; 5. Vernors, 95.812 m.p.h.; 6. U-80, 86.593 m.p.h.

Gold Cup points (and prize money) — 1. Pay ‘n Pak, 1,425 ($13,920); 2. Miss U.S., 1,225 ($10,120); 3. Lincoln Thrift, 1,100 ($7,080); 4. Hamm’s Bear, 8,633 ($5,506); 5. U-80, 747 ($4,040); 6. Vernors, 696 ($3,280); 7. Oberto, 469 ($1,000); 8. Atlas, 300 ($1,000); 9. Weisfield’s, 225 ($1,000); 10. Sunny Jim, 95 ($1,000); Miss Shenandoah, 0 ($1,000); Miss Budweiser, 0 ($1,000).

Season point standings — 1. Pay ‘n Pak, 5,864; 2. Weisfield’s, 5,788; 3. Lincoln Thrift, 5,601; 4. Miss U.S., 4,795; Miss Budweiser, 4,377; 6. Hamm’s, 3,709; 7. Atlas, 3,092; 8. Vernors, 1,846; 9. Bootheads-Valvoline, 844; 10. U-80, 747; 11. Probe, 650; 12. Oberto, 469; 13. Shenandoah, 169; 14. Sunny Jim, 95.

Heat 1A — 1. Lincoln Thrift, Milner Irvin, Miami, 107.525 miles an hour; 2. Hamm’s Bear, Jerry Bangs, Seattle, 97.192 m.p.h.; 3. U-80, Ron Armstrong, Lakewood, Calif., 86.261 m.p.h.; Weisfield’s, Billy Schumacher, Seattle, did not finish; Vernors, Bob Miller, Everett, DNF; Sunny Jim Jam, Bill Wurster, Seattle, did not start.

Heat 1B —1. Pay ‘n. Pak, George Henley, Eatonville, 107.399 m.p.h.; 2. Atlas Van Lines, Bill Muncey, La Mesa, Calif., 102.141 m.p.h.; 3. Miss U. S., Tern D’Eath, Fair Haven, Mich., 100.483 m.p.h.; 4. Oh Boy! Oberto, Chuck Hickling, Bellevue, speed unavailable. Miss Budweiser, Mickey Remund, Palm Desert, Calif., D.N:F.; Miss Shenandoah, Roger D’Eath, Miami, DNF

Heat 2A — 1. Pay ‘n Pak, Henley, 113.350 m.p.h.; Miss U. S., T. D’Eath, 112.970 m.p.h.; 3. Weisfield’s, Schumacher, 106.424 m.p.h.; 4. Hamm’s Bear, Bangs. 96.428 m.p.h.; 5. U-80, Armstrong, 88.991 m. p. h.; 6. Sunny Jim, Wurster, 81.492 m.p.h.

Heat 2B — 1. Vernors, Miller, 97.437 m. p. h.; 2. Oberto, Hickling, 90.573 m.p.h.; Lincoln Thrift, DNF; Atlas, Budweiser and Shenandoah, DNS

Heat 3A — 1. Pay ‘n Pak, 105.181 m.p.h.; 2. U-80, 91.494 m.p.h.; Atlas, Weisfield’s and Oberto DNF

Heat 3B — 1. Lincoln Thrift, 113.684 m.p.h. (betters course and Gold Cup records for 15-mile heat); 2. Miss U. S., 112.687 m.p.h.; 3. Hamm’s Bear, 98.793 m.p. h.; 4. Vernors, 96.670 m.p.h.; Sunny Jim DNS

 

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, July 28, 1975)