1986 Budweiser A.P.B.A. Gold Cup

No clear choice in Gold Cup

Fans at Sunday’s Gold Cup on the Detroit River may enjoy an element that’s been missing from some recent unlimited hydroplane competitions — suspense.

At least four hydroplanes appear to have a chance of winning the Gold Cup, which is the unlimiteds’ answer to the Super Bowl. For the past several years, the competition usually has been a two-boat show.

The Budweiser racing team has two new boats, one powered by a jet turbine engine and another powered by a Griffon piston engine. The Miss Bud turbine, driven by Jim Kropfeld, won in the season opener June 15 in Miami.

The other two top boats are also turbine-powered, the Miller American and 7-Eleven. Miller driver Chip Hanauer has won three of the last four Detroit races, and Kropfeld won the other one, in 1984.

The competition celebrates the 70th year of powerboat racing on the Detroit River. It is also the 25th anniversary of the Spirit of Detroit Association, the volunteer group that puts on the race.

— Wylie Gerdes

(Reprinted from the Detroit Free Press, June 24, 1986)