Sayres to Try for World Speed Record

Sayres to Try for World Speed Record [1950]

Slo-Mo-Shun IV, Seattle-built speed boat will try to better Sir Malcolm Campbell's 141.74 miles an hour

The world's unlimited hydroplane speed record of 141.74 mph, established by Sir Malcolm Campbell's Blue Bird on Lake Coniston, England, on August 19, 1939, may be broken during the week of June 19-25 on Seattle's Lake Washington. During this period the Seattle-built Gold Cupper, Stanley S. Sayres' Slo-Mo-Shun IV, is scheduled to make an official attempt to set a new speed record.

In time trials this spring on Lake Washington the speedy boat has been clocked by unofficial observers at speeds thought to be in excess of the official record on at least ten runs.

Sayres himself was careful to make no pre-race predictions as to the speed of his boat. "I think we have a good chance to boost up the mile straightaway speed record," Was all the pre-race comment that he would make. However, a fairly accurate knowledge of the Slo-Mo-Shun's actual speed was available because the instrument panel includes a Keller water speedometer, an instrument which is considered very accurate. The one on the Slo-Mo-Shun IV is calibrated to 150 mph.

The time trials are sponsored by the Seafair Committee of Greater Seattle, Inc., headed by Jerry Bryant as chairman. The committee secured the cooperation of the Navy in permitting use of the course off Sand Point on Lake Washington and arranged for the official American Powerboat Association survey of the mile course.

Arrangements for the time trials were started when Anchor Jensen of Jensen Motor Boat Company, Seattle, builder of the boat, conferred with Kent Hitchcock, technical advisor to the president of the American Power Boat Association, at Newport Beach in May. Hitchcock agreed to hold the official test run in Seattle under sanction of the American Power Boat Association.

Official preparation for the test runs will be very thorough. The runs will be made near the Sand Point Naval Air Station, and will be one statute mile in length.

The Seattle city engineering department will cooperate in measuring off the mile in the vicinity of the present nautical mile monuments. The course will be checked by Hitchcock and his assistants.

The timing devices which will be used to officially establish the record are being supplied by the Longines Watch Company. It is reported that there will be two timers, each actuated at the starting and finishing points by photo-electric cells. One timer will have radio connections and the other will have a direct wire connection.

To meet the APBA requirements, Sayres must pilot the Slo-Mo-Shun IV in two runs in both directions over the course within 10 minutes of each other. The average time of the two consecutive runs will be the official time. Sayres plans to make several sets of runs during the trials.

"If the speed runs are successful, it will let the world know that Lake Washington is a good body of water for racing," Sayres said.

He also wants to make the speed trials before running the risk of damaging the boat during the strenuous summer racing program. He plans to enter his boat in the Gold Cup Race in Detroit July 22, an endurance contest of three 30-mile heats. If successful and he is named one of the three Harmsworth Trophy defenders, he will leave the boat in Detroit for the Harmsworth contests September 1 and 2. He then may also enter the boat in the Silver Cup races on Labor Day, two. 45-mile heats.

"New boats generally don't win races the first year," Sayres stated, referring to the mechanical breakdowns that are experienced when the racing boats enter the grueling speed contests. But he is confident that the Slo-Mo-Shun IV is not only fast on the straightaway but will handle well around the turns under racing conditions.

Piloting the Slo-Mo-Shun IV will be Sayres, and the co-pilot will be Ted O. Jones, who assisted in the design and building of the big racer. They have been given considerable assistance by R. Stanley Dollar, Jr., whose Skip-A-Long won the Harmsworth Trophy last year. With the Skip still at the bottom of Lake Tahoe, Dollar has been giving Sayres the benefit of his wide experience in speed runs and racing.

The Slo-Mo-Shun IV, the latest of the Slo-Mo-Shun series, has been developed jointly by Stanley S. Sayres, the owner, Ted O. Jones, a designer, and Anchor Jensen, the builder. The design and building and engineering of this particular type of boat has been 12 years in evolution.

Slo-Mo-Shun IV is 28 feet LOA, is powered by a 12-cylinder Allison engine, driving through a Western Gear 3-to-1 step-up box fabricated in Seattle. The skin is formed from mahogany plywood, fabricated by Elliott Bay Mill, with Spencer Aircraft Company supplying accessories and fittings. Both are Seattle firms.

(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, July 1950, pp.15-6)