1950 PMB Trophy Race

Records Fall In Western Racing (excerpt)

Regattas on Lake Mead and Salton Sea Produce Seven New Speed Standards

By Kent Hitchcock

Following the Lake Mead Regatta the clan descended on Desert Beach at Salton Sea for another four days of racing and mile trials. The Big Salton has never been more placid for such a long stretch of time. Friday, November 17, was the first day of Mile Trials and Otto Crocker's photo-electric timer recorded 72 runs through the trap that netted five new world records. (See list at end of this article.) All of these were sterling performances, but of course Louie Meyer, Jr's 14-mile-an-hour increase in the 48s and Paul Sawyer's terrific 115 m.p.h. trip through the trap in his 225 rate exceptional credit. Meyer's record is far from the capability of his little Lou Kay for on three occasions the little rig was screaming through the mile at better than 80 m.p.h. only to start to stick up each time as internal heat from fuel starvation caused piston expansion. Sawyer's run marks a couple of firsts in boat racing: the first time any racing outfit other than a Gold Cupper or an Unlimited has officially set up a record over the century mark and the first time fuel injection has been used with success in a racing boat. Alter Ego's Clay Smith Mercury power plant was equipped for this regatta with the Hilborn-Travers system of injection carburetion that has been used with success on racing cars for the past several years. This system replacing the conventional manifold and carburetor set-up, has a separate induction throat for each intake port and the fuel is atomized by pressure right in the throat. It is of interest that this system when using Methanol consumes 40 per cent less fuel than conventional carburetion.

Every one of the 38 heats of competition racing was tops. Time and time again the inboards were running right on top of the records but the outboards couldn't even get close to a mark except in the mile trials where Johnny Maddox from San Diego was pushing the A Hydro mark, but couldn't quite get over the hump. Again the 135s stole the show, with two heats of spectacular racing, won by Reathel Bush in his Scamper. Thom Cooper, back to racing after his accident at Lake Mead, had toured the trap at 95 m.p.h., but neither Cooper or Sid Street with his 97 m.p.h. record could get around the turns fast enough to stay with Bush.

The featured PMB Trophy Race, scheduled for four heats of racing for the Unlimiteds, drew a field of 135s and 225s with none of the big outfits on hand after the breakdowns at Lake Mead. The winner in straight heats was Kenny Ingram in his Ranger II.

This year's Salton Sea Regatta was a joint effort of the Southern California Speedboat Club, the Los Angeles Speedboat Assn. and Roy Hunter, owner of Desert Beach, who all pitched in to make a regatta possible at the last minute when all previously announced plans for a race had fallen through. Drivers helped to support the emergency arrangement with an increased entry fee.


Inboard records for one mile:

225 cu. in. hydro-115.045 m.p.h. by Alter Ego owned by Paul Sawyer, of South Harwich, Mass., at Salton Sea, Nov. 17. Previous record-99.820 m.p.h.

48 cu. in. hydro-71.855 m.p.h. by Lou-Kay [Y-50] owned by Louis Meyer, Jr., of Inglewood, Cal., at Salton Sea, Nov. 17. Previous record-57.995 m.p.h.

135 cu. in. hydro-97.351 m.p.h. by Gee Whizz [USA-1] owned by Sid Street, of Kansas City, Mo., at Salton Sea, Nov. 17. Previous record-92.130 m.p.h.

B racing runabout-60.43 m.p.h. by Vina Mae III [1-B] owned by Ed Parsley, of Los Banos, Cal., at Salton Sea, Nov. 17. Previous record-58.207 m.p.h.

D racing runabout-67.315 m.p.h. by Sagana VIII [21-D] owned by Frank Foulke, of Essex, Md., at Salton Sea on Nov. 17. Previous record-64.875 m.p.h.

Inboard records for 5 miles in competition:

P.O.D.H.-54.545 m.p.h. by Cherub II owned by Dr. L. J. Novotny, of Los Angeles, at Salton Sea on Nov. 19. Previous record-53.763 m.p.h.

[Reprinted from Yachting, January, 1951, pp. 94-5]