1952 Buffalo Launch Club Regatta

Sutton To Defend Title In 7-Litre Highlight Of Speedboat Regatta

Fred Sutton Jr. of Kingston, N.C.. will defend his United States championship in the 7 litre event which will highlight the annual international speedboat regatta of the Buffalo Launch Club in the Niagara River off Grand Island Aug. 16-17.

The 7-litre event, for boats just under the Gold Cup or unlimited class and known as the Junior Gold Cup class,” is only one of six national-championship races included on the regatta program.

National titles also will be decided for Class D, E and F service runabouts and D and E racing runabouts.

Sutton will drive his Helen M. here against some great visiting drivers.

Burnett Bartley of Pittsburgh, will bring two 7-litre craft. One is a new one, the Wildcatter, which Bartley will drive himself, and the other is the Roughneck. The latter formerly was known as the Tommy Ann and as such set a world record of 98.361 miles an hour last year at New Martinsburg. W. Va.

Joe Taggart piloted the boat to that record. He will come here from competing in the Gold Cup title race at Seattle this coming Saturday to drive for Bartley in the big event.

Lou Fageol of Cuyahoga Falls, O who drves one of Stan Sayre's Gold Cup boats, will have his 7-litre So Long here. His son, Ray, will be at the controls. Lou, himself, probably will fly here from Seattle to watch his son compete.

Others already entered are Gene Marinette Jr. with his Bon Voyage. Bill Stroh with Nuts and Bolts and Cal Connell, who has not sent the name of his boat. All three are from Detroit.

Oliver Elam of Ashland. Ky, who gained national honors in 7-litre competition at the Launch Club Regatta two years ago, expects to try to regain the title with his Mercury but he has been having trouble with the boat and may not have it ready.

Rick Keller of Detroit, an Air Force pilot, hopes to compete but he, too, may not have his boat in shape. Jack Bartlow, another Detroiter, is putting the finishing touches on a new 7-litre job and will be here with it if it is ready to go by regatta time.

The Launch Club event is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association and is one of three U.S. regattas to be jointly sponsored by the APBA and the Canadian Boating Federation.

--- August 8, 1952

Kenmore Speedster One of Hottest Entries in BLC Week-End Regatta

By Dick Johnston

Tommy Turner Tunes Up Rabel's Motor
Tommy Turner Tunes Up Rabel's Motor

One o£ the "hottest” speedboat pilots among the 100 or so who will converge on Buffalo for the international Buffalo Launch Club Regatta Saturday and Sunday is one from right here in Kenmore.

He is the only inboard jockey in the East who drives while resting on his knees.

Tommy Turner is his name and he was the best driver of 135-cubic-inch craft in the United States and Canada last year. Of 45 heats he drove in during 1951, the Kenmorite finished second four times, third twice and he won every other time.

That's 39 races he won.

This year Tommy leads the race for the coveted O'Keefe Trophy. Canadian 135 award, by almost 100 points.

Turner drives the Rebel, which is owned jointly by him and Herb Gielow.

50-50 Partnership

"Everything in this partnership is 50-50,” said Turner today, as he worked over his boat in the garage behind Gielow s home at 25 Laird Aye. “When we are at home, we bpth work on the boat. As soon as we leave for a race. I'm the driver and Herb's the mechanic.”

Turner kneels when he drives, with his feet in stirrups behind him, instead of sitting, like other drivers. A few California speedboaters kneel but Turner is the only Easterner who does. Why?

I can balance the boat.” he explained. I ride the boat: the boat doesn't ride me. At least five times I remember I have kept afloat when the boat would have gene over if I hadn't been kneeling.”

The 38 vear old Turner and Gielow. 42. built the Rebel together in Gielow's cellar. It took them about three months and they had the dickens of a time getting it out. They started to race the boat in 1945 and since then the Rebel has been a leading contender in its class throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Hit Peak in '51

Last year the Turner Gielow combine hit its peak. So what did they do?

They took the motor out of the Rebel and put in a new one.

"Thought we could "go a little faster,” explained Turner, airily.

Then he added. “We go fast, all right, but we don't go far. I have been watching as many races as I've been driving in. it seems. I'll win the first heat, then something will go wrong and I'll sit out the second, watching . . . and cursing.”

Turner and Gielow expect to have the "rig,” as they call it. in the best of shape for the launch Club event. They stayed home last week end to work on the boat. It was the first week they have missed a regatta since June .9.

In the last 2-1/2 months they have driven 6000 miles around the U.S. and Canada to race. Turner won four races.

"Champion Runner-up"

"Every other time I was second,” he said, with a grimace. “Something always went wrong with the boat. Seems like I'm the champion runner-up of all time. But I'm going to get out of the rut this week-end ... or else.”

He ran second in both divisions of 135 competition in Last year's BLC event. This year he figures his chief competition will come from Dick Rankin of Pontiac. Mich., winner in that class here last year, and from Don Wilson of Dearborn, Mich., and Sid Street of,Kansas City, Mo., if Sid appears.

Street won nine races here in three boats two years ago but didn't compete here in 1951. His 135 craft, Gee-Whizz, broke in half in a race at Louisville last week and may not be ready to go here.

"If it is,” Turner grinned, “look out. Sometimes, we hit 100 miles an hour. Street's boat goes 100 consistently, or he doesn't run.”

--- August 13, 1952