1954 Maple Leaf Trophy

Speedboats Race Tomorrow

Lee Schoenith and Wild Bill Cantrell
The big duel Saturday, when the Maple Leaf Unlimited race is run off Windsor Yacht Club, should be between the two Gale boats, and a third called Short Circuit. All three are new three-point copies of the world champion Slo-Mo-Shun fleet. Gale IV and Gale V are both owned by Detroiter Joe Schoenith. Pictured left, the owner's son, Lee Schoenith (left) and Wild Bill Cantrell argue over who will drive which of the Gales. Cantrell will wear a red helmet on race day. He said yesterday the two may change boats during the race.
Short Circuit is owned and driven by Chuck Thompson, a favorite on the river. Chuck won the Maple Leaf title twice with the old Miss Pepsi. The big part of the Thompson story is that Chuck's new boat, Short Circuit, was designed by his serious-minded 16-year-old son, Chuck, Jr. The youth (right) is the designer-mechanic decal on the boat his father will drive.
This is a full photograph of Short Circuit, Chuck Thompson's new three-pointer. Up top is his son. Chuck, Jr., who designed the craft. This boat will be one of the main challengers in Saturday’s Maple Leaf regatta. The race will be run in the narrows between Peche Island and Windsor Yacht Club. First heat goes at one p.m.

There may be many as eight high speed powerboats at the start line for this Saturday’s running of the Maple Leaf Unlimited, Canada’s greatest waterspeed classic.

Five Likely

But a hoary old veteran like “Wild Bill” Cantrell of Detroit drawls, “She’ll be more like five —and that's enough for my liking.”

The Maple Leaf, sponsored by Windsor Yacht Club, is listed this year as an event of The Windsor Centennial Festival. The course will be laid in the narrows between W.Y.C. and Peche Island. This thriller is free to the spectators.

First heat of the "unlimiteds* will go at one p.m. Windsor time. All other classes race in a full afternoon program which should last until close to six p.m.

There will be no Canadian boats entered this year in the unlimited class. All of them are Allison-powered skidders, the bulk of them three-point copies of the world champion Slo-Mo-Shun Seattle, Wash., stable.

Around the pits yesterday, the talk of the day was concerned with the fact that the defender. Al Fallon’s Miss Great Lakes II, will not be running. Her driver. Danny Foster, another waterspeed veteran, is left high and dry. although he has been shopping for a ride.

Not Yet Repaired

Great Lakes was holed in Washington, D.C. last year and hasn’t been repaired. There is a possibility she may be readied for the Gold Cup in Seattle August 7.

The list of possible starters, at this writing, now includes Gale III, Gale IV, Wha Hoppen Too, Miss U.S., Short Circuit, Miss Wayne, Crusty, and something from the Horace Dodge fleet.

Short Circuit, the new untried boat owned by Chuck Thompson. is in perfect shape—and she's a definite starter. Thompson is determined to win. He has held the Maple Leaf twice before, both times with the Dossin Brothers' Miss Pepsi.

Chuck’s new boat, another copy of Slo-Mo, was designed by his 16-year-old son, Chuck Jr. And the story of this piece of work is the best powerboat yarn on the river this year.

Young Chuck, a student at Cooley High in Detroit, cultivated a friendship with Ted Jones, designer of the Slo-Mo’s. The lad talked and talked about powerboat design—and he dug up a basketful of good tips from the West Coast man.

Young Chuck went to work on the drawing board, and produced an almost perfect likeness of Slo-Mo. The Thompson boat is two feet shorter than Slo-Mo. with a length of 26 feet, a beam of 11 feet.

Lighter Craft

Short Circuit is a half ton lighter than the West Coast boats, weighing out at 4,000 pounds rather than the Slo-Mo 5,000. The hull is lighter because of differences in construction. Short Circuit has an aluminum bottom, with no plywood inner skin.

Short Circuit was built In the shops of Les Staudacher near Bay City, Mich. Staudacher is also the builder of the two new Gales, and of the new London, Ontario high secret boat. Supertest. Supertest is not entered for Saturday.

The second boat now standing in perfect running order is Gale V, owned by Joe Schoenlth of Detroit and Tecumseh, Ont. This one is another definite starter.

The second Schoenith entry, Gale IV, will be a definite starter, according to Bill Cantrell. But yesterday, the boys were installing a new gear box.

Both Gales are new this year, and Slo-Mo copies. Cantrell will drive one. husky Lee Schoenith the other. But which will drive which is a matter of comical confusion, listening to the two of them argue about it.

Cantrell wants young Lee to make up his mind which boat suits him best. But they are both beauties. Cantrell says, "Look — this Maple Leaf is a primary for the Gold Cup. It’s boat against boat. We may swap boats between heats. If you want to know who’s drivin’ what boat, from heat to heat, just remember I got the red helmet.”

If you want to hear an even better piece of comical confusion, get young Schoenith and Cantrell arguing about the time difference between Windsor and Detroit.

But the co-owners. Chuck Doran and Marv Henrich (Henrich is the driver) said she’ll be definitely in. They expected to have the boat under test today.

George Simon, owner of the new Miss U.S. (sorry. folks—but she's another Slo-Mo copy) was not available for comment. The boat yesterday was in Bay City for hull work, and was to be back in Detroit this morning.

Cantrell said Miss U.S. will be in the race, and should be doing test runs over Scotts Middle Ground this afternoon. That seems to be going some—since an engine had to be installed Thursday.

Dodge Is Puzzle

Nobody knows what Horace Dodge is doing. There seems to be an iron curtain around his shops. None of the drivers know what he will enter, or who will drive—but everybody seems confident the Dodge fleet will be represented.

An old-timer. Miss Wayne (she was the old Notre Dame) is on the list with a place of distinction. She will be the only V-bottom craft in the race, if she makes it. The owner is Frank Saile. Jr. of Detroit. He may drive, although last year Doc Terry was at the wheel.

Another distinct possibility is Crusty, a three pointer owned by Leo Mucutza of Detroit. This boat was originally the Gold'n Crust of the Schafer fleet.

The fun stars at the yacht club at nine Windsor time, when the boats will be coming over singly for their qualifying runs. Racing starts at one p.m., Windsor time.

The Maple Leaf this year should bring to the river the biggest collection of prop-riders and rooster tails ever seen in these parts. They are all prime boats, being readied for the major duel, the Gold Cup.

--- June 18, 1954

Time Schedule of Maple Leaf Powerboat Regatta Tomorrow

Here is the time schedule for the Maple Leaf powerboat regatta at Windsor Yacht Club Saturday:

  1st heat 2nd heat 3rd heat
Unlimited 1:00 3:04 5:05
135 Cu. In. 1:25 3:25  
225 Cu. In. 2:05 4:05  
266 Cu. In. 2:25 4:25  
48 Cu. In. 2:45 4:45  
  All times are Daylight (or Windsor) time.


The unlimited class will race three heats of five laps each over the three-mile course. The distance is 15 miles per heat, or race total of 45 miles.

All other classes run three laps per heat over the shorter 1 Simile course.

Qualifying trials will take place off Windsor Yacht Club from nine to 11 a.m., daylight time.

--- June 18, 1954