1955 Mapes Mile High Gold Cup

Slo-Mo-Shun IV Heads Entry List

For Sept. 10th Mile High Regatta

Tahoe City Course Named For Third Tahoe Meet

1955 Mapes Mile-High Gold Cup Programme Guide
1955 Mapes Mile-High Gold Cup Programme Guide

Slo-Mo-Shun IV, the “Old Lady” of Gold Cup boat racing and until two weeks ago holder of the world’s speed record for a boat, is expected to head the entry list for the September 10 Mile High Regatta at Lake. Tahoe. The fabled Slo-Mo will top the group of unlimited class hydroplanes to take part in the regatta’s feature event, the Mile High Gold Cup.

Actually, Slo-Mo-Shun IV still holds the world speed record for conventional water craft, since the boat that broke the mark, English-owned Bluebird, is a jet-driven affair.

News of the probable entry of the Stan Sayres boat was released yesterday along with details of the September 10 race meet offshore at Tahoe City. Last year the APBA-sanctioned meet was staged at the south end of the lake.

The Lake Tahoe Mile High Regatta is officially recognized as the only APBA-sanctioned race for unlimited type boats staged on waters more than a mile above sea level. Pits for the unlimited class boats in the meet will be at the Tahoe Boat Works at Tahoe City, while the limited class boats will set up their pits at the Tahoe City Commons.

In addition to the Gold Cup boats—the big unlimited hydroplanes—races will be run In six limited classes for

(1) cracker-boxes,

(2) racing runabouts,

(3) 48-cubic-lnch runabouts,

(4) 185-cubic-inch hydroplanes,

(5) 136-cubic-lnch hydroplanes

(6) 225-cubic-inch hydroplanes.

If any seven-litre displacement boats are entered in the Mile High Regatta they will run with the unlimited boats. Also to join the big boys are the 266-cubic-inch hydros, with not enough of the class available on the Pacific Coast to warrant staging a special race.

An added event will be the traditional Mile High Regatta Lake Tahoe ladies’ championship. Boats of any class may be entered for the women’s title.

The Gold Cup feature of the Mile High Regatta will be run in three heats over a five-mile course. Each heat will be 15 miles, or three laps, in length, and one to one and one-half hours times will be allowed between heats. Two or three of the limited class races will be run during each break between Gold Cup heats.

While the limited class boats will be raced under rules laid down by the California Speedboat Association and points and trophies awarded according to finish position, the unlimited boats will run under regular Gold Cup rules supplied by the American Power Boat Association.

Consistency Valued

A premium is placed on consistency for the unlimited hydros, with points awarded for fastest lap time, fastest heat time, finish position in each heat and for over-all time for the three heats.

As a result, a boat might not win any of the three heats, yet still could win the Mile High Gold Cup. A similar situation occurred at the recent Seattle Gold Cup races.

While entry blanks for the Mile High Regatta are just now being placed in the mails, a list has been compiled of boats expected on hand.

Miss Thriftway, which won two heats but just missed winning the Gold Cup at Seattle, will have a sister hull in action at the Mile High Regatta. The new hull, which carries the same power as Miss Thriftway and has not yet been christened, is owned by San Francisco industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. The boat now is en route to Lake Tahoe from its builder.

Another Kaiser boat, Scooter Too, will be on hand with its 3,000-HP Allison engine, as will Breathless, owned by Phillip J. Murphy of Piedmont, Calif., and piloted by his son, Jay; Zephyr Fury, owned and piloted by Ray Crawford of Los Angeles, a former Mexican road race and Indianapolis auto racing driver, and Short Snorter, owned and raced by Stanley Dollar. Breathless suffered damage recently in the Seattle Gold Cup trials and is being worked over at El Monte, Calif., where new sponsons are being designed for the Tahoe races. Short Snorter last year sank at the south end during the Mile High Regatta after striking a bottle afloat on the course.

War Paint Due

Seven-litre boats listed as probables for the unlimited race include War Paint, owned by Paul Scaglon of Oakland, and raced by Jack Keaton; California Kid, (formerly known as Galloping Gael II), owned by P. J. Murphy and piloted by his son, Roger, and Henry J. Kaiser’s Restless, piloted by veteran Kenneth St. Oegger of Glendale.

Still another possible for the big event at Tahoe Sept. 10 is Rebel, Suh, owned by Ted Jones, who designed the famous Slo-mo-shun series, and piloted by Lt. Col. Schleeh, a jet bomber test pilot for Boeing Aircraft Co. at Seattle.

With the water level at Tahoe anticipated at 6,225 feet the day of the races, pilots of the unlimited hydros will have a couple of problems on their hands they do not face in the sea-level runs at Seattle or Detroit.

Since the big boats operate on aircraft-type engines developed by Allison for World War II aircraft, and all are supercharged, the engines actually develop more horsepower in the rarified altitude at Tahoe. However, the water of the Lake of the Sky is so pure by comparison to other race courses that more horsepower is needed to lift the boats onto their suspension points, the sponsons that actually combine with the propeller to support the boats at racing speeds.

One of the conditions demanded for APBA sanction is proper salvage conditions, which means the waters must be shallow enough to permit recovery of sunken boats in the event of accidents. Tahoe, of course, meets this condition at any site near the shore, and both ends of the lake now have been used as race courses.

— Nevada State Journal, August 16, 1955