1957 Apple Cup

Thirteen Ready To Race In Apple Cup

1957 Apple Cup Programme
1957 Apple Cup Programme

Chelan, April 13. — (AP) — This small town is getting a case of hydro fever as big as its 55-mile-long Lake Chelan.

An offhand suggestion by a few local folks last year has blossomed into a full-scale unlimited hydroplane race that would do justice to Gold Cup-happy Seattle.

Right now 13 of the big boats are scheduled to roil the crystal-clear waters of Lake Chelan May 5, in competition for the Apple Cup. More may be entered before the race gets under way, according to sponsors, Lake Chelan Boat Racers, Inc.

The lineup so far: Miss Thriftway, Miss Thriftway Too, the new Ted Jones-designed boat making her maiden start; Hawaii Kai, Shanty, Maverick, Wahoo, Miss Seattle, Miss Band I [???], Miss Rocket, Scooter Too, Breathless, Muvalong, and Miss Bardahl.

Chelan has been out of hotel and motel accommodations for weeks and is referring any more housing requests it receives to neighboring towns.

The race comes the day after the 1957 Washington Apple Blossom Festival Parade in neighboring Wenatchee. That draws 100,000 or more spectators in its big years, and many of them will probably stay over for the hydro race.

Qualifying Trials will be run all week preceding the race. The Apple Cup, following Gold Cup rules, will be a 90-miler, run in three heats of 30 miles each. The first heat is to start in the early afternoon.

To add to the fever, some of the local boat race enthusiasts this week announced they are attempting to arrange a run here of Don Campbell’s record-holding jet hydro, Bluebird. There's no assurance it will come to Lake Chelan, but Campbell is reportedly looking ground for an American lake to run on.

— April 13, 1957

Hydros Get Early Start

Apple Cup May 5 To Test Puget Sound Fleet

By Cliff Harrison

The 1957 unlimited hydroplane campaign gets off to its earliest start in history next Sunday as Chelan’s Apple Cup race is staged on that beautiful lake.

Nine hydros are expected to be on Lake Chelan, by Wednesday, their throaty roars echoing between the steep canyon-like sides of the lake. Each must qualify at 95 miles an hour to be eligible for the finals Sunday.

Hawaii Kai III, with the old Slo-mo crew in charge figures to be the first one on the lake attempting to qualify. The test work on Hawaii Kai was.completed a month ago with a half-dozen motors broken in and ready for use.

This surely is the earliest date in the history of unlimited racing for a racing team to be so fit. It just wasn’t possible elsewhere for unlimited hydroplanes. Nature wouldn’t let them run the Detroit River or its nearby lakes. The nine craft expected at Chelan are:

  • Shanty-I, the United States champion of 1956, W. T. (Bill) Waggoner, owner; Col. Russell Schleeh, USAF, driver.
  • Maverick, second of the Waggoner team, Bill Stead, Reno, driver.
  • Miss Thriftway, Willard Rhodes, owner; Bill Muncey, driver.
  • Thriftway, Too, second half of the Thriftway team; driver yet to he named.
  • Miss Wahoo, W. E. Boeing Jr., owner; Mira Slovak, driver.
  • Miss Seattle, Roostertails, Inc., owners; driver to be selected,
  • Miss Bardahl, Norman Christiansen, owner; Norman Evans, driver.
  • Hawaii Kai III, under ownership of Slo-mo shun crew; Jack Regas, driver.
  • Miss Rocket, Austin Snell, Tacoma, owner; Lloyd Jett driver.

Miss Seattle is the former Slo-mo-shun V, much changed as to hull this year in an effort to gain steadiness. Miss Bardahl is the former Tempest, built by Christiansen in his backyard, so to speak, which looked good in qualifying for last year’s Seafair but had motor trouble in the race.

All but the new Thriftway, Too and Miss Rocket have been through the grind of qualification for a race.

Three Drivers - Who runs Thriftway Too — Lloyd Jett, Miss Rocket and whichever man is named for Miss Seattle — must undergo close scrutiny as none ever has driven an unlimited in competition.

The Miss Seattle driver was to have been selected Saturday but the craft ran into difficulty when the supercharger housing was cracked and all trials were called off until early Sunday morning.

Chelan is ready for the racers. Qualifying is scheduled for Tuesday through Friday.

— April 27, 1957

Big Hydros Start Qualifying Runs

Chelan — Three of the entries in Sunday’s big Apple Cup hydroplane race were in readiness to make their qualifying runs today.

Each boat, in order to qualify for race entry, is required to traverse the course at an average speed of 95 miles per hour.

Three boats, which were out on the lake this morning — Shanty I, Hawaii Kai III and Maverick — easily registered that mark in trial runs Tuesday.

Bill Waggoner’s Shanty and Maverick and Henry Kaiser’s Kai were the only boats on hand by Tuesday evening.

The Kai was first to hit the water Tuesday — but it almost hit the dock instead of the lake.

The cranes being used here have caused no end of concern for drivers and boat owners. Bill Waggoner, head of the Shanty-Maverick camp, sought to remedy the situation on Tuesday morning.

It seems that the available cranes do not have the necessary ballast to boom one of these three-ton jobs over the floating piers — some 25 to 30 feet beyond the base of the crane.

Crane operator Al Hughes narrowly averted disaster when lowering the 6700-pound Kai into the lake Tuesday morning. The crane, working on a soft spit of land, nearly toppled into the lake, but fortunately, Hughes was able to swing the boom in time to regain steadiness and avoid dropping the craft on the dock.

A corner of the Kai lightly struck the dock as she hit the water, but there was only one small scratch on the stern to show for the ordeal.

Later, when Hawaii Kai was removed from the water, the big crane on the Howe Sound dock was used to pick up the ship, and deposit her on the transport truck.

The Shanty, weighing about 4,200 pounds less than Hawaii Kai, was lowered into the water without mishap in mid-afternoon, although the rear of the crane certainly did show the strain of the 5,500-pound craft.

Finally, the dilemma was at least temporarily solved. The Maverick crew didn’t take any chances. They moved the ship adjacent to the Howe-Sound dock and had the big crane drop her into the water at 5:40 p.m.

Jack Regas, the anxious pilot of Hawaii Kai, made several turns around the three-mile course about 10:30 and announced that everything was in readiness for his Wednesday qualification run.

Regas would give no indications of the speed of Tuesday’s test run, but, he admitted, “We had ’er smoking.” One seasoned observer estimated Regas’ average speed at about “100 to 110 miles per hour.”

“I just wanted to see if she would start,” Regas explained after the test. The Kai has the old Slo-Mo IV engine, a Rolls Royce, whereas the Waggoner boats and most of the other craft (excepting the new Thriftway) employ Allison engines,

Waggoner’s 10-man crew (there’s normally 14) had the National Champion Shanty ready about 3 o’clock and her pilot, Col, Russ Schleeh of the U.S. Air Force, was on hand to make a test run after flying into Chelan with the Maverick driver, Bill Stead.

Well satisfied with the boat's performance, Schleeh said he had the Shanty doing 150 MPH on the far straightaway. “It’ll do over 200 if it’s set up for it,” the B-52 squadron commander added.

Norm Evans, the Chelan boy who was one of the principals in selling the hydroplane clan on the idea of racing on this lake, wheeled Miss Bardahl around the course in qualifying time Thursday night at 6:30. Evans was the only boat to attempt it Thursday, although a few other ships were on the water briefly.

The Bardahl's qualifying speed was 97.308, slightly more than the 95 mph minimum. She would be clocked well over 100 miles per hour, but the Bardahl conked out with a quarter-lap to go.

Evans gave a superb performance on the straightaways and in the turns while posting lap speeds of 102.857 and 104.956, then his machine started cutting-out and backfiring near the end of the north straightaway of the final lap. The average speed for his last lap was 84.112.

Crew members blamed the failure of the Bardahl on a “loose oil fitting.”

Bardahl joined Hawaii Kai (113), Miss Thriftway (105) and Maverick (112) among the list of qualifiers.

The first of Sunday’s five 30-mile heats (10 times around the three-mile course) will get underway at 12:30. Heats are limited to six entries, including the fifth and final, which will include the six top boats selected on the basis of preliminary heats. Each unlimited must perform in two preliminary heats in order to qualify for the finals,

Sunday’s probable entry list and the drivers:

  • Hawaii Kai, Jack Regas
  • Miss Thriftway, Bill Muncey
  • Maverick, Bill Stead
  • Miss Bardahl, Norm Evans
  • Miss Rocket, Lloyd Jett
  • Miss Wahoo, Mira Slovak
  • Miss Seattle, Al Benson
  • Shanty I, Russ Schleeh
  • Thriftway Too (driver unnamed)

Ray Crawford, a former Indianapolis 500 driver, and Brien Wygle are in line for the Thriftway, Too driver’s job, but there are rumors in some quarters that Ted Jones, the designer, will drive the Too himself if he is dissatisfied.

Mira Slovak, the flying refugee from Czechoslovakia, intended to qualify Bill Boeing’s Miss Wahoo early Thursday evening, but the U-77 twice failed to start and Mira gave it up until today.

Slovak flew his own plane back to Seattle about 7 p.m. and was to return today with a part for Miss Seattle.

Miss Seattle, the ex-Slo Mo V, was in the water Thursday morning, but the crew discovered the “shaft thrust” was in need of repair. Slovak, although driving for a rival camp, took the part back to Seattle for repair.

Miss Rocket, a new boat owned by oil distributor Austen Snell of Tacoma, was on the lake at 7 o’clock Thursday evening, but driver Lloyd Jett made no attempt to qualify.

The Bill Waggoner crew is still devoting much time to the Maverick trying to iron out the bugs. Bill Stead took the Maverick out for another test run Thursday evening.

Referee Harry Woods said the course will now be open to qualifying until sundown each evening.

No boat owners have committed themselves for Monday’s scheduled mile trials, which will be held for all sizes of boats, but, in all likelihood, two or three hydros will try to rack the Slo-Mo IV’s world record of 178.497 miles per hour.

Woods said the course will be open to the trials from 6 a.m. until sundown Monday. They will be held over a mile course which lies approximately between Lafferty’s and Minneapolis Beach — with each entry cruising over the course twice, getting a two-mile flying start at each end. Speed is determined by the average time of the two consecutive runs.

Schleeh said that it will be necessary to change a prop on the Shanty before the qualification run. “You’ve got to find the right combination for racing,” Shanty’s pilot explained.

Stead had the Maverick performing smoothly at high speeds, too. The Waggoner crew observed that this boat will give the Shanty all she wants on race day.

For the second straight day, sun blazed down on the pit crews here, although a heavy shower erupted just before the Maverick was to take the water.

The drivers and other veteran racing men on hand, seem overwhelmingly satisfied with the course.

“It’s beautiful,” Schleeh exclaimed. “One of the finest courses I’ve seen.”

The hydro people are most impressed with the course markings. This is one of the best-marked courses they’ve ever had experience with, the racers say.

— May 1, 1957