1961 Season Summary
|1||June 25||Detroit Memorial||Detroit, Michigan|
|2||July 23||Diamond Cup||Coeur d'Alene, Idaho|
|3||August 6||World Championship||Seattle, Washington|
|4||August 5 & 7||Harmsworth Trophy||Picton, Ontario|
|5||August 26-28||APBA Gold Cup||Reno, Nevada|
|6||September 10||Silver Cup||Detroit, Michigan|
|7||September 16-17||Presidents Cup||Washington, D.C.|
|8||September 30 - October 1||Indiana Governor's Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|25-Jun||Gale V (3)||Pat Solomie||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|23-Jul||Miss Century 21||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|06-Aug||Miss Bardahl (2)||Tom Thorning||Ted Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|06-Aug||Miss Supertest III||Victor Leghorn||Jim Thompson||Victor Leghorn||Rolls Griffon|
|27-Aug||Miss Century 21||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|10-Sep||Miss Bardahl (2)||Tom Thorning||Ted Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|17-Sep||Miss Century 21||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|01-Oct||Miss Century 21||Jack Ramsey||Ted Jones||Jack Ramsey||Rolls Merlin|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total|
|1||1959||Miss Century 21||2425|
|2||1958||Miss Bardahl (2)||1595|
|3||1958||Gale V (3)||1507|
|4||1957||Miss U.S. 1 (2)||1421|
|5||1956||Such Crust IV 2)||923|
|10||1954||Miss Supertest II||400|
|12||1958||Miss Seattle Too||354|
|14||1955||Miss Detroit (3)||253|
|20||1956||Miss Tool Crib||50|
|21||1959||Miss Supertest III||0|
|Driver High Pts.||Total|
The 1960 season was characterized by protests, bickering and delayed race results all of which turned the public off. To this was added the adverse tax decision to W.D. Gale Inc. which certainly jeopardized the viability of the advertising-business write off for racing activities.
Over the winter and into the summer ten entries from 1960 were retired for various reasons - only Miss Bardahl and Coral Reef (1962) reversed their decision. More devastation came in the loss of four race sites - Las Vegas (for obvious reasons), St. Clair, Buffalo and Chelan.
Chelan made money on their race and merchants prospered, but due to public apathy and the difficulties of the race committee in dealing with the boat people, the race was cancelled. Hell's Angels appearing on the scene also discouraged the local burghers.
In a dramatic move, the Unlimited Racing Commission invested the referee with complete control over the race. This meant that the referee's decision was final and there would be no delayed results due to protests and appeals.
After the fiasco in Las Vegas, the Gold Cup was put up for bid. Reno outbid Seattle ($25,000) and Detroit ($30,000) by putting up $35,000. A new rule required the race committee to be prepared to extend the regatta if two complete heats could not be finished within the scheduled race period.
Seattle bid only $25,000 for the Gold Cup, but put up $40,000 for a Seafair Derby. The derby involved competitive qualifying to put entries into distinct races matching boats of like capabilities.
The $40,000 prize package threw a monkey wrench into the Harmsworth Trophy scheduled on the same weekend as the Seafair Derby.
A challenge had been made by the United States since the Gale camp had secured a 3000 horsepower Packard Engine to re-power their Gale VI. When the Harmsworth Committee refused to move their date so that the Schoeniths could pursue the $40,000 in Seattle, they withdrew their challenge. Fortunately Chuck Thompson with his Presidents Cup winner Miss Detroit took up the cudgels when all other owners of Allison powered entries declined.
Miss Detroit figured to have a shot at the Miss Supertest III since she had a lap of 106.195 m.p.h. in winning the Presidents Cup which was close to her all time lap of 107.569 in the 1958 Ford Memorial. Miss Supertest III was rated at 110 m.p.h. on a three mile course which was to be used in the 1961 Harmsworth instead of the 5 mile course utilized in 1960.
Of the really top entries of 1960 only Miss Thriftway and Miss Spokane remained after Wahoo and Hawaii Kai III retired. From the next echelon Miss Seattle Too and Miss U.S. 1 continued after the plug was pulled on the Nitrogens. However 1959 National High Point and Gold Cup Champion Maverick was given to the City of Reno by Bill Waggoner, but not the money to run it in Waggoner style. Miss Supertest III was also around to defend the Harmsworth Trophy.
The water was rough for the season opener at Detroit in the Memorial Regatta. This favored the heavier-than-average Gale V and she won her first race of 1961. The only other contender of note, Miss U.S. I, had engine trouble and also lacked the affinity of Gale V for a rough course.
At the western opener in Coeur D'Alene the three top entries from Seattle appeared. Miss Thriftway was running as Miss Century 21 due to Seattle World's Fair scheduled for 1962 and she swept all three heats. Miss Seattle Too again had trouble making it past the first turn and Miss Spokane although enjoying increased financing was erratic and slow.
Miss Century 21 was favored to take the fast flight of the Seafair Derby. However Ron Musson new driver Of Miss Bardahl, late of the retired Nitrogen Too, turned the near contender of 1960 into a front runner. The Bardahl entry took the first two heats and then cruised in the final to capture the regatta. This was the first real victory for Hall of Famer Ole Bardahl as in 1958 his boat backed into winning three times.
Miss Century 21, Miss Spokane, and Miss Seattle Too all had the new found speed of the Miss Bardahl, but they were erratic -- even the usually consistent C-21 driven by Bill Muncey. The Miss U.S. 1 and Miss Reno (former Maverick) were about 5 m.p.h. off the pace.
As mentioned that same weekend the Harmsworth Trophy was contested at Picton, Ontario. The first heat was run the Saturday before the Seafair Derby with the second heat going Monday in respect to the day of rest recognized by Harmsworth rules. Both days Miss Detroit was trounced by Miss Supertest III as she could not get above 102 m.p.h. in contrast to the Canadian entry's 109 m.p.h.
Miss Century 21 driver Bill Muncey had a plan to capture the 1961 Gold Cup. It involved picking a lap speed that would win the regatta and staying there no matter what was going on around him. His plan succeeded, but was almost derailed by Miss U.S. I. The George Simon entry won heats one and three and was within 1000 feet of winning heat two when flares stopped down this heat. As it was Miss Century 21 won the race with three consecutive second places.
Seafair victor Miss Bardahl had the fastest lap of the race and in spite of engine trouble in heat one was in position to take the Cup if she topped Miss Century 21 in the final heat. Nevertheless Miss Bardahl could not get by the Willard Rhodes entry in this heat. Miss Reno, also one of the top contenders, won heat 1-A before flipping over in heat 2-A while running fourth. This was similar to what happened to her in 1959 at Washington, D.C.
Miss Spokane and Gale V were down in speed to the front runners. Spokane capsized while leading heat 2-B. Gale V although barely moving succeeded to first place and went into the final with a chance to win, but driver Bill Cantrell was drowned at the start.
Surprisingly Such Crust IV (the former wild riding 1956 Gale V) and in the same speed echelon as Miss Spokane and Gale V at Reno, could win the Gold Cup by capturing the final heat. She also could afford to run second to Miss U.S. I, which position she held for a brief period of the last heat before finishing fourth.
Miss U.S. 1 had possibly dominated the field in the 1961 Gold Cup and appeared to be headed for great things on the eastern circuit. However in the Silver Cup, the U-2 finished a poor third behind Miss Century 21 and Miss Bardahl in heat 1-A. Such Crust IV won heat 1-B as the second place Gale V made a poor start.
In heat 2-A Miss Century 21 appeared to have an easy time of it being drawn with Miss U.S. I, Miss Detroit, Miss Supertest II and Thunderbolt. Miss Bardahl had Gale V, Such Crust IV, Miss Madison and Miss Lumberville as opponents in section B.
Miss Century 21 started heat 2-A in lane two. Miss Supertest II was in lane three with Miss U.S. 1 outside. Miss Century 21 and Miss U.S. 1 led into the Belle Isle turn and backed off. Miss Supertest II did not back off and tried to shoot the gap between boats. The airborne Miss Supertest went over the cockpit of Miss U.S. I, but then flipped killing driver Bob Hayward, the Harmsworth Champion.
Since 1951 when two men were killed in Quicksilver, there had been many incidents in Unlimited Racing that could have produced fatal results, but the sport was lucky, unlike Indy car racing. There were quite a number of fatalities at Indianapolis. Hopefully the Unlimiteds' luck was not about to run out.
A week later eight Unlimiteds showed up at Washington, D.C. to run the Presidents Cup. Silver Cup winner Miss Bardahl failed in her first heat and although taking the next two did not have the points to overcome the total of the winning Miss Century 21.
C-21 won her two prelims and had a second in the final to take the regatta. The Detroit contingent -- Miss U.S. 1 and Gale V made another subpar showing.
Miss Century 21 closed out the season with her fourth victory in six races at Madison, Indiana. Miss Bardahl gave another inconsistent performance, but Gale V posted the fastest lap of the regatta. Gale V couldn't quite match Century 21 in their preliminary heat confrontation, but defeated her in the final which the Willard Rhodes entry did not have to win to annex the Indiana Governor's Cup
Gale V's best lap was 111.340 m.p.h. which compares favorably with C-21's fastest at 112.500 in winning the Seafair Derby final. Miss Bardahl, Miss Spokane and Miss Seattle Too all did 111 m.p.h. at this regatta. Thus 1962 shaped up as being a competitive year.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]