1965 APBA Gold Cup

Miss Bardahl Wins Third Gold Cup

by Mel Crook

Ron Musson drove the defending Miss Bardahl to a close victory in the 57th running of the Gold Cup race at Seattle's Lake Washington on Aug. 8, becoming the first driver to post three consecutive wins of the trophy since the late George Reis turned the trick 30 years earlier. Her hull out of shape as a result of being dropped by a crane at an early-season race, Ole Bardahl's craft won the Cup by her consistency, leaving record-setting and fastest-contest honors to swifter but less steady performers.

Drawn for heat 1-A were Miss Exide, driven by Bill Brown at a record qualifying speed of 120.356 m.p.h.; Miss Madison, Buddy Byers, 115.139; Miss U.S. 5, Roy Duby, 114.407; Mariner Too, Warner Gardner, 111.340; Gale's Roostertail, Jerry Schoenith, 111.187 and Tahoe Miss, Chuck Thompson, 111.03 5.

Mariner showed the way over the starting line and through the first turn. Exide charged up the backstretch after the leader with Tahoe Miss running a close third. Gardner was able to keep Mariner in front until the first turn of the second lap when Brow steered Exide into a lead she was to hold to the finish. Tahoe moved into second spot shortly thereafter. Mariner slowed and stopped on the third circuit while Thompson pressed Tahoe Miss to the point where she became airborne, yet slowly fell farther behind Exide. Brow led by ten seconds at the end of 15 miles, his 112.172 average topping by almost three miles the former record set two years earlier by the same Miss Bardahl.

Heat 1B brought together Miss Bardahl which Ron Musson had qualified at 113.524 m.p.h.; Notre Dame, Rex Manchester, 112.971; Miss Smirnoff, Bill Cantrell, 109.164; Such Crust, qualified by Bill Muncey, driven by Red Loomis, 108.871; Miss Lapeer, Norm Evans, 109.238 and Savair's Mist, Walter Kade, 108.724.

Cantrell in Smirnoff had the best of the start with favored Notre Dame pocketed in fifth position. Smirnoff's advantage was short-lived as Bardahl roared to the fore out of the first turn and Lapeer slipped inside Cantrell's craft at the entrance buoy of the second turn. Shortly thereafter Notre Dame took over third but was momentarily dissuaded from charging by a substantial washing from Lapeer's roostertail. Notre Dame moved into second spot behind Bardahl during the second circuit, leaving Smirnoff and Lapeer to stage a close race for third and fourth. Cantrell closed on Evans on the fourth backstretch and took the inside on the north turn. As they emerged from the turn Lapeer hooked in Smirnoff's wake and lost much valuable time in recovering. Bardahl's 108.651 average for the heat brought her home 17 sec. ahead of Notre Dame.

The redraw established a 2A field consisting of Miss Exide, Notre Dame, Miss Lapeer, Miss U.S., Gale's Roostertail and Such Crust. Corning out of the north turn for their run to the start, Lapeer suddenly veered in front of U.S. Despite Duby's frantic efforts to slow U.S., her port sponson ran over Lapeer's after deck and cockpit, smashing her windshield. Evans was thrown aside with only a bruised shoulder and managed to pilot his sinking boat to the pits. U.S., despite a badly smashed port sponson, made a belated start behind Miss Exide and Notre Dame. Exide led through the first turn at which point she commenced losing power and Notre Dame took the top position. With a safe lead already established, Manchester nearly flipped on the next turn when his boat hooked in the choppy water. From that point Notre Dame took it easy to finish at a 100.037 average, with Such Crust taking a surprising second, the damaged U.S. third and the ailing Exide fourth.

A revival of brisk competition was promised as Bardahl, Tahoe, Mariner, Madison, Smirnoff and Savair's Mist appeared for heat 2B. Tahoe Miss, seemingly late in her approach for the start, came through the fleet at high speed and hit the line first, in the inside lane. Entering the first backstretch, Bardahl was in the second spot, but the defending craft fell farther and farther behind the swift Tahoe Miss. On the second backstretch Miss Madison made a determined but unsuccessful bid to overhaul Bardahl while Mariner mounted a fruitless attempt to snatch fourth from Smirnoff. On the second turn of the third round she succeeded. Tahoe led the pack until the fourth backstretch when her enormous turbocharger exploded. She coasted home behind the eventual winner who averaged 107.355 for the heat. Meanwhile, Cantrell pushed Smirnoff ahead of Mariner on the first turn of the final lap and the two continued the circuit in a fast, close battle that saw Mariner beat her antagonist by less than a boat length.

After the third draw Notre Dame, Madison, Smirnoff, U.S., Such Crust and Savair's Mist joined for heat 3A. This time Cantrell was over first, on the inside, and fended off the rest of the pack until the end of the second lap where Notre Dame moved into the lead. On the next turn Smirnoff was also passed by Madison. To add to his troubles, Cantrell was banged violently around the cockpit as Smirnoff careened at the entrance of the north turn on the fourth lap. Notre Dame came on to win with a 107.057 heat speed after staving off a challenge from Miss Madison through the final turn.

Heat 3B brought together Exide, Tahoe, Bardahl, Mariner, Roostertail and Budweiser (replacing the disabled Lapeer). In a fast, close start Mariner led the pack over before the clock reached zero, with only Exide being ruled a legal starter. Exide was closely pressed by Bardahl throughout the first two laps, but she never was headed and finished the heat with a 109.223 average. Bardahl was second, and Tahoe third. The order of finish was exactly as it would have been had the five clock jumpers not been compelled to run an extra lap. The illegal boats of course suffered an elapsed time penalty resulting from the extra three miles but elapsed time was not to figure in the final scoring.

The six highest point winners through the first six sections, and thus eligible to compete in heat four, were Bardahl, with 1,100 points, Notre Dame -1,100; Exide-969; Tahoe-825; Madison-750 and U.S. 5-619.

The start of heat 4 found Exide on the pole and leading Notre Dame and Bardahl. In that order they were running midway through the backstretch when Exide emitted a loud boom and fire burst from the forward end of the engine. Brow steered the boat into the infield where the flames rose angrily and, to the consternation of many spectators, the race was allowed to continue. Notre Dame stretched her lead over Bardahl to more than 100 yds. before the race was stopped when the two leaders finished their second lap. After a long battle by a Seattle fire boat and three Coast Guard 40-footers, the fire was subdued and the charred remains of Exide towed to the pits.

With Exide out of the running, Such Crust was moved into the rerun of heat 4. Rex Manchester, who had seemed a sure Gold Cup winner before fire caused the stoppage of the heat, made a third place start behind Bardahl and Miss Madison. And that late start by Notre Dame virtually assured victory for Musson and Bardahl. Manchester pushed Notre Dame into a challenging position on several occasions throughout the first two laps, but Bardahl's greater acceleration out of the turns warded off these threats. Musson averaged 110.655 for that final 15-miler and led Notre Dame by 14 seconds.

Final point and money winnings:

(Reprinted from Yachting, September 1965, pp.162-3)