1968 Presidents Cup

Gardner's Gamble Wins on Potomac

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Combative Warner Gardner of Bay City, Mich., gambling as he has been much of his life, shrewdly guided Miss Eagle Electric to victory yesterday in the Presidents Cup Regatta on the Potomac River.

With a first place in an elimination heat Saturday, another yesterday and then second in the final, he amassed 1,000 points to win the 37th running of the regatta.

Following in the point reckoning were My Gypsy, driven by Tommy Fults of Walnut Creek, Calif., 925; Miss U.S., piloted by Bill Muncey from Seattle, 850; Miss Bardahl, driven by Billy Schumacher of Seattle, 700, and Harrah's Club, handled by Jim McCormick of Owensboro, Ky., 469.

Gardner's day began early. With a second-place finish to Miss Budweiser Saturday, he and his crew decided to take a chance and change an engine for yesterday's elimination heat. Only one change is allowed and most boats figure on making them prior to the third and final heat.

They also decided to use an exotic fuel mixture which could have proved unwise, because the humidity was playing havoc with carburetion.

The risk-taking did not end there. Gardner faced Miss Bardahl, the present high-point leader and regatta favorite, elimination Heat 2-B. Lining up for the start, Schumacher stuck Bardahl in the choice inside lane.

Gardner had to settle for the center of the straightaway, where the water was rougher and the open-throttle chase to the first turn more perilous. He gambled again, and won.

He careened down the backstretch with Bardahl close astern and with a delicate maneuver in the second turn of the first lap, forced Schumacher into the outside spot.

But the gritty driver of the checkerboard-colored Miss Bardahl was not going to be put off. He regained the lead on the backstretch of the third lap, but Gardner struck back and moved in front in the second turn. He stayed there and won by a sparse eight seconds.

Earlier, in Heat 2-A, Muncey raced to victory after fighting off the advances of Bill Sterett of Owensboro, Ky., in Miss Budweiser. He led by only four seconds after the second lap but Budweiser soon blew its supercharger and failed to finish. For the last three of the six laps, Muncey had to contend with an unbolted seat and was almost asphyxiated when he returned to the pits.

For the final heat, it was winner-take-all for Miss Bardahl and Miss Eagle Electric, both with 700 points, and Miss U.S. with 625, 400 points going to the victor.

The crowd of 25,000 rose to its feet to watch a sudden intruder, My Gypsy, lead the pack out of the first turn. But Gardner, soaring dangerously down the backstretch, suddenly popped into the lead.

Miss Bardahl moved from third to second in the second lap and raced after Gardner. Schumacher pulled alongside in the third lap but then his engine blew up, sending flames and smoke over most of the boat. With Bardahl out, Gardner eased back, only to be challenged by Fults and My Gypsy, who won the heat by 2.5 seconds.

Gardner, 52, closed the gap on Bardahl in high point standings, with 5,900 points to Schumacher's 6,300.

Final Heat

My Gypsy, Detroit, Tommy Fults; 97.437; Eagle Electric, (Spokane), Warner Gardner; Miss U.S., (Seattle), Bill Muncey; Miss Bardahl, (Seattle), Billy Schumacher, did not finish; Harrah's Club, (Lake Tahoe, Nev.), Jim McCormick, did not finish in the required time.

Heat 2-A

Miss U.S., 96.982; Harrah's Club; Savair's Mist, (Detroit), Walt Kade; Miss Budweiser, (Owensboro, Ky.) Bill Sterett; and Smirnoff, (Dayton, Ohio), Dean Chenoweth, developed trouble and did not finish.

Heat 2-B

Eagle Electric; 102.040; Miss Bardahl; My Gypsy; Atlas Van Lines, (Everett, Wash.), Bob Miller; Gale's Roostertail, (Detroit), Jerry Schoenith.

* * *

Consolation Heat

Gale's Roostertail, 87.662; Atlas Van Lines; Savair's did not finish in the required time; Miss Budweiser and Smirnoff did not start.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 26, 1968)