1948 Will Witness Fall of All Major Powerboat Records, Noted Racer Believes
By Guy Lombardo, Gold cup Record Holder
I'm not clairvoyant. But it's my guess that every important Gold Cup class speedboat record in the books will be smashed during 1948. that includes my two Gold Cup records of 70.88 mph for the 30-mile heat and 68.07 mph for the 90-mile event; Gar Wood's 124.92 mph American mile-straightaway mark, and possibly Sir Malcolm Campbell's world mile-straightaway record of 141.72 mph.
The Allison engine is the reason. In last year's races it proved its worthiness and superiority over all other racing powerplants, and the only reason new records weren't set was at none of the Allison-powered boats except for Miss Great Lakes had the proper hull design. Miss Great Lakes encountered other difficulties during the season.
So, as soon as the motor-boat show closes I will start installing an Allison with the new two-and-a-half to one overdrive gearbox in Tempo VI, an make necessary changes in gas tanks to allow me to carry twice as much fuel as last year. The weight of the boat will remain unchanged for the Zumbach-Miller, despite its lower horsepower and smaller size, actually weighs more than the Allison. The difference in added fuel weight will be exactly balanced by the loss in engine weight.
Tempo VI should be ready by the end of February. The last two weeks in March I'll take it to Miami and, if everything proves O.K., will try for Gar Wood's record if the water conditions are right. If successful in the attempt, I may go after Sir Malcolm's record later in the summer.
If there is a race in Miami while I'm there, I'll enter it. In July, I will race for the Ford Memorial Trophy in Detroit. The I plan to enter the Cambridge, Md., Regatta the first week-end in August; the gold Cup in Detroit on Labor Day and the President's Cup in Washington in mid-September.
The big question in 1948 is, "Who will have the hull design best able to utilize the 1,350 hp of the Allison which makes a speed of 150 mph theoretically possible?"
I'm convinced the combination of Tempo VI and an Allison should be the nearest thing to perfect. Right now there is no better hull around. The boat rides smoothly and is safe at high speeds. With "racing luck" I feel optimistic that I'll win the important races and set a few of those new records which of a certainty will be set this year.
Miss Great Lakes should be the boat I'll have to beat. Since its engine was shoved back a foot it rides beautifully at high speeds. When I drove it in Washington last year Miss Great Lakes was doing about 115 mph and appeared to just be getting under way at the time the propeller tore loose, Most certainly Miss Great Lakes is capable of cracking records.
The Dossins, I've heard, are discarding the Miss Peps hull used last year, and are having a new one built which could utilized the Allison to greater advantage. Clell Perry, winner of the Gold Cup in 1937, will design and drive it. Perry has unusual ideas on design. It is impossible to say how a new boat will behave until you actually see it run.
In addition to Tempo VI, Miss Great Lakes and the Dossin brothers' new boat -- all powered by Allisons -- we've been hearing of two Allison-powered boats being built in California, two in Chicago, and two in New York, any one of which might turn out to be the boat of the year.
All in all, 1948 shapes up as speedboating's greatest and fastest year so for. Participant interest appears at an all-time high, ( In addition to the above-mentioned craft, I've heard of at least a dozen other Gold Cup class boats which are on the drawing boards.) Spectator interest this year will undoubtedly prove to be higher even than last year, when the crowds at races were tremendous.
And why not? I, for one, know of no more exciting and thrilling sport, both to compete in and watch.
(Reprinted from the New York Times January 11, 1948)
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