1934 APBA Gold Cup
Lake George, New York, August 4-5, 1934

El Lagarto Again Wins Gold Cup
Defending Boat Holds Trophy for Lake George
Betty V Wins Governor Lehman Trophy

bullet Gold Cup Class Revisited : 1934
bullet George Reis Runs Away With The Gold Cup
bullet Gold Cup Stays at Lake George
bullet El Lagarto Wins Gold Cup on Lake George
bullet El Lagarto Again Wins Gold Cup
bullet El Lagarto Keeps the Cup

Commercialization of the sport of motor boat racing reached its zenith at Bolton Landing on Lake George this year when a vain attempt was made to charge admissions to see boat races. As a result possibly twelve or fifteen hundred persons actually managed to get close enough to see the race instead of the ten to fifteen thousand that might have seen it. It never has worked and it never will. As a result much of the color and life of the Gold Cup was lost and people who had come miles to witness the events turned homeward in disgust. The officers of the Lake George Club assure us that the experiment will not be repeated another year and that next year the events will he held off the club itself instead of off the extensive grounds of one of the 'exclusive' hotels.

There were redeeming features which came to the notice of the chosen few after they had cooled off sufficiently to be able to observe them. The water is excellent for racing and the scenery is magnificent. The committee in charge, though, was remiss in one major point which could easily have made the regatta an outstanding event. This is in the matter of runabout racing. The lake probably has 200 to 500 runabouts of different types and vintages, yet no attempt was made to race these boats. Actually Lake George has a chance to put on the biggest runabout races in the country if the affair were handled properly, but instead a series of three heats for the Gold Cup and Governor Lehman Trophy constituted the rain events in two days of racing, with some very thinly attended outboard races for the various classes. Somewhow or other, the outboards did not fit into the scenery of Lake George as it is far too large a body of water for them to begin with and there are too many chances of postponement due to weather conditions.

This happened on the second day of racing with the result that by the time the class F race started, practically all of the slim crowd had left.

But to get down to business: George Reis drove his ancient leaping lizard, El Lagarto, to victory by the easiest possible route. His only really good competitor, Aaron De Roy's Hornet, driven by Benny Hill, was unable to finish and El Lagarto jogged on to an easy victory.

Bill Horn's original Leaping Lena, otherwise known as Delphine IV, could not keep up with the others at all and the rest of the field was outclassed entirely. The only close race was for last place, between Imp and Scotty II.

The first heat was started at one o'clock on August 4 with five Gold Cup class boats across the line. Bill Horn took the lead at once but when they came out of the lower turn Reis' boat was in the lead and it was not long before Benny Hill in Hornet was running second. Imp ran fourth and Scotty II was fifth. It could hardly be called an exciting race but closely resembled a parade for the entire thirty miles.

El Lagarto won easily with an average speed of 57.8 miles an hour. Hornet was second with an average of 57 miles an hour and Delphine IV was third with a speed of 56.3 miles an hour. Imp was next with the much slower speed of 53.5 miles an hour and Scotty finished with an average of 53.2 miles an hour. El Lagarto made the fastest lap at the rate of 60 miles an hour flat.

The second heat was the best race of the entire series and Dick Bowers, amateur mechanic for the defender, El Lagarto, deliberately timed the start for his driver, George Reis, so that his boat was over the line in last position. The others had a perfect start, with Hornet immediately in the lead. As usual, when the welter of spray had subsided at the first turn, El Lagarto had passed most of them and was pushing Hornet closely for the lead. This was a real thrill for the small crowd of spectators ashore who were all for the defending boat. For a time it looked as if Reis could not catch the flying Hornet which was, incidentally, the best running boat of the lot. It was during the second lap that Hornet showed what she could really do when Hill pushed her up to 61.8 miles an hour, but El Lagarto was pressing her all the time to the tune of 61.6 miles an hour. The others were dropping further and further astern and if the pace had continued, certainly Scotty II and Imp would have been lapped. It was apparent, though, on the third lap, that Hornet could not stand the hot pace and slowly but surely El Lagarto pulled up on her. At last they were even and the spectators went wild as the local boat went into the lead. Hornet continued the lap but was forced out soon after.

George Reis then proceeded to slow up in order to save his boat and engine and in order to keep from lapping the tail-enders. His average speed for the second heat of thirty miles was 58 miles an hour. Bill Horn was second with an average of 57 miles an hour and Imp third with 56 miles an hour. Scotty II dropped out but hung up a fast lap to the tune of 58.4 miles an hour.

In passing it is interesting to note the two schools of thought that govern these Gold Cup boats. The bottoms of both Delphine IV and Hornet were designed by Walter Laveau of the Dodge Boat Company and yet the drivers of these boats have entirely different ideas. Delphine is rightly termed Leaping Lena for she jumps clear of the water at speed, sails through the air for fifty or so feet and then plops down with a big splash. This performance is repeated all of the time she is in motion and her wake is a series of "plops" all the way around the course. On the other hand, Hornet runs perfectly smoothly, on even keel, with the entire boat just touching the water. Delphine could be made to run the same way, but her driver, Bill Horn, likes her spectacular motion, where Benny Hill, the driver of Hornet, likes to get to the finish in the fastest possible time. El Lagarto is a sort of cross between the two. She leaps a little and then settles down to go places, then she leaps again and so on. Imp sticks too closely to the water and does not rise sufficiently to get the utmost in speed. Scotty II behaves in about the same way. It's all a matter of weight distribution coupled with a well designed bottom.

The third heat finally came up and, as usual, with two firsts under her belt, El Lagarto just coasted around. Hornet started again in this race, but Reis refused to extend his boat in chasing her as Hornet could never amass enough points to get anywhere near the Gold Cup. Furthermore, Hornet could not finish this race, her temperamental engine again giving out before the race was over. With Hornet out of it, the race was just a parade hardly worth watching. Barring accidents, El Lagarto simply had to finish in order to win on points.

At the finish Delphine IV was first with an average of 56.9 miles an hour. Imp second at 54.1 miles and El Lagarto third with 49 miles an hour. The total points for the various boats were: El Lagarto 1,124, Delphine IV 1,085, Imp 974, Hornet 361, Scotty II 256.

Thus the Gold Cup remains at Lake George another year where it will be raced for next August. It was hardly a spectacle except when Hornet and El Lagarto were fighting it out. The point scoring system does not produce fast racing in the third heat, as a rule, and as a rule change making the fastest average time the winner would be much more to the point. If such had been the case this year, El Lagarto would have been forced to run much faster in the third heat, for as it stands, Delphine IV made the fastest average time for the total race of ninety miles. As it stands now, the boats are too far apart in speed and. the real fast ones are not reliable. The entire Gold Cup rules should be redrawn to make better racing and a better class and this very thing may be done this fall.

Governor Lehman Trophy

On the second day of racing the Governor Lehman Trophy was the main event. It was blowing hard from the northwest and the lake was too choppy for the outboard races scheduled. The paid spectators had dwindled to a mere handful, probably not more than 100, when the first gun went off at one o'clock. It was a sorry spectacle that they had paid to see for the race was over before it started. The Lehman Trophy is apparently open to anything short of a seaplane and in the first heat we find Delphine IV leaping her way around the course just astern of Mel Crook's new Betty V, a new hydroplane with several hundred horsepower tucked away under her aluminum hood. Betty V has done 75 miles an hour on the straightaway and you can well imagine how much chance George Reis had driving the big Dodge runabout Chief II and also the two little 18 foot Chris-Crafts which Jack Dunn had brought all the way from Florida to race. Needless to say Betty V was never extended and despite a late start she soon passed Bill Horn and the others and wound up with an average speed of 53.4 miles an hour.

In the second heat—when the crowd had dwindled still more—Betty V was hardly run fast enough to keep her plugs clear. Bill Horn had not bothered to start with Delphine and so Mel Crook only had to go fast enough to stay ahead of Chief II, which was no effort at all. His average speed was only 42.8 miles an hour. The third heat was even worse with an average speed of 41.9 miles an hour. Chief II was second in the final standing. All of the spectators would have enjoyed seeing Betty V opened up a little, but her driver was perfectly right in not pushing her with a full racing schedule ahead and the possibility of a crack-up staring him in the face. It is too bad that some more of the Gold Cup boats could
not have entered this event.

The outboards came in for races on both the first and second days with their usual noise and. smell of burning high explosive used for fuel. Clinton Ferguson won both heats in class A. amateur with his highest speed in the first heat when he averaged 35.1 miles an hour. In the professional end of the same class, Bob Meyer of Chicago won both heats with his highest average in the second heat of 34.7 miles.

Governor Lehman Trophy
(Three Heats of 30 Miles Each)




Final Position

1st heat

2nd heat


Betty V

Melvin Crook





Chief II

George Reis





Miss Marilyn

Alex McFee





Well Dunn

Jack Dunn





Delphine IV

William Horn





Heat Winner's Speed

53.41 mph

42.88 mph

41.96 mph


(Reprinted from The Rudder, September 1934, pp.17-19)

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