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

Gold Cup Stays at Lake George

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

For at least one more year, the famous Gold Cup, symbol of speed and endurance on the water, will remain in the custody of Geo. Reis at Lake George. In a thrilling contest on America's most beautiful inland lake, six great Gold Cup boats fought a battle for possession of this trophy. Three heats of thirty miles each are called for by the rules, all to be run in a single day, and August fourth was the day this year. This race is not only a contest of speed; endurance is of even more importance. The ability to make a short dash of a few miles at high speed, must be matched by the equally important ability to run at speed for thirty long miles. In many a previous race this has been brought out most forcefully. Many boats have started with a rush and then had to abandon the race in the first or perhaps second heat when the engine breathed its last. The same thing held true in this contest. Advance opinion seemed to favor the chances of Ethyl-Ruth, John B. Shibe's new boat, and Hornet, Aaron De Roy's craft, formerly Delphine VI. Both seemed to be very fast, much faster than the rest of the contenders. Ethyl-Ruth came out for the first heat about a minute after the rest of the fleet had already started. She set out after them at a terrific clip and in about a lap and a half was beginning to overtake those ahead. Unfortunately she fell by the wayside, slowed up, and stopped, being towed in later. She never came out again and was apparently damaged internally. Hornet did a bit better. During the first heat, after El Lagarto had started well ahead of the fleet, but not the gun, Hornet pushed her to the limit in an effort to overtake her. She was not quite fast enough to overtake El Lagarto which finished a scant half minute ahead. El Lagarto's speed was 57.88 m.p.h. while Hornet averaged 57.05. Best laps for each were 60 and 58.82 miles respectively.

An hour and a half later, the second heat was called and this time Hornet got out in front at the start closely followed by El Lagarto. For four or five laps El Lagarto hung right behind pressing Hornet so that Ben Hill was not able to ease up on his throttle for an instant. This heat was by far the fastest in the race as they averaged between 61 and 62 miles for the first few laps. During the fifth lap, the pressure was beginning to tell on Hornet for El Lagarto caught her and assumed the lead. Hornet lost speed during the remainder of the lap and finally pulled into the docks and stopped. Bill Horn then assumed second place, while Reis safely in front slowed down and remained just far enough ahead of Delphine IV to secure the first place. During this heat Scotty II got into difficulties when a connecting rod let go and put the engine out of business for the rest of the race. Three out of the original six starters had now dropped out leaving only three to finish the second heat. This was won by El Lagarto, with Delphine IV second and Imp in third place. The point score now stood at 800 for El Lagarto, 685 for Delphine, 613 for Imp, 361 for Hornet, and 256 for Scotty.

The third heat which would decide the status of the Gold Cup was soon to be started and the mechanics working on Hornet succeeded in getting her in running shape so that she started with the other three still in the race. Geo. Reis feeling secure in the ultimate victory, since it was merely necessary for his boat to finish the thirty miles in order to earn enough points to give him the race, was content to coast around in last place and allow the others to battle for first place. This soon developed into a duel between Delphine IV and Hornet with Hornet going into the lead during the second lap. The two boats maintained their relative positions and during the sixth lap Hornet's previous difficulties began to reappear and she slowed down allowing Delphine to take the lead again. Imp and El Lagarto followed along. Hornet dropped out during the sixth lap and this again left only three boats in the running. A strange coincidence was noticed; these three were all old Gold Cup campaigners and had all at one time or another won the Gold Cup in former years. Imp, then owned by Richard F. Hoyt, won in 1929, Delphine IV when owned by Horace Dodge won in 1932, and El Lagarto won in 1933 and was about to repeat in 1934.

The finish of the heat found Delphine IV in the lead, Imp in second place and El Lagarto, safe in third place. Points earned in the three heats totaled as follows: El Lagarto 1,124, Delphine IV 1,085, Imp 974, and Hornet 361. Scotty had only 256 earned in the first heat and Ethyl-Ruth had none at all. Average speeds for the full race of 90 miles were Delphine IV, 57.04 m.p.h.; El Lagarto, 54.99 m.p.h., and Imp, 54.59 m.p.h.

The first day's program was filled in by outboard events in classes A and C, both amateur and professional. The Gold Cup course of 2˝ miles was used by the large classes and a shorter 1⅔ mile course was laid out for the outboard events. While the weather conditions for the larger Gold Cup boats were passably smooth, the outboards found the water just a little too rough for fast going and several suffered damage to boats and equipment on this account. All outboard events were scheduled for two five mile heats in each class.

In the first heat of Class A, division 1, nine boats started. The event quickly developed into a duel between Clinton Ferguson and Gar Wood, Jr. Young Gar was first over the line at the start and held his lead for a lap when Ferguson passed him to win at a speed of a shade over 35 miles. Gar Jr. was dose behind him a second or two later. The second heat later in the afternoon brought out only six starters of whom five finished. It was to some extent a repetition of the first heat with Ferguson getting off to a better start and holding his lead for the entire race. Young Gar was again second. The time was slightly slower and the speed 34.75 m.p.h. Tom Tyson who had come all the way from Stevens Engineering camp had hard luck in both heats. His motor stopped just after the start and before he got it running again the field was half way around the course.

In the professional group of Class A, seven drivers started in the first heat; only five finished, however. Bob Meyer of Chicago had no difficulty in taking the heat in the slow time of 9:43, a speed of 30.8 m.p.h. The lake was quite rough during this heat and was responsible for the slow speed and the dropping out of those who did not finish. In this heat Miss Maryland Codd turned over and was towed in. The second heat brought out only four survivors and was again won by Bob Meyer, His speed this time was better as the breeze had died down somewhat and he finished the five miles in 8:37 2/5 at a speed of 34.79 m.p.h. Ted Roberts and Warren Lucas were tied in points for second place and the place went to Roberts by reason of his better elapsed time.

The events for Class C were more popular; twelve boats crossed the line in the first heat of Division I. Sam Crooks and Lewis Carlisle, old rivals in this class, had a thrilling battle for four of the five miles. Crooks was able to hold the lead for the better part of the heat but Carlisle finally passed him to win in 6:47 at a speed of 44.23 m.p.h. Crooks got into difficulties during the last lap so that Lew Franco was able to take second place with Chart Johnson in third. The second heat brought eleven boats, but this time Franco took the lead right after the start and was never headed. The lake was much quieter and the speed was pushed up to 46.27 miles per hour. Chart Johnson gained second place and Lewis Carlisle third. On points the winners were Franco 700, Carlisle 625, and Johnson 525.

The professional drivers in Class C were not so numerous, only eight starting in the first heat and five in the second. Bob Heape of Pittsburgh was the winner of the first heat with Herman Stewart second, and Fred Jacoby third. The time was 6:38 3/5 or a speed of 45.16 m.p.h. In the second heat Jacoby took the lead early in the race and was followed by Cab Waller. Speeds were considerably faster; the time 6:23, practically 47 m.p.h., was the fastest outboard speed of the regatta. The final standing in the class gave Jacoby 625 points, Heape 569, and Stewart 525.

This concluded the events of the first day’s program and the second day had for its principal feature a race for single-engined boats for the Governor Lehman trophy. It had been hoped that the Gold Cup boats would take part in this event but only one appeared at the start of the first heat. This was Delphine IV driven by Bill Horn and he reported that the leaping of his boat was too much for him. The three Gold Cup heats of the previous day had tired him out to such an extent that he withdrew and did not take part in the second and third heats. Among the contenders in the first heat was Betty V, a hydroplane owned by Melvin Crook and built in the fashion of Miss Britain, the Harmsworth contender. She is powered with a 12-cylinder Packard motor and is reported to have done as much as 73 m.p.h. in unofficial tests. Others were Delphine IV, Bill Horn's Gold Cup boat, a Dodge runabout owned by Senator F. W. Kavanaugh and driven by George Reis, and two small Chris-Craft runabouts, owned by Jack Dunn, a local dealer. Neither of these runabouts had a number and were apparently identical except for Jack's name in large size on one of them. The scorers, in order to distinguish one from the other, christened Jack's boat Rare Dunn and the other which later turned out to be Marilyn, Well Dunn. These names, adopted simply as a matter of convenience, were broadcast and used in all the newspaper reports. They serve to emphasize the difficulties of scorers and officials in keeping track of contestants in a complicated race where positions at the end of each lap are important in scoring the result correctly. Many of the outboard boats also were very careless concerning their numbers. The distance between the judges' dock and the course was great and even with the help of very powerful binoculars it was impossible to read many of the numbers. The score sheets show frequent blank spaces and corrections as a result of this difficulty with numbers.

During the second heat the absence of Delphine resulted in a procession which was duplicated almost exactly in the third heat. Betty V loafed along in the lead at about half speed, she showed only 42.9 miles and 41.9 in the two heats, just about fast enough to keep ahead of Chief. The two small runabouts followed far behind at 32 and 33 m.p.h. The final standing was Betty V, 1200 points, Chief, 825 points, and Miss Marilyn, 619 points, and Betty V was accordingly awarded the Lehman trophy.

A brisk westerly wind, not so apparent to those on shore but decidedly uncomfortable out on the lake made the water quite rough. In fact it was entirely too severe for the outboards. Some ventured out to try the conditions and reported that it was entirely too rough for safety. Accordingly, the outboard program was postponed for several hours and then as the lake showed no signs of quieting down for a further period. Since it was getting late in the day, many of the spectators had left, the decision was finally made to start the outboard program at 5:30 and carry it through irrespective of weather conditions.

The first outboard event started late in the after-noon was for amateur drivers in Class B—eight started but only six were able to finish. Robert Brown had the best of the first lap but was soon passed by Sam Crooks who won in 7:45 (38.7 m.p.h.) with Brown in second place.

The first heat of the professional division in Class B brought out only five boats of which one did not finish. Bob Meyer and Cab Walier fought it out in the first lap with Walier taking the lead in the second. He finished in first place only a second and a half ahead of Meyer, at a speed of 40.7 miles.

The second heat of B-1 was next and the usual starting signals were made but no boats appeared. The Class B drivers declined to run the second heat claiming the lake was too rough. A long controversy was settled finally by awarding the race to the winners in the first heat. It was ruled that all drivers who declined to run in the second heat could not compete in the Class F open race, the last event on the program. This naturally cut down the competitors in this class.

Six boats started on time in the first heat of F open with Alex Deemer starting late; he had difficulties and did not finish the first lap. Walter Meloon took the lead in the second lap and won in 7:10 at 41.86 m.p.h. with J. Plunkitt second. The second heat brought out only four boats and Meloon was never headed throughout the five miles. This heat was 20 seconds faster than the first as Chart Johnson was pressing hard in second place. The time was 6:50, speed 43.9 m.p.h. Meloon had 800 points, Plunkitt 469 and Johnson the same. The tie went to Johnson on account of his faster elapsed time.

The regatta at Lake George was conducted by the Lake George Club with C. Everett Bacon as chairman of the race committee. Dr. Edwin B. Jenks served as secretary and between them they handled the multitudinous details of the regatta in most excellent fashion. They were assisted in the details of running the races by a number of members of the Regatta Circuit Riders Club and officials of the American Power Boat Association.

The complete summaries follow [note: outboard summaries not reprinted here —LF]:

(Three Heats of 30 Miles Each)


——— Time ———

Final Position

1st heat

2d heat

3rd heat

El Lagarto, George Reis, Lake George





Delphine IV, Wm. Horn, Hampton





Imp, J. Rutherfurd, Palm Beach





Hornet, B. Hill, Detroit





Scotty II, S. Dunsford, Winnipesaukee





Ethyl-Ruth IV, A. Pugh. Delaware River





Heat Winner's Speed

57.88 mph

58.06 mph




Governor Lehman Trophy
(Three Heats of 30 Miles Each)



——— Time ———

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 ???, September 1934, pp.20-23, 64)

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