1938 Pacific Motor Boat Trophy
Newport Bay, CA, November 6, 1938
El Torbellino II Wins the Pacific Motor Boat Trophy
El Torbellino II,
El Torbellino II, Arthur L. Bobrick's veteran Gold Cup racer piloted by Don Steans with mechanic Bill Zartman, earned her reward for consistency by piling up a total of 700 points, capturing the Pacific Motor Boat trophy in the sixth annual competition for the West Coast's senior speed trophy held on Newport Bay, Sunday, November 6.
Against representative entries from Pacific Coast points, El Torbellino battered her way over a corrugated 45-mile course swept by a 50-mile dust-laden Santanas that taxed the patience and endurance of crews, officials and thousands of spectators lining the upper channel course.
The rough going was eloquently emphasized by the "casualty" list. Not one of the nine entries finishing the three 15-mile heats. It was really more of an engine endurance test than one of boat competition because at no time could real speed be built up on the lumpy course, the clouds of spray and dust frequently completely obscuring the pilots' vision.
Miss Golden Gate, Oakland, Don Arena's two-time winner of the trophy and favorite to add a third to her string, made a brave showing by easily taking the first heat, only to blow up while in the lead in the second lap of the second heat when the cylinder block parted company with its crank case, putting her permanently out of the running.
Rigor Mortis, Frank Wiley's 225-class entry from Selma, piloted by Kenny Harmon, placed second with 569 points; third with 525, was Lou Fageol's So Long; Miss Golden Gate was fourth with 400 points. Turbulent air conditions made good speeds impossible and none came near the 54.88 mph average of Miss Golden Gate in last year's event.
John Callahan, driving the local entry, Helen Torcher, and his mechanic, Del Crawford of Pasadena, were both injured when while speeding along the Lido Isle shore on the last lap of the first heat, the port steering cable parted, throwing the craft into a complete barrel roll.
Good-luck lady rode with Don Steans in El Torbellino, when after lapping Verbeck-Berry manned Firecracker in the finale, discovery was made that her flywheel fitted its shaft like a fisherman's gum boot on a nigger baby. A few yards farther and the runner-up, Wiley's Rigor Mortis, might have ridden into his hometown with the Pacific Motor Boat trophy, ready to add his name to the engraved list of winners.
Lou Fageol's third-place winner, recently equipped with Fageol's specially designed high-speed engine, hit a definite streak of hard luck by sinking near the Coast Highway shore immediately after completion of the second heat in close competition with Rigor Mortis, the only other boat to finish the heat.
A sidelight that added interest to the day wars the two-heat event staged for the 135-class won by Ronald Batty's Spark of San Diego who shared firsts and seconds with the local pride, Boy McCullough's Yankee Doodle of Long Beach, piloted by Clay Smith.
The Pacific Motor Boat perpetual trophy, symbolic of the championship of the Pacific Coast, competed for under the APBA rules for 135 cubic inch hydroplanes, is held in deed of gift by the California Yacht Club under whose auspices the trophy is annually competed for. As in previous years, the commodore for 1938, Art C. Stewart, designated Charles H. Pansing to take charge of the event as operating chairman. Under Pansing's excellent supervision based on his many years of regatta experience, the competition was run off in a very satisfactory manner, the only obstacle being the unusually rough water which prohibited a larger number of boats from competing and causing damage to all boats that did participate. Commodore Walter E. Olson of the Los Angeles Speedboat Association, acted in his usual capacity as chairman of the officiating committee, also serving as starter. Dr. Lee C. Demuning served as referee; Bud Collins as measurer and pit manager; Bob Reed, chief timer; Wally Buckingham, chief scorer; surveyor, A. L. Patterson; course patrol, Harbormaster Thomas Bouchey, Commodore Wes Smith, Long Beach Yacht Club and M. S. Robinson; course and markers were in charge of L. G. Swales and Kent Hitchcock. Other officials included Commodore Kline of the Southern California Outboard Association and Herb Hadfield who was in charge of the timing clock. C. King Brugman, senior vice president of the American Power Boat Association, was general chairman of the event.
(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, December 1938, pp.14-15)
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