1939 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 4, 1939
Simmons Sets 90-Mile Speed Mark in Capturing Gold Cup
Detroit, Sept. 4  Americas emblem of speed-boat racing supremacy, the Gold Cup, famed far beyond its real intrinsic value, but for which at least $50,000,000 have been spent since it began its competitive career on the Hudson River in 1904, started back to New York tonight with a brand-new name as the latest winner.
In three straight heats today on Detroit River, Zalmon G. Simmons Jr., the 41-year-old millionaire sportsman of Greenwich, Conn., drove his own amazing entry, My Sin, to a complete triumph. And to top it all, he hung up a new ninety-mile cup record of 66.227 miles an hour to erase Count Theo Rossis 1938 mark of 64.34.
Because of his entry under the colors of the Indian Harbor Y.C. of Greenwich, it means that in 1940, for the first time in a decade, the Gold Cup will be raced for in metropolitan New York waters.
Various Sites Available
It will be the privilege of this club to set next years site, which might be on the protected waters of Long Island Sound, back of Great Captain Island, or perhaps on the Hudson, where Simmons did most of his testing this Spring, or even out on Lake Montauk.
This scion of the family known to readers of advertising for mattress-making, today was up against several of the best drivers in Gold Cup ranks. Simmons is a newcomer to the daring sport. Only a season ago he tried speed-boat racing in a small way in the Albany marathon. He won his event. This was enough.
The racing bug bit him. He straightaway decided to shoot for the Gold cup without any more preliminaries and came to Detroit with a brand-new Apel-built hull, 24 feet long, and one of the complicated Zumbach-Miller motors of 726 cubic inches piston displacement.
But motor trouble plagued him here in 1938 and while Count Rossi, who did not defend this year, was ripping off his victory, Simmons and My Sin were in the pits out of action.
This Spring and Summer he used the Hudson off Tarrytown as his proving grounds, coaxing new notches of speed. His riding mechanic is Stan Sargeant, the chief engineer on his 106-foot yacht, Genzam.
Today Siimmons was unbeatable. In the first thirty-mile heat he tore across the finish nearly two minutes ahead of the pre-race favorite, E.A. Wilsons Miss Canada III, from Ingresoll, Ont., driven by Harold Wilson.
When the tiny clutches on Miss Canadas supercharger slipped out of position and she could not start his principal rival Herbert Mendelsons Notre Dame, the 1937 Gold Cup winner, when Clell Perry was at the wheel, but today driven by the California youngster, Dan Arena of Oakland. My Sin had more than a minutes margin in this second test.
Motor trouble, the perennial curse of these delicate racing machines, caused the withdrawal without finishing of Lour Fageols So-Long, from Los Angeles, M.J. Coopers Mercury and the speedy Why Worry, driven by Wild Bill Cantrell, also from Kentucky.
Rivals Make Repairs
Even before the third heat Simmons knew he was the cup winner because of the point scoring. No one could overhaul him. But for this final thirty miles Miss Canadas supercharger had been patched up, and so had Notre Dames steering mechanism, and against a field of rivals like these the three other craft wisely decided to stay out.
Simmons took command of the situation on the first turn and edged into a hundred-year lead over Miss Canada, while Notre Dame fell farther behind.
Miss Canada closed up to perhaps ten yards as they flashed by the judges. Both dare-devil drivers were pulling close to ninety miles an hour out of their throttles on the straight stretches and were making the turns at nearly a mile a minute.
This was more than the Dominion boat could sustain, and on the third lap, as the wind freshened the bumpy water threw her clutches out of kilter again and she coasted off to the sidelines. Notre Dame, now Simmons only remaining challenger, was too far in the rear to be dangerous.
A Midday Storm
A freakish midday thunder squall that threatened to bring a postponement until tomorrow, actually was a blessing in disguise, even though it served to diminish somewhat the throng of spectators who lined up ten and twenty deep along the river banks, craning necks for a glimpse of the boats flashing by officials estimated there were 400,000 packed around the course.
The regattas special committee ordered a delay until conditions were better.
In the first thirty-mile heat of the Gold Cup, which meant ten circuits around the three-mile course, four of the six boats took turns leading the fleet. On the flying start it was Why Worry. On the first lap Notre Dame overtook her and set the pace for six miles, until a fouled connecting link on the steering rod became such a serious handicap that Dan Arena had to pull off the course.
Thousands of British Empire citizens from Canada cheered deliriously from the Belle Isle Park and yachts here in large swarms when Miss Canada III went ahead on the third lap. But with only two laps to go supercharger trouble developed on Miss Canada III and My Sin went in front, to open up a lead of more than two miles by the time the judges finish cannon boomed.
My Sins average of 67.050 miles an hour was surprisingly close to the record of 68.645 made in 1937 by Clell Perry in Notre Dame. The fastest lap was that of 70.153, also by My Sin, which can be contrasted to the record of 72.707 hung up by Count Rossi last year in his Italian Alagi.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 5, 1939)
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