1939 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 4, 1939
Speed Boats To Start In Labor Day Classic
Fageols So-Long Also Threat With Rossis Alagi Out Of Speed-Boat Race
It seems a foregone conclusion that Labor Days thirty-sixth running of the Gold cup speed-boat race at Detroit will be a home-bred affair, without the threat of a European driver to disturb the equilibrium and the pride of the Americans.
Of course miracles now and then happen. One may occur this week, as for example if Count Theo Rossi should receive Italian Government permission to fly the Atlantic on a clipper and rejoin his phenomenal Alagi, which this very minute is awaiting his skilled steering hands in the Detroit pits.
But the fact that the Counts steamship, the Conte di Savoia, did not sail last Thursday as scheduled, coupled with the fact that he didnt feel free to catch a French or English liner, has virtually made it impossible for him to reach Detroit in time to defend the Gold cup title unless he does fly, And in all likelihood Europeans, and especially millionaire business men and reserve officers of the Italian Army, such as Rossi, have other and more urgent matters to ponder over this week than a speed-boat race in Michigan waters.
United States Drivers Relieved
The absence of the Turin nobleman and cup defender may remove some of the glamour from this years boating classic, but there will be several camps of American challengers who will be just as happy, especially those who encountered Rossi last September and lost so decisively to him.
For a foreigner to take three straight Gold cup heats and set two new records while his rivals were conking out all over the river and sinking their craft in nasty accidents was not especially a matter of national pride. These sportsmen will gladly welcome the vermouth manufacturer on another occasion, but this year should be a happier one for them than last.
Five boats from the United States and another from this continent representing Canada are expected to make up the Gold Cup field. Two or three are already at Detroit, where the spectacular yacht club regatta will command the attention of probably as many as 400,000 pairs of eyes for the feature event.
Potentially and on paper two or three of the challengers loom as dangerous.
A good many aver that E.A. Wilsons Miss Canada from Ingersol, Ont., which will be driven by his son, Harold Wilson, looks strong enough and seems fast enough. She was a favored entry in 1938 until motor trouble was encountered, but now here power plant has been rebuilt.
My Sin Tested on Hudson
Then, too, a metropolitan entry from the Indian Harbor Y.C. at Greenwich, Conn., has been doing incredible speeds on Long Island Sound and in tests on the Hudson. This is My Sin, owned by the yachtsman and trap-shooting champion, Zalmon G. Simmons. Newly built for 1938, My Sin did not have a fair chance at Detroit before the motor broke down. But it will be different this time, says Simmons.
Louis Fageols newly constructed So-Long from the Pacific coast has been getting plenty of advance ballyhoo from his confrere in speed boating, Arthur L. Bobrick, who, although a national racing commissioner and supposed to remain neutral, makes no bones of the fact that he is in Fageols corner this year and may ride with him as mechanic even if it means resigning as an APBA mogul to avoid embarrassment.
Miss Canada, My Sin and So-Long appear, then, to be the leading challengers. The other three expected entries may be something else again. Herbert Mendelsons Notre Dame, which was wrecked on the eve of the 1938 race, is something of an unknown quantity because its designer and former driver, Clell Perry, was injured too badly in the crack-up to race again and a newcomer will be behind the wheel. It may be Dan Arena of Oakland, Calif., a good youngster but only experienced in one previous Gold cup fixture.
Dodge Boat Likely Entry
The twin-motored Art-Eff, which Dr. A.L. Harbarger is rushing to completion this week, and which will have a pair of converted Ford engines, will lack sufficient trials to make a victory anything except a fluke. An the sixth of the possible entries will be the familiar Delphine IX. Horace E. Dodge,, who announced loud and long last season that he was quitting speed boating, apparently plans to permit Jack Schaeffer to enter his Delphine IX under the colors of the Detroit Y.C., which is also sponsoring Mendelsons Notre Dame and was to be Alagis American club.
All three thirty-mile heats for the Gold Cup will be run on Labor day, but the Detroit regatta will actually get under way Saturday. There will be events for smaller speed-boat classes, including the "rich mans" and the "poor mans" separate divisions of 225s, the 135s and the 725s.
This last class is confined largely to Ohio River drivers who annually make an invasion of Detroit and sometimes do amazing things. One of these boats last year made a clean hurdle of another in a race when a wave lifted it, and yet the crews lived to tell the tale of the unbelievable accident, which hardly scratched either boat.
(Reprinted from the New York Times August 27, 1939)
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2000