1946 National Sweepstakes
Regatta & Auerbach Memorial Trophy
North Shrewsbury River, Red Bank NJ, August 17-18, 1946
Post-War National Sweepstakes
One of the most popular race sites of the 1930s and '40s was Red Bank, New Jersey, the scene of the annual National Sweepstakes Regatta. The Sweepstakes was a single-engine Unlimited event. Any size or manufacture of inboard engine was allowed — but only one engine. This was in answer to Gar Wood's huge multi-engined Miss America boats.
Only one craft of the Gold Cup variety attended the 1946 National Sweepstakes renewal. This was Guy Lombardo's newly acquired Tempo VI, powered by a Zumbach-Miller engine. Lombardo ran against a field of 225 Class hydroplanes. In the years prior to World War II, the speedy 225s were easily the most vibrant of the APBA's inboard classes. They could run at speeds that compared favorably with their bigger brothers, the Gold Cup Class boats.
The following report on the 1946 National Sweepstakes was one of the first columns written for Yachting Magazine by Mel Crook. He was a former driver who had won the Sweepstakes several times in the 1930s with his Unlimited step hydroplane Betty V. For the next twenty years, Crook set the standard for excellence in boat race reporting. To this day, Mel is universally regarded as the all-time greatest hydroplane journalist.
(Introduction by Fred Farley - APBA Unlimited Historian )
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National Sweepstakes Red Bank, N.J., Aug. 18, 1946
By W. Melvin Crook
[photo not yet available]
(caption) In the Tempo VI a 14-foot, 1˝-inch Monel shaft takes the 500-horsepower kick of a 16-cylinder Zumbach Miller racing engine, while spinning at a terrific 7,000 rpm.
Red Bank's postwar revival of its National Sweepstakes Regatta was so nearly a duplicate of those before the war that it almost seemed artificial. The course was the same, the pits were the same, the same crowd of political kibitzers smothered the working officials on the judges' barge. For the most part, the same boats ran at about the same speeds.
So, all in all, it was a good 1939 vintage regatta. Those of you who expected to see radical changes in the boats found but few. George Schrafft brought along his new 225 cubic inch hydroplane [Chrissie V —LF] but she never ran very long or very fast. She is a Ventnor-designed and -built three point suspension hull with a radically streamlined superstructure reminiscent of Count Rossi's Alagi. A Jacoby outboard runabout hull with a beautifully converted four-cylinder Ford tractor engine never appeared on the course to the disappointment of many who admired her and the relief of several competitors who protested that she "violated the spirit of the rules."
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Music-maker Guy Lombardo was steering Tempo VI for the first time since he bought her and erased her old name of My Sin. At the start of the first heat for the National Sweepstakes, the 225 hydroplane entrants left him badly in the rear and the small boat rooters set up a lusty cheer. The baton baron moved up on the leaders a bit by the time he reached the first turn, but his unfamiliarity with the boat cost him dearly as Tempo went into a wide skid and then saucered ungracefully around the buoys, losing ground all the way. Going down the backstretch, Guy really tromped on her and ate up the lead held by Bradfield's Buckeye Baby. As they came to the first buoy of the second turn, Lombardo moved out ahead, but on the outside. Bradfield held his little boat close and was running as fast as his heavy right foot could push him. Yet the big Tempo held him on even terms, although she was running a much longer course and appeared to be steering Guy instead of vice versa. As they passed the last buoy of the second turn, it looked as though the ex-My Sin would skid right into the spectator fleet moored along the river's south bank.
Somehow, Guy got her back on the course and moved into the lead like a haughty sea lion passing a flock of swimming ducks. Lombardo went on to win all three heats. The former My Sin was built by Ventnor Boat Works, Atlantic City, N.J., and also won the 1939 and 1941 Gold Cup races.
(reprinted from Yachting Magazine, November 1946)
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