1948 Harwood Trophy
New York NY, September 12, 1948

Cantrell Sets Dizzy Pace in Capturing Around-Manhattan Speed Boat Race
Kentuckian Victor In Fageol’s Craft
Cantrell Pilots So Long at 5 Miles an Hour to Take the Harwood Trophy
Van Blerck Runner Up
Defender Finishes 6 Minute Behind, Covering 28 Miles in 40:26--Hanley Third
By Clarence E. Lovejoy

bullet Van Blerck Tops List of Drivers
bullet Cantrell Sets Dizzy Pace in Capturing Around-Manhattan Speed Boat Race
bullet Cantrell Wins Harwood Trophy

A daredevil driver from Kentucky and a shiny mahogany craft from Ohio came East yesterday and showed Metropolitan New York watermen how to battle tides, currents and driftwood along the Hudson, East and Harlem Rivers and how to win the Around-Manhattan 28-mile speed boat race for the Harwood Trophy and cash prizes.

Wild Bill Cantrell of Louisville, a 40-year-old veteran pilot from the mid-West who never had navigated around the Battery, or past Welfare Island, or through the Spuyten Duyvil and had never out-maneuvered local ferry boats, not only won in Lou Fageol's So Long, from Kent, Ohio, but hoisted to a new record of 51 miles an hour the speed of this dangerous event that has been held six times since 1952. It took him only 34 minutes from his flying start off West Seventy-second Street to circumnavigate the island.

In rare stretches of smooth water, especially in the Harlem River, Cantrell, turning better than 3,000. revolutions per minute, probably was doing 70 miles and hour. But it was largely a rough water race, particularly against a head wind and high rollers in the Hudson and in the choppy East River where Cantrell used the channel east of Welfare Island.

Six Craft Break Down

Six of the seventeen starters broke down en route, one capsizing and sinking in the East River. This was Miss Century, a stock runabout driven by the race's only woman pilot, Mrs. Anne Jensen of Flushing, Queens, a graduate nurse, who was hauled out and rushed to Bellevue Hospital for observation. She had no serious injuries but like all other drivers suffered body bruises and especially a lamed back from the terrific pounding.

Runner-up was Joe Van Blerck his Aljo V from Freeport, L. I., who won last year. Aljo V set the early pace from a hundred yard lead at the start. But after staying behind for the early minutes to get the "feel" of the course down the Hudson, Cantrell overhauled Van Blerck, shot past him off Canal Street and won as he pleased. So Long, of course. was propelled by a Fageol 7-liter supercharged motor of about 404 cubic inches, nearly twice the power of Aljo's 225-cubic inch Gray. Van Blerck finished in 40:26 for a speed of 43.1 m.p.h., somewhat slower than his 44.5 of last year due to the boiling water.

Another 225, Jed Henley's Malt 'n Hops from Bristol, R. L, came in third. nearly four minutes ahead of the amazing Jersey sea skiff, Susan II, owned and driven by a Long Branch yachtsman and provision dealer, Steve Schmidt, whose mechanic Harry Layton, inadvertently kicked off a switch during the race and cost Schmidt four or five precious minutes before he found the cause of the stoppage.

A Leading Auto Racer

Cantrell comes by his Wild Bill nickname easily and naturally: A speed demon since he was knee high to a spark plug, he has been racing outboards and inboards for better than 25 years. When speed boating occasionally loses its thrill he changes over to auto racing. In this year's Indianapolis Speedway classic Cantrell was in fifth place and had covered 402 miles when forced out. He makes part of his dangerous living testing tires for Firestone over the Indianapolis track at 123 miles an hour.

Fageol, the engine and bus manufacturer, had expected to drive his So Long yesterday but after injuring his back a fortnight in the Gold Cup regatta at Detroit he altered his entry and hired Cantrell for the assignment. Like Aljo V, So Long is an Apel-built Ventnor, N. J. creation of 1947 and has won the last two Webb Trophy races, leading speed boat event on the Mississippi.

Winners of the eight groupings of yesterday's contestants, arranged for prize purposes according to engine power although they raced together in a single event, were as follows: I, Cantrell, II, Van Blerck; III. Henry Slocum of Freeport, L. L, in Trudy's Cub; IV, Howard Love of Havre de Grace, Md.. in Beetle Baum; V, Charles Klein of Long Beach, L. I. in Chaz II; VI, no finishers: VII, David Gerli of Smithtown, L. I. in Ilreg; and VIII, Schmidt.

Among the non-finishers were Dan Murphy's Lil Toot from Margate, N. J. which broke down near the Battery; pacer Prescott's Pffst from Elmhurst, L. I, which was disqualified because two passengers did not wear safety jackets or helmets; Lawton Cloak's Pancho of New York which conked out in the East River, and Julius E. Jensen's Can Do from Freeport, L. I. which had to take a tow off Inwood Park.



Boat and driver



So Long, Bill Cantrell



Aljo V, Joe Van Blerck, Jr.



Malt ‘n Hops, Jed Hanley



Susan II, S.J. Schmidt



Ilreg, David Gerli



Beetle Baum, H.V. Love



Chaz II, Charles Klein



Red Head, Russell Zuback



? Too, J.B. Boland



Trudy’s Cub, Henry Slocum



Devilish Dolly, H.E. Disbrow


(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 13, 1948)

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