1948 Glenn L. Martin Trophy
Middle River MD, June 27, 1948

Wilson Point Regatta
by Louis M. Hatter

Wilson Point Regatta
Lombardo Takes Speedboat Prize

Edmund Thompson, a Baltimore area race driver who has been competing in speedboat events for only two years, established a new world record claim for Class C racing runabouts to highlight the fifth annual powerboat regatta of the Wilson Point Men's Club, June 26-27, in Middle River. The 31-year-old Dundalk pilot powered his sleek, new racer, T. M. Special, at an average 53.255 miles per hour twice over a measured one-mile trial course to wipe out the old standard of 52.555 m.p.h., which an Essex (Md.) neighbor, Mrs Mildred Foulke, recorded last. September 21 at the President's Cup Regatta in Washington.

Thompson's achievement, which was officiated by Al Bauer, American Power Boat Association referee, had an interesting turnabout twist. T. M. Special, a new Glazier hull, was propelled to its record by the same 6-cylinder Studebaker Champion motor with which Mrs. Foulke set the now extinct mark last autumn on the Potomac. Thompson purchased the outfit from Frank Foulke, male member of the Foulke family of speedboat racers, just one week prior to his record run.

The performance of Thompson stole a bit of the lustre from the heralded appearance of Guy Lombardo and his record-seeking Gold Cup challenger, Tempo. The band leader's principal objective in bringing his powerful craft to Stansbury Beach had been an assault on Gar Wood's 15-year-old United States speed mark of 124.915 miles per hour. Sir Malcolm Campbell's world standard of more than 145 m.p.h. has been one of Lombardo's loftier objectives, too.

However, Lombardo was never able to set out officially in his third try at these tremendous water speeds. With a late morning haze creeping in from the Chesapeake to limit visibility far under that necessary to navigate a boat which has already reached 119 miles per hour in past outings, Lombardo decided to call off his record quest.

A large crowd had its natural disappointment assuaged, however, when Lombardo entered his $100,000 craft in the .featured 15-mile free-for-all and, at half throttle, beat four 225-cubic-inch hydroplanes for the Glenn L. Martin Trophy. But his 55.18 m.p.h. for nine times around the 1 2/3-mile oval course was not the top official speed of the regatta. Joe Palmer, Arlington (Va.) daredevil pilot of the 135-cubicinch hydroplane, Tommy Boy, turned an average 56.729 m.p.h. in the final event --a special five-mile free-for-all--to achieve this distinction. Palmer's boat is Morlan Visel's former Pacific Coast record-holder, Hurricane.

Frank Foulke—and Edmund Thompson again, too—stole the regatta's opening-day honors with impressive step-up triumph over the renowned Class E racing runabout world record-holder Copperhead. Owned by the Lodwick Aircraft Company, of Lakeland, Fla., and driven by C. A. Pierce, Copperhead had easily won the initial Class E heat when its only adversary, Clinton A. Moore's Deacon, of Essex, Md., broke down and failed to finish.

Determined to give Copperhead . a race, and also resolved to avenge a defeat sustained from this same boat last March in Florida waters, Foulke entered his Class D racer, Sagana VIII, in the second heat. Thompson followed suit with his C Class T. M. Special. It was a notable victory as Foulke and Thompson took the lead at the outset and stayed there, Sagana VIII half-lapping the bobbing Copperhead; which appeared to spend as much time out of the water as in. T. M. Special was second with room to spare.

The trophy for Class F racers went to Copperhead on total score for two heats

(Reprinted from the Chesapeake Skipper, August 1948)

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at wildturnip@gmail.com
© Leslie Field, 2002