1948 Harwood Trophy
Van Blerck Tops List Of Drivers
A flotilla of about fifty speed boats, all fast and several able to turn 100 miles an hour, will take a flying start next Sunday afternoon at 2:30 off West Seventy-second Street and with great rooster tails spraying off their sterns will tear through the three rivers that surround Manhattan Island for the sixth running of this fantastic and exciting driftwood derby.
Resumed after a long interval last year when Joe Van Blerck Jr. of Freeport L.I., won the Harwood Trophy and a $1,000 savings bond, the renewal of the famous old race this year has attracted speed boats from eight various sized categories, including some which have been racing at Red Bank and Detroit this summer with Gold Cup and unlimited class craft.
Van Blerck, who will defend the crown may meet his strongest competition in Stubby VI, a brand new 1948 Allison-powered Gold Cup boat. owned by the father-and-son team of Ed and Jim Davis of Keansburg. N. J., and to be driven by the latter. Stubby VI is a 28-foot Jersey sea-skiff type, built by Joe Clayton, also of Keansburg, who was unable to finish the job in time for either Red Bank or Detroit but who expects to have this new racing creation make her debut next Sunday.
Always Dangerous Event
Uncounted thousands from public parks along the Hudson, East and Harlem Rivers, from dead ends of streets and from towering apartment houses will have a natural amphitheatre to see the show. Although the rivers will be "swept" Sunday morning by patrol craft dispatched to drag out driftwood and debris, the Manhattan marathon will always be a dangerous sports event.
Nine Coast Guard vessels of the regular establishment and several more from the Auxiliary fleet have been a aligned as a task force headed by Lieut. Comdr. Mazzotta, who will use the U. S. S. Tamaroai as the committee ship, anchored in mid-Hudson off Seventy-second Street. Four New York City Police Department boats under Captain Morrissey of the Marine Division will integrate their patrol with the Coast Guard's.
Lou Fageol, engine manufacturer from Kent. Ohio, and a designer of the seven-liter class engine, has entered his So Long, which won the Webb trophy in New Orleans and placed second in Detroit this year in the Ford Memorial seven-liter event. Another seven-liter boat next Sunday will be Wilfred Stroh's Nuts and Bolts.
Van Blerck's Aljo V, 225 cubic inch hydroplane, will face a number of rivals of this popular class, including Frank Du Beshter, a Jamaica, Queens, lawyer who will be racing Zammie Simmons' former Baby Sin. Other 225s entered are Merritt Twilley of Baltimore in Shortie Pants and Howard Herbert of St. Petersburg, Fla., in How-Mar IV.
Cloak Heads Committee
The race committee, headed by chairman Leston W. Cloak, who is also president of the American Inboard Association, has assigned the entrants to eight different racing groups. Group I will comprise unlimited hydroplanes and runabout and the seven-liter boats. Group II will have the 225s. Group III has the 135s and 91s. Group IV in for the 48 cubic inch class, as well as the Classes A, B and C of the racing runabouts.
In Group V will be Classes G to J of racing runabouts. Group VI is for Classes B, C and D of service runabouts and Group VII for Classes E to I of service runabouts. Group VIII has been reserved for the large fleet of Jersey sea-skiffs.
All classes will have a mass start and the winner should finish within three-quarters of an hour, although the race committee will score finish times as late as 4:30. Following the race all contestants have been invited to a buffet supper at the New York Athletic Club.
Cloak, the only driver who remains a veteran from the first around-Manhattan race back in 1912. will compete in his Class E racing runabout Pancho. Lou Eppel, from Montclair, N. J., vice president of the American Inboard Association, who won the combined 135-91 class last year in his 91 Ho Hum, has entered his 135 class boat Ho Hum IX. Three other 135s include Walter Haberman's Sad Sack, from Riverhead. L. I.; Al Stolte's First Fling, from Ferndale. Mich., and Bill Luby's Ckoro of Troy. N. Y.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 5, 1948)
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