1949 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit, MI, July 2, 1949
My Sweetie First in Gold Cup Race
Cantrell Drives Speed Boat to Victory as Records Fall at DetroitSkip-A-Long Second
by Clarence E. Lovejoy
Detroit, July 2 A Louisville business man, Wild Bill Cantrell, who'd rather risk his neck driving fast boats and fast autos than eat, demonstrated this afternoon on a sunny and smooth Detroit River before 200,000 spectators that the best speed-boat combination in America is the red and shiny My Sweetie with him crouched in the single cockpit behind its steering wheel.
Second in the forty-second running of the famous ninety-mile Gold Cup race was the young San Francisco millionaire, R. Stanley Dollar Jr., whose Skip-A-Long was runner-up three times in three record-breaking heats and whose final point score was surprisingly close.
Cantrell, who has been feared and respected on the Indianapolis Speedway for years as well as in most big league speed-boat regattas, captured the second and third heats by a good quarter mile. He made this dangerous, expensive sport seem ridiculously easy. But it was in the initial thirty-mile heat, when he finished in third place, that the Kentucky marine supply dealer showed why he is so often a winner.
When his foot accelerator broke on the fourth lap, slowing him almost to a halt for a few seconds, Cantrell reaching in through an opening under his dash to grasp his gasoline control rod and in an almost superhuman display of ingenuity managed to finish the race, steering with one hand and feeding proper amounts of fuel with the other.
Records on an almost perfect waterway under ideal weather conditions began to fall with the first heat. In the third, My Sweetie, owned by two Detroit automotive men, Ed Schoenherr and Ed Gregory, was clocked for a new Gold Cup heat speed of 78.645 miles and hour, erasing Cantrell's new mark of 76.964 in the second heat which in turn had displaced the 74.809 made by Danny Arena, who won the first heat in Jack Schafer's Such Crust.
In the officials' final computations as twilight nearedand they were still busy with their slide rulesthe point scoring of the first two was found as close as this: My Sweetie, 1,425; Skip-A-Long, 1,300.
Cantrell scored 400 for each of two winning heats, 225 for placing third in another, and a bonus of 400 for fastest heat. Dollar scored 300 for second place in each of three heats and a 400 bonus for the fastest 90 miles for the complete race.
His total elapsed time of 71 minutes, 26 and 61/100 second was low because of Cantrell's slowed-down first heat. this time also gave Dollar a new 90-mile Gold Cup speed record of 75.599 m.p.h., beating Guy Lombardo's 68.072 made here in 1946 in his Tempo VI.
The total elapsed time for the winner was 73:57.41.
Lombardo Bows Out
No Gold Cup fixture in recent years had a better field of ship-shape speed boats or more competent daredevils for their pilots. Henry J. Kaiser's unlucky Hot Metal was able to start in all three heats, even if his bigger Aluminum First could not do so. Lombardo's Tempo VI not only entered but finished all three heats.
Far behind the leaders because a newly installed propeller shaft and a rudder probably too small made steering too difficult for fast going, and with blistered and cut hands, Lombardo bowed out of competition after the first heat. He fellow townsman from Freeport, L.I., Joseph van Blerck Jr., tried to do the impossible in the second and third.
Last year's Gold Cup winner, Albin Fallon's Miss Great Lakes, was piloted today by her owner but could finish only the initial heat.
|Such Crust, owned by Jack Schafer, driven by Dan Arena, crossing the line to capture first heat in Gold Cup|
Arena in Such Crust and Dollar in Skip-A-Long made a two-boat race out of the first heat which brought out of the pits eight of the ten qualifiers, leaving out of action only Lou Fageol's outclassed So Long and D. Cameron Peck's Astraea II, which jammed the propeller shaft with a broken bearing in an early test.
Arena, with his brother Gene riding alongside as mechanic, dove into the first-heat lead at the start but then cannily laid back just behind the leaders to await developments in this unpredictable sport when drivers cannot always or even often control their complicated engines.
My Sweetie, with the heavy-footed Cantrell alone in the cockpit led at the end of the first 2½ mile lap. My Sweetie was the favorite of the river bank's crowds because of its uncommonly good qualification speed earlier this week of 92.402 m.p.h. But on the second lap Cantrell's foot throttle broke and he lost precious seconds near the Belle Isle Bridge.
Skip-A-Long took the lead and Dollar had the thrill of holding it for the next nine laps. But the veteran Arena, who had laid back from 50 to 150 yards behind Dollar, overtook the Californian on the eleventh circuit and was never passed. His final twelfth lap at a speed of 81.059 m.p.h. was hailed as a new 2½ mile lap Gold Cup record but an hour later Cantrell raised this to 81.183.
100 Yards in Front
At the finish Arena was 100 yards in front of Dollar. Third boat, a lap and one half astern, was My Sweetie and two laps behind Arena in fourth place was Lombardo. The band leader made a belated start in last place while awaiting the usual one-minute cannon which for some obscure reason was not fired by today's committee.
|U-99 Miss Pepsi and U-9 Aestaea II [sic] racing past the huge throng that packed the north shore of the Detroit River|
The second heat in mid-afternoon brought out a couple of new drivers in a starting field now grown to nine craft. Van Blerck, whose Aljo failed to qualify yesterday when two broken crank shafts damaged, probably irreparably, the ancient Miller-Zumbach engine that had won three Gold Cups, was in the cockpit of Lombardo's Tempo VI.
The band leader's hands had been sorely blistered during the first heat when without gloves he had sawed up and down on a soft rubber steering wheel, made red hot from the sun. Morlan Visel's Hurricane IV from Los Angeles carried Al D'Eath as pilot in the second test, who half way through, swerved close to the pits and had his mechanic, Jack Bartlett of Detroit, jump out into the river to lighten the boat.
A Runaway Victory
|My Sweetie, the Gold cup winner, running ahead of Such Crust and Skip-A-Long in the third heat, in the same order in which they finished the race|
This was a runaway victory for the irrepressible Cantrell in My Sweetie, which had a 50-yard lead on the initial lap and widened this to 300 yards by the final twelfth circuit.
In between heats of the Gold Cup feature Tommy Gore's Miami Boy won three straight five-mile heats in the 135-cubic inch class for a perfect score of 1,200 points, clicking off a sensational speed of 59.488 m.p.h. in his first heat. Bob Bogie, wounded war flyer formerly of Brooklyn, and now of Saranac Lake, NY, carried off the 225-cubic inch event with two firsts and one second for 1,100 points.
|Finish||Boat and Driver||Pts|
|1||Such Crust, Dan Arena||400|
|2||Skip-A-Long, R. Stanley Dollar||300|
|3||My Sweetie, Bill Cantrell||225|
|4||Tempo VI, Guy Lombardo||169|
|5||Hot Metal, Norman Lauterbach||127|
|6||Miss Great Lakes, Albin Fallon||95|
|OwnersSuch Crust, Jack Schafer,
Detroit; Skip-A-Long, Dollar, San Francisco; My Sweetie, Ed Gregory-Ed
Schoenherr, Detroit; Tempo VI, Lombardo, Freeport, L.I.; Hot Metal, Henry
J. Kaiser, Oakland, CA; Miss Great Lakes, Fallon, Detroit.
Two boats did not finish: Miss Pepsi, owned by Dossin Bros., Detroit and driven by Chuck Thompson and Hurricane IV owned and driven by Morlan Visel, Los Angeles.
|1||My Sweetie, Cantrell||400|
|3||Such Crust, Arena||225|
|4||Tempo VI, Joe Van Blerck Jr.||169|
|5||Miss Pepsi, Chuck Thompson||127|
|Four boats did not finish: Miss Great Lakes, driven by Fallon; Astraea II, owned and driven by D. Cameron Peck, Chicago, Hurricane IV, owned by Visel and driven by Al D'Eath and Hot Metal, owned by Kaiser and driven by Lauterbach.|
|1||My Sweetie, Cantrell||400|
|3||Such Crust, Arena||225|
|4||Tempo VI, Van Blerck||169|
|Hot Metal did not finish|
Total Point Scores
|*My Sweetie||1,425||Tempo VI||507|
|Such Crust||850||Miss Great Lakes||95|
|*Includes 400 bonus points for fastest heat
**Includes 400 bonus points for fastest 90 miles of complete race
(Reprinted from the New York Times July 3, 1949)
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