1950 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 22,1950
Slo-Mo-Shun IVWins Gold Cap
The world's fastest boat, Seattle's Slo-Mo-Shun IV, made a spectacular debut in American speedboat competition when she won the 90-mile Gold Cup Race, known officially as the American Power Boat Association Challenge Cup Race, on the Detroit River July 22.
By winning the Gold Cup, Stanley Sayres, Slo-Mo-Shun IV's owner and driver during her recent world record run on Seattle's Lake Washington, and Ted Jones, driver-designer of the world's most talked about speedboat, won the right for the Seattle Yacht Club and Seattle to stage the 1951 event.
The Harmsworth Trophy Race, outstanding international speedboat event, may well be run in Seattle in 1951 also should Slo-Mo-Shun IV prove top boat in that event to be run in Detroit September 1-2.
Thus ends a long domination by Eastern owners and drivers in unlimited hydroplane class competition. The Seattle boat, built, designed and using many local materials, has taken the racing world by storm and has set records that will take many years to shatter.
In taking the Gold Cup Race, Slo-Mo-Shun IV proved herself the country's fastest. She beat out in the qualifying trials and the actual race some 18 high-powered inboard racing craft, nominated by 10 yacht clubs and boat racing organizations. Trials were held July 18-21. Boats entered in the trials ran three laps of the official three-mile course at an average minimum speed of 65 mph. The 12 craft showing the fastest trials were to compete in the classic.
Outstanding contenders before the race were the Seattle world record holder; Horace Dodge's My Sweetie, the Allison-powered 30-footer in which "Wild Bill" Cantrell of Louisville, Ky., won the 1949 Gold Cup, setting new lap and heat records; Jack Schafer's Such Crust I, a Ventnor-built 30-footer from Detroit; Guy Lombardo's rebuilt Tempo VI, and a new Miss Pepsi, a 36-footer built by Dossin Brothers, Detroit.
The Seattle boat qualified for the Gold Cup July 20 with a three-lap average of 87.42 mph, slower than the 89.06 mph with which Cantrell qualified in My Sweetie two days before. Cantrell, however, had fine smooth water, while Ted Jones, driving Slo-Mo-Shun IV, did not press the craft due to nasty water conditions.
In the Gold Cup Race the Sayres craft set a new race record of 78.217 mph, bettering the 75-55 mph mark set by Skip-a-Long, R. Stanley Dollar, Jr., of San Francisco last year.
She boosted the 30-mile heat mark to 80.151 mph, shattering the 78.645 mph that My Sweetie set in 1949. A new 3-mile lap record of 86.2 mph was set by Lou Fageol, taking over for Cantrell, who was injured during the trials.
Eight boats went to the post at the start of the 90-mile grind, but engine troubles and mishaps reduced the field drastically. My Sweetie was forced out in the second heat with engine failure. Dee Jay V, owned by Daniel J. Murphy, Jr., of Philadelphia capsized during the second heat.
The third 30-mile heat saw only three boats at the post, the Seattle craft winning easily in fairly heavy water.
Guy Lombardo's Tempo VI took second place in the Gold Cup with third in the first heat and second in the last two.
Chaz of Long Beach, N. Y., third boat in the final heat, caught fire and went out of the race on the first lap.
In an interview in Seattle following the Gold Cup Race, Sayres gave full credit to his team of Ted Jones, designer and driver; Anchor Jensen, builder, and Mike Welsh, Elmer Lennischmidt and Joe Schobert, mechanics. All are from Seattle.
"We had a rugged and interesting time," Sayres said. "We foand a great deal of interest in Slo-Mo-Shun IV and a great deal of conjecture on whether or not the boat would be able to do anything other than make straightaway runs. Many thought we could not negotiate the hairpin turns of the 3-mile course. However, after the qualifying rounds, we were conceded a chance in the race."
As to water conditions on the Detroit River course, Sayres stated that at best the river is tricky due to ground swells and a six-mile current. The presence during the trials of numerous pleasure craft on the course was particularly bothersome.
"Many people have asked us what happened in the second heat when My Sweetie walked away from us. After winning the first heat we purposely held the boat down for the second, knowing we only had to take one more to win. Also, in the third lap we broke a plywood engine stringer and we didn't want to endanger the boat by opening up. My Sweetie then went out to break the lap record, but also suffered an engine breakdown in doing so."
Sayres stated the third heat run was calculated in order to average out enough speed to take all the 2000 race points.
The next appearance of Slo-MoShun IV will be in the Harmsworth, or British International Trophy Race trials, to be held on the Detroit River, August 25-28. The Pacific Coast entry will seek to qualify for one of the three places on the American team to defend the Harmsworth when the international contest is held September 1-2.
The boats will be required to run three laps of a five-mile course at en average speed of at least 85 mph.
The five fastest boats will be given first consideration in the selection of a team of three. The 85 mph requirement is 2.5 mph slower than the speed attained by the slowest member of the team during eliminations in 1949.
Canada is sole challenger for the trophy. The challenge came from E. A. Wilson of Ingersoll, Ontario, whose Miss Canada IV set a North American speed mark of 138.645 mph last October, a record which stood until a new North American and world mark of 160.32 mph was established in June by Slo-Mo-Shun IV.
Wilson, who challenged for the trophy in 1949, was beset with mechanical difficulties and lost the international competition to a U. S. team made up of Stanley Dollar's Skip-a-Long, which later sunk at Lake Tahoe; Jack Schafer's Such Crust I, and Horace Dodge's My Sweetie.
Sayres stated that he expected tough competition in the Harmsworth and that he is going back to do his best. He thought Miss Pepsi would be a strong contender in the race. However, with the longer course, the Seattle boat is expected to hit a higher average speed than in the Gold Cup and predictions are for a win.
Present holder of the Harmsworth Trophy is Dollar, whose Skip-a-Long took the event last year at Detroit with an average speed of 94.285 mph.
Regarding the non appearance of the Seattle boat in the Detroit Memorial Race July 29, Sayres stated he was asked by the Harmsworth committee not to run in order that he would be certain to participate in the September international event.
The Detroit Memorial Trophy
Race was won by My Sweetie, driven by. Cantrell and Fageol. Average time for the 45-mile race was 75.293 mph. Her fastest speed was made in her first lap, which she covered at 79.464 mph.
Second in the event was Jack Schafer's Such Crust I of Detroit, which finished second in each of the three 15-mile heats. In third place was Lombardo's Tempo VI, which never did better than third place.
(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, September 1950, pp.16-7)
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