1950 Harmsworth Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 1-2, 1950
Slo-mo-shun IV Captures First 40-Mile
Heat in Harmsworth Trophy Series
By Clarence E. Lovejoy
DETROIT. Sept. 1  -- Speed boating's most famous trophy, known officially as the British International but popularly as the Harmsworth, seemed beyond much doubt tonight to be destined for another and perhaps long stay in the United States.
Canada's heralded challenge, the hope of both the Dominion and British Empire, sputtered out in the first 40-mile race on the Detroit River this afternoon when all three American craft on the defending team led home Miss Canada IV by sensational margins, making it highly unlikely that tomorrow's second 40-mile would turn out differently.
It was no surprise to 100,000 spectators that the United States fleet was led by Stanley Sayres, Slo-mo-shun IV of Seattle, with Horace E. Dodge's My Sweetie the runner-up and Jack Schafer's Such Crust II third. But the outstanding feature of the victory was that in a surprise last-minute decision a driver strange to the craft, Lou Fageol, climbed into the cockpit of Slo-mo-shun and performed near miracles.
Slo-mo-shun stands tonight as probably the greatest speed boat ever developed in this or any other country. In June, with Sayres driving, she hoisted to a phenomenal new high of 160 mph the world record for one mile. In July with designer Ted Jones driving she won the Gold Cup.
Out With Broken Hand
|Boat and Pilot||Time||Av. Speed|
|1. Slo-mo-shun IV, Lou Fageol||30:18.83||91.127|
|2. My Sweetie, W.J. Cantrell||31:29.83||85.004|
|3. Such Crust II, Dan Arena||32:36.73||84.705|
|4. Miss Canada IV, H. Wilson||34:21.24||80.410|
Today with Jones, beached with a broken right hand from a friendly wrestling scuffle with his Seattle crewmate, Joe Schobert, and with 53-year-old Sayres preferring to let a younger man carry the American banner, Fageol readily accepted the invitation to handle Slo-mo-shun even though he had been in her cockpit only twice before for a total of not over ten minutes. Furthermore, to lighten the weight and be able to carry an extra load of fuel, Fageol rode alone, the mechanic's seat empty. His winning time for the forty miles was 3:18:83 for an over-all speed average of 91.127, not quite enough to meet the Harmsworth record of 94.285 got last year here by R.Stanley Dollar in Skip-A-Long, but sensationally fast for a pilot in a strange craft, on a windswept river that was never smooth.
Slo-mo-shun's fastest lap was the first at 94.04 mph. Then followed laps timed at 94.085, 89.622, 89.766, 89.914, 89.906, 89.988 and the final at 92.019.
My Sweetie, driven by heavy-footed Wild Bill Cantrell, averaged 85.004 for the race and Such Crust II, with her designer and veteran driver, Danny Arena, at the wheel. 84.705. Running close together for the entire mileage, My Sweetie and Such Crust II finished some three miles behind Fageol and a half-mile ahead of Miss Canada IV, whose speed was clocked at 80.41.
Harvey Rides With Wilson
Tlhe Dominion boat the only one carrying a mechanic with Walter Harvey in the cockpit with Wilson broke a steering bracket starting the last lap and made a complete and useless loop out of control before resuming the chase.
But this had no bearing on the outcome. Miss Canada was a badly beaten fourth when it occurred, nearly four miles astern of Fageol.
Wilson bravely promised a better performance tomorrow but announced before today's race that this was his last year in speed boat competition and would retire. If the truth be known, probably he and his father, Ernest A. Wilson, wealthy industrialists of Ingersoll, ON have spent nearly $1,000,000 on their fleet of speed craft, and especially on their Harmsworth ambitions and challengers. They both hoped today other Canadian sportsmen would continue the tradition, presumably with British War Office help which, for instance, facilitated the Rolls Royce Griffon engine of 2,500 hp for Miss Canada IV and sent mechanics from London. All three of the American boats were powered by 1,710-cubic-inch Allison aircraft motors which develop up to 2,200 hp.
Three other American possibilities were unofficial alternates in the pits today but not needed. The Dossin brothers' Miss Pepsi with her double Allison in tandem was passed over by the selection committee because of her oil leaks. Al Fallon's Miss Great Lakes was shunted aside because her new motor had not been broken in. Even Guy Lombardo's Tempo VI was in readiness with Danny Foster as her possible driver if needed in an emergency while the band leader was absent on a Toronto engagement.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 2, 1950)
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2000