1950 Harmsworth Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 1-2, 1950
Slo-mo-shun Takes Harmsworth Race
by Clarence E. Lovejoy
DETROIT, Sept. 2  -- Soaring and planing along wave-tops and Detroit River ripples, more like a strange new aircraft of limitless power than a conventional boat, Slo-mo-shun IV, driven by Lou Fageol, the wealthy 43-year-old Kent (OH) manufacturer, tonight retained for the United States the Harmsworth Trophy, symbolic of world supremacy in speed-boating.
Winning in record-shattering times and speeds today's second forty-mile race, even more sensationally that his first forty-mile victory yesterday, Fageol and his team of American defenders proved again as Gar Wood did so often since 1920 and R. Stanley Dollar Jr. did last summer here that no foreign challenger is yet able to carry the old bauble out of the country.
Today's finale was a race among the Americans only, but instead of loafing along and merely going through the official requirements of two separate events one day apart, Fageol and the others went all out. Records for both the five-mile lap as well as the 40-mile race were broken.
On Way to Canada
The achievement of the new records made full what otherwise might have been a somewhat hollow triumph. Today no challenger for the Harmsworth came out from the pits. The Dominion's pride, Miss Canada IV, of Ingersoll ON, owned by Ernest A. and Harold Wilson and driven by the latter, was found this morning so cracked up from yesterday's battering when the steering bracket tore loose while finishing a poor fourth behind the three Americans, that further competition without extensive repairs was impossible.
Instead of dashing out from the pits this afternoon she was on her way back to Canada with virtually a broken back. Planking as well as the stiffening ribs had cracked about amidships. It was an ignominious ending to the long efforts of the Wilson father and son to get back the trophy for Canada that Sir Alfred Harmsworth, before he was Lord Northcliff, first put into competition back in 1903.
In that year S.F. Edge's Napier I won at 19 miles an hour at Queenstown, Ireland. In the twenty-one Harmsworth events England has won five, including the first, France won once, and the United States fifteen.
The first American triumphs came in 1907, 1908, 1910 and 1911 when E.J. Schroeder and later F.K. Burnham had four winning craft, all named Dixie. England's Maple Leaf IV victories in 1912 and 1913 were her last. Not since 1920, when Gar Wood first won the Harmsworth at Osborne Bay, England, has the flat bronze design left the United States.
Fageol's amazing feats today in Slo-mo-shun IV wrote a long new succession of records in tot he archives. His 40-mile time was 27:26.25 for a speed of 100.68 mph. This was the first time anyone anywhere, on any course in any class or size of boat went better than 100 mph for a long competitive grind.
The old record was, until yesterday, 89.913 mph which Kaye Don made in 1931 in the ill-fated Miss England II. Yesterday, Fageol hoisted it to 91.127 in the first heat and this afternoon it went up out of sight.
All of Fageol's eight five-mile laps today broke the record of 94.044 he set yesterday. His fastest was the seventh when he was clocked at 102.676. Four others, the second, fourth, fifth and sixth, were better than 100 mph.
Never Opened Wide
Without any near rival pushing him, Fageol said after the finish, he never had the throttle down to the floor, Even on the two-mile-long straight-aways he never had to better 140 mph in the phenomenal boat that set a new world one-mile speed of 160 mph on Lake Washington, Seattle, in June and in all probability and certainly on paper is capable of 175 or more.
Fageol's only competition today for the entire route was Danny Arena. at the wheel of Such Crust II, which he designed and drives for Jack Schafer. But it was never close. Fageol lapped Arena on the fifth circuit and at the end was better than seven miles ahead. Such Crust II was clocked at 35:27.06 for only 77.922 mph. Her fastest lap was the fourth, at 84.847.
The third of the American team, Wild Bill Cantrell in Horace E. Dodge's My Sweetie, lasted only one and one-half laps before conking out with two inches of oil in her bilge. The oil cooler had let go.
In the pits here tonight, at the gala dinner at the Detroit Yacht club and whenever speed boat enthusiasts are gathering they are wondering what possible new speed worlds are left to owners Stanley Sayres and his Slo-mo-shun IV, to conquer. In two months he has set many a new world record for speed, taking the Gold Cup and now the Harmsworth, and all in a boat that seems indestructible in all kinds of water and weather and with an Allison aircraft motor and accompanying complicated gearbox.
His boat not only holds together but seems to get better with age, while other fly apart and scatter all over the seascape. Although known in the northwest as a prosperous auto dealer, Sayres was all but unknown in speed boat circles until his 160 mph in June. Since then, every rival has climbed into and over his shiny Slo-mo-shun, pried under hatches, and tried to find the reason it is the great speed ship of all times. There is no one reason.
Sayres and his designer and co-driver Ted Jones, and other unpaid crew-helpers from the Boeing aircraft staff have built a three-point suspension hydroplane like other boat constructors but have fashioned it better. They have rigged a super-powered motor like others, with a shaft and propellers like everyone else's, but have managed to better the performance.
Others may have thought up the trick of moving the rudder off center to starboard to make turning easier, but Sayres did it first. He and Jones are beginning to get requests from wide and for to build boats for others. The they better do and without delay. Until then Slo-mo-shun has no one to race that it hasn't already beaten.
(Reprinted from the New York Times September 3, 1950)
|Harmsworth Trophy - Final Results|
|2.||U-11||Such Crust II|
|3.||U-3||My Sweetie (1)|
|4.||CA-9||Miss Canada IV|
|DNC||U-99||Miss Pepsi (2)|
|DNC||U-1||Such Crust I|
|DNC||U-4||Miss Great Lakes|
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