1951 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 4, 1951
Pilot and Mechanic Killed As Gold Cup Race Boat Sinks
Slo-mo-shun V getting away ahead of Hornet in opening test of classic at Seattle yesterday. They finished in the same order with Lou Fageol piloting Slo-mo-shun to two new records.
— Associated Press Wirephoto
SEATTLE, Aug. 4  — A speed boat turned over, killing its driver and mechanic today in the forty-fourth running of the Gold Cup race here.
The violent climax to the final heat of speed-boating's biggest classic came on the third lap. Quicksilver, owned and driven by Orth Mathiot, 56, of Portland, Ore., was fighting for fourth place in the final heat when it headed full speed into a turn, flipped over and sank within seconds.
Both Mathiot and his mechanic, Tommy Whitaker, went down with the boat. Officials tried frantically to stop the race as Slo-mo-shun V, which had won the first two heats, again paced the other boats around the three-mile oval course.
The race finally was stopped after 10 minutes and Stanley Sayres' new Slo-mo-shun was adjudged the winner on the basis of her victories in the first two heats.
As soon as the course was cleared of the speeding hydroplanes, a diver was sent to the scene, 100 yards off Lake Washington's west shore and only 300 yards from the judges' stand.
Mathiot's body was found two hours later.
The impact of the speeding boat striking the water after the turn-over was so violent that it ripped the life jackets from both men, breaking the zipper on one. A shoe with the sock still in it was found floating on the lake's surface.
Quicksilver had run into tough luck throughout the race, She finished a poor sixth in the first heat and couldn't get started in the second.
Mathiot hit the starting line in the final heat determined to bring some honors back to his home city. The black and silver craft banked beautifully on the first two laps and was pulling up to My Sweetie when she began vibrating.
250,000 See Tragedy
The 250,000 spectators lining Lake Washington's shore gasped as the speedy hydroplane shuddered, skidded and plunged over into the water with a mighty splash.
The shocked crowd watched the other boats zoom on, unaware of the tragedy. Officials frantically flagged down the other six speeding boats and cleared the course as quickly as possible.
Slo-mo-shun V of Seattle had sped over the lake at 90 miles per hour and set two new records to win the first two heats.
Lou Fageol of Kent, Ohio, drove the new 1,750 horsepower hydroplane over the 30-mile stretch in 19 minutes 37 seconds for a new record average speed of 91.766 miles per hour in the first heat.
He took the lead again in the second go-around and clocked an average speed of 89.977 mph good enough to lap most of his opponents and win by hundreds of yards.
A Record First Lap
Fageol's first lap of the day set another record—97.826 mph for a three-mile lap—and put him so far ahead that he lapped every other boat in the first heat.
The old records were 86.200 m.p.h. for a lap set by My Sweetie at the Detroit Gold Cup race last year, and 80.892 for a heat set by Slo-mo-shun IV when she won the classic the same day.
Wild Bill Cantrell of Detroit brought Horace Dodge's Hornet in second in both heats and defending champion Slo-mo-shun IV finished third both times.
The race is run in three thirty- mile heats, consisting of ten laps around a three-mile oval course.
Two boats conked out in each heat. Detroit's Miss Pepsi had to pull up with oil line trouble in the fifth lap of the first heat when she was only 100 yards behind the winner. She tried again in the second and was forced to quit on the first lap.
Such Crust of Detroit went dead in the fifth lap of the first heat and failed to get back for the second, while Gold'n Crust of Detroit failed to get in the race because of carburetor trouble.
Quicksilver couldn't get started for the second heat after finishing sixth in the first.
The Hornet gave the spectators a thrill when she nearly flipped on the last turn of her ninth flap in the second heat, but Cantrell held, her down and roared on to finish second.
Other entries were Gale II, Detroit Yacht Club; Hurricane [IV], Los Angeles, and My Sweetie, Detroit. Dee Jay V, Philadelphia, failed to qualify.
[Reprinted from the United Press, August 4, 1951]
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