1951 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 4, 1951


Quicksilver (from This is Hydroplaning)

bullet The 1951 Gold Cup Remembered
bullet Sayres Readies Boat for Defense of Gold Cup in Seattle Race
bullet Nation's Top Racers to Invade Seattle
bullet New Slo-Mo-Shun May Be Ready For August Races
bullet Can They Beat "Slo-Mo-Shun IV"?
bullet Are the Big-name Racing Boats Challenging with Revised Hulls?
bullet Just Two Boats Qualify
bullet Set Speed-boat Record
bullet 100 mph Record for Dossins' Craft
bullet Miss Pepsi Chief Threat in Gold Cup
bullet "Slo-Mo V" Roars to Gold Cup's Fastest Win
bullet Slo-Mo-Shun V Wins Gold Cup At Seattle
bullet Pilot and Mechanic Killed As Gold Cup Race Boat Sinks
bullet Cup Racer Called a "Runaway" Boat
bullet Gold Cup Rules Changed
bullet Safety Committee Named
bullet Death at Seattle
bullet Quicksilver (from This is Hydroplaning)
bullet Statistics

"The Saturday afternoon of Seattle's first Gold Cup Race, August 4, 1951, was warm and clear. In the third heat, Orth Mathiot, 56, and his mechanic, Thompson Whitaker, 27, were riding in Quicksilver, a Rolls-powered, 31-foot hydroplane from Portland, Ore. Without warning-and to the horror of some 250,000 spectators at the lake-the Quicksilver, porpoising badly, suddenly went out of control. It nosed down and dived to the bottom of the lake, taking to their deaths the two occupants unfortunately strapped in with seat belts. 

Thumbnail of Quicksilver (6634 bytes)
Quicksilver G-15

Viewing this unexpected tragedy from the press barge, KING-TV sports-announcer Bill O'Mara, visibly shaken as he faced the camera, led his unseen audience in the Lord's Prayer. The remainder of the Gold Cup race was cancelled and Slo-mo-shun V, with the most points, was declared winner. Hours later the bodies of Mathiot and Whitaker were recovered.

In the history of unlimited hydroplane racing this was the worst tragedy and the only loss of life. Because of it, there now are stricter rules governing the qualification of boats for competition, and now no one wears seat belts."

(Reprinted from This is Hydroplaning by Paul Lowney [1959])


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Leslie Field, 2000