1952 Imperial Gold Cup
Ohio River, New Martinsville, WV, September 27-28, 1952
Dee-Jay VCaptures Speed-Boat Trophy
New Martinsville, W. Va., Sept, 28  — New names supplanted some of the old in the annals of speed boat daredeviltry today in one of the moat spectacular regattas of the season on a smooth, sunny, almost ripple-less Ohio River. The light green Dee Jay, decorated with shamrocks as befits a Gold Cup craft owned by an Irishman. Daniel J. Murphy of Philadelphia, came the holder for a year of the Imperial Cold Cup, feature of the Magnolia Yacht Club's annual excitement.
In the first; ten-mile heat one of Dee Jay’s victims was the exalted Miss Pepsi, winner only a week ago of the President's' Cup on the Potomac and honored the other day when President Truman received Chuck Thompson, driver, and Roy Dossin, one of the owners in the White House.
This wasn’t Miss Pepsi's day. She hardly had shot out of starting park before streams of ominous black smoke began belching out of her exhaust. Thompson let his throttle foot up, steered off the course and then found that, in addition to fuel trouble, he had more miseries with a broken jackshaft.
Jinx Regatta for Miss Pepsi
This is a sort of jinx regatta for Miss Pepsi. She has capsized here, been broke when a derrick hose left go and otherwise missed the big chips.
Dee Jay, driven by her builder, Norman Lauterbach of Ventnor, N.J., with Howard Fulton of Philadelphia riding alongside as mechanic, was making her first regatta appearance since sinking in the Detroit river a couple of seasons back. She looked great in the first heat when the Gold Cup and Unlimited craft were bracketed for convenience with the seven-liter entrants racing for separate prizes.
As twilight was closing down on the quite valley, though the green boat began sputtering with great red flashes of fire flaming out of her hatch. It was a sight in the half darkness.
Referee Al Bauer calmed, through a public address system, the crowds on the banks and on anchored spectator craft, with an announcement that such flashes and backfiring were common on the big racing creations. Finally, after Lauterbach and Felton had been singed in a dozen blazing flare-ups as they tried to get Dee Jay to start, the motor began to roar.
Trophy Awards Made
Although owner Murphy tried to wigwag Lauterbach to the pits for safety, the driver put on an exhibition of fast boat handling for a couple of laps before calling it a day. Later the committees headed by Dr. E. C. Blum and May Bob Bruce awarded the Imperial Cup to Dee-Jay for the year and gave to Oliver Elam’s Mercury from Ashland, Ky., the trophy for the best seven-liter outfit on the course. Their speeds were bettered, however, in the three heat event for the small 266 cubic inch class.
So big was the 266 field that two qualifying heats were ordered to thin out the trophy hunters with the winner of each meeting in a final. The amazing Bobby Rowland [driving You-All], winner of the Red Bank sweepstakes earlier this month, was clocked at 85.633 miles an hour in his qualifying heat and 84.587 in the final.
What’s more, Ed Aleksandrowicz in the second won at the speed of 81.081. Rowland’s 85.633 was within hailing distance of the world competitive record of 87.89 mph set by Paul Sawyer Jr. of Rochester, NY.
More than 60,000 spectators viewed the regatta from a variety of vantage points along both the West Virginia and Ohio banks.
Gains in Popularity
In a few short years the New Martinsville fixture has grown to top popularity, because of the smooth, protected water. Autos were lined up in tiers on both hills rising from the river, some on the new roads but most of them on farm and pasture land.
As an annual courtesy, the huge fleet of river boats waits upstream and down for many hours so as not to churn up the course and endanger the driver of the fragile little cockle-shells.
Here’s a regatta that, unlike most, is able to sell thousands of grandstand seats on tiers of slabs of concrete and stones that mount from the river’s edge to the sponsoring Magnolia Yacht club. It is hard to envision the desolation of such happy, regatta-loving folks every couple of years when the mile Ohio River rises into floods to the second-story levels of their homes and shops.
Two other Ventnor (N.J.) visitors besides Lauterbach gained acclaim, C. Mulford Scull for winning the 48-cubic-inch hydroplane class with a perfect point score of 800 and Robert J. McAllister for romping off with the 48 runabout, also with 800 points.
Gold Cup and 7-Litre Class
First Heat (ten miles)
1. Dee Jay V, Norman Lauterbach, Ventnor, N.J.; 2. Mercury, Oliver Elam, Ashland, Ky. Time—8:42.1 Speed—68.912 mph. Miss Pepsi, Chuck Thompson, Detroit, and Roughneck, B.G. Bartley Jr., Pittsburgh, did not finish.
1, Elam. Time—8:27 2/10. Speed—70.850 mph. Lauterbach waved off course after delayed start when Dee Jay caught fire.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 29, 1952)
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