1952 National Sweepstakes
The eastern motor boat racing season came to a close during September with three major regattas on the final weekends of the month. The circuit, which saw many boats from the deep South racing centers competing with Detroit area and New England craft, commenced with the National Sweepstakes Regatta in Red Bank, New Jersey, on September 13 and 14. After the President's Cup Regatta the following weekend in Washington D.C., there followed the fabulous Last Weekend in September Regatta on the Ohio River at New Martinsville, West Virginia.
Each of these had its highlights and each provided the competing drivers and riding mechanics with excitement and thrills as they entertained huge shore crowds of interested spectators. The weather man answered the prayers of the regatta committees and all three were blessed with nearly ideal weather and water conditions. Each regatta had near record numbers of entries. In some classes elimination heats were necessitated to whittle the competitors down to sixteen starters, the maximum number permitted in any heat at an APBA-sanctioned regatta.
In the feature event of the Red Bank regatta, the National Sweepstakes, six boats in three classes started. The big Gold Cup boat of Major Horace Dodge, My Sweetie, which was capsized by Al D'Eath this summer, had the odds on favorite and led the field for about seven of the ten miles of the first heat. The new seven liter hydro, Wildcatter, which made her debut in Buffalo the previous month, was driven by Barnett Bartley, Jr., who pressed the bigger boat for the first two laps. On the last lap My Sweetie dropped out and Bartley crossed the finish line at 81.098 miles an hour. Bob Rowland finished second in You All, followed by Joe Less of North Tonawanda, New York, driving Mammas Mink, and Ray Gassner of St. Petersburg, Fla., in Sunshine Baby.
(reprinted from The Rudder, November, 1952)
NOTE: The above account on the National Sweepstakes refers only to the first heat, run on Saturday, September 13. Wildcatter was damaged in the companion Red Bank Gold Cup and was unable to start in the final National Sweepstakes heat. You All finished first in that segment, taking the the National Sweepstakes with 700 points total. óLF
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