1952 Silver Cup
Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, September 1, 1952


Speed Boat Trophy Taken By Gale II
Schoenith's Craft, Piloted by Foster, Scores 1,100 Points in Three Heat Series
Hornet
In Breakdown
Schafer-Dodge Entry Out After Winning Opening Test

Phil Wood Scores

By Clarence Lovejoy
Special to the New York Times

Gale II
Gale II

bullet Boat Banter
bullet Seven-Liter Class Wildcatter Does 73.476 MPH as Detroit Regatta Starts
bullet Speed Boat Trophy Taken By Gale II
bullet Gale II Takes Silver Cup in Annual Labor Day Classic
bullet Statistics

Detroit. Sept. 1 [1952] - Speed boats and their pilots have been noted traditionally for their dare-deviltry, but today Old Mother Nature gave them a bad licking in the middle of the annual Silver Cup regatta. A Detroit river that had been reasonably tranquil suddenly was churned into raging waves by a thunder and lightning squall that. pelted the fleet with rain and with winds up to near-gale force.

Even the best drivers in the country couldn't meet these odds. And so, after postponing further heats for more than an hour, the Detroit Yacht Club Committee canceled the remaining events.

This gave the cup to Danny Foster. driving Joseph A. Schoenith's big gray Allison-powered Gale II. In the three heats before the storm Foster had built up a commanding lead with 1,100 Points and probably couldn't have been overhauled anyway.

Foster, an Air Force veteran of World War II, won the second and third twelve-mile heats and placed second in the opener.

This was a repeat triumph for the red-headed Foster, who won back in 1950 in .Jack Schafer's Such Crust I. with which be still holds the speed record at 91.959 miles an hour. Today he had to be satisfied with 65.094 in the second heat and 68.007 in the third.

A Synthetic Entry

A ''synthetic" entry: sponsored jointly by Jack Schafer and Horace E. Dodge and a pre-race favorite because the driver was the canny, experienced water-wise Lou Fageol, had an early break of mechanical hard luck after winning the first heat handily. This outfit had Hornet painted on the port side showing Dodge's ownership of the hull and some of the motor. Such Crust was painted along the starboard topside to recognition of Schaefer's contribution of gear box and other equipment cannibalized from his recently wrecked Such Crust IV. A jack-shaft was broken on the way back to Kean's boat yard after she had crossed. the finish line in front. putting Fageol on the beach for the rest of the day

Fitted into the afternoon's programme was a unsanctioned but nevertheless exciting free-for-all, six-mile race of some of the fastest runabouts on the Great Lakes. It turned out to he a victory for Phil Wood of Detroit. younger brother of Gar Wood in the big mahogany Val, in which Fred Proper rode as his mechanic Although Wood missed the starting cannon and got away more than a mile behind that rest of the runabout fleet, he overhauled them all to get the checkered flag

"Spoiler" Is Runner-Up

Detroiters liked the Wood triumph. The runner-up was Ted Jones, the man this city blames for taking the Gold Cup to Seattle. Two summers ago Jones, designer and then driver of Stan Sayres' Slo-Mo-Shun IV, won the cup here and Detroit has not had a smell of it since. Today Jones drove Rex Jacobs' Virginia. Accompanied by Charles D. Strang Jr., one of Mercury Outboard Motors' engineers.

Belated efforts to qualify some of the entrants delayed the start of the Silver Cup first heat. The Canadian-owned Miss Supertest with Bill Braden driving passed the requirement of at least 60 miles an hour with a lap clocked; at 69.673. George Zigas' Thunderbolt was nearly as fast with 69.52 and Fageol pushed the throttle way down to get a qualifying speed of 82.60 m. p. h. out of Hornet-Such Crust.

But Schafer's Such Crust III had trouble. A shift of drivers, from Chuck Thompson to Walter Kade may have had something to do with it. In the first circuit the stop-watches pointed only to a speed of 36 miles an hour. But Kade, with the reprieve of a second trial, got under the wire with a speed of 60.211. One of the seven liter craft. the rough-riding Guided Missile, driven by Bob Grattan, was ruled out as being far too slow.

Two of the speedsters, that helped make the first Silver Cup heat look good were actually just going, along for the ride. Such Crust III and Dodge's My Sweetie with Al D'Eath driving were disqualified for starting after the leading boat had completed a full lap. But they continued to the lap's end, oblivious of the tell-tale red flag that the officials' tower was waving at them. Curiously. a similar disqualification for the same rule infringement cut Kade and Such Crust III out of the second heat, and in this test Roughneck, driven by B. G. Bartley Sr. of Pittsburgh was disqualified for cutting a course buoy.

It was a ruinous heat for three of the did-not-finishers. Miss Great Lakes, owned by Al Fallon and piloted by Joe Taggart. was leading after one lap when a shear pin broke Thunderbolt's oil line let go, finishing her for the rest of the day, and Miss Supertest went out with a gear box breakage.

(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 2, 1952)

First Heat, 12 Miles

Place Boat Owner Driver Points
1 Hornet-Such Crust Jack Schafer, Detroit Lou Fageol, Kent, Ohio 400
2 Gale II Joseph Schoenith, Detroit Danny Foster, Detroit 300
3 Wildcatter [7 liter] B.G. Bartley, Sr., Pittsburgh B.G. Bartley, Jr., Pittsburgh 225
4 Roughneck [7 liter] B.G. Bartley, Sr., Pittsburgh B.G. Bartley, Sr., Pittsburgh 169
Winner's Speed -- 78.001 MPH
Best Lap -- 81.092 MPH (Hornet-Such Crust in second lap)

Two boats were disqualified for starting after leader had completed one lap. These were Such Crust III,  owned by Schafer and driven by Walter Kade, Detroit and My Sweetie, owned by Horace E. Dodge, Detroit, and driven by Al D'Eath, Detroit.

Three boats did not finish: Miss Great Lakes II, owned by Al Fallon, Detroit, and driven by Joe Taggart, Canton, Ohio; Thunderbolt, owned and driven by George Zigas, Detroit, and Miss Supertest, owned by James Thompson, London, Ont., and driven by Bill Braden, London, Ont.

Second Heat, 12 Miles

1

Gale II      
Winner's speed -- 65.094 MPH

Two boats were disqualified: Such Crust III for starting too late and Roughneck for cutting a buoy.

Third Heat, 12 Miles
1 Gale II      
2 Such Crust III      
3 My Sweetie      
Winner's speed -- 68.007 MPH

Roughneck DNF

Final Standings
1 Gale II   Danny Foster 1,100
2 Hornet-Crust   Lou Fageol 400
3 Such Crust III (1)   Walter Kade 300
4 My Sweetie (2)   Al D'Eath 225
5 Wildcatter   B.G. Bartley, Jr. 225
6 Roughneck   B.G. Bartley, Sr.  
DNF Miss Great Lakes II   Joe Taggart  
DNF Thunderbolt (1)   George Zigas  
DNC Miss Supertest   Bill Braden  
DNC Guided Missile   Bob Grattan  

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at wildturnip@gmail.com
Leslie Field, 2002, 2008