1953 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 9, 1953
Slo-Mo-Shun, ‘Grand Old Lady’, Sweeps Gold Cup
The world’s greatest speedboat, Slo-mo-shun IV of Seattle, won the world’s greatest speedboat race again Sunday.
The Old Lady of the Stanley Sayres’ stable, left on her own when her running partner, Slo-mo-shun V, could not be made ready in time, soundly trounced an invading fleet of five Detroit unlimited hydroplanes, an Lake Washington.
Despite Seattle’s thrilling victory over the Detroiters, however, it could he the last Gold Cup race here for some time. The Detroiters, according to Jack Schafer, the Such Crust owner, say an effort will be made at Monday’s Gold Cup committee meeting at Seattle Yacht Club to limit the number of consecutive races one city may stage. Sayres announced he would fight the move to take the race away from Seattle.
In yesterday’s thriller the Slo-mo made it perfect, the first perfect Gold Cup in three years, with 2,000 points. Those points are given in this great race: 400 for a win in each heat, 400 for the fastest heat and 400 for the hest race. Those she tucked to make sure that Seattle’s speed boat fans talk about her for years on end.
Second to the Old Lady was a 24-year-old youngster, Lee Schoenith, driving Gale II, a boat his father, Joe, built and gave him.
Schoenith, in only his fifth race, drew applause from speedboat men gathered here from all over the United States. They see in him a "comer."
Driving honors on Slo-mo IV were shared by Joe Taggart, who drove the first and third heats, and Lou Fageol, who drove the second.
Break For Fageol
Fageol was without a boat in this race when, despite, the terrific efforts of the Slo-mo crews, "No. 5" could not be made ready.
Slo-mo V all but sank off Yarrow Point last Wednesday. They had her almost ready but a shaft out of line ate up valuable time and a carburetor that clogged at the last minute kept Fageol from even trying to qualify Sunday.
This is the first Gold Cup Seattle has seen without a tragedy. There wasn’t a single accident. Boats went out for mechanical reasons: in fact, the third heat saw only Slo-mo IV, Gale and the two Such Crusts, III and V, come out for the race.
Such Crust V, driven by Bill Cantrell, was so badly burned here last year, made only one circuit of the course in that third and deciding heat before he had to limp to the pit.
Cantrell had also had trouble in the second heat when he lost a propeller on the far turn.
Break Came Early
Miss Great Lakes [II] lost both shaft and propeller in the very first half minute of the race. She got off in a nice position but just as she approached the south turn and Danny Foster let up on his throttle, the break came. Great Lakes was dead in the water and they were unable to get her back.
The bulldog that hung along with Gale II was Such Crust III, the giant two-engined craft, owned by Jack Schafer of Detroit, owner also of Such Crust V.
Such Crust with Chuck Thompson driving, kept boring away, waddling around that course, never at an alarming speed, at at least from the viewpoint of the Slo-mo-shun, but nevertheless steadily.
Racing men say they believe this is the first time that a boat built with engines in tandem has ever run the full 90 miles of the Gold Cup course.
Miss United States [Miss U.S. (1)], with Dan Arena driving, hung on for two heats, then gave up. She is a brand new creation and, from the trouble she had all through the week, quite evidently needs more work.
This boy, Joe Taggart, who came out from Canton, O., to drive Slo-Mo IV, gave the fans a great exhibition. He got the Old Lady away in the first heat in first place and never did relinquish it. His work on the turn caused comment by veteran Gold Cup fans who claimed they had never seen a better job.
Some of that credit goes to the Old Lady herself, which had been altered slightly during winter, and those alterations certainly paid off. That work on the corners plus the terrific acceleration that lay in her huge Allison engine were, undoubtedly, the big factors.
Lou Fageol took over in the second heat and, to the amazement of everybody, got Slo-mo away a dead last. Fageol noted always for his terrific starting, got caught but he wasn’t caught long.
Trails One Lap
He had come through the traffic and was in second place before they came out of the south turn. He took after Gale II in first place, passed him as the second lap started, and that is the only time the Old lady ever had to take "rooster tails" from her competitors.
Fageol, after building up a commanding lead, held down too through the latter laps and she was in no trouble.
Taggart was her driver for the third heat and again he was off and running. Gale was his chief competition and did give him good competition through three laps.
From there on, even though he was not pushing Slo-mo, the gaps between the trailing Gale and the even slower Such Crust III grew wider. She had a lead of almost a minute when she came coasting across the finish with the thousands on the banks screaming, yelling, with boat whistles blowing all over the lake.
It is a great record the Old Lady has built up for herself.
She is only the second Gold Cup in 46 years to have her name engraved on it three times. El Lagarto is the other one, winning in 1933, 1934 and 1935.
She has her name on the Harmsworth, emblematic of the world’s championship and holds it today.
And she holds the world’s straightaway speed record as well—178.497 miles an hour.
Nothing that ever ran, not even Gar Wood’s famous craft individually did that.
And, for a further Seattle ride Sayres’ name as the owner is now on the Gold Cup four times, the name number of times as Gar Wood’s name shows.
Sayres, happy as he could be, had just one comment—"these crew boys are just naturally the greatest mechanics in the world and the nerviest, hustlingest group that any one will ever see. They deserve the same credit as do the two superlative drivers, Taggart and Fageol."
Dollar, her driver last year thought Slo-Mo IV was wonderful.
"She looked to me to he riding better, especially in those turns." he said. "And what acceleration. The fellows did a grand job and gave me a day almost as good as if I’d been in there myself."
Mike Welsch, the Slo-mo IV master mechanic greeted Dollar with this:
"Aren’t you sorry now."
And Dollar came back:
"How mean can you be."
Welsch, by the way, took his second dunking. It is a tradition with the hard working Slomo crewmen that the boss off the winning boat gets tossed in.
So in went Mike.
But back he climbed onto his pet boat, into the driver’s seat and drove her roaring back to her cradle.
They gave her a great welcome when Taggart brought her back to the barge.
Fageol had come from the pits by small boat and there grasped hands with Stanley Dollar, the San Franciscan who drove her to victory last year.
Ted Jones who designed her and drove her to her first Gold up win was at the pits so there were four winning drivers with the Old Lady. Fageol drove her to her 1950 Harmsworth victory and Sayres himself drove her in her two great measured mile tests.
Fageol, deeply disappointed when he didn’t get to drive Slo-mo-shun V they just couldn’t get her engine going even after they’d finished the grueling job of repairing her hull, was delighted at the chance to drive her in that second heat.
The boys sort of ganged up on me," he said in explaining his slow start (he got away absolutely last). "Bill Cantrell came up from behind the bridge, the rest of them swung out toward the pits and I had to cross their wakes. It was real bumpy.
"Cantrell hit the south turn first, but the rest of the boys forgot to close in and there was my opening. I gunned her and she fairly flew through all but Cantrell. I was so surprised I guess I overlooked Gale. I got Cantrell coming out of the turn. But Gale came pounding out of that turn, showed a great burst of speed and was by me. I didn’t get her until we straightened out on the second lap.
"From there on I was able to fight off any challenge Gale made and we rolled in, Joe Taggart and the rest, he and that great boat.
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