1953 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 9, 1953
Slo-Mo Shun IV Surprised
Slo-Mo Shun IV surprised even the most optimistic observers of the Gold Cup field by making a clean sweep of the August 9th running of the unlimited event. Stanley Sayres' world record holder placed first in all three heats of the ninety mile race. The driving assignment was shared by Joe Taggart and Lou Fageol.
The Sayres camp was to have two entries, Slo-Mo-Shun IV and V; Fageol was to drive the latter. A scant four days before, the big race, the V broke a propeller while traveling in the neighbourhood of 160 mpg. The resultant unbalance naturally twisted the drive shaft into a kink that tore a sizable hole in the stern. Through quick action and a measure of good luck, Fageol got her into eight feet of water before she settled and sank. Seattle's Gold Cup hopes seemed to sink with her. It was all up to Slo-Mo-Shun IV then!
All boats had qualified by Thursday evening except Miss United States [Miss U.S. (1)], a new and untried boat. On Saturday, Such Crust III, the twin-Allison behemoth of Jack Schafer's, struck a piece of drift in a practice run. As luck would have it, she, too, got to shore before she sank. Her transom was all but knocked out.
The crews of both Such Crust III and Slo-Mo-Shun V worked feverishly to get their crafts ready for the Sunday morning go. Such Crust III came through in fine shape. Slo-Mo-Shun V was in the water, but just not in racing condition. She never qualified. Miss United States qualified early Sunday morning.
The impressive field looked like this: Miss United States, owned by George Simon and driven by Dan Arena, her designer-builder. Jack Schafer brought the big Such Crust III driven by veteran Chuck Thompson, and Such Crust V driven by Bill Cantrell. Gale II was back for another try after her 1952 layoff. She is owned by Joe Schoenith and driven by son Lee Schoenith. Miss Great Lakes II was also back for another try. Owned by Al Fallon, she was driven this time by Danny Foster.
It was a thundering flotilla that hit the line as the starting cannon exploded. First over was Slo-Mo-Shun IV, followed closely by Miss Great Lakes, Such Crust V, Miss United States, Such Crust III, and Gale II. Miss Great Lakes suffered a similar fate to last year . . . she went dead in the water at the first turn. This time she lost a shaft and prop.
On the back stretch, Slo-Mo-Shun IV showed up still in the lead, but Gale II had come up through the pack and was pressing the second place Such Crust V. During the second lap Gale II succeeded in taking second place. The boats then spaced out and finished in that order.
Lou Fageol was at the wheel of Slo-Mo-Shun IV for the second heat. Crossing the line they were: Such Crust III, Miss United States, Such Crust V, Gale II, and Slo-Mo-Shun IV.
Fageol went through the field before the first turn, and was coming up on Such Crust V in the back stretch when Cantrell coasted to a stop after losing the prop. This put Slo-Mo-Shun IV in the lead, with Gale II close behind in the rooster tail.
Coming around the first turn of the second lap, Gale II turned the trick by passing Slo-Mo-Shun IV. On the long stretch of the third lap Fageol had to really let her out to regain the lead. It turned out to be fast lap of the day, 104.231 m.p.h. During the seventh lap, Gale II slowed perceptibly with a broken cooling line. Hot water was discharging into the boat. Such Crust III was able to overtake her, and they finished Slo-Mo-Shun IV, Such Crust III, Gale II and Miss United States.
For the third heat, Joe Taggart was again in the drive’s seat of the Slo-Mo-Shun IV. Miss United States did not start. It was Such Crust V, Slo-Mo-Shun IV, Gale II and Such Crust III across the line. Slo-Mo-Shun IV gained the lead with Gale II close behind. Such Crust V coasted dead in the water. Gale II was trailing Slo-Mo-Shun IV by not more than six or seven seconds for the next three laps. On the fifth lap the lead was increased and they finished Slo-Mo-Shun IV, Gale II and Such Crust III.
Such Crust III had the unusual distinction of being one of the few twin-engined craft to race the full ninety miles without mishap. Final point standings were:
Slo-Mo-Shun IV, 2000 points
Gale II, 825
Such Crust III, 694
Miss United States, 294
Such Crust V, 225
Miss Great Lakes II, DNF
Points are awarded on a basis of 400 points for a first, 300 for second, 225 for third, and 169 and 127 for fourth and fifth. In addition, 400 points are awarded for best heat, and 400 points for best race.
By winning, Slo-Mo-Shun IV became the second boat in history to win three times. El Lagarto did it in 1933-34-36.
George Simon, owner of Miss United States, declared his intentions of returning next year with the best he can muster. Jack Schafer, owner of the Crust boats, was a bit dejected and said he was not returning. In fact, he declared that three years was too long for one city to have the event, and he sparked a move to have the event returned to Detroit. The effort failed.
At any rate, you can rely on the ultimate in speed-boating to arrive in Seattle next summer in an attempt to wrest the Gold Cup from the grip of Stanley Sayres. (End).
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