1953 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 9, 1953
The"Old Lady" Does It Again
Slo-mo-shun IV of Seattle is the greatest speed boat and the most dependable that the world has ever known. She proved this conclusively by completely dominating the Gold Cup race on Lake Washington August 9 and winning her third Gold cup even in four years.
This fabulous racer that is owned by Stanley S. Sayres, fathered and mothered by the finest hull and engine technicians that ever nursed an unlimited racer, and adopted by millions of adults and children in Seattle and on the Pacific Coast as their darling of speedboating, sits atop the highest pinnacles of racing with the following record:
Slo-mo-shun IV is the winner of the 1950, 1952 and 1953 Gold cup races; winner and present holder of the Harmsworth (international) trophy, holder of the mile straightaway record at 178-plus mph, possessor of many lap, heat and race records, and the second boat in history to ever win three Gold Cup events.
In piling up a perfect score of 2000 points for her 1953 victory she is the first Gold Cupper to accomplish this in several years. In fact, of the three successive Gold Cup races held in Seattle this is the first time the winning boat has gone the full three heats for a total 90 miles. In 1951 the Quicksilver accident caused the final heat to be stopped. In 1952 Slo-mo IV threw her prop in the first heat and had to sit out that heat only to return and win the final two for Gold Cup victory.
Slo-mo IV averaged 95.268 mph in the first heat, 92.014 in the second and 90.557 for the third heat. She averaged 92.613 mph for the 90 miles which was run over a newly established course length of 3¾ miles. She went 24 laps during the afternoon and was out of first place for only three short, thrilling intervals during the entire day.
It was do-or-die for the grand "Old Lady" of the Stanley Sayres camp, which has now won the Gold cup four straight years and the DID. Slo-mo-shun V, 1951 Gold Cup winner, suffered a terrific wrenching and smashing and settle deep in the water when her prop broke during the day she was to qualify. It was miraculous that Slo-mo V was even back in the water before race time. The a carburetor clogged and she couldnt answer the call to qualify at the last moment.
No secret at all that this pitted Slo-mo-shun IV against five aggressive Detroit boats, drivers and owners who would extend everything they had in racing ability, collectively and singly, to get the winning boat over the line and the trophy back home. That was the drama of the race. Good Ol "Four" had the speed, maneuverability and driving genius, but let one key nut come loose, one little line clog and one of the five other challengers was sure to coast home to victory. More than 250,000 people stood tense all afternoon, looking on, mindful that nothing could beat Slo-mo-shun IV but some mechanical fate.
Joe Taggart drover her across the starting line for the first heat in first place. Pounding right at his spraying rooster tail down the first stretch was Gale II, running beautifully, driven greatly by Lee Schoenith, son of affable owner Joe Schoenith. There was your pattern of the whole afternoon.
They fought furiously around the south turn into the back stretch. The rest of the field was settling back. Up the east back stretch IV began to widen the gap into a several hundred yard lead.
Slo-mo roared across the line to complete her first lap. Gale II was just coming out of the North turn, straightening up, 1,500 feet back, a tough, dangerous competitor.
The two boats went at it for three laps, the Gale II faded a little and the hard pressure was off. Both settled down to finishing the heat at a modestly fast clip well ahead of the field. Slo-mos fastest lap was almost 102 mph and Gale II took second place 20 seconds slower. Miss Great Lakes lost her shaft on the first lap. Miss U.S. was a poor last, averaging only 69 mph. Such Crust V finished third for 225 points and Such Crust III, the big twin-engined job, was a slow, but steady fourth in the first heat.
Heat two: Lou Fageol, unable to drive Slo-mo-shun V, drove IV in the second heat. Lou, the master of the split-second-times race starts, went across the line in last place. Cantrell in Crust V was in the lead. Gale II was right up there. Deep into the South turn rollicking Lou Fageol "let her roll." As they straightened out for the backstretch he jumped into the lead. At the same time, Crust V lost her propeller. Around they came to start lap two with Slo-mo leading Gale II by 50 yards or a little more. The came the thriller of the day. The south turn was approached. Fageol was wide and Lee Schoenith on the inside. Fageol didn't see it coming. Schoenith moved up and out. Fageol was taking a fire hosing and Gale II bolted into a good lead. Gale II won lap two and started lap 3 in first place with Slo-mo beginning to wind up. Again into the south turn the two racers bounced and roared. Schoenith chose a big U turn. Fageol ran and inverted V. When he came back down this V he picked the inside deep in the south turn and shot into the lead again, never to be headed. From then on it was widen and hold and they ran out the race similar to the first heat until the last lap. Gale II eased way off and thunder Such Crust III shot into second place at the finish line. Gale II had dropped some precious points in that last maneuver.
By now the strategy was set for the third heat. Slo-mo couldn't be out-speeded nor outdriven. Joe Taggart was to be back at the wheel for the third heat. He was doing a masterful job. Tight on the turns. No room for someone to get in on him. At times he shaved the buoy within three feet. Gale II would be out there pushing Slo-mo as hard as possible. The two Crust boats would be plowing around ready to take advantage of a breakdown.
Such Crust V wrestled the lead for the third heat's start. Slo-mo got into first lace in a hurry. Gale II forged into second and these two best boats were at it again. Gale pulled up on the backstretch in the third lap within 100 yards. Crust had thrown a prop and went out.
Taggart was driving cautiously, tighter on the turns, determined not to coast across, nor to burn up anything needlessly. The third lap too was his, if there were no mechanical failures. The hometown crowd was tense and suddenly it was all over but the shouting. Slo-mo-shun IV had run a perfect race, grabbed all the points and stood as the boat that must be challenged in 1954.
Gale II was second and Such Crust III, with Chuck Thompson at the wheel, was third.
For the afternoon, Slo-mo-shun IV had 2000 points, Gale II, 825; Such Crust III, 694; Miss U.S., 294; Such Crust V, 225 and Miss Great Lakes no points.
Few had realized the Slo-mo-shun V had come in at the end of two heats showing strain on her shaft and propeller. An already tired crew pitched in and changed the delicately aligned shaft, propeller and strut bearing. They had her in the water in only minutes before the third heat and she performed without trouble through the final heat.
Before the third heat Joe Taggart said, "More Gold Cup races have been lost by drivers who went too fast than by those who could resist the urge and slow off a bit. It takes a lot of patience to go a little slower." That was just the kind of race Joe ran in the third heat. Speed when he needed, a mite slower when it was wise.
Young Lee Schoenith stole the show among the challengers from Detroit. His Gale II ran well and his driving was excellent. He has many racing years left and from now on will bear the status of veteran driver. He gave the Slo-mo the kind of competition the crowd likes to see.
Among the racing suppliers who had equipment and supplies on the winning Slo-mo-shun IV were General Petroleum with Mobilgas and Mobiloil, Champion Spark Plug, Western Gear Works, International Nickel and Glassfiber & Plastics Supply, Seattle, which molded the new tail fin.
(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, September 1953)
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