1953 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington, DC, September 20, 1953
Thompson Should be Suspended, Says Fageol
|Slo-Mo-Shun V Wins Presidentís Cup Heat|
|Slo-mo-shun V Wins Presidentís Cup Despite Heat Record by Such Crust III|
|Thompson Should Be Suspended Says Fageol|
|Boat Pilots Heard By A.P.B.A. Board|
|Boat Drivers Censured|
|Slo Mo Shun V Invades the East|
|President's Cup Regatta = Power|
Chuck Thompson, driver of Jack Schafer's Such Crust III, has been charged with fouling Slo-mo-shun V in the third heat of the President's Cup. The charged was made by driver Lou Fageol in a letter filed with Gibson Bradfield, president of the American Power Boat Association, September 29.
Fageol requested that the Inboard Racing Commission of the APBA cite Thompson for committing an intentional or unintentional foul on Slo-mo-shun V during the race. He asked that Thompson be penalized by a suspension from racing for a reasonable period.
Fageol's dramatic letter gave details of events in the first lap of the third heat of the race on the Potomac when Slo-mo-shun V and Such Crust III narrowly escaped collision at the first buoy of the first turn.
Fageol testified that he crossed the starting line two boat lengths behind Thompson's Such Crust III and approximately in the exact center of the course. Thompson's boat was on the outside limit to the right.
"Immediately after crossing the starting line, I was able to overcome Thompson's two-boat lead and actually pulled Slo-mo-shun up to a point where I had achieved a half-boat lead by the time we had traveled approximately two-thirds of the distance between the starting line and the lead marker to the turn," Fageol wrote.
"...Once I had established my right to the first marker, I eased off the throttle and merely maintained my position as we continued to approach the marker for the turn. At this point on the course, I noticed Thompson suddenly turn Such Crust III directly for the lead-in marker to the turn, and naturally, in the interest of safety and guarding my position on the course, I kept a very close watch on Thompson as he continued to bring his boat on an approximate 20-degree tangent directly into the marker and into the path of my boat.
"...I had no alternative except to cut my throttle instantly and completely, which as everyone of experience knows creates an extremely dangerous situation with a boat which is traveling at 140 mph . . . the bow of Slo-mo-shun dropped and dug into the water, throwing me violently against the cowling and windshield of the boat.
"...I was then dashed with terrific momentum back down into the cockpit and struck the edge of the seat with such force as to shear the upholstering completely away from the metal frame of the seat, which, after coming through the upholstery, gashed my leg open with a 3-inch deep and 3-inch long wound.
"As witnesses who saw the accident, particularly Cantrell and Schoenith, will confirm, even after this rapid deceleration which is final proof that I had full right to the marker, I ended up by somehow scraping Slo-mo-shun's left pontoon on the marker as my right pontoon passed miraculously over Thompson's cockpit as he slid by with, as far as I know, full power applied to his boat, and without in any way altering his original course.
"...The plain facts are, as I see them, assuming the foul was not intentional, and I am willing to assume this, Mr. Thompson just did not make any attempt to look or see, and for this reason I consider, to assure future safety and proper respect and diligence on the part of each driver in future Gold Cup competition, that some penalty, possibly in the form of a suspension from racing for a reasonable period, should be imposed on Thompson for his unsportsmanlike or careless handling of his boat.
"Unless this be done," Fageol continued, "Mr. Thompson has gained by his action both public acclaim in winning a heat to which he was not entitled, as it was done by fouling another boat, and, second, had not the writer yielded his rightful position on the course, an irreparable damage to the future of Gold Cup racing would have been assured, to say nothing of the possible fatal aspects which were faced by Mr. Thompson and the writer," Fageol concluded.
(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, Nov. 1953)
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