1954 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington, DC, September 18-19, 1954

Cantrell Takes President's Cup on Potomac With Schoenith Speed Boat
Gale IV is Winner as 100,000 Watch
Cantrell Coasts to 2d-Heat Victory, Clinches Trophy
by Clarence E. Lovejoy

Cantrell's Boat Takes Opening Heat in President's Cup
Cantrell Takes President's Cup on Potomac With Schoenith Speed Boat
The President's Cup

Washington, DC Sept. 19 [1954] — Gale IV, one of the two entries of the Detroit sportsman, Joseph Schoenith, and driven skillfully by the 46-year-old daredevil, Wild Bill Cantrell, became the winner for 1954 of the President's Cup this afternoon.

Adding to his first heat triumph yesterday, Cantrell today captured the second fifteen-mile test handily. Then with ample points and speeds to "cushion" his performance, he placed second in the third heat behind Jack Bartlow, who was driving Horace Dodge's My Sweetie Dora.

It was a stirring race for giant speed boats, thirty feet long and with more power than they could use from the Allison Aircraft engines of 1,710 cubic inches. A crowd of 100,000 looked on.

Four of the five starters were still around for the finish on a Potomac River that after early rain squalls had flattened out under blue skies and a hot sun to provide ideal two-mile-a-minute race boat speeds.

Point Score 1,900 to 1,000

Schoenith's second entry, Gale V, piloted by his son, 23-year-old Lee, was a lagging third. Fourth was My Sweetie, owned by Dodge and driven by John Ban of Detroit.

In the point scoring Cantrell totaled 1,900, thanks to two 400-point bonuses for the fastest heat and the fastest race. Bartlow's runner-up score was 1,000.

No speed boat driver is more respected than the rugged, hard-bitten Cantrell. He has been a professional dirt track auto driver, Indianapolis speedway contestant and an inland lake and river diver. He won the 1949 President's Cup in an earlier Dodge-owned My Sweetie.

Cantrell made it look like child's play in winning the second heat. Laying back to feel out his rivals, Wild Bill trailed Dodge's My Sweetie Dora by 25 yards for the first three-mile lap before jamming his heavy foot on the accelerator and swerving around into the lead. It was not much of a heat thereafter.

Cantrell Widens Margin

Cantrell, confident and steady in the padded cockpit of Gale IV, gauged his speed by glancing back to sense Bartlow's rivalry. By the end of the second lap Cantrell was 100 yards out in front. This margin was widened constantly, to 125 yards by the third lap and to 200 yards at the end of the fourth. This became at least 250 yards by the finish.

Gale V was third in this heat. Gale V had split a sponson early in the test, losing a chunk of the plywood, which, of course, meant slower speeds thereafter. A poor fourth, lapped by the leaders, was Miss Sweetie [My Sweetie].

Bartlow, with My Sweetie Dora, was the Labor Day winner of the Silver Cup at Detroit and yesterday a close runner-up to Cantrell in the first President's Cup heat. Returning to the pits yesterday a couple of hull planks were found pulled loose and this meant boat riggers and mechanics spent much of the night on repairs for today's racing program.

Danny Foster, a two-time President's Cup winner, replaced Fred Saile, Jr. in the driving seat of Miss Cadillac for the second heat. But he was in the running less than one lap because of supercharger trouble, steering back to the pits for the rest of the day.

Dodge's My Sweetie boats were named for his mother, the 84-year-old matriarch of the automotive family. By adding the word Dora to his other entrant, Dodge's My Sweetie Dora pays a compliment to his wife, Dora, better known as Gregg Sherwood.

1954 President's Cup
  First Heat Second Heat Third Heat
1 Gale IV, Bill Cantrell, Detroit Gale IV My Sweetie Dora
2 My Sweetie Dora, Jack Bartlow, Detroit My Sweetie Dora Gale IV
3 Gale V, Lee Schoenith, Detroit Gale V Gale V
4 Miss Cadillac, Fred J. Saile, Detroit My Sweetie My Sweetie
5 My Sweetie, John Ban, Detroit    
DNF   Miss Cadillac  
Time 9:23:2/5 10:04:3/5 9:46:2/5
Speed 95.795 mph 89.313 92.088
Fastest lap Gale IV's fifth in the first heat at 98.182 mph
Point score Gale IV 1,900  
  My Sweetie Dora 1,000
  Gale V 675
  My Sweetie 465
  Miss Cadillac 169
New race record speed of 91.277 m.p.h. for the 45 miles

(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 20, 1954)

Final standings
1 U-54 Gale IV
2 U-14 My Sweetie Dora
3 U-55 Gale V (I)
4 U-3 My Sweetie (II)
5 U-45 Miss Cadillac

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