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

The President's Cup

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

The 23rd President's Cup regatta, at Washington, D.C. on Sept. 18-19, attracted no less than 175 stock outboard entries and provided another of those thrilling unlimited class races in which a three-pointer and a multi-step battle from start to finish.

When points were totaled after the last dropping of the checkered flag it turned out that Bill Cantrell, steering the three-pointer Gale IV, had won for owner Joe Schoenith the gold trophy originally sponsored by Calvin Coolidge. Second place in the titular event was earned by Jack Bartlow at the wheel of Horace Dodge's multi-stepper My Sweetie Dora. Handling the lively Dora masterfully, Bartlow led the eventual winner for 13 of the first heat's 15 miles, for one-third of the second heat, and throughout the third and final contest.

But for all of Bartlow's skill, Gale IV had more usable speed than Dora and no one could have used it more effectively than Cantrell. Third over the starting line in the first heat, Bill slowly cut down Bartlow's lead lap by lap. Approaching the first turn of the final round, the leaders roared up behind the lagging Dodge entry My Sweetie, driven by John Ban. Ban entered the turn first, close to the buoys. At that moment Cantrell moved abreast of Bartlow on the outside. Jack had nothing to do but back off to avoid crashing into Ban's stern. Cantrell sped past them both and went on to win by 300 yds. Gale IV's final lap was at the rate of 98.4 m.p.h., eclipsing the old 95.4 record. Cantrell also hung up a new heat mark of 95.542 as against the previous standard of 93.918. Both broken records had been set in 1953 by Chuck Thompson, driving Jack Schafer's Such Crust III.

Neither the second nor third heats was as fast as the first, although each had its share of excitement. Cantrell nabbed Bartlow early in the second contest and won by a wider margin than he had previously. From the start of the third heat it was clear that Bill was willing to let Dora keep the lead, counting on the point superiority of Gale IV's two first places and a fairly certain fastest-heat bonus for that blazing first 15 miles. As it turned out the Schoenith entry stuck close enough to the Dodge speedster to pick up the fastest-contest bonus as well, and set a 45-mile record of 91.277 m.p.h. (Previous standard: 91.070, set in 1953 by Lou Fageol at the wheel of Stan Sayres' Slo-mo-shun V.)

Thus the final point standings were: Gale IV — 1900; My Sweetie Dora — 1000; Gale V, also owned by Joe Schoenith and driven by his son Lee — 675; My Sweetie — 465; Miss Cadillac, driven by owner Bud Saile and by Danny Foster — 169.

The large swarm of stock outboards necessitated the running of four elimination heats in class BU, three in B stock hydro and two each in AU and DU. Class winners were: AU—Roger Hoffman; BU—Richard Rees; CU—Bernard Abrams; DU—Joe Greenwell; A stock hydro—Clifford Miller; B stock hydro—William McClung and D stock hydro—Howard Kiger.

Inboard events developed the following winners: 48 cu. in. hydro — Jim Bay, W. H. Harrison; 136 cu. in. hydro — Jersey Devil, — George Smith; D service runabout — Topper, Walter Loner; E service runabout — Miss You, Bill Engle; 135 cu. in. hydro — Wa Wa Bill Ritner.

(Reprinted from Yachting, November 1954)

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