1956 APBA Gold Cup Race
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 1, 1956
Taggart Badly Injured as Speed Boat Overturns
|This painting by Jim Collier depicts the crash of the Slo-mo-shun IV during qualifying for the 1956 Gold Cup in Detroit. Driver Joe Taggart was injured in the incident. The boat was brought back to Seattle where it lay in state, respectfully visited by thousands of mourning fans. Owner Stan Sayres died two weeks after the accident, never having seen the remains of the boat. The boat, now restored, is on loan to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum and ran a demonstration on Lake Washington on June 26, 1999.|
Detroit, August 30,  (UP)Joe Taggart, a 48-year-old Canton (Ohio) drivers was "seriously" injured today when his boat flipped at a speed of about 140 miles per hour in a qualifying trial for the Gold Cup. America's top speedboat race.
Taggart was rescued by a police boat and taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital. Three hours after his admission, a physician said his numerous injuries were "not expected to be permanently crippling" and his condition was "good."
The injuries include fractures of each of his limbs, possible fracture of his right should, several fractured ribs, possible internal injuries, head abrasions and cuts on his body and legs.
Witnesses Tell of Flip
The boat was Slo-Mo-Shun IV, in which Taggart set a Gold Cup heat record last year in Seattle. Witnesses said the boat rocked back and forth as it rose in the water on a straightaway run on the Detroit River and then shot into the air. It then somersaulted, they said, and crashed upside down with shattering force.
The boat almost "disintegrated" and splintered pieces of the hull were all that was recovered.
By the time Taggart was dragged from the water most of his clothing had been stripped from his body.
Qualifying resumed on the three-mile course after the accident and four boats topped the average time of eighty-five miles an hour needed to make the race.
Gale V, owned by Detroit's Joe Schoenith and driven by Bill Cantrell, turned in the fastest time, averaging 107.843 miles an hour during its three turns around the pear shaped course.
Miss Seattle, the former Slo-Mo-Shun V, now owned by Rooster Tales, Inc., was next with 105.06 mph. Then came to Detroit boats — Schoenith's Gale VI at 99.94 mph and Roy Dossin's Miss Pepsi at 98.97.
Miss Thriftway, owned by Willard Rhodes of Seattle and written by Bill Muncey of Detroit, qualified yesterday at 106.73.
Seven Places Available
With five boats and now eligible to answer Saturday's starting bomb, seven places will be available in tomorrow's final day of trials.
The breaking top of Slo-Mo-Shun IV ended the career of one of the America's most respected power boats. The craft won the Gold Cup in 1950, 1952 and 1953 and holds the world 1-mile propeller-driven record of 178.497 mph.
After regaining consciousness at the hospital, Taggart said the accident occurred when Slo-Mo-Shun IV hit the wake of a "little boat" that was heading for the yacht club docks.
Taggart's wife, Pat, said she knew the boat had overturned when she saw "a big spray" from shore. She said it and her husband never would race again.
Stanley Sayres, owner of Slo-Mo-shun IV, said the accident put him out of four boat racing for an "in definite period."
"You don't build these boats overnight," he said. Asked who is responsible for the accident the Coast Guard commanders said the fault was with persons who failed to notify the judges a Slo-Mo-Shun IV took to the river.
Commander Robert D. Brodie of the Coast Guard, serving as patrol-said: "The Slo-Mo-shun IV arrived on the race course unbeknownst to anyone."
He said the harbormaster's boat that caused the wave was not on the race course and was moving slowly.
(Reprinted from the United Press, August 30, 1956)
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