1957 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington, August 11, 1957

Western Boats Make Clean Sweep in Gold Cup Race
By Bob Walters

Plans for the Gold Cup Race
Ringside Tips for Seattle’s Gold Cup Race
1957 APBA Gold Cup
Western Boats Make Clean Sweep in Gold Cup Race

The Golden Gold Cup, the 50th running of unlimited hydroplanes for this famed trophy, signify a definite new era in the water sport of kings. It would seem that the center of emphasis, the development of public interest and the myriad of outstanding racing techniques may have moved west.

Miss Thriftway of Washington state, the winner for the second straight year, and nine other Western entrees may indicate that the seat of water racing is right here are in the West -- in Seattle, to be specific.

Miss Thriftway, owned by Willard Rhodes of wholesale grocery logistics, designed by Ted Jones of three-point dynamics and capably driven by Bill Muncey of split-hair decision antics, moved up to continue the pace it was first set by the hallowed Slo-Mo-shuns of Seattle's Stan Sayres.

That someone east of the Rockies is going to wrest the Gold Cup honors from the West for any sustained period is obviously going to require that he'd be very good and very persevering.

There was one futile Eastern challenge, certainly a crowd pleaser, when veteran Roy Duby took over the Gale V wheel for the third and final heat and put a heavy foot to the Gale's throttle for the first time that afternoon. He wheeled and bounced his way around the course in a masterful, but almost frenzied attempt to convert an outside long-shot -- then ran out of soup in lap 9. The pace was too much. But it was significant that out of six Eastern boats that reached Seattle this was the only heat where even one became a competitor.

Which brings us right to the three reasons why it can be said that for the present the unlimited racing capital is out west.

First to record book:

Miss Thriftway's elapsed time was 52:09.5 for the 90 miles. Her average speed was 101.979 mph. Her total points were 1500. This 101.979 was the fastest three-mile-course time in the fifty years of racing. (Note that the course had been increased to a 3-mile oval in '55, then returned to three miles of this year.)

This 101.979 by Thriftway can be contrasted with the 23.6 set by Standard in the first Gold Cup. Or with Gar Wood's famous 70.0 in Miss America. As late as 1947, Miss Pepsi cranked out a slow 56.8 winning heat. Then came such Gold Cup speeds as Slo-Mo V's 91.7 and 99.7 mph; Slo-Mo IV's 84.3 and 92.6.

But the record book doesn't truly tell the accomplishments of the terrific boats and equipment in this year's race. For one thing, Muncey played it very cool in the final heat. He purposely made a slow start in third position. The points of the past two heats were all in his favor after disheartening breakdowns had eliminated Miss Wahoo and Hawaii Kai from serious competition. Thrifty was held to a steady, cautious, smart 98.137 for the final heat and a second-place finish. Otherwise, the average speed would have been higher.

But look further at the speeds: Maverick set a new three-lap qualifying record of 117.054, and she was the first boat to qualify. Bill Stead ran the three-mile oval steadily, safely and surely.

Miss Wahoo, Mira Slovak at the wheel, said a new lap record going 113.804 in the fourth go-around a heat 1-A, and one that heat and its 400 points. Where was Wahoo at the finish? Bill Boeing's entry was ready to come out for the second heat. A carburetor had been changed. It air-locked. She never ran the second heat and didn't have enough points to enter the finale; but don't think that 500,000 spectators didn't respect for 108.717 for the 30 miles of heat 1-A. But for the vagaries of fuel and carburetion, here is a boat to be reckoned with.

Then take a look at Hawaii Kai's record. Turned over to the capable Slo-mo crews by Edgar Kaiser and driven by Jack Regas, she took the Martini-Rossi trophy for the fastest heat, traveling the 30 miles of 1-C that 109.823 mph for a new boat record.

Mira Slovak in Wahoo won the Aaron deRoy trophy for the fastest lap -- a fact that took two days to officially settle.

Second, the drivers, owners and crews:

Here, in this category, there is epitomized the fact that the Western boys have written a new and glorious chapter in racing and are going to be hard to outdistance.

It was most noticeable that a new crop of outstanding drivers excelled in this 1957 Gold Cup. They were a smooth, integral part of each sleek boat. They handled themselves well in lapping other boats. They rode the greatly increased pace with surprising sensitivity to the difficulty of bouncing a 3-pointer around a rough turn. They took the turns tight when called for -- and wide when it was good strategy -- and all of it with great expertness. There were more dog-eat-wake competitions down the starting trap and up the back-stretch than one could have room on these pages to recite.

The owners blossomed forth with special trucks, outstanding tool assemblies and the best of everything. As for those crews, any important mechanical competition will have to take its collective hat off to the number of high-grade technicians that are doubling the rugged horsepower to come out of these engines and multiplying the turns of the superchargers by 6- and 9-fold.

Third, public interest:

Today Seattle stands alone as the center of unlimited racing interest. Called it hydro-fever or hydro-phobia if you wish, but there is no single sport event today in baseball, football, horse racing or auto racing that draws as many people as the number lining the shores of Lake Washington for a week of trials and day of main-event racing.

No local coverage -- TV, radio, newspapers, magazines -- can equal of the unbelievable intensity of this week-long sport attraction. How many saw the final heat, be it TV or in person, is anyone' s guess. It was colossal in boating.

No place else has 1050 large pleasure yachts, crowded to the gunnels, lined up thwart-to-thwart along a log boom that completely frames the racing course. It's the boating site that defies imagination.

The completed record:


Elapsed Time

Average Speed


Miss Thriftway




Shanty I








Breathless II




Short Circuit




Gale V




Points for those not finishing 90 miles:



Miss Wahoo


Hawaii Kai


Miss U.S. I


Such Crust III


Miss Rocket


Miss Bardahl


Thriftway Too


Miss Seattle


Gale VI


On hand, but failing to qualify:

Miss U.S. II, Whiz Sky, Miss University, Breathless I.

Heat accomplishments:


Wahoo, first, 108.717; Gale V, second; Rocket, third


Thriftway, first, 104.016; Shanty I, second; Breathless II, third


Hawaii Kai, first, 109.823; Maverick, second; Miss U.S., third


Thriftway, first, 104.016; Short Circuit, second; Gale V, third


Shanty, first, 98.369; Breathless, second; Miss Bardahl, third


Maverick, first, 99.944; Miss Thriftway, second; Shanty, third

(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, Oct. 1957, Pp. 42+)

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