1960 Harmsworth Trophy
Lake Ontario, Picton, Ontario, August 19-20, 1960
Canada Retains Harmsworth
Bob Hayward at the wheel of Jim Thompson's Miss Supertest III assured Canada a second year's possession of the Harmsworth Trophy by putting to rout a team of three United States challengers on the Bay of Quinte, Ont., on Aug. 19 and 20.
Making up the invading team were Joe Schoenith's Gale V, driven by Bill Cantrell, and Sam du Pont's pair: Nitrogen Too, with Ron Musson at the wheel and Nitrogen, piloted by Norm Evans. All three were prop-riding three point hydros designed and built by Les Staudacher, and powered by single, 1710-cu. in. Allison engines.
Supertest, designed by her owner and built under his supervision, is 30' 6" long, slightly larger than the challengers, although of the same general conformation. Her engine, a Rolls Royce Griffon, is of more modern design and probably 50% more powerful than those used in the U.S. boats.
First race: Aug. 19: Cloudy, glassy calm—The fleet bunched and took a full mile run to the starting line at more than 100 m.p.h. As the mechanical starting clock faltered near the end of its 60-sec. circuit, the quartet of big hydros slowed, then flashed over the line with only 75 yds. separating the first from the last boat. Gale V led the pack, less than one second after "clock zero," followed by Nitrogen Too, Miss Supertest III and Nitrogen.
But the United States team had short possession of its advantage. Hayward eased Supertest past Nitrogen Too, poured on more throttle and passed Gale V as they entered the first turn. Supertest's fantastic power was demonstrated as she accelerated out of the turn and down the first backstretch, pulling away from the U.S. boats with every foot she traveled.
Hayward finished that first circuit at the highest speed ever recorded on a closed course — 124.82 m.p.h. — with a half-mile lead over Gale. Nitrogen Too and Nitrogen were close behind.
This was the pattern the contest followed to its close. Supertest turned the second lap at 122.03 to establish an 8/10 mile lead over Gale V which had averaged 114 for the initial ten miles. From this point on Hayward reduced his speed to the point where his remaining lap averages ranged from 118 to 112. Cantrell held Gale at a consistent, fast pace—slowly narrowing the gap, but never threatening the Canadian defender.
For half the race Nitrogen Too stuck close to Gale; then she slowly dropped back. Nitrogen consistently lagged behind the three leaders.
At the finish Supertest was ⅜ of a mile ahead of Gale to post a record 45-mile average of 116.464 m.p.h. Gale V's speed, also topping the former record, was 115.51. Nitrogen Too and Nitrogen trailed.
Second race: Aug. 20: Cloudy, light ripple—Following 20 hours of hard rain, the start was postponed an hour to allow the contestants time for test runs. A further 15-min. delay was granted for last minute work on one of the du Pont craft.
As the final minutes ticked away Bill Cantrell tried desperately to start Gale only to find that her battery was dead. The top U.S. challenger was towed to the pits.
The remaining three again deployed in a one-mile run to the start with the two Nitrogen boats bow to bow and Supertest lagging 100 yds. behind. Hayward stayed in the rear through the first turn, momentarily took second spot on the first backstretch, lost it going into the second turn, then passed Nitrogen for keeps coming into the home stretch. Nitrogen Too was first at the end of the first lap by 200 yards.
Hayward tried to pass Nitrogen Too on the outside going down the second backstretch and finally slipped into the number one spot as they entered the second turn of that lap. Supertest's speed for that second circuit — 126.22 m.p.h. — now stands as the fastest in history.
Musson made an unsuccessful bid to overtake the defender on the first turn of the third lap but Supertest pulled away on the next backstretch to finish the lap with a ¼-mile lead.
On the fifth lap, while running a distant second, Nitrogen Too slowed and stopped—out of the race with supercharger ills.
Nitrogen continued, to finish the race 2½ miles behind the victorious Supertest. The winner's speed for the 45 miles was 115.48.
— Mel Crook
(Reprinted from Yachting, October 1960)
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