1960 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington, DC, September 17-18, 1960
Boat Cup is taken by Miss Detroit
Washington, September 18,  -- Chuck Thompson, a graying, 48-year-old electrical contractor from Detroit, today became the first speed-boat pilot to win the tradition-packed President's Cup four times.
The latest feat, accomplished behind the wheel of Miss Detroit, may turn out to be the most complex of all. Thompson's watermanship was as superbly masterful as ever but, at the end, he found himself in a hassle of arguments, bickering and officials' decision that brought on protest which must be resolved and may be followed by another.
The race was on a smooth Potomac River surface but was marred by a succession of light rainfalls.
Miss Detroit was built, originally, in 1955, for Guy Lombardo, who christened her Tempo VII and saw her win the President's Cup here with Danny Foster at the wheel.
3 Victories With Miss Pepsi
Thompson knows every ripple and wave of this river off Hains Point from long practice here. In 1950, 1951 and 1952, he won the President's Cup driving a craft known as Miss Pepsi and owned by Walter and Roy Dossin, Detroit soft-drink executives.
After the Dossins quit racing and Thompson turned to electrical contracting, he went back to his old love of fast-boat piloting and acquired Tempo, giving her the name of Miss Detroit and registering her under the burgee of the Detroit Yacht Club.
Miss Detroit is twenty-nine and on-half feet long, has a beam of twelve feet, weights nearly three tons and has an Allison aircraft engine.
Yesterday, Thompson took second place in an elimination heat, which gave him 300 points. In the second elimination heat, this afternoon, he had smooth going most of the way, finishing ahead of two Seattle racing monsters, Miss Bardahl, driven by Bill Brow, and Miss Thriftway, with Bill Muncey at the wheel. That gave him 400 more markers.
In the other eliminations, Norm Evans, in Nitrogen, owned by Samuel duPont of Wilmington, was the only finisher because of breakdowns to Miss U.S. I, KOLroy and Miss Buffalo. Only four boats reported out of the pits for the final and deciding fifteen-mile heat. They were Miss Bardahl, who was observed by thousands to be ahead of the gun at the starter's cannon, Miss Detroit, Miss Thriftway and Nitrogen.
There were many who thought Nitrogen was also across the starting line prematurely. Under Unlimited Class rules, this means a penalty of an extra lap. A recent ruling also requires a photograph of the finishes.
Thriftway Apparent Victor
The exciting finish seemed to indicate that Miss Thriftway had won, with Miss Detroit second, Miss Bardahl third and Nitrogen, because of her extra lap, a poor fourth. However, the photograph take by a Polaroid Land camera showed so much roostertail spray that officials were able to discern only Miss Bardahl's gun-beating start. They ruled the three other craft were eligible without penalties.
This meant a first-place 400 points for Nitrogen, giving her a total of 900; a second-place 300, giving Miss Thriftway a total of 925; a third-place 225 for Miss Detroit, giving her 925 also, and fourth place to Miss Bardahl, with a total of 674.
With Miss Thriftway and Miss Detroit tied at 925, the officials ruled that the faster elapsed time would determine the winner. This gave the challenge bowl to Miss Detroit. She was 19.7 seconds faster.
Muncey, the driver of Miss Thriftway, filed a protest tonight, supported by Ted Jones, also of Seattle, the boat's designer and creator and co-owner with Willard Rhodes of Seattle. They felt the photography was inconclusive. It is also possible that duPont, the owner of Nitrogen, may file a protest because his boat was required to make the dangerous extra lap. Miss Bardahl's driver, Brow, an ex-Marine and a Seattle milk dealer, also was threatening to protest.
The Unlimited Class Commission, headed by George J. Trimper, a Buffalo lawyer, may have an aftermath of "Solomonizing." The commissioners said they may call in the legal talents of William A. Smith, a Staten Island lawyer who is chief counsel of the American Power Boat Association.
Final heats today brought these victories in Limited Class hydroplane racing: 48 cubic inches, Art Mcdougall, Alexandria, Va., in Road Runner; 136 cubic inches, Alton C. Person; Queenstown,Md., in Li'l Barb; 135 cubic inches, Roy E. Wittig, Alexandria, Va., in Eddy Boy; 266 cubic inches, Skeeter Johnson, Cambridge, Md., in WaWa II; and 280 cubic inches, Pierson, in Bobo Too.
(Reprinted from the New York Times September 19, 1960)
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