1960 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington, DC, September 17-18, 1960

President's Cup Race Ends In Protest

Miss Thriftway Takes Boat Heat
Boat Cup is Taken by Miss Detroit
Miss Detroit Victory Upheld
Roostertail Rhubarb Haunts Thriftway in Eastern Hydro Campaigns
President's Cup Race Ends in Protest
More Power to You
Final Results
Four survivors of an original field of eight unlimited hydroplanes roared tip the Potomac Sept. 18, starting the final heat to decide the winner of the two-day competition for the President's Cup. Miss Bardahl, on the outside, led them across the line. All that officials and the Polaroid camera synchronized with the starting clock could see was that Bardahl "jumped the gun" by some 75 feet. Hidden from official view beyond her towering rooster tail were Miss Detroit, Nitrogen and Miss Thriftway.

Race officials scanned the start picture and combed their recollections of four boats flashing by at 150 m.p.h. before concluding that Bardahl and Nitrogen had started prematurely. The two alleged culprits were therefore made to run an extra lap and Thriftway appeared to be the winner of the heat and the Cup.

But official announcement of the results was delayed while badge-wearers, owners and drivers tried to reconstruct boat positions at the critical "clock zero." A suggestion that the heat be re-run was vetoed by the Thriftway team. A final official huddle produced the edict that the start photo proved only that Bardahl had jumped; that all other starters were legal; and that Miss Detroit thus became the President's Cup winner.

Thriftway driver Bill Muncey immediately protested with the support of several other drivers and owners. They maintained that Miss Detroit's start was premature. Thus another unlimited hydro race had to be decided by a ballot of the Racing Commission, as was the earlier Seafair Race at Seattle.

Chuck Thompson, driving his Miss Detroit, went into the final heat with the highest point score in the fleet. She had led Miss U.S. 1 and Miss Buffalo for three and a half laps of heat 1B despite mounting gallons of bilge water entering through it leaking connection. Thompson held off the overtaking Roy Duby in U.S. on the third homestretch by crowding him toward the seawall but had to be content with a second finish position.

Miss Thriftway, a scant 75 points behind Detroit going into the final heat, had won a real cliff-hanger in heat 1A. Ron Musson, first across the starting line in Nitrogen Too, found Thriftway charging up behind him in the first backstretch. As they finished that initial lap Thriftway led by a boat length. Nitrogen Too regained the lead in the first turn of the second circuit only to he passed by Thriftway on the second backstretch. Muncey established enough lead to cut in front of Nitrogen Too going into the next turn, forcing Musson to drop back. Prom there on Thriftway pulled ahead slowly until the fourth lap when Musson was forced to slow to a crawl because his port exhaust pipe had dropped off.

Thriftway and Detroit, the two which were to become the prime contenders, met for the first time in heat 2A. Bill Brow in Miss Bardahl led them both over the starting line, legal by a mere five feet, hot was passed first by Detroit, then by Thriftway. Muncey held Thriftway inside through the first turn and closed on Miss Detroit, only to stall near the exit buoy. By the time Muncey could restart, Detroit had finished the first lap and this loss of time probably cost Thriftway the President's Cup. Miss Detroit took the heat by a narrow margin over Bardahl, with Thriftway in third spot.

The fleet, which had made starts well behind "clock zero" in heats 1A and 1B, headed for eventual trouble with the fair-by-five-feet start of Bardahl in 2A. 1n 2B Norm Evans in Nitrogen pulled the fleet to the line fast and early with the result that Nitrogen, KOL-roy and Miss U.S. 1 were all over prematurely. 'Then came the finale with a number of jumpers that can probably never be determined.

The third heat, aside from the confusion over the start, was uneventful. Bardahl soon lost her initial lead. Nitrogen moved to the front followed by Thriftway and Miss Detroit, with Bardahl trailing. In that order they finished the fifth lap with Thriftway and Detroit getting checkered flags while Nitrogen and Bardahl were waved on for an extra lap.

The Summary:

  Heat 1 Heat 2  Heat 3  Final
Boat (Sec. ) (Sec.) Points Points
Driver Points Points
Miss Detroit (B) (A) 225 925 (1)
Chuck Thompson 300 400
Miss Thriftway (A) (A) 300 925 (1)
Bill Muncey 400 225
Nitrogen (B) (B) 400 800
Norm Evans DNS 400
Miss Bardahl (A) (A) 169 694
Bill Brow 225 300
Miss U.S. 1 (B) (B) 0 400
Roy Dully 400 DFN
KOLroy (A) (B) 0 300
Bob Gilliam 300 DNF
Miss Buffalo (B) (B) 0 225
Bob Schroeder 225 DNF
Nitrogen Too (A) (A) 0 169
Ron Musson 169 DNS

*Subject to adjudication of protest by the Unlimited Racing Commission.

(1) Miss Detroit declared the winner by virtue of an advantage of 19.7 sec. in elapsed time.

Fastest heat—1A--Miss Thriftway -- 106..550 m.p.h. Fastest lap—5th of 1B-Miss U.S. I-109.091 m.p.h.

(Reprinted from Yachting, November 1960)

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