1962 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington, August 5, 1962

Miss Century 21 Wins Another Gold Cup
By Bruce Calhoun

Muncey Wins His 4th Trophy
Miss Century 21 Wins Another Gold Cup
Sitting on a Rooster Tail

The sky was gray. The 15-knot wind was cold. For the first time since unlimited Hydro racing came to Seattle in 1951 the weatherman served a menu other than what might be called ideal fare for thousands of hydro-maniacs. There was one warming trend-one bright light, however. Bill Muncey driving Miss Century 21 in his usual cool calculated manner won all three heats to total 1200 points and take home the famous Gold Cup for the fourth time.

A geyser of water, thousands of pieces of wood and metal and the boat's driver Dallas Sartz, who can be seen diving toward the water slightly above and to the right of Miss Madison's tail fin provide this sensational picture of the wreck of Miss Seattle Too.

In a day of forced delays, postponements, re-run heats, questioned decisions and mishaps, the one thing about which there was no doubt was a sure and solid victory for driver Muncey, owner Willard Rhodes, the hard working crew and the boat that didn't quit running. Miss Century 21, formerly Miss Thriftway, has started and Successfully finished 47 consecutive heats of competition in the past three seasons of racing.

There were between 250,000 and 300,000 people on hand to cheer their favorites on. The spectacle also provided the largest concentration of pleasure boats for any single aquatic event. The log boom on the east side of the race course furnished moorage to 1,130 boats containing an estimated 11,650 hydro fans.

In addition to seeing Muncey win the cup, spectators were also served up a couple of thrills in the form of disintegrating and burning boats. Dallas Sartz in Miss Seattle Too bounced across a couple of waves, dug the right sponson in hard and turned a part of the boat into matchwood in a spectacular combination of geysering water, debris and fancy high diving by Sartz himself. He fortunately came out of it all with only a broken leg and minor lacerations.

In the first running of Heat 2-B Chuck Hickling in Tempest had a near miss when his engine blew and started a fire. The Coast Guard helicopter plucked Hickling out of danger unharmed but his boat burned fiercely for several minutes.

The official program called for things to get under way at noon but there was some question about the condition of the water. Twice boats went to check the "bumps" and the consensus was that things weren't going to get any better, "so let's get on with the race."

The first section of the Gold Cup, Heat 1-A, got off to a flying start with Fascination, Gale V, Miss Bardahl, Notre Dame and Miss Madison, being lead across the line by Miss Seattle Too. Seconds later, just before going into the South turn, a fountain of spray accompanied by screams from the huge audience in the turn indicated something lead happened. As the Coast Guard helicopter hovered low; over the scene to drop diver Tom Regan for a rescue, there was still uncertainty on the official barge as to which boat it was. At long last the word was broadcast that Miss Seattle Too had skipped like a flat rock, then nose-dived into the water to tear herself into hundreds of pieces and break Dallas Sartz' upper left leg. The pall of apprehension was lifted when later reports from the hospital confirmed that this, plus miscellaneous lacerations, were the extent of the driver's injuries. Serious enough but relatively minor compared to what could have occurred.

Heat 1-B of the Gold Cup was next on the list. Tahoe Miss, Such Crust IV and Miss Century 21 led across the line. Muncey took the lead almost immediately with Tahoe Miss, Tempest, Such Crust IV, Miss U.S. I and Gale VII following in that order.

Red flares went off as Tempest burst into flames going into the north turn on the 4th lap. Almost at once the helicopter picked up Chuck Hickling while Such Crust IV; Miss Century 21 and Tahoe Miss took repeated turns at cruising by and throwing their rooster tails on the burning boat in an effort to put out the flames. The quenching was finally completed by the Coast Guard boat. Hickling was not injured.

As skies grew darker and the fans began to wonder if the Gold Cup race was going to be fully run, boats started coming out for a re-run of Heat 1-A. Gale V took a lead coming out of the south turn with Miss Bardahl, Notre Dame and Fascination close behind. Fascination moved ahead to take over third place while Miss Madison closed the gap with Notre Dame, finally passing her on lap 4.

The necessary five laps to make it an official heat were completed with the crowd taking heart again. Fascination went dead coming out of the north turn on her 7th lap while Gale V did likewise in the south turn on her 8th lap.

Then occurred the controversial shooting of the red flare when a spurt of flame could be seen from Fascination as Bob Gilliam tried to re-start her. The rules say that official standings at the end of the last completed lap shall constitute the heat which would have given it to Gale V. But officials declared that she was not running when the race was stopped so the decision went to Miss Bardahl.

Heat 2-A of the Gold Cup didn't get started until 5:25 and the rain, which had been threatening all afternoon, was now leaking from the leaden sky. All five boats made a close start with Miss Madison in the lead. Coming out of the turn Miss Century 21 again was in the first spot with Miss Bardahl close behind. Towards the end of the second lap it looked as though any chance for some breath taking action was gone as the boats spread out at 1500-foot intervals. Behind Muncey was Miss Bardahl, Such Crust IV, Miss Madison and Gale VII. They finished in that order in the 10th and final lap.

By the time Heat 2-B was to start Gale V had withdrawn and Fascination didn't make it out of the pits. This left it a two-boat contest between Miss U. S. I and Notre Dame. Miss U. S. I lead at the start and continued her lead throughout the 10 laps.

Now it was Muncey's turn again in the re-run of Heat 2-B. Such Crust IV led Miss U. S. I and Miss Century 21 across the line in a very close start. Miss U. S. I held the lead position coming out of the south turn but Muncey took over coming out of the north turn and from there on it was his race. Tahoe Miss was watered down on the first turn. Col. Russ Schleeh did his best to get tier re-started but failed. The first fully completed heat ended with Such Crust IV in second place, Miss U. S. I, third and Gale VII fourth.

Before the starting gun of the Gold Cup's third heat, there was considerable discussion about the advisability of running it. In a poll of the camps involved two voted against it. They were Miss U. S. I and Miss Bardahl. The Notre Dame, Such Crust IV and Miss Madison groups voted to race. This put the bite on Muncey, who earlier had said he really didn't want to go. Since he had two heats already in the bag, he had the cup in his pocket if the third heat went by default but he sportingly withheld his "no" vote.

At the start Miss Madison again beat the field across the line but didn't have what it takes to keep ahead of Miss Century 21 which took over the lead spot coming out of the south turn. Miss Bardahl and Notre Dame were neck and neck in the backstretch fighting it out for second place, with Notre Dame finally pulling ahead. Miss Madison, Such Crust IV and Miss U. S. I stretched out behind. As Miss Century 2l's lead increased, Muncey kept cutting her hack slower and slower, to end up with an average speed of 97.826 mph.

Twenty minutes and 19 seconds after the start of the heat the last boat crossed the line and Bill Muncey in Miss Century 21 had won his fourth Gold Cup race to accomplish what hasn't been done since the days of Gar Wood.

This year something new was added, a race for those boats which did not qualify for the Gold Cup during the week of trials. This consolation-type race is called the Space Needle Championship and has no bearing on the official Gold Cup. Seattle did put up a $1,500 first prize and this gave the disheartened entrants something to shoot for. These boats, as a whole, were still not tip to racing even in lesser competition. The event was finally won by Bob Larsen in Fascination I and his average for the course was slightly over 78 mph.

A look at the official score board which shows:

Gold Cup

Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3


Prize Money

Miss Century 21






Miss Bardahl






Notre Dame






Miss U. S. 1






Such Crust IV






Miss Madison






Gale VII






Gale V






Tahoe Miss




(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, September 1962, pp.28-9)

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at wildturnip@gmail.com
Leslie Field, 2000