1962 Spirit of Detroit Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, August 26, 1962
Century 21 Wins Detroit Trophy
Bill Muncey and his fabulous Century 21 won the Spirit of Detroit Trophy race — sweeping their heats and posting their fifth straight unlimited powerboat victory.
Muncey averaged 97.715 miles an hour for the 45 miles in choppy seas and posted the fastest heat speed of 104.530 mph.
But this victory wasn’t all of the Muncey-Century combination’s doing.
They showed the huge crowd of more than 100,000 the speed and stamina with which they have dominated the Gold Cup class for the last four years.
But wily old Wild Bill Cantrell showed the crowd and Muncey what might have been.
Cantrell’s Gale V has been plagued with supercharger trouble all year. It cost him his chance of beating Muncey in the Gold Cup race two weeks ago.
It cost him the race Sunday.
In a breath-taking boat-to-boat drama, Cantrell held off the champion for four grueling laps of the final heat in the long-awaited showdown between the two boats.
In that final and deciding heat, Cantrell won the start, the fight to the first turn, and a blazing side-by-side duel along the long backstretch.
It was Cantrell into the turn and out of it at the Roostertail, and Mr. Muncey and the 100,000 cheering fans lining the shoreline knew who might have been boss if his luck held out.
Cantrell shot Gale V around the bumpy three-mile course at 108.488 mph on the third lap as he opened daylight between himself and Muncey. The lap was the fastest of the day and brought Wild Bill the Lt. James J. Meehan Trophy.
Cantrell won the match, but not the race. His supercharger quit in the lower turn of the final lap, and Century 21 breezed home the winner.
Muncey still wears powerboating’s crown proudly. He and his boat had it in the end, where victory lies.
In sweeping his three heats
after Miss US I threw two rods in her engine while leading on the second lap, Donnie Wilson, had set the pace with a blazing 107.570 m.p.h. lap the first time around before his engine burst into flames.
Danny Foster, the only other finisher, was second with Gale VII. Notre Dame’s average was 97,359,
Tahoe Miss won the second heat as Russ Schleeh out-dueled Cantrell in Gale V for three laps. Cantrell was forced out at that point with super-charger trouble.
Tahoe Miss averaged 99.603.
Muncey was never in trouble in the third heat as he breezed home a full lap ahead of Marion Cooper in Miss Madison, averaging 89.940.
Gale V, with a new super charger, beat Schleeh and Tahoe Miss by half a mile in the fourth heat. The heat was marked by a side-by-side duel for second place by Notre Dame and Miss Madison.
Gale V’s speed was 99.426. The fifth heat was a parade as Muncey averaged 104.530 to lead Notre Dame, Miss Madison and Gale VII.
With Cantrell out of the race in the final heat, Muncey breezed home at 98.675.
The heat results:
HEAT 1A: 1. Notre Dame, Warner Gardner. Detroit. 97.359 mph; 2. Gale VII, Dan Foster. Detroit, 85.735; Miss U.S. I Don Wilson, Detroit DNF. broke rod on 2nd lap . . .
(Reprinted from the Detroit Free Press, August 27, 1962)
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2004