1962 Spirit of Detroit Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, August 26, 1962
Bob Gilliam will never forget the Spirit of Detroit Trophy race.
The tall, good-looking owner-driver of the Fascinations, Gold Cup boats from Seattle, trucked two boats and their crews 2,500 miles across the country for the race.
For Gilliam, however, the race lasted just two minutes and 31 seconds.
"Talk about it not being my day," Gilliam said in the pits after his brief appearance on the course, "this hasnít been my week."
"We were in trouble right. from the start. Our trucks had two flat tires before we cleared the Seattle city limits last Tuesday.
"On our second day out, one of the Allison engines for the boats broke loose and bounced down the side of a mountain.
We lost half a day while a crane lifted the engine back on the truck.
"Before we got to Helena a spring broke on a truck and we drove more than 70 miles at five miles an hour. We had that fixed and we were hit by a blizzard.
"Our truck and trailer skidded. Our windshields were cluttered with ice and we had to inch our way along for most of a day.
"We finally got here about 8 oíclock Sunday morning. We were still hooking our engines up when the first elimination heats started.
"We were out of the race but the race committee let us run when Miss Bardahl and Miss B and I dropped out of the fourth heat. I sputtered and popped my way around for a lap before Fascinationís oil line let go."
But these happenings were minor. Gilliam faces a possible 30-day suspension from racing ó which would knock him out of the Governorís and Presidentís Cup races ó for illegally coming on the course at the start of the final heat.
Gilliam and his Fascination had been eliminated in the early heats to decide the six finalists.
(Reprinted from the Detroit Free Press, August 27, 1962)
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