1962 Spirit of Detroit Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, August 26, 1962
Muncey Takes Boat Race, Helps Cantrell Spice Show
Wild Bill Cantrell, a wily old hand, and Bill Muncey, a skilled young driving genius, made the first professional big boat racing in modern times here a success yesterday.
They provided the professional touch that bailed out a program that had been lackluster until the final and deciding start in the 45-mile Spirit of Detroit races on the Detroit River.
Muncey and Century 21 took the trophy and the winner’s purse of $2,500 for his Seattle boss, Willard Rhodes.
But the spectacular way in which Cantrell and Muncey tied into each other did much to assure a second Spirit of Detroit race — and another purse — next year. The course, choppy earlier in the afternoon, was ideally flat for the lat heats.
The Race for Fun
Muncey admitted they tried to put on a show.
"Sure, I wanted to race him, although I was ahead on points and had only to finish to win," Muncey said. "But Bill had gale V going a little bit faster than I wanted to go.
"That guy!" he snorted, with tribute in his tone.
He meant that you don’t drive cozy and take turns wide against Cantrell.
Gale Takes Lead
On the upper turn Gale V passed Century 21 twice in the see-saw battle for the lead. After two laps of that, Muncey had enough and he dropped back.
But going into the fifth and final lap, Gale V’s supercharger, which had had a false whine all along, finally gave out and Cantrell’s craft went dead in the water, Century 21 swept into the lead.
Whether Gale V and Cantrell belonged in the final head at all is something to kick around.
With 400 points in the earlier heats, she was not among the six high-point boats. Gale VII, driven by Danny Foster, did qualify with 469 points, hut she hadn’t been running as fast.
Then Joe Schoenith, whose company owns both boats, announced that Gale VII was withdrawing because of mechanical trouble.
Call it real trouble or call it strategy—Gale V moved up to the final with Century 21, Notre Dame, Tahoe Miss, Miss Madison and Thunderbolt.
Century 21 qualified on two straight heat victories, while Notre Dame and Tahoe Miss each had won one heat and placed second in another. Miss Madison and Thunderbolt each had finished second and third in previous heats.
A sigh of relief, audible all around the river, went up from the crowd when Gale V, balky in starting her last two times out, finally roared into action.
Bud Saile, who finished all three heats with the venerable Thunderbolt, won the final start when he took the black and orange racer close along the docks. On other days Thunderbolt would have gone under fishlines.
But Muncey had Century 21 moving and hit the lower turn first with Cantrell and Gale V roaring close on his stern.
Century 21 had her nose in front going up the backstretch along the Belle Isle shore, but Cantell jammed Gale V close to the last buoy on the upper turn and led by a half-length at the Gar Wood judges’ stand.
Muncey pushed Century 21 ahead on the second lap and again lost on the upper turn,
Has To Dodge
This was the tingler for thrills.
Cantrell shaved the last upper buoy and then had to use all of his resourcefulness and skill to avoid crashing into Tahoe Miss, which had stalled on the course. Century 21 went on the outside.
Gale V was in front after this until her supercharger let go on the fifth lap. But Cantrell’s fourth lap, 108.488 miles an hour, was the fastest of the day and won him the Lt. James Meehan Jr. memorial award.
Muncey averaged 98.675 m.p.h. winning the final heat and honors for the day. Significant of the professional touch in the staging of the final race is shown in the results of the earlier 2B heat, which Century 21 won with a 104.530 mph average.
Lt. Col. Warner Gardner, driving Shirley Mendelson McDonald’s Notre Dame, moved up to second when Gale V went dead.
Notre Dame also took second with 1,000 points to Century 21’s perfect 1,200.
Col. Russ Schleech got hi stalled Tahoe Miss started again in the final heat and finished fifth, but his 869 total points earned third overall.
Despite the clouds and occasional drizzle, the crowd was the largest in years and so was the spectator fleet.
Century 21 (Bill Muncey), Seattle 1,200; Notre Dame (Warner Gardiner), 1,000; Tahoe Miss (Russell Schleeh), Reno, 869; Miss Madison (Marion Cooper), Madison, Ind., 750; Thunderbolt (Bud Saile), 652; Gale VII (Danny Foster) 469; Gale V (Bill Cantrell (400).
HEAT 1A — Notre Dame 97.359 m.p.h.; Gale VII 87.735 m.p.h; Miss U.S. I did not finish. Miss Bardahl started late, disqualified for not being on course and running at one minute gun. Fascination did not start.
HEAT 1B — Tahoe Miss 99.603 m.p.h. Thunderbolt 89.293 m.p.h, Gale V did not finish. Fascination did not start
HEAT 1C — Century 21 89.940 m.p.h.; Miss Madison 69.133 m.p.h (extra lap penalty for being over at start), Such Crust IV and B & I did not finish.
HEAT 2A — Gale V 99.426 m.p.h; Tahoe Miss 96.308 m.p,h; Thunderbolt 86.381 m,p,h. Such Crust IV and Fascination did not finish.
HEAT 2B — Century 21 104.530 m.p.h. Notre Dame 98.450 m.p.h.; Miss Madison 96.026; Gale VII 83.688 m.p.h
FINAL HEAT — Century 21 98.674 m.p.h, Notre Dame 92.755 m.p.h; Miss Madison 90.566 m.p.h; Thunderbolt 77.536 m.p.h; Tahoe Miss 75,005 m.p.h. Gale V did not finish.
GENTLEMEN’S RUNABOUTS — Don Delando and Shirley MacDonald 46.555 m.p.h.; Jim DeRonne 44.508 m.p.h; Bud Meldrum and Jack Schafer 44.643 m.p.h.; Mike Pesamoska 43.347 m.p.h; H. Skorupski 39.349 m.p.h; Ery Steiner and Jack Adams 38.814 m.p.h; Harold Mistele 38.248 m.p.h; Jack Bartlow and Jim Herrington 38.086 m.p.h.
(Reprinted from the Detroit News, August 27, 1962)
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