1966 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 3-4, 1966


Muncey Hits 115: 'U.S. Fastest Ever'
by George E. Van

bullet Grand Daddy of All Races
bullet '66 Gold cup to Run in Detroit
bullet Muncey Hits 115: "U.S." Fastest Ever
bullet Boat Race Field Complete
bullet Detroit Powerboat Races Postponed After Exploding Craft Kills Thompson
bullet Miss Smirnoff Disintegrates Once Again, Death Takes the Wheel
bullet Hydroplane Driver Dies in Gold Cup
bullet Hydro Racing Takes Another
bullet Hydroplanes Claim No. 4
bullet Slovak Drives Tahoe Miss to Victory in Slowest Gold Cup Time in 12 Years
bullet Mira Slovak Pilots Tahoe Miss to Victory in Gold Cup Race
bullet Investigation of Hydroplane Accidents Ends
bullet How the Western Circuit Will Continue

Bill Muncey dominated unlimited hydroplane racing during the years he won four Gold Cup Races driving the Miss Thriftways, but he says Miss U.S. is the fastest boat he has ever handle.

The ultimate tribute came after the Seattle driver had taken George Simon's Miss U.S. over the three-mile course three times for a 115.138 miles per hour average yesterday.

This put Miss U.S. at the top of the qualifying board as the fastest qualifier of the week as the field of 12 starters for Sunday's Gold Cup Race on the Detroit River was completed yesterday.

"Miss U.S. is lighter—that's the big difference," said Muncey. "I liked her when I drove her the first time at San Diego last fall.

"Since then we've made many changes in the boat." The angle of the propeller shaft was altered, sponsons were shallowed and much time was spent in balancing the boat."

Miss U.S. has been in Seattle since last season. Muncey and a hand-picked crew worked the boat over at a Lake Washington marina.

"Miss U.S. is now the way I want her," Muncey said, "and she can go faster than we moved today. She's the quickest machine I've driven. That 115 was what I figured to do.

We'll try to put on a good performance Sunday. We'll be directing all our efforts to going to the bank Monday."

Muncey already is on his way financially. His last whirl through three laps yesterday brought him $1,600—$600 for the fastest qualifying time of the day and $1,000 for the week's best.

Miss U.S. at 5,290 pounds with her magnesium hull (excepting her new sponsons which are aluminum) is the lightest of all the unlimited hydroplanes outside of Bill Sterett's new Miss Chrysler Crew, which scales 5,000 pounds.

Miss Chrysler, however, with her two hemi-head automotive engines has a lighter power plant than Miss U.S. with her big Rolls-Royce Merlin.

66_smirnoff_thumb.jpg (3139 bytes)
Cutting the Corners
Chuck Thompson, truly an old pro among the nation's top hydroplane drivers, shows how it's done as he whips Miss Smirnoff around a marker buoy in preparation for tomorrow's Gold Cup race on the Detroit river. Thompson ran second to Bill Muncey in the Qualifying trials taking Miss Smirnoff around the nine-mile course at an average speed of 112.500 miles an hour. Muncey and Detroit-owned Miss U.S. hit 115.138 yesterday afternoon.
News photo by Drayton Holcomb

Miss Smirnoff, which Chuck Thompson drives, for Lee Schoenith, weighs 7,800 pounds. Smirnoff was toppled to second from the head of the qualifying board where Thompson put her Wednesday with a 112.500 average.

Thompson, 54, had planned to try for a 118 m.p.h. average yesterday but gave it up as he experimented with new propellers.

One of Thompson's assistants yesterday was Danny Foster, who was winning Gold Cups with Miss Pepsi and Miss Great Lakes back in 1947 and 1948. The pair were intense rivals.

"Chuck showed us the other day he could do 118 with Smirnoff," said Foster, referring to a lap Thompson turned with Smirnoff Wednesday, followed by two more at 114.500. The officials, however, missed his hand signal and it didn't count.

Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser, a new boat which he bought last week following the destruction of one Miss Budweiser in the President's Cup race, was damaged when her supercharger let go on the backstretch yesterday.

Budweiser was going under at the race pits but quick crane work saved the new boat.

Miss Budweiser, driven by Bill Brow, retained her third-place spot on the board at 108.542 m.p.h. The foot-wide hold amidships is being repaired.

The scramble for a place among the select 12 hit an exciting tempo in the last hours of the five days of qualifying yesterday afternoon.

Bumping is Furious

Red Loomis pushed Mike Wolfbauer's Savair's Probe to 102.466. This bumped young Bob Fendler's Wayfarer Lady's, which had posted 101.822. Fendler returned with a 103.316 to regain a spot and Loomis tried again and raised his clocking to 103.799 m.p.h.

Jim Ranger stayed in the field of 12 by raising his average from 102.726 to 103.846 m.p.h.

Ranger, 26, a 90-mile-an-hour driver last week, just about wrapped up the rookie-of-the-year honors with his driving in this week's trials.

The improved qualifying speeds knocked Miss Lapeer and Warner Gardner, with 102.579 m.p.h. off the board. Gardner made a heroic try but was under a 100 m.p.h. when his throttle jammed and qualifying time ran out.

But the 50-year-old retired Air Force colonel gave the crowd on the Water Works dock a trying few seconds when he came off the upper turn.

It appeared Miss Lapeer would crash the breakwater and the crowd fell back. Gardner managed to swerve the boat downstream in the last few feet.

Gold Cup Qualifiers
No. Boat Driver M.P.H.
U-2 Miss U.S. Bill Muncey 115.118
U-80 Miss Smirnoff Chuck Thompson 112.500
U-12 Miss Budweiser Bill Brow 108.542
U-5 Tahoe Miss Mira Slovak 108.488
U-44 Gale's Roostertail Jerry Schoenith 108.252
U-8 Dixi Cola Fred Alter 107.820
U-77 Miss Chrysler Crew Bill Sterett 105.847
U-6 Miss Madison Jim McCormick 104.752
U-15 My Gypsy Jim Ranger 103.846
U-50 Savair's Probe Red Loomis 103.779
U-19 Wayfarer's Lady Bob Fendler 103.316
U-21 $ Bill Norm Evans 103.283

(Reprinted from the Detroit News, July 2, 1966)


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, 1999