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

Hydroplanes Claim No. 4
Associated Press

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

Detroit Veteran speedboat driver Chuck Thompson was killed when his hydroplane Miss Smirnoff disintegrated at 100-plus miles per hour in Sunday's Gold Cup race.

The tragedy, witnessed by many of the 300,000 spectators who thronged the Detroit River, resulted in cancellation of the race program.

Speedboat drivers, still saddened by a June 19 tragedy which took lives of three drivers in the President's Cup race on the Potomac River, obviously had little heart to continue after the popular Thompson was fatally injured.

Killed in the Washington, D.C. accident were Ron Musson, Don Wilson and Rex Manchester.

However, two hours after the accident, the Gold Cup committee, boat owners and drivers, held a meeting and voted to resume the race today with the third heat.

The original decision to cancel the race was made in a moment of intense emotion that affected us all but on examination of the rules, we find there was no provision for such a cancellation and the race will go on," said James Jost, president of the American Powerboat Association.

The powerful water craft will race for the British Columbia Cup July 13-17 at Kelowna.

Pieces of Thompson's disintegrating boat sailed 100 feet into the air.

Pre-race favorite Bill Muncey of Seattle had a narrow escape in the opening heat when his Miss U.S. ran into some suddenly choppy water, throwing him against the steering wheel, which he said "bent like a pretzel."

The impact tossed Muncey on the bow of his boat, but, he said "a big wave or something" hit him and washed him back into the boat. He added a steel corset saved him from possible internal injuries.

(Reprinted from the Vancouver Province, July 4, 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, 2005