1966 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 3-4, 1966
Hydroplanes Claim No. 4
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)
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