1967 UIM World Championship
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 2, 1967
Hydros Rarin' To Go For The World
By Joe Dowdall
Starter Jerry Gunn will drop the starting flag at noon Sunday for the $44,000 World Championship powerboat race on the Detroit River.
That's about all you can be sure of in powerboat racing today.
The 15 fastest drivers and boats in the world are ready to go after they set a blistering 107.065 mile an hour average qualifying on the rough Detroit River course.
In three heats of five boats each, the drivers will fight to be the first boat out of the first turn. Winning the first turn is the all-important strategy of boat racing.
If a driver can win that, his rivals have to dodge his cascading, 70-foot roostertail and try to come up through his wake to pass him -- a feat often tried and seldom accomplished.
The first World Championship Race, sanctioned by the Union for International Motorboating in Belgium, could be won in the 30 seconds it will take one of the favorites in the third elimination to make the first turn at the Belle Isle Bridge.
Seven of the 15 qualifiers have more than their share of backers in perhaps the most balanced field in Gold Cup racing. Gone are the super boats like the former Miss Bardahl, Miss Thriftway and the Slo-mo-shuns.
The luck of the draw put five of the seven favorites in Heat 1C. Suncoast winner Miss Bardahl, top qualifier with a speed of 115.384, is matcghed with Bill Sterett's hot-running Chrysler Crew, always dangerous Bill Muncey in another powerful Miss U.S., Col. Warner Gardner's Miss Lapeer and Ed O'Halloran's dependable Miss Madison.
Miss Lapeer was leading the Suncoast race when its spark plugs fouled and she dropped back to third. Miss Madison moved up into second to Miss Bardahl.
Jim McCormick's new Notre Dame, the second highest qualifier at 114.164, is another solid favorite. McCormick get get a jump on the field if he can beat Jim Ranger's My Gypsy in the first heat, Heat 1A.
My Gypsy moved up into a favorite's role this year as the personable driver has gained the experience to give his sound, dependable hydro a real workout.
The other eight starters have to be regarded as long shots -- either they are overpowered or out-matched in the cockpit.
Here is the field in their qualifying order:
MISS BARDAHL--If Billy Schumacher can keep his nose out of the fight between Miss U.S., Chrysler Crew and Miss Lapeer for the first turn, he could be around to pick up all the marbles.
NOTRE DAME--There are no ties in boat racing and Jim McCormick already scored in the luck of the draw. He should get a head start, but for how long?
CHRYSLER CREW--Look out. Bill Sterett has his Chrysler hemi engines screaming. He can run smoother and out-turn anyone in the field. But he has never finished a 45-mile race.
MISS U.S.--Bill Muncey has always been able to win everywhere but Detroit. He's not worried about beating the field. He's just worried about beating his luck on the Detroit River.
MY GYPSY--Jim Ranger has her running beautifully. And crew chief Graham Heath's engines usually run all day. Ranger won't charge, but he'll be right up there to take over if a leader drops out.
MISS LAPEER--Col. Warner Gardner has made Gentleman Jim Herrington's Miss Lapeer the best combination of speed and dependability in the Gold Cup fleet. Just one break in her direction for a change, and Miss Lapeer could be the winner.
HARRAH'S CLUB--Efforts to tie in an automobile engine with an Allison engine has been nothing but double trouble for crew chief Harry Volpe. Chuck Hickling will just have to try harder.
MISS BUDWEISER--Not all miracles can be worked overnight and the former Shu-Shu needs more time to be converted from a "runabout" to a race boat. But Roy Duby will give it a real try.
MISS MADISON--The "sleeper." As stock as they come, Miss Madison and Ed O'Halloran will keep the other drivers honest trying to run away.
SAVAIR'S MIST--Grandpa Walter Kade is 64 years young. His boat and equipment are spry, too. But not quick enough.
WAYFARER--Honeymooner Bob Fendler hasn't had time to get his other love ready.
MISS SMIRNOFF--Bill Cantrell has tried everything. This time it is a computerized fuel system. Kaput!
MARINER TOO--Driver Freddie Alter put this boat in a Detroit race for the first time. One feat at a time is enough.
SAVAIR'S PROBE--A good boat with a good driver in Bob Miller. But good boats don't win.
ATLAS VAN LINES--Moving is the sponsor's business. But Bob Schroeder needs more time to get Atlas Van Lines moving.
(reprinted from Detroit Free Press, July 2, 1967)
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