1972 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, June 25, 1972
. . . And His Fifth Gold Cup
Something of the derring-do and bravado that have marked Bill Muncey's spectacular 17 years in unlimited hydroplane racing was there when he finally achieved his greatest goal by winning his fifth Gold Cup on the testing waters of the Detroit River, June 25.
The river didn't let him off unscathed. He missed the celebration party at the Detroit YC while he nursed bruised ribs and body in his trailer home in the Dodge race pits. Bill, with his Rolls-Royce-powered Atlas Van Lines, owned and built by the Gale Enterprises with crew chief Bill Cantrell supervising, was in control all during the Gold Cup qualifying trials, the heats and final.
All of the know-how this 43-yearold veteran had was in operation as he equalled the great Gar Wood's record of winning five Gold Cups. There were those who reflected that the tragic deaths of fellow drivers during the 60s, all good friends of Muncey, might have tempered his driving. Conservatism, if any, was replaced by headiness on Muncey's greatest day. His starts were flawless, he backed off at the right second and he let her go with perfect timing. Atlas Van Lines never was behind on the backstretch.
Muncey took all three elimination heats and was boss of the Detroit River at last as he stretched away to beat Billy Schumacher with Pay-'n-Pak by a mile in the final heat. Next came Terry Sterett with Miss Budweiser, Tom Sheehy, with the second Gale Enterprise boat (which Muncey drove last year) and Bob Gilliam with his Pizza Pete.
Detroit River took its usual toll in this year's Gold Cup fleet. Notre Dame ripped a sponson and sank in shoal water off the lower turn near the Detroit Boat Club. Driver Dean Chenoweth suffered a sore chest. George Henley lost a sponson but had Lincoln Thrift at the pits before she sank. Walter Kade, the dean of all drivers at 67, was almost shaken out of the cockpit of Sweet Thing and came off with an ailing back. Salt Walther blew an engine on Country Boy.
Speaking of engines, Muncey's Atlas Van Lines used the same engine all week and no change was made until just before the final heat.
The 1972 race marked the first time Gale Enterprises had taken the Gold Cup since Lee Schoenith, now Gale manager, beat out Muncey in 1955 by fractions at Seattle.
—George E. Van
(Reprinted from Yachting, September 1972)
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