1974 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 4, 1974
Pak’s 122.531 M.P.H. Run Tops Field
Hydroplane drivers, in search of "good water," were out early today in the second of three qualifying sessions for Sunday’s Gold Cup race on Lake Washington.
Unlike yesterday, the 2½-mile Sand Point course was a placid pond this morning.
Bill Muncey, who complained of hazardous swells after two test runs yesterday, was the first on the course today. He qualified the Atlas Van Lines at a speed of 115.830 miles an hour, faster than any boat went yesterday.
Within an hour two drivers were ahead of Muncey on the speed ladder.
Top so far is a 122.531 run posted by George Henley in Pay ‘n Pak. Tom D’Eath, driver of the Miss U. S., ranks second at 119.366.
Ron Armstrong increased the Valu-Mart’s qualifying speed by turning two laps at an average of 115.017.
Yesterday’s leader, Howie Benns in the Budweiser, now ranks fifth.
Yesterday, a din dissatisfaction on the part of spectators was matched by a chorus of complaints from drivers.
Fans out to watch time trials at Sand Point found no drinking water, no shade, no comfortable spot to sit and a limited view of the course.
The drivers’ grievances concerned the course: Groundswells, hardly noticeable from the shore, make for a rough and hazardous ride.
"There are swells all over the course," Muncey said after two test runs in the Atlas Van Lines. "I hit one going into the first corner and another three fourths of the way through the turn. And more on the backstretch.
"I watched the other boats and every, one of ‘em that got any speed at all was seriously out of attitude."
Henley echoed Muncey’s comments.
"It’s going to be a slower race than usual, that’s for sure," Henley commented. "I just didn’t dare go over 150. You go over those swells and get to bouncing."
Henley felt the course, although far from perfect , was better in the morning than in the afternoon.
Henley got the Pak qualified with a two-lap average of 114.650 miles an hour in one of two morning runs.
Benns, aboard the Budweiser, edged Henley for the top qualifying speed (and $750) by going 114.869 m. p. h. later in the day.
Ten drivers braved the 2½-mile course for test runs; six of them reached the qualifying minimum of 90 m. p. h.
D’Eath, third best qualifier in the Miss U. S., wasted no words in the assessment of the layout:
"This is a terrible spot!"
Armstrong, after five practice runs, got the Valu-Mart officially in with an average of 104.774 m. p. h. Bill Wurster drove the Kirby Classic to a speed of 93.653 m. p. h., and Bob Saniga qualified the Australian Solo at 90.785 m. p. h.
Muncey is concerned, gravely, about the condition of the course and voiced a plan — providing the groundswells continue through tomorrow.
"I wouldn’t be ashamed at all to ask all the drivers to go — as a group — and ask that we race earlier on Sunday," Muncey said. "Maybe even two or three hours earlier.
"If it is ascertained that the course is going to be like this, we can’t afford not to consider something."
Qualifying continued today.
(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, August 2, 1974)
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