1974 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 4, 1974
They Knew it All
By John Owen
eration, but everybody else had 11 thumbs.
Gas trucks failed to fuel hydros on schedule, cranes were overcrowded, buoys became dislodged, official starting clocks failed to function, drivers miscounted laps, and everything that can screw up a hydroplane race did screw up the hydroplane race.
George Henley, and his hydroplane, were clearly out of place in this chasm of confusion, because they were very nearly perfect. Henley hit each start at full throttle and, together with Budweiser driver Howie Benns, provided most of the racing drama for the day. Their sportsmanship patched up what could have been another glaring flaw in the day’s events, the failure of the Fan Plan format.
How Slow Is Fast?
When accidents knocked three of the five boats out of the "fast heat," Pay ‘n Pak and Budweiser had virtually a free pass into the winner-take-all final heat. They could have, tooled around the course all day at 70 miles an hour, saving their equipment for the only race of the day which counted. To their credit, they didn’t do it, and ran all out, virtually deck to deck, in the third running of Heat 1-C, hereafter to be known as The Destruction Derby.
The U-95 sank in 190 feet of water in the first running of 1-C. The turbine boat has now landed on the bottom of Lake Washington and the Ohio River this season, had its tail knocked off in Pasco and may be too waterlogged to continue.
Miss U.S. burned up in the rerun of 1-C. Driver Tom D’Eath was incensed over the failure of patrol boats to extinguish what he said had been only a minor flareup. What Tom doesn’t know is that George Simon’s boats always burn up, blow up or sink, in quest of the Gold Cup. Simon has been chasing the goblet for some 20 years and has only a flat wallet and some blistered fingers to show for the pursuit.
Dave Heerensperger has been trying almost as long. Fifteen years ago this week he watched his first hydro, the community-sponsored Miss Spokane, head for the checkered flag and a mammoth Seafair Regatta upset on Lake Washington. Five seconds before driver Rex Manchester’s victory was completed, red flares soared into the air. Another boat, running on the backstretch. had caught fire, the race had to be rerun, and Bill Muncey’s Century 21 took the marbles.
Oh yeah, the name of that boat which caught fire was Miss U.S.
There are some predictable factors in unlimited hydroplane racing.
(Reprinted from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 5, 1974)
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