1989 APBA Gold Cup
Mission Bay, San Diego, Calif., September 17, 1989
DEath Wins Gold Cup and Ends Hanauers Victory Streak
The longest string of consecutive race wins in unlimited history has ended.
Chip Hanauer, who won seven straight Gold Cup contests from 1982 through 1988, bowed to his successor, Tom DEath, on September 17, 1989, in San Diego.
Hanauer and DEath, entered the final heat tied with 800 points apiece. In the run to the first turn, Hanauers Miss Circus Circus blew its turbine engine. D'Eath's Miss Budweiser then went on to claim the victory, averaging 124.593 mph for the 15 miles after holding off a last-minute challenge from second-place George Woods and Oh Boy! Oberto.
"Being the one to stop Chip's streak is a great pleasure." exclaimed Miss Budweiser owner Bernie Little, whose team had not won a Gold Cup since 1981.
'The Beer Wagon" failed to finish in heat 3-A and almost ran out of fuel in the finale but still managed to set a Gold Cup record by turning the fastest 15-mile heat of the day at 135.265 in section 2-A.
Miss Budweiser likewise set a 2½-mile Gold Cup lap record of 139.254 on the second round of the rerun of heat 1-A.
In all, 13 boats appeared for this, the 81st renewal of the APBA Gold Cup, which dates to 1904.
The defending champion Miss Circus Circus set the standard during qualification and seemed none the worse for wear following its crash at Syracuse, New York, earlier in the season. The freshly repaired Circus turned the two quickest laps in the history of unlimited racing: 157.729 and 158.870 for an average of 158.297 on Saturday, September 16.
The pink and white defender burned out its electrical system on Friday at San Diego. The crew had to use the system from the backup hull, which sat just a few hundred yards away doing display duty at the entrance to the pit area.
D'Eath and Miss Budweiser qualified at 152.039, based on two laps of 150.931 and 153.165. Scott Pierce and Mr. Pringles were third fastest at 149.775 with laps of 148.564 and 151.007, followed by Larry Lauterbach and Winston Eagle at 146.032, Mike Hanson and Holset Miss Mazda at 140.165, George Woods and Oh Boy! Oberto at 138.270, Mitch Evans and Coopers Express at 136.913, Todd Yarling and US West Cellular at 132.071, Jack Schafer and Miss Northwest at 126.644, Steve David and Miss Easter Seals at 118.561, Mark Evans and Sundek at 108.846, and Jerry Hopp and Miss Mid-Mark at 107.321.
Jack Barrie and Miss Rock failed to qualify, being unable to complete two consecutive and continuously run laps at better than 105 miles per hour. Rock did complete one lap at 113.193 before succumbing to mechanical difficulties.
Of particular Interest during qualification were the extraordinary performances by the two turbocharged Allison entries from southern Indiana. Holset Miss Mazda (U-6) and Coopers Express (U-3) became the two fastest piston-powered boats in the world.
Both U-6 and U-3 eclipsed the all-time piston lap record of 140.801, established by Chip Hanauer and the Rolls-Royce Merlin powered Atlas Van Lines (now Oh Boy! Oberto) on a 2½-mile course at Seattle in Mike Hanson and Miss M did a lap on Friday of 141.777, while Mitch Evans and Cooper's Express toured the course on Saturday at 141.332.
After so many years in the shadow of the "mighty Rolls engine." the "good old Allison" is now the premier piston power source in unlimited racing.
Gold Cup Sunday dawned cold, cloudy, and threatening, very uncharacteristic for San Diego. At mid-afternoon. a stiff breeze picked up and persisted for the duration of the event. Mission Bay was rough but raceable with no whitecaps.
The draw matched Holset Miss Mazda, Oh Boy! Oberto, Coopers Express, Mr. Pringle's, Winston Eagle, and Miss Budweiser in heat 1-A, while Miss Mid-Mark, US West Cellular, Miss Northwest, Miss Circus Circus, Miss Easter Seals, and Sundek were placed in 1-B.
As the boats took to the water for the first of four 15-mile heats, two questions were uppermost in the minds of many: Would Hanauer's phenomenal win streak continue? And how would the salt water affect the performance of the five turbine teams'? since no turbine ever had finished 50 miles in competition in one day on salt water.
Winston Eagle and Oh Boy! Oberto failed to start heat 1-A. Holset Miss Mazda crossed the starting line first on the inside with Miss Budweiser second, trailing by a roostertail. Miss Bud passed Miss M while exiting the first turn. Mazda chased Bud down the backstretch, followed by Coopers Express and Mr. Pringles in that order.
Holset Miss Mazda's turbocharger erupted in flame in the south turn of lap one and Miss M went dead in the water. A rescue craft hurried to Mazdas aid, and Referee Mike Noonan called a halt, just as Miss Budweiser- finished its second lap.
While the boats from heat 1-A refueled, heat 1-B was run.
Only Circus Circus was in position at the start with Miss Easter Seals two roostertails back. Circus compressor-stalled throughout but led from wire to wire, winning easily at 118.934, followed by Miss Faster Seals and Miss Mid-Mark, US West Cellular and Miss Northwest both failed to finish. Sundek stopped before the one-minute gun and didn't start.
Heat 1-B order of finish: Circus, 118.934; Easter Seals, 106.934; Mid-Mark, 78.696; US West, DNF; Northwest, DNF; Sundek, DNS.
Miss Budweiser dominated the rerun of heat 1-A, reeling off laps of 138, 139, 138, 134, 131, and 124 for an average of 134.306. Oh Boy! Oberto crossed the starting line first and ran second for one and one-quarter laps but didn't finish. Mr. Pringles took over second place and averaged 122.012, followed by Coopers Express; at 111.757. Winston Eagle again failed to start.
Heat 1-A order of finish: Budweiser. 134.306. Pringle's, 122.012; Cooper's, 111.757; Oberto, DNF; Winston, DNS: Mazda, DNS.
For the second round of preliminaries, Holset Miss Mazda, Oh Boy! Oberto, Miss Budweiser, Miss Circus Circus, Miss Northwest, and Sundek were drawn into heat 2-A, while Miss Mid-Mark, US West Cellular, Mr. Pringle's, Winston Eagle, Miss Easter Seals, and Coopers Express; were matched in 2-B.
Oh Boy! Oberto and Sundek never made it out of the pits for 2-A. Miss Circus Circus couldn't achieve a planing- attitude and stopped in the infield with a "Did Not Start."
Holset Miss Mazda and Miss Budweiser crossed the starting line together with Miss Bud rocketing into a commanding lead. Miss M and Miss Northwest trailed way back at the finish. Mazda's engine appeared to be laboring slightly, but Mike Hanson still defeated Jack Schafer by a wide margin, 117.912 to 105.963.
Heat 2-A order of finish: Budweiser, 135.265; Mazda, 117.912; Northwest, 106.963; Circus, DNS; Oberto, DNS; Sundek-, DNS.
Heat 2-B featured a good scrap for first place between Mr. Pringle's and Winston Eagle. Pringle's crossed the starting line first on the outside but Winston led out of the first turn. Scott Pierce and Larry Lauterbach seesawed down the first backstretch with Cooper's Express and Miss Easter Seals trailing.
The Winstons engine cowling blew off at the entrance to the north turn of lap two, but Lauterbach kept going nonetheless.
On lap three, Winston Eagle slowed momentarily and allowed Mr. Pringles to take the lead. Winston slowed to a halt after three and three-quarter laps and joined Coopers Express in the DNF category.
Mr. Pringles won easily at 126.068; Miss Easter Seals was a distant second; US West Cellular and Miss Mid-Mark didn't start.
Heat 2-B order of finish: Pringles, 126.068; Easter Seals, 98.496; Coopers, DNF; Winston, DNF; Mid-Mark, DNS; US West, DNS.
Heat 3-A matched Cooper's Express, Oh Boy! Oberto, Miss Easter Seals, Mr. Pringles, Winston Eagle, and Miss Budweiser. Section 3-B comprised Miss Mid-Mark, US West Cellular, Sundek, Miss Northwest, Holset Miss Mazda and Miss Circus.
Miss Budweiser had engine problems and wasn't a factor in 3-A, while Coopers Express didn't start.
Oh Boy! Oberto crossed first, leading a cavalry charge. Mr. Pringle's and Winston Eagle duelled spectacularly, seesawing back and forth for the lead for three laps. Winston held the advantage in the turns, while Pringle's dominated on the straightaways.
On the fourth backstretch, Scott Pierce pulled to a decisive lead when Larry Lauterbach's engine started compressor-stalling. A lap later, Winston was passed by Oh Boy! Oberto.
At the finish line, it was Mr. Pringles the winner at 127.245, followed by Oberto, Winston, and Easter Seals. Miss Budweiser, running a distant fifth, slowed to a crawl with three-quarters of a lap) to go and didn't finish.
Heat 3-A order of finish: Pringles, 127.245; Oberto, 121,425; Winston, 116.074; Easter Seals, 89.486; Budweiser, DNF; Coopers, DNS.
Miss Circus Circus compressor-stalled throughout heat 3-B but still managed to win decisively at 120.716. Sundek and US West Cellular both stayed in the pits, while Miss Mid-Mark stopped on the front straightaway lust before the one-minute gun and didn't start.
Holset Miss Mazda ran close behind Circus Circus for three-quarters of a lap and then hooked violently in the upper turn. Mike Hanson managed to restart but was a lap behind Chip Hanauer and Jack Schafer. Miss Northwest then conked out on lap five and gave second place back to Miss M.
Heat 3-B order of finish: Circus, 120.716; Mazda, 99.263; Northwest, DNF; Mid-Mark-, DNS; Sundek-, DNS: US West, DNS.
After three sets of preliminary heats, Mr. Pringle's had the most points with 1,100, followed by Miss Budweiser and Miss Circus Circus with 800, Miss Easter Seals with 769, Holset Miss Mazda with 600, and Oh Boy! Ober-to with 300, Winston Eagle had 225 points and was designated the alternate boat but had to pull into the infield when all six finalists were an the course and running at the one-minute gun.
It was a blanket start with Miss Easter Seals trailing slightly. Miss Circus Circus, in lane one, blew its hot section at the entrance to the first turn, forever dashing its driver's hope for an eighth consecutive Gold Cup.
Miss Budweiser exited the first turn with a clear lead. Holset Miss Mazda and Oh Boy! Oberto duelled for two laps until Oberto finally passed Miss M and pulled away. Oberto then took off after Budweiser.
With five down and one lap to go, Miss Budweiser's roostertail dropped noticeably. Tom D'Eath's speed for lap five was only 115, compared with 118 for George Woods. With less than 2½. miles to the checkered flag, Oh Boy! Oberto was making a bid.
Both drivers realized they were dangerously low on fuel. In the north turn of lap six Woods went by the faltering D'Eath.
Miss Budweiser picked up the pace and charged down the backstretch, narrowing the gap. Both boats entered the upper turn virtually dead even.
It was a drag race to the finish line with Budweiser taking it by 2.14 seconds over Oberto, 124.593 miles per hour to 123.983.
The race certainly reaffirmed that old saying, "It isn't over 'til it's over."
Holset Miss Mazda ran a steady third at 121.032 and clearly dominated fourth place Mr. Pringle's, which compressor-stalled during the last few laps. Pringles nevertheless became the first turbine boat ever to finish 60 saltwater miles in one day.
Miss Easter Seals took a distant fifth In the finale but still managed to finish all four of its heats in the race of races.
Final heat order of finish: Budweiser, 124.593; Oberto, 123.983; Mazda, 121.032; .Pringles, 119.584; Easter- Seals, 96.619: Circus, DNF.
Miss Budweiser's triumph in 1989, after a seven-year dry spell, was the sixth in the Gold Cup series for owner Little. Bernie previously had won the Crown Jewel of APBA racing in 1969, '70, '73, '80. and '81.
Budweiser driver Tom D'Eath and crew chief Ron Brown celebrated their first Gold Cup victory since 1976, when both were associated with George Simon's Miss U.S. Racing Team.
With nine down and one race remaining on the 1989 HFC American Hydroplane Series calendar, Miss Budweiser possessed an almost insurmountable lead in season high points with 9,627, compared with 8,134 for Miss Circus Circus and 6,882 for Holset Miss Mazda.
(Reprinted with permission from the Unlimited NewsJournal, September, 1989)
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