1948 Silver Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 4-6, 1948
The Miss Canadas, because of their general good looks and smooth riding performance on the turns as well as the straightaways, have been the sentimental favorites with Detroit race boat fans since the Wilsons, Ernie and son Harold, brought their first racer to the Detroit Yacht Club in 1936 from Ingersoll, Ont. But they never won until this year, when Harold, with Charley Voelker as his mechanic, brought in Miss Canada III victor in the Silver Cup race of two heats of 45 miles each.
The three-mile Gold Cup course was used instead of the four-and-one-half-mile affair which goes through the Belle Isle Bridge. Both heats, one held Saturday and the other on Labor Day, were good shows, loaded with spectacular, daring driving. On the first day, going into the third lap, Miss Canada took the lead from the Dossin brothers' new Miss Pepsi, driven by her designer and builder, Clell Perry. She roared around the second lap at 74.462 mph to pass Pepsi. Miss Canada III was never headed. Pepsi stayed close throughout. During the twelfth lap, Miss Canada's speed dropped to 69.677 mph, her slowest of the 15 trips around the course in the Detroit River. Harold Wilson wanted to see if Miss Pepsi would come up. But Miss Pepsi didn't and the Canadian boat was off again on what was to be a record-shattering run. Her best lap was the fourth, 76.142 mph.
She covered the 30 miles in 73.852 mph which broke Guy Lombardo's Gold Cup heat record with Tempo VI made here in 1946. Miss Canada stayed in front of Pepsi for the next five laps to the finish and won the heat with a 73.881-mile average for the 45 miles. Perry stayed about 300 yards behind and was 6.24 seconds astern in Pepsi at the finish.
Lou Fageol's So Long, Warren Avis' Miss Frostie (ex-Notre Dame), Joe Taggart's seven-litre, Tommyann, and Danny Arena's Will O' Wisp were the next boats checked in. Ed Nowicki's Hi Barbaree went 14 laps, according to the judges' figures. She had gotten the start.
After the race, Harold Wilson said he had plenty of power left and Perry said he would break the record in the final and deciding heat on Monday. There wasn't much of a crowd as the huge turnouts go in Detroit for the first Silver cup heat but it was up to standard on Labor Day when an estimated 150,000 thronged the banks. This was a thriller for nine laps. Miss Canada again took a slow start about 300 yards behind the field. Wild Bill Cantrell, driving My Sweetie, owned by Ed Schoenherr and Ed Gregory of Detroit, hit the line with the gun. Miss Pepsi was there, too, but as Perry gave her the gun she sheered her prop and was out at the starting line.
Stanley Dollar's Skip-A-Long, a huge aluminum craft, Allison-powered, from San Francisco, which couldn't get going the first day, made a late start but caught My Sweetie at the end of the first lap and was out in front by 500 yards at the end of the second trip around. Here she narrowly missed a salvage "duck" which had waddled out on the course near the first balloon marker. Young Dollar was pouring gas into Skip-A-Long. He covered the second lap in 78.182 mph, breaking the Gold Cup lap record of 77.911 made here in 1946 by Danny Arena with Miss Golden Gate.
Skip-A-Long stayed out in front with an approximate ¾-mile lead on Miss Canada. My Sweetie, bouncing dangerously, dropped back to fifth place and out of the race during the fifth lap. Skip-A-Long lasted eight laps, withdrew, going down the backstretch of the ninth leaking. She went into her pits under her own power.
From here in the race sagged. Miss Canada III, a mile ahead of So Long, played it cozy and finished as the winner of the heat with a 68.471 mph average, and a 71.074 mph average for the 90 miles, to win the Silver Cup. This gave her 800 points. So Long was second with 525, followed by Miss Frostie's 394, Miss Pepsi's 300, Will O' Wisp's 264 and Tommyann's 127.
Comparatively smooth waters prevailed for both Silver Cup heats in contrast to the chop kicked up by a 20-to-30-mile southwest wind which turned the Gold Cup into a debacle the previous week. One of the keen disappointments was the failure of Horace Dodge's Sister Syn to get going in the Silver Cup. Dodge himself was at her wheel when this old speedster from the '20s, looking like a lithograph of boat racing from the early days, was towed out on the course before the first heat. The former 150-mile Sweepstakes champion had her motor going and was heading for the starting line when her gear box became gaffed up and, a disconsolate looking thing, she drifted like a dead duck on the course as newer queens of the waves went roaring by.
It now seems certain there will be a race for the British International Trophy, better known as the Harmsworth, at the Detroit Yacht Club, on Labor Day in 1949. Before he returned to Italy, Achille Castoldi, of Milan, who brought Sant' Ambrogio over for the Gold Cup this year, said he would return with the new boats in 1949. He plans to race them in the Gold Cup, tentatively set for July 2, preceding the Harmsworth. He and his countryman, Harry Cappelini, of Turin, conferred with J. Lee Barrett, of the Yachtsmen's Association of America, who was told an official challenge would be forthcoming from Italy. Castoldi also said that three or four American drivers would be invited to bring their boats to Italy for races next June with expenses paid while they are in his country.
(reprinted from Yachting Magazine, 1948)
|1||G-8||Miss Canada III||800 points|
|2||So Long [7-liter]||525|
|4||G-99||Miss Pepsi (1)||300|
|5||Will of the Wisp||264|
|DNF||G-3||My Sweetie (1)|
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