1949 Harmsworth Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 23-August 1, 1949
Skip-A-Long Takes Harmsworth Race
Dollar's Craft wins Second Heat and Retains Trophy for the United States
By Clarence E. Lovejoy
Detroit, July 30 Speed boating's top level international trophy, the famous Harmsworth, for which wealthy sportsmen have spent millions since 1903 when the late Lord Northcliffe, then Sir Alfred Harmsworth, created the exciting competition, will stay for at least another year in the United States where Gar Wood brought it in 1920.
Tonight as darkness was settling over the Detroit River, R. Stanley Dollar's Skip-A-Long from Lake Tahoe, Calif., snatched a surprising victory from Danny Arena in Such Crust I, winner yesterday of the first heat.
This year's only challenger, Harold Wilson's Miss Canada IV from Ingersoll, Ont., and in early predictions established as the fastest and favorite of the super-powered monsters, was a disappointing fourth and last, lapped and more than seven miles astern of Dollar and even behind Miss Sweetie, [sic] driven today by her new owner, Horace E. Dodge.
Most of the 150,000 spectators along the Michigan mainland and on Belle Isle thought they were seeing Arena repeating his victory of yesterday in the smooth red Such Crust I bearing the coveted racing number "U-1" and owned by Jack Schafer, the Detroit banking magnate. They saw Arena pile up a lead of more than 400 yards during better than five and one-half of the six 78-mile laps. It was a two-boat super-thriller between
set a new lap record with a speed of 96.1 miles an hour, eclipsing the 94.945 it set yesterday.
Arena was a veritable demon. On the fourth lap he boosted the lap record to 96.664 m.p.h. On he went to more incredible heights, attaining still another record lap at 98.164 on the fifth circuit. Dollar's Skip-A-Long held second position and scarcely two miles before the end of the 42-mile heat Such Crust I backfired and conked out with victory just a few split seconds ahead.
Dollar closed the gap, pressed his throttle foot almost through his floorboard and, as he tore past the international officials on the Detroit Y.C. tower, he got the checkered flag for an average speed for 42 miles of 94.285, which broke Kaye Don's record held since 1931 of 89.913.
Arena nursed along Such Crust I for the remaining two miles to the finish. Once her motor caught fire for a moment but this blaze blew itself out. Almost as fast as Arena would start her she would conk. Half turning her screw and half drifting she finally got home as the runner-up and was credited with a heat average of 85.628, Dodge's My Sweetie's average speed was 81.652 and Miss Canada IV's, 77.922.
Run-off at 14 miles
On Monday afternoon, a special two-lap 14-mile match race will be held between the red and silver Skip-A-Long and Such Crust I to determine the individual winner on the U.S. team.
If Such Crust wins, Schafer, a member of the Detroit Y.C., will request the Y.A.A. to require Canada or any other challengers to come here next year or subsequently. If Dollar wins Monday, the next Harmsworth will be held in California. The next challenge probably will not be on Lake Tahoe because of its small size. More than likely a regatta course near San Francisco would be picked.
The 1949 Harmsworth goes down into the archives and record books as another bitter disappointment for the British Empire challenger. Sixteen years elapsed since Hubert Scott-Paine in the midget 25-foot-long Miss Britain III tried the impossible in defying Gar Wood's 7,600 h.p. Miss America X back in 1933.
Wilson today had a good deal of sympathy of the crowd. Unable yesterday to achieve anything like the 130 miles an hour which pre-race unofficial clocking gave him on the Muskoka Lakes, near Gravenhurst, his staff of mechanics and a trio of Rolls-Royce engineers worked all night and through the afternoon.
Unable to find the "bug" in Miss Canada IV's engine, owned and loaned by the British Government, Wilson during mid-afternoon asked for a postponement for some more inspecting. When the hour came at last for the starting cannon his pit crew knew only that the supercharger carburetor was not functioning. but in order not to disappoint the visitors from the Dominion he decided to appear for the second heat.
Incidentally, Wilson branded as "absolutely ridiculous" the rumor that appeared in the headline of a Toronto newspaper that "sabotage" had been responsible for Miss Canada's bad showing. He said "the defect responsible for the unexpectedly slow speed was a result of normal circumstances."
Second Race, 42 Miles (Nautical)
1. Skip-A-Long, driven by R. Stanley Dollar, Jr.:
Time30:44.20; Speed94.285 m.p.h.
2. Such Crust I, driven by Dan Arena: Time33:50.16; Speed85.628
3. My Sweetie, driven by Horace E. Dodge: Time35:29.52; Speed81.652
4. Miss Canada IV, driven by Harold Wilson: Time36:11.44; Speed77.922
Dollar's heat speed a new record; Arena's fifth lap at 98.164 a new lap record
The lap speed of each boat follows:
|Miss Canada IV||77.175|
|Miss Canada IV||78.187|
|Miss Canada IV||78.339|
|Miss Canada IV||78.286|
|Miss Canada IV||78.157|
|Miss Canada IV||74.837|
(Reprinted from the New York Times, July 31, 1949)
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