1959 Harmsworth Trophy
Sad Stead Is Ready to ‘Open Up’
There’s no such thing as second place in a Harmsworth race.
You drive to win. If you don’t succeed in finishing first you might as well not have crossed the starting line.
Bill Stead, representing the United States in the international event, was aware of this. He drove to win and nearly succeeded.
"I knew I had less than four laps to go and I was getting cocky," he mused after the first of the 45-mile races had been completed yesterday.
Race ‘In The Bag’
"I thought I had it in the hag. The boat was running perfectly. All I can say is I’ll give it everything in the second race."
The oftimes cruel fortunes of powerboat racing had struck down Stead with his powerful hydroplane Maverick on the 12th lap of yesterday’s 15-lap event.
"The power intake unit on the auxiliary stage of the supercharger let go," explained Stead. "It meant I was running with one instead of two superchargers."
"As long as we’ve been running we’ve never had any trouble with the part. It’s just one of those things," he sighed.
Crew Gets Busy
The Maverick crew descended on the stricken racer as soon as it had settled in its cradle. No one doubted that the boat would be back and ready to go in today’s second race.
Stead, who looks and talks like a young business executive, had found little fault with either his driving or his boat’s performance until the fatal 12th 1 lap.
"I never had the boat opened up," he related. "The water was just right for us. I knew where Miss Supertest was and felt I could keep a good lead on her without any trouble."
Maverick had led from the start of the race when Stead I put it over the line some 100 feet in front of Miss Supertest. Neither boat was right on the gun and it was obvious that neither driver wanted to reach the line too early.
"Bill has a reputation for making close starts," Supertest driver Bob Hayward said. "I wasn’t going to take a chance on crossing the line too soon."
Observers, however, felt Hayward would have to improve his start today and match Maverick into the first turn if he is to contain William Waggoner’s gold, white and red racer.
Hayward’s driving drew praise from Bill Muncey, the pilot of Miss Thriftway, who covered the race for a Seattle radio station.
"I think Hayward drove the most perfectly paced race I’ve ever seen," Muncey exclaimed. "He drove just fast enough, considering the international implications of the race, to push Maverick without extending his own boat.
(Reprinted from the Detroit News, August 27, 1959)
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Leslie Field, 2004