Silver Cup

Horseshoe Lake, Horseshoe Lake Park (Woodland, Washington)


Race Format

  • Three preliminary heats of five laps each for modern, classic and vintage classes

  • First and second connies for modern, classic and vintage (depending on number of boats).

  • First connie winner advances to the final as a trailer

  • Second place boat in the first connie is an alternate for the final

  • Winner-take-all championship finals for modern, classic and vintage

  • Open props for vintage boats

Race History


Vintage Class Race Winners


2011 - Thunderbolt (1962) Owner/Driver: Steve Dumanis

Location: Gissberg Twin Lakes Park, Marysville, WA

2008 - Pride of Pay 'n Pak (outrigger) (1969) Owner/Driver: Jeff Campbell

Location: Lake Tye Park, Monroe, WA

2007 - Pride of Pay 'n Pak (outrigger) (1969) Owner/Driver: Jeff Campbell

Location: Bellevue Downtown Park, Bellevue, WA

2006 - Miss Thriftway (1960) Driver: Jesse Robertson Owner: Kerry Kjos

Location: Bradley Lake, Puyallup, WA


Modern Class Race Winners


2011 - Boat (1986) Owner/Driver: Mike Campbell

Location: Gissberg Twin Lakes Park, Marysville, WA

2008 - Country Boy (1974) Owner/Driver: Mike Campbell

Location: Lake Tye Park, Monroe, WA

2007 - Country Boy (1974) Owner/Driver: Mike Campbell

Location: Bellevue Downtown Park, Bellevue, WA

2006 - Pride of Pay 'n Pak (1970) Owner/Driver: Jeff Campbell

Location: Bradley Lake, Puyallup, WA





Directions to Horseshoe Lake Park:

The Silver Cup Story

By Fred Farley - ABRA Unlimited Historian

The Silver Cup was one of the first major trophies to be offered for Unlimited hydroplane competition in the years following World War II. It was sponsored annually between 1946 and 1961 by the Detroit Yacht Club and on a onetime-only basis in 1981 by the Spirit Of Detroit Association. In recent years, the Silver Cup has returned again as the trophy for the Detroit River Regatta Association's "Sweepstakes" race for automotive-powered Limited hydroplanes.


Officially inscribed as the "O.J. Mulford Silver Cup," the award was donated by the family of a deceased DYC regatta official.


For the first fifteen years after the war, two Unlimited races were traditionally run annually on the Detroit River. The Detroit Yacht Club hosted the Silver Cup, which was usually run in late-August or early-September. The Detroit River Racing Association, which later became the Windmill Pointe Yacht Club, presented the Detroit Memorial Regatta in either late-June or early-July. [Ed: The current-day Detroit River Regatta Association was named similarly to the old DRRA as a nod to history.]


The first Silver Cup contest was offered as a consolation prize at the 1946 APBA Gold Cup Regatta in Detroit. Those boats that were eliminated after the first round of preliminary heats for the Gold Cup ran in a 15-mile race for the Silver Cup.


Lou Fageol was the winning owner/driver of history's first Silver Cup race at the wheel of SO-LONG, JR. (G-1), a Gold Cup Class rig that was the prototype for the as yet unorganized 7-Litre Class. Powered by a Fageol bus engine, SO-LONG, JR. was a non-prop-riding three-point Ventnor hydroplane. Lou posted an average speed of 63.399 miles per hour on a 3-mile course.


The Silver Cup was elevated from secondary status to the top of the shelf in 1947. NOTRE DAME was the winner that year with designer/builder Dan Arena at the wheel. NOTRE DAME, owned by Herb Mendelson, was a 1940 vintage step hydroplane, powered by a 24-cylinder Duesenberg engine. The boat was still in competition as late as 1959 as Chuck Doran's MISS RICOCHET.


Step hydroplanes continued to dominate Silver Cup competition for the next couple of years. Harold Wilson took the trophy home in 1948 with MISS CANADA III as did Bill Cantrell in 1949 with MY SWEETIE.


MISS PEPSI--another fast-stepper--nearly won the 1950 Silver Cup. But the driver, Chuck Thompson, in a sporting gesture, admitted that he had cut a buoy. The victory thus went by default to Danny Foster in SUCH CRUST I, an Allison-powered three-pointer, owned by Jack Schafer, Sr.


Fan favorite Thompson was rewarded for his good sportsmanship of the year before with a decisive victory in 1951 with the twin-Allison-powered MISS PEPSI (nicknamed "The Mahogany Cigar"). "Champion Chuck" won all five 12- mile heats that day.


Detroit electrical contractor Joe Schoenith grabbed the next two Silver Cups with his Arena-designed three-pointer, GALE II. "The Old Pro" Danny Foster won it for him in 1952, while the boat's regular driver (Lee Schoenith, Joe's son) was away in military service in Korea. Lee returned for the 1953 Silver Cup but needed help from his friend Foster, who stepped in as relief driver and won the second heat with GALE II.


The 1954 race proved to be the "Last Hurrah"--a glorious one--for the old-style step hydroplanes, which had by this time been overshadowed by the speedier three-point hydros. A variety of mechanical difficulties knocked the sponson boats out of the running in the 1954 Silver Cup, which went to Horace Dodge, Jr.'s DORA MY SWEETIE and driver Jack Bartlow. Dodge, who had never liked the three-point design, had the thrill of watching three of his boats (DORA MY SWEETIE, MY SWEETIE, and JOHN FRANCIS MY SWEETIE) run one-two-three in the Final Heat.


The 1955 Silver Cup had the added distinction of being designated the "National Championship Race" for Unlimiteds by the APBA Inboard Racing Commission. Danny Foster, driving Guy Lombardo's TEMPO VII, emerged victorious after a battle royal with Bill Cantrell in GALE V. 


The 1956 Silver Cup was a somewhat lackluster affair, because a lot of teams were preparing for the Gold Cup, scheduled two weeks later. Don Wilson won the Silver Cup with George Simon's erratic-riding MISS U.S. II.


For the first eleven years of the Silver Cup's existence, all of the winners were Easterners. That changed in 1957 when Seattle boats finished first, second, and third. Jack Regas took first-place with HAWAII KAI III, followed by Bill Muncey in MISS THRIFTWAY and Mira Slovak in MISS WAHOO. Regas tore up the Detroit River at a recordbreaking average of 105.833 for the 45 miles. This erased the previous high of 93.120, set two years earlier by TEMPO VII.


The 1958 Silver Cup has to rank as an all-time high for Unlimited racing. The Final Heat confrontation between Bill Stead in MAVERICK (U-12) and Bill Cantrell in GALE V was an absolute classic. For ten dynamic laps around the 3- mile course, Stead and Cantrell battled deck-to-deck with neither driver holding an advantage. MAVERICK finally won but only after a titanic struggle.


Stead repeated as Silver Cup victor in 1959 with a new MAVERICK (U-00), owned by Texas oil tycoon Bill Waggoner. Stead won the first two heats and then settled for a leisurely second-place in the finale behind Don Wilson and MISS U.S. I to insure the overall victory on total points.


One of Unlimited racing's biggest upsets occurred at the 1960 Silver Cup. That was when Ron Musson and the Allison-powered NITROGEN TOO defeated the National Championship team of Bill Muncey and MISS THRIFTWAY, which used the more-powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin. Musson flat out-drove Muncey in the Final Heat, 103.707 miles per hour to 102.525. Eleven years later, NITROGEN TOO achieved immortality of another sort when it won the 1971 Gold Cup on the Ohio River in Madison, Indiana, as MISS MADISON with Jim McCormick driving.


The original series of Silver Cup races ended tragically in 1961. Driver Bob Hayward barrel-rolled MISS SUPERTEST II in the Belle Isle Bridge turn on the first lap of Heat 2-A with fatal consequences. The remainder of the race was canceled and victory was awarded to Musson and MISS BARDAHL, which posted the fastest speed in Heat One at 108.089 miles per hour.


With the advent of mandatory cash prizes, the Detroit Yacht Club and the Windmill Pointe Yacht Club were both denied sanctions for 1962 by Unlimited Commissioner J. Lee Schoenith. The Unlimited owners, at the time, were under intense pressure from the IRS and had to professionalize themselves.


The DYC, the WPYC, and other adherents to the sport's amateur tradition rode off into the sunset, never to return.


The Silver Cup did return as an Unlimited hydroplane trophy many years later. The Spirit Of Detroit Association dusted it off one time in 1981 for a new generation of race fans, under the sponsorship of Stroh's Beer. Dean Chenoweth and the Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered MISS BUDWEISER won all three heats, decisively beating Scott Pierce in MISS NORTH TOOL and Milner Irvin in MISS MADISON.


In recent years, the Silver Cup has returned again as the trophy for the Detroit River Regatta Association's "Sweepstakes" race for automotive-powered Limited hydroplanes.