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The Question: Which has a greater element of danger, automobile racing or motorboat racing?

March 14, 1955
March 14, 1955

Table of Contents
March 14, 1955

Pat On The Back
  • A salute to some who have earned the good opinion of the world of sport, if not yet its tallest headlines

Here Comes Casey
Soundtrack
Spectacle
Turkey Hunt
Tewksbury Bassets
Snow Patrol
Fisherman's Calendar
Motor Sports
Bowling
Horses
Anniversary
Two-Year-Olds
Acknowledgments
Under 21

The Question: Which has a greater element of danger, automobile racing or motorboat racing?

GEORGE J. TRIMPER, Buffalo, N.Y.
President
American Power Boat Assn.
"Auto racing. I've raced both. When you have an accident at 150 mph in a boat, your chances are slim. Even so, when you're in an auto smashup at the same speed, you don't have nearly as much chance. Perhaps both are equally dangerous at speeds of 150 mph or more."

This is an article from the March 14, 1955 issue

UMBERTO LA ROCCA, Italy
Italian Vice Consul
"Motorboat racing. In Italy, Mario Verga was killed at Lake Como attempting to break the world's record. He was speeding under ideal conditions when his boat overturned. He didn't have a chance. I've just accepted the 'Gulf Marine Racing Hall of Fame' certificate for his widow."

JOHN W. MULFORD, Detroit
President Natl. Assn.
Engine & Boats Mfgs.
"Auto racing. Records show few fatal accidents in boat racing. Water is softer to hit than pavement or dirt. But boat speeds are spiraling. Competition in unlimited classes is overreaching 100 mph. As water speeds go up, the chances of surviving a bad spill are lessened."

MERLYN M. CULVER, Dayton, Ohio
Past President APBA
"When speeds are 125 miles or over, both are equally dangerous. At 60 mph, falling out of a boat is like falling off a surfboard. Few boats go over 100 mph. But for speeds higher than that, statistics show there are more injuries in motorboat racing than in automobile racing."

MRS. MILDRED FOULKE, Essex, Md.
Speedboat Racer
"You have a 50-50 chance in both. I drove a boat 100 mph. The wind closed my nostrils, flattened my face and blurred my vision. If you hit a wake, bad chop or large driftwood you don't have much of a chance. I feel safer at 100 mph in a car than I do at 100 mph in a speedboat."

LOU FAGEOL, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Winner, 1954 Gold Cup
"Many competition boats travel faster than most racing cars. An auto race on Utah's salt flats is not as dangerous as last year's Gold Cup, won by Slo-Mo-Shun V at a speed of 99.108 mph. But closed auto racing, where guardrails limit a driver's ability to avoid accidents, is more dangerous."

GUY LOMBARDO, Freeport, N.Y.
Orchestra Leader
"Today the sports are equally dangerous. Until 10 years ago, auto racing was definitely more dangerous. Auto speeds far exceeded those of racing boats. However, today's biggest boats are about as fast as the Indianapolis cars. I was thrown from my boat at 70 mph and broke my arm."

HENRY LAUTERBACH, Portsmouth, Va.
Driver, Boat-Builder
"Automobile racing. I've driven a boat at 127 mph. At that speed, if I'm thrown out or there's some kind of accident, I might be injured or even killed, but I have a chance to live. At anything like comparable speed in an automobile, the driver would certainly be killed outright."

JOE WOLF, Reading, Pa.
Engine-Builder and Driver
"Auto racing, by far. Tracks are narrow. You speed close to other drivers. In a boat race, there are no fences or spectators. You have room. I've driven 156 mph in a car and 125 mph in a boat. I spilled out of a boat at 110 mph and wasn't hurt. I'm glad it was a boat."

GIBSON BRADFIELD, Barnesville, Ohio
Former President APBA
"I've raced at Indianapolis and I won the Canadian Gold Cup in my boat. Auto racing used to be more dangerous. Now, with greater speed, boat racing is fully as dangerous, if not more so. You don't have the control of a boat that you have of a car on a specially prepared track."

MAJOR HORACE E. DODGE JR., Detroit
Builder of Racing Boats
"Boat racing is not as dangerous as Mexico's Pan American auto race, but it's more dangerous than racing on a track where you know conditions. You seldom know them when racing a boat. You're more likely to get killed in an auto race, but there's more chance of being hurt in a boat."

ILLUSTRATIONELEVEN PHOTOS

NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION:

Is it possible for a horse player to beat the races?