Chip Hanauer’s GOLD CUP domination

14 Jul

The Unlimited Hydroplanes are making their annual visit to the Detroit River this weekend for the 104th running of the prestigious APBA Gold Cup.

25 years ago – back in 1988 – Chip Hanauer extended the unthinkable – winning the Gold Cup for a record 7th consecutive year!

Lets take a look at that special run:


1982 – Detroit River, Detroit

Atlas Van Lines (U-00) – Hanauer driving the Atlas (third competitive appearance) for the first time (Bill Muncey had died in an Acapulco crash in 1981) rallied with a daring inside move during the Final Heat to pass the Rollls-Royce Griffin-powered Miss Budweiser (Dean Chenoweth) to win his first Gold Cup. The boat was owned by Fran Muncey and built by Jim Lucero.Legacy of Bill Muncey

1983 – Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana

Atlas Van Lines (U-1) – The first Gold Cup ever run in Evansville on a 2-mile course saw Jim Kropfeld in the Rolls-Royce Griffin-powered Miss Budweiser engine conk out after opening up a commanding lead in the Final Heat; Hanauer then raced to the victory with the American Speedy Printing Too (Jack Schafer, Jr.) finishing a distant second.

1984 – Columbia River, Tri-Cities


Atlas Van Lines (U-1) – For the first time in Gold Cup history – the winner used a turbine engine. The new Atlas, which was co-designed by Jim Lucero and Dixon Smith, was many roostertails ahead of George Johnson in the Executone when Hanauer got the checker.  The Bud blew an engine going into the first turn of Lap 2 of the Final Heat.

1985 – Lake Washington, Seattle


Miller American (U-00) – The Gold Cup was run in Seattle (for the last time) because the city of Houston (which successfully bid $175K in 1983) when bankrupt in 1984 and the Seattle Seafair Committee stepped in. Hanauer won the Final Heat in a breeze, besting the Executone (Scott Pierce).

1986 – Detroit River, Detroit

Miller American (U-1) – Hanauer won all four heats and handled the turbine-powered Miss Budweiser (Jim Kropfeld) in the winner-take-all Final.


1987 – Mission Bay, San Diego

Miller American (U-00) – Hanauer rolls to a sixth consecutive Gold Cup victory and owner Fran Muncey becomes the first to win six straight eclipsing the five-in-a-row win streak of Stan Sayres, set in 1954. The big reason Hanauer won was the blow-over by the “Beer Wagon” boat in the Final Heat. Miss Budweiser, driven by Jim Kropfeld, had won five of the prior six races.Fran Muncey












1988 – Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana


Miss Circus Circus (U-31) – Hanauer entered the weekend driving the Miller High Life entry but the boat suffered hull damage in a collision with the Oh Boy! Oberto during the warm-up for Heat 1A and was withdrawn. Fran Muncey owned both the Circus & Miller High Life and after John Prevost in the Miss Circus Circus got involved in a crash with the Sutphen Spirit during Heat 2A, enter Mr. Hanauer.  Hanauer switched rides and hopped in the “Pink Boat” which used the Miller High Life’s tail assembly and other parts for a winning combo. Hanauer won 3B and the 6-lap Championship Final – beating Mike Hanson in the Sutphen Spirit easily. Miss Budweiser (T-2) in heat 3B went high into the air doing a horrifying backward somersault while leading the Circus by a wide margin. Driver Tom D’Eath emerged shaken but OK.


7-Chip Hanauer (1982-1988(

5-Gar Wood (1917-1921)

5-Dave Villwock (2007-2012, no race in 2008)


5-George Woods, Jr. (1989-93)

3-Steve David (2007, 2009-10)



11-Chip Hanauer

10-Dave Villwock

8-Bill Muncey

5-Gar Wood


6-Steve David

5-Bill Muncey

5-George Woods, Jr.

3-Dave Villwock


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