Meanwhile, overall winners Marian Burke and co-pilot Ruth Hildebrand also got just the right huffs and puffs from the wind on the coast-to-coast trail. On the morning of the fourth day they were still in Topeka, 1,246 miles from the finish line. They winged away five minutes after sunrise, covered the distance in one long day and won by just over 19 mph.
But despite the long grind, the race still managed to come down to a final feminine twist. Each of the two-woman teams, wearing matching flight costumes, would step out of their aircraft in Elmira looking quite splendid in everything from orange hot pants to Robin Hood miniskirt outfits in bright green silk and velvet. It was recognized as an important moment. How important? Marjory Robbins of Los Angeles and Shirley Thorn of La Canada, Calif. had pasted a card with the code word GUMPL on their dashboard as a checklist reminder of what to do when coming in for a landing. The first four letters concerned gas tanks, undercarriage, fuel mixture and propeller pitch. The final letter stood for "put on your lipstick." Well, a few such dainty touches are permissible. Especially in an event that clings to a name like Powder Puff Derby.