"I remember the colonel last year in the Sahara Cup," Fageol continued. "He got out in front and did a masterful job of using up the race course. The Kai, which was faster, was right behind but couldn't get by."
Fageol's recipe for "using up the race course" (presumably Schleeh—when given the chance—uses some variant thereof) is as follows:
"In the first place," he says, "there's no need to get way out front. You should have the other boat right at the end of your rooster tail. That is right where the end of your spray comes down.
"That keeps him on the outside. If he tries to get inside and gets into the rooster tail, he'll feel like he's being washed down by a couple of man-sized fire hoses. And not only that, he'll get water through his air scoop into his carburetor, and probably wash out of the race.
"And then you can also mess up the turn for him," Fageol went on. "There are five or six markers on each turn. You weave a pattern past these markers that always keeps your wake in front of the boat behind you. You swing wide on the straightaway and then drive in on the first marker, giving it minimum clearance. Then you slide out as you get halfway through the turn, come back in on the last marker and then slide out again on the straightaway. That way there's nothing the following boat can do to avoid crossing your wake four times a turn, unless he keeps way outside the course.
"The only thing you can do if you're behind a smart driver is what I did one year to Danny Foster at the President's Cup. I kept coming up to him on the outside and he kept driving out to make me go wider.
"I set Foster up by coming up like that a couple of times. I had a special snorkel tube so I could close the carburetor while I ate someone's wake. It works if you don't have to eat it too long.
"So, the last time I came up on the outside Foster started to drift out to me and I closed the tube, chopped the throttle and dove through his wake. He was still looking for me on the outside, and the next thing he knew I was on the inside, and by the time we were going out of the turn he was eating my wake."
Having delivered himself of this, Fageol settled himself to watch heat 2B, the last heat before the finals. The principal figures in this were Bill Muncey, present holder of the Gold Cup, in Miss Thriftway and Mira Slovak in Miss Wahoo. The two were expected to furnish most of the excitement all by themselves.
Bill Muncey is a confident, almost brash driver who hot-rods when he feels he has to. He also has a smart head on his shoulders. By contrast, Mira Slovak is a tall, almost cadaverously lean, Czech who flew the C-47 he was piloting—passengers and all—out of the Iron Curtain in 1953. He clowns and laughs or is as moody as a poet by turns, but he hardly ever misses the chance to drive through an opening. Fageol calls him "the steadiest driver on the circuit."