From the Detroit Free Press
QUOTENo money so hydros canceled
May 2, 2003
BY ERIC SHARP
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
Beset by years of debt, the Detroit Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane race has been called off for June 22. The event might be rescheduled for Aug. 24 if financial details can be worked out with DaimlerChrysler, the title sponsor.
A race official, who asked not to be identified, said the Spirit of Detroit organization that put on the four-day Thunderfest Weekend faced the same financial hole as last year, about $350,000 to $400,000. The official said the race committee simply ran out of time in its efforts to find sponsors who would pay off some of the debt so that the race could be held.
The event, first held in 1904, is one of the oldest in motor sports. In recent years, it has brought 200-m.p.h., jet-turbine powered hydroplanes to race on the Detroit River's famed 2.5-mile course near Belle Isle.
Last summer, race organizers received last-minute financial support from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and several other Detroit area businesses, and the 700 race volunteers scrambled to pull off an event on about six weeks' notice.
But most of that financial support was in the form of loan guarantees. The Spirit of Detroit group was unable to raise enough money to make a significant reduction in the debt or convince some of the creditors to accept smaller amounts. In fact, at least two of those creditors have filed suit to collect what they say they are owed.
Hydro Prop Inc., the Florida firm that runs the unlimited circuit, has agreed to the Aug. 24 date if the race committee and Chrysler can work out a financial agreement next week.
Phil Linsalata, who took over as the volunteer president of the race, said he would resign within a couple of days because the August date would conflict with races he was bringing to Wyandotte two weekends earlier.
FWIW, I've talked to a friend that is a bigwig down at DYC - he's been there for almost 30 years. I asked him about the reschedule and he said "Don't count on it."
From the article, it looks like they need to retire several hundred thousand dollars of debt before they can even think about putting on a race this year. That kind of money is hard to come by these days...