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WINNER, 1931--LOWELL BAYLES. Advance interest in the eight entries for the 1931 Thompson Trophy Race at Cleveland Airport centered naturally on two planes, radical in design, awaiting practical tests for maneuverability and speed which "the Indianapolis of the Skies" was to give them. They were extremely blunt low-wing monoplanes with wing spreads of 23 feet and an overall length of only 15 feet. In one of these the diminutive Lowell Bayles flashed over the finish line to win the National Air Races classic with an average speed of 236.23 m.p.h.--nearly four miles in a minute! It was a 100-miles race around a 5-pylon 10-mile closed course. Hitting his stride, Bayles never fell below 238 m.p.h. He lapped every other entrant except James R. Wedell, who finished second at 227.99 m.p.h. Bayles' engine was a 300 h.p. Wasp-Jr. "souped up" to deliver 550 horsepower. For three years Gee Bee Super-Sportsters, designed by the Granville Brothers, Springfield, Massachusetts, shattered world records and were a threat in every speed contest.
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