Put-in-Bay Road Race Heritage Society


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2013 PIB Road Races Reunion Sees Record High Participation!

 

Click Here for PIB 2013 Photo Gallery

 

 

PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO -- Morgan “Three Wheelers,” MMM MGs and Turners were the headliners for the fifth annual Put-in-Bay Road Races Reunion (PIBRRR) held August 27-29, 2013 at historic Put-in-Bay, Ohio.  But when the straw settled around the bale-lined Put-in-Bay Airport circuit it was the ’59 Porsche RSK driven by John Higgins of Dayton, OH that emerged as “king of the rock.”

 

The Porsche RSK took first place in the “Put-in-Bay Cup” race, the last race of a full day of competition for four groups of smaller-bore vintage race cars plus additional “marque” races for Morgans and MGs.

 

Launched in 2009 by vintage racing veterans Jack Woehrle and Bob Williams, the annual Put-in-Bay Road Races Reunion celebrates sports car races that were held on the streets of the town of Put-in-Bay on Ohio’s South Bass Island from 1952 to 1959 and in 1963.  The reunion reaches back in time to capture the history of those races and to re-create the atmosphere of sports car racing of that era.

 

Put-in-Bay is a nostalgic island enclave and a short ferry ride off the shore of Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio.  Little changed from the ‘50s, it is one of the very few places in North America where post-war sports cars raced through towns and countryside on public roads and where those roads exist today virtually unchanged.

 

 The top honor of this year’s event, The Paul Henry Award, which recognizes the entrant best representing the spirit of the Put-in-Bay Road Races Reunion, went to Marvin Primack and his ’47 Lester MG.  Primack’s Lester MG was a frequent entrant in the original Put-in-Bay races in the hands of several drivers including Chuck Dietrich who was one of top sports car racers of his day with frequent road-racing victories in many different cars at Put-in-Bay and elsewhere.

 

Accepting his award, Primack said he couldn’t imagine a friendlier atmosphere or a nicer group of people at an event. “I particularly enjoyed the two laps of the original circuit,” Primack said.  “They were a very brave group that drove those races as the streets were very narrow, the curves sharp, the straightaways long, and lots of trees to mark a mistake. How they managed crowd control and how the event lasted as long as it did -- given the course -- is a wonder. I have driven the re-enactments of the street races at Elkhart Lake, Watkins Glen, and now PIB and the latter is surely the most daunting. They all marked a great time in sports car racing, and being able to experience even a little bit of it is itself an honor.”

     

In addition to racing at the Put-in-Bay Airport and tour laps of the original course, PIBRRR 2013 offered historic presentations and panel discussions, a rally, a car show and several convivial social gatherings. Attracting a record entry of nearly 80 cars including some 40 racing participants, the event packed enough on-track competition and off-track entertainment to keep the participants grinning until next year’s PIBRRR, provisionally scheduled for August 25-27, 2014.

 

The Morgan, MG and Turner groups (not to mention Triumph, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Austin Healy, Elva, Austin Mini and AC entries) provided a distinctly British flavor for the event, which this year had an additional historical connection.  The commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, the deciding battle of the War of 1812, began on the island with the arrival of a fleet of “tall ships” at Put-in-Bay on Thursday, August 29, the last day of PIBRRR 2013, providing a eye-popping backdrop for the farewell luncheon and awards ceremony.  

 

Grand Marshall for PIBRRR 2013 was Harry Constant who raced his MGTD at Put-in-Bay starting in 1956 and later an Alfa Romeo.  Constant also entered a Crosley-powered Siata in the 1959 PiB race but the car’s crankshaft broke coming off the trailer(!). At the event’s “Recollections Roundtable,” a panel discussion where original Put-in-Bay returning veterans are the stars, Constant gave a charming talk about his memories of racing at Put-in-Bay.

 

“I have not been back to this island since I last raced here in 1959,” said Constant.  “The road from the airport turn to cemetery corner is like a piece of glass compared to when they raced here, and you were fortunate to get thru that corner in one piece.  I did have a lot of flashbacks of all the good times.  I think I raced at PIB more then any other road course and there was a reason.  A blast!”

The PIB Course Marker Project

Start Finish Marker

Start/Finish Marker

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PIB Turn 1 Marker

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PIB Turn 4 Marker

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PIB Turn 5 Marker

PIBRRR FP01 

©PIB Road Race Hertiage Society 2013