Put-in-Bay Road Race Heritage Society

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September 8, 2014




Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunion Completes its Sixth Year

-- Capturing History and Delighting Participants

“I’d cancel Christmas if I couldn’t attend the Put-in-Bay Road Races Reunion,” participant Barry Prosser exclaimed at the post race gathering after a full day of racing his Fiat 850 Spider at the sixth annual PIBRRR event. His audience responded with thunderous cheering and applause.


Launched in 2009 by race founders Jack Woehrle and Bob Williams, PIBRRR is a bit off the beaten track of mainstream vintage racing events, but it’s earning a loyal following among those who long for the relaxed atmosphere of ‘50s era sports car racing as well as that of North American vintage racing back when it first began to gain participation in the early ‘80s. The event includes a day of vintage racing on Put-in-Bay’s converted airport circuit nestled within an array of diversions honoring the island’s significant sports car racing history and providing a lot of fun for participants.


2014 Race Recap

The 2014 reunion and revival event – held August 25-27 -- attracted about 75 total entries including more than 30 competition and exhibition racing cars ranging in displacement from Prosser’s 850cc Fiat to the stunning 4.5 liter Davis Special of Garrett Van Camp, which sounded and looked great on the race track and was the top vote-getter among the competition entries in the PIBRRR car show.


The predominant marque this year was MG with some 15 entries followed by Porsche with a total of ten, although the last minute scratch of Rick Grant’s Porsche RSK (due to a too-late-to-fix engine issue) was a disappointment. Grant’s RSK with John Higgins at the helm was the dominant car at the 2013 event and was featured on this year’s Bob Colaizzi designed event poster and on the commemorative dash plaque.


With the RSK absent, another Porsche rose to claim “King of the Rock” honors in 2014: the gorgeous and fast Porsche 356SC driven by Dave Burton. The silver with blue-trim beauty also claimed second place among competition entries in the car show. Burton ran second to Klaus Selbert’s 911 in both of the group 2 (larger displacement) feature races but came home first in the combined group “Put-in-Bay Cup race,” the last tilt of the day.


The group 1 (small bore) races were dominated by MG – race #1 was won by Bob Van Kirk in his ’65 Midget and #2 by Manley Ford’s MGTD.


The event’s most prestigious accolade, the Paul Henry Award, went to Richie Hahn, whose Triumph TR4 ran and looked great in the Race Exhibition class and whose Sunbeam Alpine (restored for his wife Noreen) took the “islander” award in the car show. A summer resident on Put-in-Bay, Hahn has played a key role in helping grow the PIBRRR event over the past five years.


Capturing PIB History

Beyond the races and car show, PIBRRR 2015 -- as in past years -- was also about honoring, capturing and sharing the 1952-1963 history of the original sports car races on the island. Joining Put-in-Bay “Recollections Roundtable” host Manley Ford for a panel discussion and slide show event were several special guests:

-          Chris Kintner -- a PIBRRR regular whose grandparents, Dick and Betty Henn of the Cleveland Sport Car Club (CSCC) ran the ’52 to ’59 races, leaving Chris a treasure trove of photos, memorabilia and anecdotes, which he has expanded through enthusiastic and steady research.

-          Sally Carroll of Chagrin Falls, OH -- continues as a CSCC member and whose late husband Jim entered a Crosley powered Siata in the ’52 race.

-          Stu Kerr of Perrysburg, OH -- presenting photographs that he shot as a young man attending the PIB (and early Mid-Ohio) races with his dad’s Leica camera in hand. Stu is a Lake Erie Communications corner worker and served in that capacity for this year’s PIB races.

-          Carl Goodwin -- historic racing author, presented slide-show tributes about two racers who figured prominently at PIB back in the day: Chuck Dietrich and Art Brow who both passed away in recent years.


In addition to the roundtable discussions, the annual event has spawned the installation of granite markers in strategic places around the original course. Created by island stone carver, Rodney Karr, sponsored by various supporting individuals and businesses, and coordinated by event co-founder Bob Williams, these markers ensure that island visitors for many years to come will have the opportunity to learn about Put-in-Bay’s important role in the history of U.S. sports car racing. This year’s stone dedication was for a marker commemorating the “last crash” that permanently ended open road racing on the island in 1963.


Another new wrinkle in at the 2014 event was the introduction of rocker cover races, coordinated by island resident Duff Spatafore, run at The Goat restaurant and sponsored by Labatt Blue.    


For the complete 2014 PIBRRR results click HERE.


Looking Ahead to PIBRRR 2015

Race Director Jack Woehrle says he is excited to see the enthusiastic response that PIBRRR generates not only among the participants but also the island community. “It’s a dream come true to have this quirky little event begin to gain popularity among vintage racers and sports car enthusiasts and very encouraging to see how Put-in-Bay Island businesses and community leaders have begun to embrace it,” said Woehrle. “We expect some great things to unfold for next year!”


The tentative dates for PIBRRR 2015 are August 31, September 1-2, 2015.

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Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunions

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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


Past Posters by Bob Colaizzi

Bob Colaizzi, infamous vintage racer and talented artist, has contributed PIBRRR posters each year since 2010.

2017 Poster

PIB 2016 6 4 FINAL FlatSM

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 RSK-comp-flat-w logo




©PIB Road Race Hertiage Society 2013