I have heard about this laid-back racing event for several years and thought this would be a good time to give it a try. Mary grew up in northern Ohio, near Cleveland, so I figured that might come in handy for this south Louisiana boy if I needed an interpreter!
We left home with our Triumph GT6 racecar in tow on Thursday, September 20th, for the 1,300-mile trip north, arriving Saturday, September 22nd, at the ferry landing for the 20-minute trip to South Bass Island in Lake Erie.
The original Put-in-Bay races were held 1952 to 1959, with another in 1963. These events ran a crude rectangular course delineated by haybales through the island’s narrow streets and was attended by many of the great drivers of that era.
In 2009 Jack Woehrle and Bob Williams, who were with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), decided to try racing at Put-in-Bay again. The early event caught traction and has continued to grow each year since. This year there were 73 racecars in four race groups and 15 exhibition cars including a 1985 Porsche 962.
The tourist season comes to a close in late September on South Bass Island, and this event brought the curtain down. Most of the restaurants and bars were open on the weekend when we arrived, but there were only a few places open during the next week.
The major mode of transportation on the island was the golf cart, but racecars were making their presence known as the second most common means of getting around. On Sunday the island had a weekly car parade through town, and Mary and I gladly joined in with the GT6.
Monday’s events started with a car show at one of the two Island wineries. There were 150 cars, most of which reside on the island. This event was fantastic, with wine flowing, pets everywhere, and the friendliest people you could ever meet.
Following the car show, the racers were allowed to take two laps of the original racecourse. This was my favorite portion of the event. The GT6 was making about 65-70mph through town, past the bars, restaurants and cheering residents. I hit one or two slightly low manhole covers, which bottomed the car and caused me to back off, but I will never forget the fun.
The races were held on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 25th and 26th, on the 1.2-mile airport course. More to come on this portion of the event and my life adventures in sports car racing next month!
Our October 9th meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. Bill welcomed Sandy and Edie Sanders and their daughter Heidi, who are potential new members. They have a 1987 Jaguar XJS that they will be bringing to their home in Naples.
Secretary Newman gave her report and stated the minutes from past meetings are on the website and also published in the British Marque. She also asked for articles for the Marque from the membership.
Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh gave his report and stated we had 89 members.
Put-in-Bay race — President Bill stated he took his last flag in racing at the Put-in-Bay races on South Bass Island located on Lake Erie.
Bill and Mary towed the GT6 racecar 1,300 miles to the ferry to the island on Saturday, September 22nd. There were many events over the next several days. There was parade of the cars around the island. There also was a car show at one of the two wineries on the island.
The car show was well attended. After the show the cars ran the old race course through town. They had two laps and Bill really enjoyed the event.
The first racing events happened on Tuesday. Bill ran two laps and determined that he had too much difficulty breathing to complete the race. We were fortunate enough to be able to sell the racecar to some fellow Triumph lovers and the car stayed in Ohio.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date)
October 13-14 — Vice President Kenny Taylor is racing at Sebring.
October 20 — North Naples Church Car Show.
October 27 — Safety Harbor Car Show. Some members will be attending. Bill and Mary are going up on Friday evening.
November 3 — Marco Island Knights Car Show, San Marco Church, Marco Island.
December 1 — Dinner at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club.
December 11 — Car Club Christmas Party at Famous Dave’s.
February 9, 2019 — “Cars on Fifth,” sponsored by Naples Ferrari Club. Bill appointed a nominating committee consisting of himself and Cecil Carter. They will report at the next meeting.
The meeting adjourned.—Mary Newman, Secretary
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — A small but weather-tolerant group of members made a run to the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on August 26th.
Mary and I met Marcia and Larry McCartt along with Dennis McKinley and Cynthia Mahoney at the Lowe’s parking lot in Ft. Myers and braved the heat, humidity and the chance of rain on the run to Bonita Springs.
None of us had been to this pub in several years, but found the atmosphere and menu to be terrific. The British Open Pub is, of course, golf-themed but there are pictures of all things British hanging on the walls.
The pub menu has all the British favorites including fish and chips, bangers and mash and all sorts of pasties. There are also several local seafood dishes and American fare as well. The bar is well stocked with many British beers and some great Scotches.
We all had great meals, talked about our cars, and made our way home before the afternoon rains came down.
Please mark your calendar for Satuday, December 1st, at 5:30 p.m. We will be meeting our friends from the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club for dinner at the British Open Pub.
President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests to introduce.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, gave her report and stated the minutes were on the website and will be in the British Marque. In her capacity as Marque Contributing Editor she asked for members to contribute articles for the upcoming issues.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated that we had 87 members.
We had the birthday celebration for the August birthdays. The members present who received a special dessert were Ken Taylor, John Liversedge and Martha Lambert.
Old business — President Bill stated that he and Mary had attempted to go racing at Sebring for the July event but had brake issues with their truck and had to cancel. Ken Taylor participated that weekend and stated there were 15 or 16 vintage cars at the event.
There will be a race at Sebring September 1st and 2nd on the long course. Bill and Ken will both be attending.
Members Larry and Marcia McCartt suggested having a luncheon run to the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on Sunday, August 26th. The Mimi’s Breakfast is on the day before and they did not want to interfere with that monthly event. The Secretary will send out an e-mail to get the members to RSVP to get a head count. We will meet at the Lowe’s parking lot in Fort Myers.
Events — Upcoming British car club shows were discussed. Many members will be attending the 32nd Annual All-British Field Meet & Autojumble on Saturday, October 27th. The Marco Island Car Show is on November 3rd at the San Marco Church. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The entry fee is $20.
Our club and the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club will be meeting for dinner at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on December 1st.
The 50/50 raffle was held and long-time member Louise Krause won. The meeting then adjourned.
September 11th Meeting
The meeting was called to order by Bill Newman, President, at 6:30 p.m. A new member was introduced: Steve Kurowski. He owns a 1953 TR3. He inquired about autocrossing with the Gulf Coast Group. We referred him to the website.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, gave her report and stated that the minutes from both the August and September meetings will be on the website. She also asked for articles for the British Marque. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated that with the new member we have 88 members.
Old business/past events — Several members attended a luncheon run at the British Open Pub on August 26th. The members attending were Bill and Mary Newman, Larry and Marcia McCartt and Dennis McKinley and Cynthia Mahoney. All had a good time.
There was an SCCA race at Sebring International Raceway September 1-2 on the long course. Both Bill and Ken participated. Twelve Vintage cars took the track on the first race. During the second race Kenny had coil issues that prevented him from finishing.
New business — Bill mentioned the death of Jean Shipley Summers, the wife of Dan Summers, a past member.
Upcoming car shows and other events were discussed:
October 20 — North Naples Church show.
October 27 — Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club show at Safety Harbor.
November 3 — Marco Island Knight Car Show.
December 1st — Joint dinner with the Gold Coast British Car Club at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs.
High Five Pizza in Estero requested that the club do a car display at the end of November.
The Classic Mini 60th Anniversary International will be held August 8-12, 2019 in Bristol, England.
The Classic Mini 60th Anniversary US Celebration will be held October 9-13, 2019 in Wytheville, Va.
Bill announced a Nominating Committee consisting of Bill and Cecil Carter. The 50/50 raffle was held and the meeting then adjourned.—Mary Newman, Secretary
Several of our members have been racing their British cars with organizations that sanction road racing for vintage automobiles. Locally there are two groups that sanction races at nearby racetracks: the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and Historic Sports Car Racing (HSR).
The SCCA’s Central Florida Region (www.cfrscca.org) has a Vintage Race Group that runs events at Sebring, Daytona, Homestead and Palm Beach as part of their Regional Club Racing Program. The Vintage Group usually consists of 25-30 cars ranging from Bugeye Sprites to big horsepower Corvettes and Shelbys, all on the track at the same time. The rules require that only cars from 1989 and earlier are eligible, but most are pre-1972.
SCCA races are members only, non-spectator events, but entry can be had by special invitation or by serving as a crewmember for one of the drivers.
Historic Sports Car Racing (www.hsrrace.com) is an organization that can find a race group for almost any age and type of car. Many of the top drivers, now retired from professional racing, call the HSR their home. Our small-bore British cars race in Group 2 and Group 3 and are called Vintage or Historic Production Cars, depending on age. These Groups have their own races and are more or less equal in performance and handling abilities.
All HSR events are open to the public for an entry fee (usually $45) and you can even take your car on track at the lunch break for an additional fee.
Any BCCSWF members interested in vintage racing can contact me, Bill Newman.
Upcoming vintage races
September 1-2 — SCCA, Sebring.
September 20-23 — HSR, Road Atlanta.
October 25-28 — SCCA, Sebring.
October 25-28 — HSR, Savannah.
November 7-11 — HSR, Daytona.
November 29-December 2 — SCCA, Sebring.
FT. MYERS, Fla. — The meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, stated the minutes of the June meeting are on the website. She also wanted people to update what cars they want listed on the website. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated we had 87 members.
Past events — The Miromar Outlet Car Show was attended by several club members. Bill and Mary Newman brought both their 1972 Mini Clubman and the 2016 MINI Cooper S Coupe, along with some needed shade from a canopy. Larry and Marcia McCartt brought their 1977 MGB, John Sergeant his MGA, Mike Wheeler his MGB, and John and Heather Dent their Bentley. Chris Cosden had his MG TD and Ed O’Neal brought his Austin-Healey 3000.
We did our birthday celebration for Tom Brewsaugh and Gary Dworkin. A dessert was provided by Famous Dave’s.
Upcoming events — As of the meeting date, there was an upcoming race at Sebring Raceway on July 20-21. It also would be a Drivers School and Enduro.
The Safety Harbor Show is slated for October 27th, and we always have a lot of members attend.
The McCartts talked about a cruise that they will look into for a future event. Also we will look into the Muscle Car City Car Shows to see if they are something the club would like to be involved with.
The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club will be getting together with our club for dinner on December 1st at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs.
The Christmas Party was discussed. We are looking at various options along with having the party at the December meeting date at our usual location.
The 50/50 raffle was held and won by our Vice President, Ken Taylor.
The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
My history with cars goes back to when I took my driver’s training class in the summer of 1966. I took my test that fall in my aunt’s 1962 Corvair. I had some hand-me-down American cars until my senior year of college, when I purchased my 1966 Corvair Monza convertible. It cost $600. How times have changed.
After the Corvair I went through a series of small cars until I met my husband Bill in the early 1980s. He had a 1976 Triumph Spitfire, which was his daily driver.
Bill purchased the car from a British Leyland dealer in Baton Rouge, La. (We still have that car today.) He was autocrossing the Spit at the time and invited me to bring my 1982 RX-7 and give it a try. So I got involved in autocrossing also.
Before we got married we both did a Skip Barber Driving School at Roebling Road Raceway outside of Savannah, Ga. That started the racing bug for Bill, and I was content being crew chief. Many years later he went back racing in the Vintage car group with the Sports Car Club of America.
We have had three British racecars. The first one was a 1964 Triumph Spitfire roadster. It really was a cute little car with an 1147 motor. Bill wanted more power, so when an opportunity arose to buy a 1972 Triumph GT6 we jumped on it.
The GT6 has been a pretty reliable car. It is in Group 44 colors and looks great.
A few years later we traded the little Spit racecar along with some cash for a 1965 Triumph Spitfire Le Mans Coupe Replica, which we sold back to the original owner after a few track mishaps.
Our other British acquisitions included a 1970 red Triumph GT6. We did some mechanical work on it and sold it. Bill said it fought him all the way (but I think most of them do).
We also owned a 1969 Spit-Six, which we took off the hands of a guy going through a divorce. We did not do much with that car and found a willing buyer.
One of our less satisfying acquisitions was a 1972 Jensen-Healey. It was a beautiful yellow convertible, for which we traded a pontoon boat to our neighbor. It had a bad habit of dying at the top of bridges. We sold that car to a young man who told us he never had trouble with Lucas electrics in the past. I’m sure it gave him a new perspective on that subject.
Another car that was in our stable for a while was a 1960 Bugeye that we rescued in Fort Myers. It was in good shape but needed some restoration and we finally realized that we did not have the time or the energy to do it. We sold that car to a good home, and hopefully we will see it out and about one day.
In 1999 Bill and I went to the Mini 40th Birthday Celebration at Silverstone Raceway and saw over 5,000 Minis in all different body styles and configurations. It was there that we saw the introduction of the new MINI One. It was in a giant bubble and piqued our interest — so much so that in December 2002, we took delivery of our 2003 Chili Red MINI. I named her Chili Girl, and that was the start of my love affair with my MINI.
When we picked her up she had a big bow on her bonnet, and we received a snow globe with a MINI in the city inside. We also were sent several other goodies throughout the next year. A special MINI mug was my favorite. I’m still using it.
Bill really wanted to drive the new MINI more but I used her as my daily driver to work. Ultimately we ordered his 2005 Hyper Blue Metallic with a British flag on the roof.
In 2005 we went to the British Grand Prix at Silver-stone and arranged a trip to tour the new MINI factory outside Oxford. It was the first tour of an automobile factory I had ever taken and it was very impressive.
I have driven my MINI over 164,000 miles. She just had a new paint job that makes her look like she just came off the showroom floor.
Our Mini saga went on after we purchased a classic 1972 Clubman from our friends. It is our primary show car and has won some trophies. We have really enjoyed the little purple Mini. It is right-hand drive and people ask us if it is legal in this country.
Our most recent acquisition is a 2016 Mini Cooper S, for which we traded in our 2005 MINI. It is much different from my MINI in that it has a lot of technology. No key, but a fob that you have to have in the car. The start-up procedure takes a while to get used to.
I am still in love with my MINI and intend to have many more adventures with her.
Our club was invited to bring our cars to the Miramar Outlets Mall on Father’s Day, June 17th, for a car show.
One of the local hot rod clubs, the Cool Cruisers, has a monthly display at the mall and wanted to expand the show with our British cars for Father’s Day. Since many of our members travel north for the summer, I called the other local British car clubs, Triumphs of Southwest Florida and the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida, to round up a few more cars.
The parking lot venue was on a lake, but shade was very scarce with the Florida sun shining brightly in the 90°-plus heat.
Mary and I brought the 1972 Mini Clubman and the 2016 MINI Cooper S. We also brought some shade and a lot of cold water.
There were several MGs — Chris Cosden’s 1952 TD, Larry and Marcia McCartt’s MGB and Mike Wheeler’s MGB. John and Angela Sergeant brought their MGA.
John and Heather Dent came in style with their 2007 Bentley. Ed O’Neal brought his Austin-Healey 3000. Representing the Triumphs were Dennis McKinley with his TR7 and Mark Shilen with his TR6.
The Mall provided some free raffle prizes, free water, and lots of shopping.
We all lasted about four hours, escaping before the afternoon rains came down. —Bill Newman