Awards Banquet

January 16, 2011

The St. Louis Region hosted their annual banquet celebrating the 2010 season last night at Spazio’s in Westport. If you weren’t there you missed a evening full of fun, trivia, family, and celebration.
Now, while the SCCA national office thinks we were 60 in 2010 our own records tend to indicate we’re only 58. Either way there was a lot of cool memorabilia on hand to showcase the talent, fun and events we’ve enjoyed. Some of the traveling trophies were on display including the Solo Driver of the Year coffee table wheel. The back of the room was surround by large posters showcasing photos, articles, and letters to the editors from past WHEELSPINS. You could see a couple of hunky former R.E.’s (Dan Layton and Barrett Braun) and one rather festive looking poolside party. Jeri Wilson brought out two racing jackets covered in patches from various races her and Denny had competed in………complete with the one upside down patch on Jeri’s jacket commemorating the one race she was literally upside down in her race car.
A couple of tables were covered in old patches, buttons, and an entry form from a race at M.A.R. What made that piece so unique? The actor Paul Newman also raced and he’s raced at M.A.R. He was known for NOT signing autographs, but there on that entry form is a Paul Newman signature.
Current R.E. Steve Burkett put together a great trivia quiz detailing only a small portion of the history of our club and you could tell he was fascinated by the extent to which he researched each question and answer.
Now on to the annual awards………
In Club Racing the Rookie-of-the-Year was a very young Sean Maloney who began his racing at our Driver’s School and by August had won his first race. The Driver of the Year award went to a gentleman who already has 19 Mid-Am and 19 Midwest Division National titles plus 11 Midwest Driver of the Year awards under his belt. This year he raced 24 times and won 18 events plus 3 more titles. The highlight for the winner Chris Albin had to be his daughter Andrea presenting him the award. Chris was very moved and acknowledge how much his SCCA family meant to him and how much he appreciated everyone over the years helping him to race.
The Performance Rally Driver of the Year went not to the competitor who holds the steering wheel, but the co-driver in the passenger seat who calls the shots, John Huebbe (pronounced He Bee). Along with his brother Mark and their VW Beetle Bug they finished on the podium 4 times in 9 regional rallies this season. If you want to see the build process on their Beetle, see some still or live action video of them at a performance rally event check out their website at www.huebberally.com. The RallyCross Driver of the Year finished first overall this year and helped put on the event. Congratulations to Phil Cline and thanks for making the rallycross possible. The Road Rally Driver of the Year earned his second national title winning the 2010 SCCA National Tour Grand Master Championship driving almost coast-to-coast and border-to-border in rallies this year. Ron Ferris earned the 74th national title for St. Louis Region since Ed Walsh won the first St. Louis Region National title in 1964 in the old H Modified club racing class.
The Solo Rookie-of-the-Year was also the Novice Champion, J.J. Mallrich. The Solo Most Improved Driver, Ancel Henry, moved up 13 spots on the Takata Index challenge this year to 8th and drove his F Stock car to a first place in the E Street Prepared Class at the National Tour event held in Blytheville, AR, a pretty impressive accomplishment. The Driver of the Year in Solo had a pretty amazing season winning the Takata Index Challenge and picking up a trophy at the Solo Nationals. Congratulations to Dave Montgomery.
The R.E.’s Award presented by Diane Prokopf went to Carol Cohn. Among other things Carol has been involved in St. Louis Region since 1955 or all but 3 years this club as existed.
The Mechanic Award was presented by an incredibly smart and charming 8 year old Samantha Whitworth who surprised her entire family when she stood up at the podium and read the scripted info to honor her dad, Dave. It goes without saying she was cute and wonderful.
As it was mentioned last night the next 3 awards each had a long list of excellent nominations outlining amazing accomplishments by our members. Each required a thoughtful, yet difficult decision in selecting just one winner.
The Worker of the Year award went to a competitor who not only competes in 3 of the 6 forms of motorsports the Region offers, but he also staffs them as well. This year you could find Curt Faigle helping to put away the equipment at the race track after he raced, organizing the rallycross, and annually coordinating the 400 plus volunteers who staff the 100 Acre Wood Rally. And if were writing this he’d tell you to go 100aw.org and sign up to help.
The Event of the Year went to a first-of-its-kind event, the Tech-o-Rama spearheaded by Dave Jones and Julia Briggen. The event proved so popular they are looking to host another one this year. Dave graciously shared the honor with all the people who made the event happen.
The Spirit of St. Louis Region award was presented to a remarkable lady who showed up at last year’s banquet and said she wanted to get more involved. Well she was sitting with Dave Jones and soon became his partner in putting the Tech-o-Rama together, later served as a Race Day Chairman, and at the last minute stepped in to chair the banquet.
It was a great evening where we learned what a historic and accomplished club St. Louis Region is, what an amazing cast of characters we’re consisted of, and how much we really are all one big, extended family.
Don’t miss the banquet next year because it will be hard to top the Cesare and Steve show. (If you don’t understand ask any of the award winners what happened and be certain to say congratulations!)

article by Eileen Waters

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