Starting with the Inaugural Races (The Fall Classics), trophies were awarded for each of four classes: Modifieds (Sports Racers), Big Bore, Small Bore, and Formula. Cars ran class races to qualify for the feature race. Novices were not allowed to race in either Saturday class race. They were gridded at the back of the pack in their Sunday class race. Classes were combined to run the feature race. This meant that some competitors went to the bleachers if they didn't qualify. These four trophies were only awarded at the Fall Classics for wins in the feature races. Eventually, drivers who raced all year long grew tired of the fact that someone who hadn't raced all season long would come in and win the big trophy. More trophies were donated as more classes and feature races were added. April 1, 1970 they announced a new system to award large trophies, based on points earned at every race. The number of entries would affect the number of points awarded. And so the idea of the class champion was born. The Novice races became what is now known as co-driver races. In the mid 80's, when we went to our computerized results system, we stopped combining classes for feature races. This meant the features had room for everyone to race. The practice of sending people home early had ended. Many of these early revolving trophies were destroyed in the tower arson of 1981 or ruined due to vandalism during a mid-90's winter break-in of the tower.
The Big Bore class of the Inaugural Fall Classics was named the Ed Lawrence Memorial Race. Today, the Big Bore Feature Race of the last race weekend of each season has come to be known as the Ed Lawrence Memorial Race. Ed Lawrence actually raced Modifieds (known today as Sports Racers). At the time, the Modifieds ran with the Big Bore group. During the 60's, the Ed Lawrence Memorial Trophy was awarded to the Modified class winner at the Fall Classics. Each year, no matter where they are in the country, his family returns to Waterford for the weekend. Each year, Ed's son climbs the start tower and drops the green flag on the big bore group. He wears all black, but dons a single red rose to honor his father. He is known for his enthusiastic and unmistakable flagging style. Sadly, the trophy was severely damaged during the arson fire in the tower in 1981.
Joan Lawrence Voltmer was married to Ed Lawrence back when the Waterford was first conceived. Joan played a very large part in the original planning and construction of the track. Despite the tragedy with her husband Ed Lawrence, you'll still see through pictures and meeting minutes that she continued to play a large role in the success of our club. In may of 1958 Waterford was 80 acres of hilly field. The main crop in this field seemed to be boulders. Step one in making a few Michigan Sports Car Club member's dream was harvesting those boulders. Talk about a WORK BEE! We moved them, mostly by hand, until we had enough room to pave a twisty little road course that is the track today. If you look in the gully between Turns Two and Three, you can see where we threw most of our "crop". In 1960, Joan's sons created the enthusiast award to honor her commitment and dedication to Waterford Hills. The recipients are chosen by the Board of Directors in the fall. Typically, both a male and female enthusiast are awarded. The very first recipient in 1960 was Joan Lawrence. In September of 1983, WHRRI celebrated Joan Lawrence Voltmer Day at the annual Fall Classics. In honor of their Mom, Joan's sons Mark, Kent and Scott presented her with a plaque. The plaque is a large (3'X4' approximately) wooden cut-out in the shape of the track. In addition to being a tribute to Joan, this plaque is also a tribute to all the WHRRI enthusiasts and affixed are the names of most of the recipients of the annual enthusiast's award. Today each recipient is given a clock to signify how much their time and effort is appreciated.
In July of 1982, Chic Williamson, a Formula Vee driver, suffered the track's first fatal crash as his car rolled end over end coming into the esses. Chic was relatively new to the track (3 years or so), but he made an impression on people in all classes. He was most known for his big smile and happy go lucky attitude. Each July, the Chic Williamson Memorial Trophy is awarded to the Formula Vee driver who accumulates the most points during the July weekend.
Gary Taylor was an ITB driver at Waterford Hills. He raced cars for the enjoyment it brought him and his naturally competitive spirit. On the track, he rarely gave an inch and never gave up trying to beat whoever he was racing with. Off the track he was relaxed and friendly. He was killed in a racing incident at Grattan in 1995. Shortly before his untimely death, Gary said to his best friend, "If I kill myself driving this car, tell everyone I was having the bloody best time of my life!" Each year, the Gary Taylor memorial award is given to the ITB driver who most embodies that spirit of sportsmanship both on and off the track. Having fun while doing the best that he/she possibly can. All registered Waterford ITB drivers are eligible and a majority vote of these drivers determines the recipient.
Mary and Ted Wollesen started coming to Waterford Hills in the 60's as spectators while they were dating back in high school. While they were building their family with children Erin, Eric and Elise they competed in a few road rallies to keep their automobile urges in check. In 1980, Ted finally went through driver's school with a Mini Cooper. It was a family affair from the get go. In 1985, Mary went through driver's school and raced an MG Midget until that car was wrecked. From there, she then raced a couple Chevy Sprint Turbos before Ted and Eric managed to put together a second Mini Cooper. By now, the whole family was racing, and they all shared Ted's Mini and Mary's Chevy Sprints. The Wollesen's weren't content to just have their family race though. Ted and Mary both served Waterford Hills as board members for many years. Mary was elected President in 1993. She served in that role until 1996. Her Mini Cooper was finally completed in the mid-90's so she petitioned the SCCA to grant her a National Competition License. She'd had a clean and successful record at Waterford scoring many wins, though she never got a full season in since she was always sharing the car with her children. Mary campaigned the Mini Cooper nationally for a few years until the June Sprints at Road America on June 22, 1997. Ted recalls the rain was so heavy the previous day that the concrete barriers on the back stretch had actually been forced out of position by rushing water. All GT classes were combined for practice/qualifying in order to make up time due to time delays resulting from the repositioning those barriers. On the first lap, Mary was somehow turned around and broadsided on the track. She was t-boned on the driver's side by a GT-1 Camaro. Reports varied as to how she was actually turned around, but it appeared she was tapped from behind by a third car. Mary died instantly of closed head injuries. Mary's death hit Waterford very hard. An entire Racer's Edge magazine was dedicated to Mary and was filled with stories celebrating her life. Waterford Hills also renamed the GT-5 class champion trophy in honor of her and her dedication to her family, to racing and to her extended family within this club. The Wollesen's remain very active within Waterford Hills. Erin, Eric and Elise all serve or have served as members of the BOD and Competition Board as well as countless other volunteer positions. Ted retired from national competition in 2005 and still comes to every race weekend to watch Erin Cassaday run her Mini Cooper.
Peggy Pawlowski was the victim of the track's second fatal crash and the second major blow to our family in 1997. Peggy first came to Waterford Hills in 1983 with future husband Rick Pawlowski. They were just dating at the time. Rick had been to the track a few times before and was out of date ideas. Rick asked her to go to Waterford for a picnic on the hill. Rick recalls it rained all day and they left early. He hadn't heard from her in a couple weeks when out of the blue she called. She said, "let's go to Waterford, but this time were going to work a corner!" Like any prudent man, he married her in August of 1988. In 1988 she was also diagnosed with cancer which had to be operated on. The medication she was taking, precluded her from long exposure to sun so she began working Start where she could escape to the shade. In the early 90's Peggy convinced Rick to start racing. Rick went through driver's school and began his driving career in FF's as a co-driver. A few years later he switched to an ITB Mustang and then to an ITC car. During the last race of the season, in September of 1997 Peggy was working start for a big bore race. A Corvette came out of swamp and lost control. The car crashed over the Armco between Peggy and the track and struck her. Tragically, she was killed that day. In 1997, the Female Enthusiast Award was appropriately renamed the Peggy Pawlowski Female Enthusiast Award to honor her dedication. The recipient of this award is chosen by the Board of Directors in the fall. Rick raced the1998 season, but couldn't help not to reflect on the tragic deaths of the previous year. After the 1998 season he took a few years off from Waterford to regroup. He decided this was where he wanted to be and has been one of our most dedicated volunteers having served a term on the OCSC board and on the corners ever since.
This award was created in honor of Dick "The Ogre" Londergan, a long time designer and builder of formula vee's. This award is given annually to the Formula Car Driver who shows the most improvement over the course of the season. The driver must also show a strong commitment to sportsmanship both on and off the track. The Competition Board chooses the recipient of this award in the fall.
This trophy was donated by the Western Ontario Sportscar Association in 2001. The Competition Board votes on the Waterford Hills novice license holder who shows significant aptitude and/or improvement over the course of the season. A strong commitment to sportsmanship both on and off the track is a serious consideration as well.
By far, one of the toughest decisions our club President's have to make is the President's Award. To be eligible, the recipient must have been a member of the club for at least ten consecutive years. This is perhaps the most prestigious award given by the club as it always goes to someone who has left a significant and long lasting mark on the club through commitment and hard work. It is truly an honor to be selected for this award.