Jump to content


Photo

5th Oklahoma Petite Prix at Norman Oklahoma, October 1961


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Jerry Entin

Jerry Entin
  • Member

  • 4,636 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 06 September 2012 - 21:21

The July 1961 issue of the Gasket Gazette, the official publication of the SCCA's Oklahoma Region, invited members to enter the 5th Petite Prix, a regional to be held at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds in August. The previous four editions of this event were all held at the Fairgrounds, but something must have happened at the last moment, since the event did not take place there.

However, on September 30-October 1, 1961, the Region hosted the 5th Petite Prix at Norman, some 20 miles south of Oklahoma City. According to Competition Press, the only national publication to cover the event, the course was a 1.5-mile Mickey Mouse track. The question is, does anybody know what kind of course it was, airport or round-the-buildings as at Oklahoma City?

all research: Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 07 September 2012 - 11:06.


Advertisement

#2 JB Miltonian

JB Miltonian
  • Member

  • 543 posts
  • Joined: February 04

Posted 07 September 2012 - 04:31

According to the Racing Roundup column in "Sports Car Digest", November 1961:

"Norman, Okla., Oct. 1. Jack Hinkle of SCCA fame (?) inaugurated a new road course for the Okla. Region by winning the feature in his Type 61 ahead of Envs (sic) Wilson in a similar car. The new course got a great trying out, featured such things as the reappearance of the Checkerboard Special, the ex-Mangham Davis car that was highly touted a few years back as never having been beaten to the first turn. It wasn't, again, but it left transmission parts from the first turn to the second in doing it. New course is peachy - a forty foot chasm on the outside of a well-graveled turn, etc."

#3 Jerry Entin

Jerry Entin
  • Member

  • 4,636 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 07 September 2012 - 20:27

JB, Thanks for confirming that it was a road course.

#4 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 834 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 08 September 2012 - 10:24

The event took place at South Base, aka the Naval Air Technical Training Center, which is now part of the Oklahoma University campus. Whether the course was laid out on runways or over service roads I don't know.

If I may add a question: the last Petite Prix was held in November 1962 - what was the exact date and where did it take place ?

#5 Jerry Entin

Jerry Entin
  • Member

  • 4,636 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 08 September 2012 - 13:16

Rob:
Thanks for that. So it was an airport course after all. As for the 6th [and last] Oklahoma Petite Prix, it was held on November 3-4, 1962, back at the OKC Fairgrounds. Feature winner was Harry Washburn in the former Hap Sharp Cooper/Maserati.

all research: Willem Oosthoek

#6 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 834 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 09 September 2012 - 07:16

Thanks, Jerry.

#7 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 4,877 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:31

The event took place at South Base, aka the Naval Air Technical Training Center, which is now part of the Oklahoma University campus. Whether the course was laid out on runways or over service roads I don't know.

If I may add a question: the last Petite Prix was held in November 1962 - what was the exact date and where did it take place ?


I'm struggling to pinpoint this actual location - have you managed to Rob? There's a map on topozone.com showing the Naval Air Technical Training Center here but does not suggest an airfield. The same location now looks like this.

It is five miles south of the airfield, which is now called the University of Oklahoma Max Westheimer Airport, so I'm not sure this should actually be classed as an airfield race. It might have been held around the roads of the training centre ... unless there were actually runways at the training centre as well. There's a strip of old concrete at 35.186111 N, 97.434196 W (google maps) that could be a remnant of an airfield.

The location is now partly taken up by the Landscaping Dept who would be exactly the people most adept at removing any signs of old runways!


#8 Rob Semmeling

Rob Semmeling
  • Member

  • 834 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 09 September 2012 - 14:59

That is a good point, Allen.

Looking into it a little deeper, it would appear the North Base (now the North Campus) was the Naval Flight Training Center. This was adjacent to Westheimer Airfield, where pilots could take off for training flights.

South Base (now the South Campus) was the Naval Air Technical Training Center, where the flight mechanics were trained. So contrary to what the name might suggest this was not an actual airfield.

There is a nice 1951 topographical map of Norman here, which shows both facilities.

Judging from that map the course must have been mostly 90-degree turns, but I wonder what is meant exactly by "well-graveled turn" in JB Miltonian's quote ?

I also wonder whether the organisers at the time were aware of the bad grammar in the title of their event...

Edited by Rob Semmeling, 09 September 2012 - 15:43.


#9 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,671 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 09 September 2012 - 16:44

I couldn't help having a look to see what information was available on South Base ont' intelnet.

Bill & Mary's Personal Web Page
makes clear, despite the presence of many aircraft, there was no runway evident at the Naval Air Technical Training Center, Norman, Oklahoma in 1954.



#10 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 4,877 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 09 September 2012 - 17:22

Good find 'Art'. So a street circuit after all. It's hard to see how they could have made it a very interesting circuit unless it headed out east onto long-lost roads on what is now the golf course. It also looks very flat - where would the 40-foot chasm be? South-east corner possibly?

Somebody must have a programme and a circuit map. Anyone at SCCA Oklahoma Region likely to be able to help?