37th Annual BASH
June 23, 2012
So what does that #O flat-head Ford dirt track jalopy (shown above) have to do with a Sunbeam BASH? A lot !
It’s Merlin Miller’s mothers’ race car, and it was being raced at the Pagoda Hillclimb by a new owner.
It’s because of the Racing Miller family and Merlin’s mother that Merlin is a skilled racer. The BASH was held at Merlin’s home hill where he is President of the Blue Mountain Region, host the Pagoda 1.4 Mi and Duryea 2.2 Mi Hillclimbs, America’s oldest hillclimbs and first automobile manufacturing test track.
The guest of honor at the 37th annual BASH was Merlin Miller. Merlin has been racing since he was a kid and started racing his street Tiger decades ago. He holds class records with his Tiger, or what’s left of it, in virtually every SCCA sanctioned hillclimb in the Northeast. We say what remains because of accidents and SCCA rule iterations the car has morphed into a tube frame car that mimics the original engine location and wheel base tracking along with some original parts. Merlin is presently in the “Super Production” SPO class. His car and personal story is a subject for another article.
Merlin has been quietly keeping the Tiger spirit alive for years in this area, and doing it with passion. So it was time we Beamers met in his back yard to recognize him. At least that was the plan. Instead it backfired. Merlin recognized and lavished hospitality on us, the Beamers. But that’s what Merlin does and why he is popular at events. Well, OK he is one heck of a driver too and a great ambassador for the Marque. It all started when early BASH arrivals the night before were treated to a lavish drivers picnic style dinner.
About forty plus Beamers showed up with nineteen Alpines and Tigers. Dave Reina and Donna Koretsky made it in their real classic Talbot Alpine. Mark Petri trailered his Tiger only to realize he left the ignition keys at home. Not one to give up, he did an APB for all Beam ignition keys at the BASH and found a set that worked.
It was a gorgeous warm day. BASH headquarters was at the base of the hill adjacent to the start line. It was a place that afforded a shady spot, thanks Merlin, for old and new to meet. A new member, and early arrival, Peter Forte was our welcome ambassador for new arrivals during the morning. The day was filled with shuttle bus service to the Pagoda and pa to hillclimb viewing locations.
The highlight of the day was the parade lap of the Sunbeams up the hill lead by Merlin in his Tiger. A unique sight for sure. It can be viewed on line thanks to Kim and Rob Barnes who took the photo for us because their original 10K mi Tiger sat at the bottom of the hill with little to no gas. For every adversity there is an opportunity. Thanks for video Kim.
This BASH holds a unique distinction for the Pagoda Hillclimb. Sunbeam is the first ever featured marque in the Hillclimb’s history. The organizers loved us and are thankful for the money BASH attendees contributed to preserve the Pagoda-Skyline drive.
Watch this video of Merlin running the hill.
Check out the video of the parade run up Duryea Drive