|Very few drivers have the ability to leave a mark on multiple forms of motorsports. Augusta's own Ted
Tidwell is one of those unique individuals. The following is an article that appeared in a race program
entitled "The Super Sixteen" which was published for the final Chimney Rock Hillclimb in 1995.
John Finger may have double the overall victories here
at the Chimney Rock Hillclimb and Jack Baumgardner may
have run more events, but Augusta, GA's Ted Tidwell may
hold the record for driving the widest variety of cars
during his long hillclimbing career. From the essentially
stock Corvette in the fall 1958 event to the sleek Porsche
904 GTS race car in 1964 to the Zink Formula Super Vee
near the end of his tenure, Tidwell managed to understand
the quirks of each and exact the maximum performance to
showcase his own considerable driving talents.
Raised in a town given to golf and azaleas, Tidwell opted
instead for the more exciting world of sports car racing, joining the independent Augusta Auto Sport
Club and later the SCCA. An Austin Healey 100-4 provided Tidwell his first experience at the Chimney
Rock Hillclimb pitting him against reigning King of the Hill Ed Welch in a stout AC Bristol and the late Rex
Beamer in a Porsche. For the fall 1958 event, he shared the driver's seat of a flashy red Corvette with
its owner, future champion Bud Schuster, finishing well behind Bob McKaughn's Lotus but slightly
ahead of Buddy Horton's sister ship. Returning to the British car ranks the next spring, Tidwell lost a
close race in the two-liter class to the similar Healey driven by Asheville's Julian Putney but took the top
spot in the fall rematch.
Shortening the Chimney Rock Hillclimb course in 1960 was the best thing that could happen for Tidwell.
Co-driving the lithe Elva Mk5 owned by Buddy Horton, he beat out the car's regular driver Charlie Kolb
despite having never driven a right-hand drive car before. The new King of the Hill did double duty that
day, also piloting George Lyons' Corvette to first in class and fifth overall so George could take a trophy
home to his wife.
Tidwell soon discovered more reliable and often faster Porsche-powered cars which carried him
through much of his racing career. Stepping into a Porsche Super 90 coupe of the spring 1963 Chimney
Rock Hillclimb, he out-drove numerous competitors in faster open-wheeled cars to take a second
overall. The King of the Hill was his for the next year in spite of the heavy rains making the course even
more hazardous than usual.
The Porsche 904 GTS remains Tidwell's favorite among
the many cars he drove to victory at Chimney Rock. In
taking the title here in the fall of 1964, he used it for
racing competition all over the country against such
stellar drivers as Peter Gregg. In the hands of its most
capable driver, the Chimney Rock record fell more than
four seconds to 2:11.2 minutes.
Tidwell and Scott argued over the King of the Hill title
for the next few events with the Columbia S.C. driver
taking the crown in 1968 and 1969. For the latter event,
Tidwell adopted open-wheeled technology, driving a
Zink Formula Vee to place second behind the Cobra. Had
he been incarnated as a race horse, his trainer would
have called him a "mudder", but fans at the spring 1970
Chimney Rock Hillclimb just called him the "Rainmeister".
The sloppy track ballooned the winning time to a
cautious 2:23.546 minutes but gave Tidwell his sixth and
final title in the Ed Zink-designed formula car.
Youth and enthusiasm began to overtake the veteran
hillclimber with Harry Ingle and John Finger denying him
victory time and time again. In 1973, Tidwell broke through the two minute mark with a clocking of 1:59
in a Super Vee but still fell more that two seconds behind Ingle. In 1975 he drove a Zink formula Ford to
a class win and fourth overall before retiring from racing.
|Ted's Porsche 904 GTS at Chimney Rock. He also
co-drove a 904 to ninth overall at the 1965 Daytona
2000K. Co-drove 904 at Sebring 12 Hour same year.
|The beautiful Porsche Super 90 at Chimney Rock
1963. Ted would drive this same car at Augusta
and other national road race events.
|From Ted Tidwell: "Having raced hydroplanes for six years (since 1951) I decided to seek a new
competitive outlet. I found it in 1957 at the Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA. The Westport, CT.
based Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was staging one of their first "Southern Road Races". There
I saw gentlemen racers the likes of Jim Kimberly and Bill Spear racing bright red Ferraris along with
Briggs Cunningham in his Hemi powered CR4. To watch and hear the sounds of those magnificent
cars on a flat right hand circuit was too much. I was hooked! Became a weekend warrior in 1958".
|Zink Formula Super Vee at Daytona - 1971
|Porsche Powered BOBSY at Roebling Road - 1967
|Ted Tidwell in Formula Super Vee action at Road Atlanta. The series, sponsored by Volkswagen of
America, conducted a national pro series for Super Vees in 1971 in which Tidwell finished 10th in
|Ted's comments about the Augusta International Raceway: "In 1964 I entered a production based
Porsche S-90 in a very historic event...'The first and last sports car race ever held in Augusta, Georgia.
It was the 'point bearing' United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) event held on the three
mile road course at the Augusta International Raceway". And his memory of the road course: "A very
unique design...banked turns and very few actual straights. Was an absolute challenge to drive. Could
have been developed to be one of America's great tracks."
|Ted's thoughts about modern day: "Do I still race in 2006? But of course!
I'm racing Father Time...And he is driving a Ferrari!"
|A parting shot of Ted in his Austin Healey at Chimney Rock. Thanks to Brady Photos,
the Central Carolina SCCA Region, Chimney Rock Park and The Laser Image for
making these memories possible.
|Augusta International Speedway
|Augusta's Ted Tidwell Imprints His Own Style