60 OCTOBER 2019 scca.com
Named for the hard winter of Commodore Perry’s fleet in 1813-
1814, Lake Erie’s Misery Bay gave SCCA’s
104th Region its name and many reasons
to celebrate a 50th anniversary. And to
that end, the November Covered Bridge
Rally and the February Sno-Go RoadRallies
are great ways to keep driving skills sharp
while celebrating the Region’s historic past.
Board Secretary Bill Stewart is the contact
and organizer for the events with help
periodically from next-door neighbor, Neohio
Region’s Gregory Lester. Stewart explained the
event’s history starting with Covered Bridge.
For every one of the Region’s 50 years,
there has been a Covered Bridge rally. Last
year, for at least the second time, the team of
Adam Spieszny driving for Piotr Roszczenko
took first overall and first in Stock honors.
Like the 49 past events, this year’s
Nov. 3, 2019, running follows the same
format and style. The rally is typically
held on Halloween Sunday, and is usually
organized into Equipped, Limited, Stock,
and Tourist. Tourist Class allows teams
to included members of the entire family
instead of the typical two-person limit.
“Over those 50 years, Erie County, Pa.,
has lost two of its four covered bridges
to vandalism, but neighboring Ashtabula
County, Ohio, has recognized the attraction of
their picturesque bridges enough to rebuild
several, and even build brand-new ones,”
says Stewart, noting that Harrington Bridge,
west of Albion, Pa., is the only covered bridge
left in Erie County that can take traffic,
forcing most of the event west into Ohio.
Ashtabula County has 18 covered
bridges. Both this event and the 2017 rally
included Smolen-Gulf Bridge in Ashtabula,
the longest in the nation, with “the shortest
on [West] Liberty Street in Geneva, Ohio,”
later in the day, Stewart says. All told, this
year’s event will visit 12 to 14 bridges.
The event is also a part of the Great
Lakes Division Rally Championship.
Misery Bay Region works hard to feature
first-rate hospitality. “The lunch stop is inside
Covered Bridge Pizza, a covered bridge that
had been moved to North Kingsville or a
similar one in Andover,” says Stewart. “The
day ends at Valenza Restaurant in Albion
with prizes and sparkling wine from Mazza
Vineyards, the same folks who supply the
SCCA Runoffs and the Hoosier Super Tours.”
Stewart’s work doesn’t end there – for
the last six years, Misery Bay has also hosted
their Sno-Go Rally at the end of February.
This last-day-of-February event
challenges the best teams with either
ice and snow or mud and water.
“Departing from Erie, with luck, the
afternoon rally may visit the ski slopes
of Peak ‘n’ Peak near Clymer, N. Y., or
travel south along French Creek toward
Meadville,” Stewart explains. The scenery,
he says, is a collection of woods and
farms and trips through the Pennsylvania
State Game Lands. “This past event was
challenging with freezing rain followed
by sleet, then light snow,” he adds.
Help celebrate 50 years of the programs
SCCA has to offer and keep your rally skills at
their peak with a trip to Erie, Pa., to see what
Misery Bay has known about for 50 years.
MISERY BAY AT 50
GOT YOU COVERED
(LEFT) Adam Spieszny
driving for Piotr
Roszczenko in the 2018
Covered Bridge Rally.
(BELOW) The view
from a Sno-Go rally
Keeping active in the winter is easy with this SCCA Region and its
RoadRally program. | WORDS Rick Beattie | IMAGES Courtesy Misery Bay Region