Upon arriving in Doha, Qatar for the Oryx Cup, we received some sad news –
Wilbur Heitz, long time unlimited hydroplane racing official passed away Monday, January 7 at Kings Daughters Hospital in Madison, IN.
“Wib” began work with the Madison Regatta in the 1963-64 racing season. He built his first of three starting clocks for the unlimiteds in 1967. Through the 1970s he and his wife, Mary, took the clocks to race sites across the east coast. In the 1980’s they became the chief timers and scorers for the unlimiteds nationwide.
They drove the unlimed racing offical ‘rolling office’ RV around the country through the 1990s, usually pulling a clock trailer behind them.
Wib and Mary received the ‘Outstanding Racing Official’ award several times, the unlimited racing ‘Historical Award’ in 1994, and in 2001, a year before their retirement from the sport, Wib received the J. Lee Schoenith Lifetime Acheivement Award.
Wib remained active in Madison Regatta through the rest of his life. At the time of his passing, he still held a seat on the Madison Regatta board of directors. He was aged 92.
Wib witnessed the most major changes in the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing and had his own impact on racing as we know it today. He will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be Friday, January 11 from 4 pm until 8 pm and the funeral will be Saturday, January 12 at 2 pm, all at Morgan Webster Nay funeral home in Madison. An online condolence book is available at www.morgan-nay.com. Memorial tributes can be made in the form of contributions to the Madison Riverfront Development Committee, care of the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County.