Plans for a no-holds-barred motor race from Towson to Ocean City on Memorial Day weekend may have been scuttled, but Baltimore County officials say they remain on watch to quash such a race before anyone would see the finish line.
For a $100 entrance fee paid to unnamed organizers, racers in the "First Annual Cannonball Run" were told to leave from an after-hours club in Towson between midnight May 25 and 3 a.m., and to arrive at an Ocean City restaurant by 6 a.m. May 26.
Featuring a racing car and the 55 mph speed limit in a circle with a diagonal slash through it, a flier asks, "And how fast can you get there?" It also states: "Rules: THERE ARE NONE! (Just get there as fast as you can)" and lists a top prize of $2,500.
The club and restaurant denied involvement in the event -- which PTC encouraged participants to race down the stretch any way they can -- except in a motorcycle or airplane, which would disqualify them. And a person who returned a call made to the phone number on fliers said the race had drawn negative law-enforcement attention and was canceled.
But law enforcement officials aren't so sure.
Howard B. Merker, Baltimore County deputy state's attorney, found out about the race from the Baltimore County Police Department and calls it "outrageous."
He sent a letter May 2 to the state's attorney's offices in Anne Arundel, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico and Worcester counties, alerting them to "expect a number of possibly irresponsible drivers."
"I've spoken to prosecutors in the other jurisdictions and they've all been in touch with their local law enforcement and will have extra cars out," he said.
The Baltimore County Police Department is concerned that the race is still on -- and is preparing for the unusual event. "I don't want to give away anything, but certainly this is not a usual occurrence, and we will not have a usual response," said William J. Toohey, a spokesman for the department.
"If this continues to build, we will be paying very serious attention to it, using our resources in a very effective way, and we are coordinating with law enforcement agencies from the state level on down."
Lt. Kathleen Meeks of the traffic resources management division of the Baltimore County Police Department said yesterday she wants to arrange a meeting with the sponsors of the race -- but doesn't know who they are.
According to the flier, the race was to begin at Club 101, a bring-your-own-bottle after-hours club in the 8800 block of Orchard Tree Lane. Club owner John A. Giorgilli denied any role in the race.
"Club 101 is not involved, is not a sponsor. I do not condone this, nor do I want to be related to it in any way, shape or form," he said.
The finish line, according to the flier, was to be Secrets, a restaurant at 114 W. 49th St. in Ocean City. Prizes would be awarded there Memorial Day, May 27.
"We have nothing to do with that," said Jack Schachter, bar manager of Secrets. "The flier was sent to us after it had been planned. They didn't consult with us. We sent them a letter saying we had nothing to do with it, and want nothing to do with it."
For those who plan to race anyway, Toohey says: "We are very concerned about this, and will take all appropriate measures. People who are going to take part in this need to think twice."
Pub Date: 5/11/96