Two of the lake's best-known powerboat racers died on Tuesday from injuries sustained at a powerboat championship race in Key West, Fla.
It was the first time Bob Morgan and Jeff Tillman had raced together at the championship race. Late last year, the Lake of the Ozarks residents became a racing duo and raced together at the 2011 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
The race signified Big Thunder Motorsports' return to Lake of the Ozarks after a five-year absence. The two recently purchased Big Thunder Motorsports Park and Marina Complex, on the 7.5-mile marker, after Morgan sold it in 2006. The complex includes a marina and a resort.
Morgan's racing history at Lake of the Ozarks stretches back decades. Morgan was the original owner and throttleman for the Big Thunder racing team, winning the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Top Gun in 1991 (102.7 mph) and again in 1995 (107.9 mph).
Besides racing, driver Jeff Tillman, or J.T., was known for his lake-area development projects. He owned a number of construction and contracting businesses, as well as invested in the Ledges, Park Place and Cedar Glen condominiums.
Tillman found his start in racing cars, but in the past several years made the transition to powerboats.
The thing about racing is, whether it’s on land or water, there are no boundaries, he had said in an interview earlier this year.
“You forget about everything else except how to get around the guy in front of you and not let the one behind get past. Bob and I are the perfect match – the seasoned veteran who knows what he is doing and the younger guy coming out of very competitive Indy car racing who knows how to go fast.”