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The Season Finale at Roebling Road

December  9-11, 2016

Bob Spruck's report coming soon, but in the meantime, check out Christine's Nettleships photos--

2016 VDCA Dec 9 Group 2-5-7 am
 
2016 VDCA Dec 9 Group 6-8 am
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 9 Group 2-5-7 3pm
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 6-8 9am
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 1 10am
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 9-FV am
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 3 11am
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 9-FV Feature Race
 
 
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 1 Feature Race
2016 VDCA Dec 10 Group 3 Feature Race
https://goo.gl/photos/i8mrTFoXYT8bf5Jn7
 

2016 VDCA Dec Party

Now this link might not work for everyone since these were the 
photos on my phone that I then upload to google drive which is a different interface. 
You can click on the series of dots in the square in the upper right and that should then 
list the photos in a better view.

 

 

 

 

The HOTlanta Historics

July 9-10, 2016

HOT(yes!)LANTA HISTORICS BY VDCA

By Bob Spruck

MotorMouth/south

Well, here it is July already and the calendar year is half over. For many of us vintage racers, the best part of the season is ahead of us as the weather gets cooler, and the track selection seems to get better. For those of us who race with The Vintage Drivers Club of America in the Southeast, we are at the midpoint of the schedule. Great races at Virginia International Raceway, Summit Point, and, now, Road Atlanta are behind us but we look forward to a weekend at PBIR, and most anticipated, two weekends at the underrated Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah.

A race weekend at the fantastic Road Atlanta facility has always been one of the most appreciated, if not the most appreciated, races of the schedule. Ray Morgan, an Atlanta area resident, businessman, multi-car vintage racer, and member of the VDCA Board worked hard for many years to get the club a date at Road Atlanta, one of the best tracks around, but one of the most expensive. A relatively small but very dedicated and motivated group ran the HOTlanta Historics on July 9th and 10th, and yes, it was hot in Atlanta that weekend. The majority of the drivers are from the Atlanta area or other parts of the Southeast so they understand the importance of hydration and other means of staying as cool as possible. No problems were encountered or reported.

The Historics is one of two two-day VDCA events, shortened to a manageable duration because of the weather, so Friday was devoted to registration and Tech Inspections as well as setting up paddock spaces and connecting with fellow drivers. Be assured that the main criteria for finding a good paddock space was wherever the breezes were. Consistent with VDCA’s business model, the weekend was shared with the local BMWCCA Chapter with great success for both parties. After a Saturday morning of practice for all groups, the Feature Races took place in the afternoon.

Small displacement production cars and Formula Vs that comprised Group 1 went off first. John Jones in his 1967 squarebody Sprite usually dominates the class but met his match this weekend in the form of the 1958 MGA of Steve Konsin. It could have had something to do with the 1275/1600cc displacement dichotomy, but each driver tried his hardest The usually large contingent of FVs in this Group seemed to be on hiatus as only Mike Ennis (1969 Lynx B) and Dan Chesanow (1966 Venus) took up the fray. The always fast and reliable Ennis was bested by the always fast but heretofore not as reliable Beau Gable in his 1960 Turner. Gable, the Chief of Tech for VDCA, was fast all weekend. Typically leaking British oil didn’t seem to affect his speed and reliability, only his paddock spot. Bugeye pilotes Jim Hofer, David Bearden, and first timer Andrew McLean acted like Formula Vees, with a nose to tail train in every session until Andy experienced mysterious ignition issues during the Sunday race. The Scotsman enjoyed his introduction to vintage racing so much that he vowed to be back next race, his very supportive wife and family echoing that excitement. Finishing order was Konsin, Jones, and Gable.

Larger displacement production cars contested in Group 3. Wayne West in his 1970 Porsche 911 led flag to flag but was challenged by the ever fast Stacey Schepens in her 1964 Morgan 4/4. Right behind her in his 1964 Morgan 4/4 was her father, Dave Bondon until he retired on lap 7. Finishing order was West, Schepens, and Jack Poteet (1962 Morgan 4/4)) who came from last on the grid to finish a well earned third.

The largest displacement production cars duked it out in Group 6 & 8. Here we had a pack of swift Mustangs, some sports racers and S2000s, as well as the larger cars such as Porsches, Tigers, MGB GT V8s, and others. As you would expect, Jack Velden in his 2000 Carbir sports racer was the fastest but, also as expected, Bob Woodman in his expertly driven ’74 Porsche 911, kept him on his toes. Wayne West in a ’75 911 gave them both a run for their money. Robert Hibdon (Swift S2), Jerry Peters (Porsche 914/6 GT), Henry Costanza (Datsun 240Z), and Ernie Bello (Opel Kadett GT/E) were also in the fray. It was Velden, Woodman, West, and Hibdon at the checkered flag.

Saturday racing finally ended with the long awaited traditional "Gimmick Race," this time under the Midfield Madness rules. The simplest of rules (he who finishes exactly in the middle of the pack wins), spawned the most complicated strategies and tactics. All cars were eligible, from the Bugeyes to the Porsches and Mustangs. Speed wasn’t necessarily an advantage – a spotter with a stopwatch and a pit wall to car radio was. Some drivers thought they had the race won because of counting the cars ahead and behind them. Bob Woodman had it all figured out, however, as he adjusted his position via four trips to the pit lane. Because of the pit lane speed limit, it seemed that he underestimated his position and had to catch four cars on the last lap. He certainly did, and gained the middle finishing position from Mike Ennis in a FV on the last turn of the last lap. Good job, Bob!

Saturday evening, when the sun went down but the temperatures stayed up, was devoted to the VDCA Social. Jerry Peters offered his showroom and shop across from the track for the party. Jerry has an unbelievable collection of cars and automobilia in his immaculate place. Zapata Racing out of Nashville is a large and very eclectic, loosely organized race team, but they sure can put on a great party, as their donations provided the barbequed ribs and chicken, salads, cakes and pies and cold watermelon for a truly Southern feast. Thanks guys for such a wonderful gastronomic end to such a wonderful day of racing.

Sunday was left for more track sessions, the all comers Endurance Race, the two hour quiet time, and some more on-track fun. Almost 30 cars of all sizes started the one hour race while the temperatures hadn’t had time to get too oppressive, but it was hot nevertheless, even just watching from the trackside fence. It must have been the same (probably much worse) aboard the race cars as there was the usual amount of passing back and forth for the first dozen laps or so. By mid-race we had the mandatory 5 minute pit stops, this time I am sure very welcomed. Then a bunch of retirements, either due to hot drivers or heat induced issues with the cars. The last ten laps of the 32 lap race saw very few changes in position. I imagine more than a few drivers decided to keep their positions and finish the race where they were. Mike Eberhardt and David Raab (or maybe it really was Cody Ellsworth) brought their Porsche 911 from a start in 13th place to finish first. Wayne West drove his bright orange 1970 Porsche 911 to a well deserved second place finish, while Robert Hibdon pedaled his 1986 Swift S2 to third. Jerry Peters did a masterful job in his 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT for fourth. Bob Woodman kept his nice Porsche 911 in first for half the race until he was inadvertently punted into the turn 11 bridge, fortunately with minor damage, but a race ender for sure.

All in all, it was another great weekend of vintage racing. Drivers were smiling as usual as they exited their cars in the paddock after their track sessions, happy to grab a bottle of cold water and either drink it or pour it on themselves, often both.

 

The Wild Hare Run

April 8-10, 2016

Bill Stoler

The 14th edition of the "Wild Hare Run" took place during the weekend of April 8-10, 2016.

Maybe it's the long winter layoff. Perhaps it's the drive down RT 28 through the countryside in the Spring, past the wineries and craft breweries to the city of historic Danville, Virginia. Perhaps it’s the chance to visit the world class racing facility that the late racer (and occasional actor) Paul Newman was quoted as saying, "If there’s a heaven on earth, it’s VIR."

Although It was only my second chance to attend VDCA’s Wild Hare Run, this springtime vintage racing event at the VIR-ginia International Raceway has become one of my favorites. Mike and Sandy Jackson and the rest of the VDCA are wonderful hosts, and I’m thrilled that the Vintage Racer Group (VRG) shares this weekend since I shoot primarily for VRG. The fact that the BMW CCA is part of the weekend is icing on the cake! This event was also the kick-off for the VRG Royale Racing Formula Ford Challenge series which added to my excitement to head south!

The weekend took place under blue skies with hardly a cloud in sight! Friday was terrific, but blustery winds made it feel a bit more like late February on Saturday. No worries! Heck, it was snowing back home in PA, so a little wind didn’t dampen my spirits or those of the vintage racing faithful that filled the paddock. This would be the 15th year for the event since that first event in 2002. The inaugural Wild Hare Run was one of the first racing events held after the facility re-opened in 2000 after being closed for nearly 25 years.

The full paddock displayed a nice variety of vintage racing treasure, including a Joey Bojalad’s 1960 Elva Mk VI, a 1958 Chevy powered "Echidna," and Joe Colasacco’s 1958 Fiat Formula Junior and a 1964 F1 # 17 Ferrari 1512. A few other interesting works of automotive art included Jim Wilson’s Ferrari powered F1 tribute car, a 1966 Cobra Mk III and a pair of Lola T 70 Coupes. A photographer’s dream.

The first race of the weekend Friday evening was actually the Wild Hare Run, a pursuit race involving 50 plus cars, released at specified intervals based on qualifying times, starting with the slowest car first and the fastest car last. After the final car is released, the race directors/official scorers head to the scoring tower to keep track of this unusual race, featuring cars from all nine race groups. Kudos to the organizers of this race which requires some agonizing mathematics, utilizing qualifying times to come up with a formula, which in theory, should result in all the cars finishing in a NASCAR style pack at the finish! That is, if every driver ran his/her qualifying time and lost no time passing cars.

Historically speaking, it is rare that the first car to be released is still leading at the finish. Equally rare is to have a huge group of cars cross the finish line at the same time. This year's winner was Ray Korman, and the second place finisher, and the winner of the "Bunny's Butt" Award was Storm Field, piloting his newly acquired Crossle. It was the 12th year that Bob Clarke has created and donated a special "Bunny's Butt" trophy.

The end of the Wild Hare Run marked the end of Friday's on-track activity, but the off-track party was just getting started over at Dave and Robyn Handy's place in the Raceplex. The gracious hosts open the doors of the Sasco Racing Shop and in addition to snacks and beverages, a splendid array of vintage racing history was on display. My favorite was the legendary F1 Championship winning Lotus 79 F1 of Mario Andretti, undergoing some detailing and maintenance after participating in that wet weekend last fall at COTA. Although it was missing most of the "iconic black and gold" John Player bodywork, it was a rare opportunity to see just how relatively simple and "uncomplicated" (by today’s standard) the state of the art "seventies" F1 cars were. Also on display was an original James Hunt F3 car which is undergoing a full restoration. A bare metal frame in the back of shop was a King Cobra chassis. A slightly newer "vintage" piece on display was the Indy Lights car that Ben Sinnott had spent the last two days testing at VIR.

Racing by groups got underway on Saturday after morning practice and qualifying.

Group 1 small bore production and Formula Vee: included the typical production entries including the MG Midgets, Austin Healey Sprites and Triumph Spitfires. The well prepared 1962 MG Midget of Larry Smith captured the Sunday Group feature over Shea Brown driving his neat looking Fiat 128CS. Richard Jefferson took the third spot in his 1967 Austin Healey Sprite. The fastest drive of the group came during Saturday's feature. Joe Colasacco led all eight laps in his beautiful 1958 Stanguellini Fiat Formula Jr. using all 850cc to turn the track with a fast lap of 2:20.3 seconds, over Smith and Brown. Group 1 included the DSR’s of Chip Haddock (1980 Legrand MK18) and the 1972 NTM MK III of Doug White. Other interesting Group one cars included the 1959 MGA Sebring Coupe of Carl George and the 1959 Jabro MK II of Paul Wilson.

The Group 1 Formula Vees racing may have been the very best of the weekend. The fastest qualifier among the FV crowd was the patriotic looking #77 1966 Zink of Marcus Jones with a lap of 2:31.3 seconds. Typical of the closely matched Vees, the racing was very close and exciting. Marcus grabbed the early lead into turn one followed by the 1969 Lynx B of Michael Ennis. The Formula Vee group of ten stayed in tight formation around turn two and was headed into T3 (NASCAR turn numbering) when Bob O’Conner spun in his Zink Z-5. Everyone got by safely, and Bob rejoined the field without incident. As the race progressed, Charles Jones (1966 Zink) and Mike Jackson (1969 ShadowFax) joined the race for the lead. This group of four swapped the lead all race long. The white flag lap saw Charles Jones leading Mike Jackson when the group headed around T3 NASCAR and into the left hook. Marcus Jones spun racing with Ennis at T4 Left Hook and the race for the win would be decided between Charles Jones and Mike Jackson. At the checkered flag, Mike Jackson took the win by a slim .13 second margin.

Groups 2 (Formula Fords), 5 (Sports Racers) & 7 (S2000s) had special feature races on Sunday, but shared qualifying/practice sessions, and one feature race. The Saturday afternoon race was a thrill to watch, with a split start for the Formula Fords. By mid-race, the Group 5 Sports Racers started working around the Fords without incident, but a few of the S2000s ended up in the grass before the checkered flag fell. William Thumel in a 1967 Lola T70 Coupe took the win over the 1969 Lola T70 MK3B of Hobart Bubbert. The Chevron B36 of Graham Adelman finished third. Ben Sinnott was the best S2000 finishing 4th in his Lola T90/91. Doug Meis (1974 Lola T340) would be the fastest FF on Saturday edging out Scott Fairchild’s Zink Z-10, in a preview for Sunday’s VRG Royale Racing FF Challenge feature.

Group 3 consisted of the medium sized production cars. Some really nice cars run in this group, including Ray Morgan’s 1964 Merlyn Mk 6 that was sporting a new color this year. Over the winter, the Merlyn received a new coat of paint, going back to the original colors according to Ray. Joey Bolajad was back again this year with his 1960 Elva Mk VI that made its racing debut at the 1961 Brands Hatch Boxing Day race, finishing first in class and second to Graham Hill’s Ferrari Testa Rossa. The bunch of great looking Triumphs were in this group including that beautiful white 1961 TR3 of Jeff Snook. A pair of 1964 Morgans caught my eye during Friday qualifying, but I didn’t realize at the time they were piloted by the "father/daughter duo" of Super Dave Bondon and his daughter Stacey Schepens. Ralph Salomon was racing "with a roof" this weekend in a 1969 Ford Cortina. It was good to see Tom Chisholm finally getting some laps in his recently acquired 1962 Lotus Super 7. But it was the 1962 version of the Lotus Super driven by Denny Wilson that was fastest all weekend, setting the fast time and capturing the Group 3 feature on Saturday. Henry Frye finished second in his 1968 Triumph TR250, edging out the 1964 Ginetta G4 of Harry Gentry.

For those that love seeing big cars tossed around on a road course, Group 6 and 8 did not disappoint. The thunder of big American Iron mixing it up with the big imports is always a favorite. For the fans of Detroit’s Blue Oval, this group included a pair of 1964 Falcons driven by Bradley Steele and Bill Feaster along with the 1966 Mustang of Greg Smith. Fans of the bowtie, were treated to the 1963 Corvette of Steve Epley. The imports were led by the 1970 Porsche 914 of John Forbes and the 1972 model of the Porsche 911 driven by Davis Jones. The black and Red 1972 Alpha Romeo of Vince Vaccarro always catches my eye, racing with the 1971 Alpha of Roy Crowninshield. The fastest BMW 2002 during the weekend was Skip Bryan in his 1972 model. American Iron would rule this weekend, as the 1964 Pontiac GTO of Denis Moser took the win on Saturday over the Lotus Super 7 of Craig Chima. It’s always good to see Dr. Lee Talbot racing his 1967 Ginetta G4. After 67 years of racing, he obviously knows his way around the racetrack! There were quite a few interesting cars in this group, including the Alan Tosler’s 1966 Lotus Elans and the 1972 Europa of Bob Deslodge. The very rare 1958 Echidna Special of Steve Steers was special treat indeed, as only three cars were ever produced. A fiberglass body by Devin, mounted on a 1956 Chevrolet frame and is powered by a 339 cubic inch Chevy engine. Despite its rather simple design, it was a success and winning the 1959 SCCA National Championship for B Modified.

Special races were held on Sunday and started with an Enduro in the morning. The always fast and very competitive S2000s prevailed in this race and at VIR, there is no one faster than Ben Sinnott (91 Lola T90/T91) and Dave Handy (88 Swift DB2). They finished one-two, and the Lola T90 of Paul LaHaye took the third spot. S2000s took the top 5 spots followed by Davis Jones and his 1972 Porsche 911 finishing 6th.

At noon, it was time for the VRG Royale Racing FF Challenge Feature. Scott Fairchild and Doug Meis were fast all weekend and shared the front row. When the green waved, Fairchild edged out Meis into turn one, leading a pack that included the Crossle 45F of Joe Griffin and the Crossle 40F of Bob Bruce. A little farther back, Scott Nettleship in a Crossle 45 battled throughout the race with Scott’s Dad, Dave Fairchild in his Zink Z-10. As we witnessed so many times before at VIR, a see-saw battle between Meis and Fairchild ensued all race long and it could have gone either way, but this day it would be Fairchild edging out Meis by the slim margin of .16 seconds and taking the win for Club Ford. Taking the win for the Historic Ford and finishing 7th overall was Bernard Bradpiece in his immaculate 1972 Crossle 20F, who was able to overtake the 1978 Ford Tiga of Chris Forrer. A mid-pack contest involving the Historic Fords of David Allison (1969 Alexis Mk4), Chris Tchorzinicki (1977 Crossle 32) and Stanford Vann (1970 Caldwell D9) was exciting to watch. A few new comers to the FF ranks made their "maiden voyage" at the challenging track. Storm Field made his first outing in his newly acquired 1976 Crossle 30F as did Tammy Calef in her 1981 Ford Gemini, both putting in good drives during the weekend. The VRG Royale FF Series brought back that old tradition of awarding "Winner’s wreaths" to both class winners and was a fitting final touch to a very successful inaugural weekend for the series.

The S2000 feature race was next and it was captured by Dave Handy in a 1988 Swift DB2, with the Lola T90 of Henry Payne IV capturing the runner-up spot. Rounding out the podium was the Lola T90 of Claude Mallette. Jeff Wright grabbed the early lead, but it was determined that he had passed some cars on the pace lap, and he was penalized. The top finisher in the Vintage S2 class was Steve Konsin in a 1985 Swift DB2. The top finisher in the Historic S2 was the 1983 March 83S of Andrew and Harvey Lewis. The always fast Ben Sinnott set the fast lap of the race with a lap of 1:56.72, but his hope for a win were dashed when the Lola T91/90 retired early.

A big thanks to the Jacksons, the VDCA volunteers, the track workers, the staff of VIR and the participants for the efforts that keep this event "hopping" year after year! Let’s get together next spring and do it again!

 

 

 

The 2015 Season Finale

Dec. 11 - 13

Report by Bob Spruck
MotorMouth/south

 Webster defines the word finale as the “concluding part of any performance or course of proceedings”. (Actually, it was Wikipedia – I couldn’t find the ancient and dog eared dictionary on our dusty book shelves, so I deferred to the more contemporary equivalent. Plus, it just sounded weird to reference Wikipedia rather than Webster). Not only is the three day event at Roebling Road Raceway, 20 miles west of Savannah, GA the last of the group’s six events at five tracks, it is also the last vintage racing event in the nation, as it has been for the past 14 years. A finale for sure! VDCA, a southeast headquartered and oriented vintage racing club, has an advantage there. The Season Finale attracted over 100 racers from colder climes wanting one more race now that the snow and frigid weather has arrived back home, racers wintering in sunny Florida able to extend their season or racing with VDCA for the first time, and the regular and dedicated Club members who wouldn’t miss this event for all the tea in China. There wasn’t much tea at Roebling, but there was plenty of barbequed brisket, sausage, pulled pork, salads, and, of course, fresh Chesapeake and Pensacola OYSTERS, not to mention a wide assortment of beers and wines, at the much anticipated Saturday night Pig Pickin’ and Oyster Roast.

 There was plenty of track time, too. Registration and tech inspection on Thursday afternoon allowed almost everyone to be ready for an early start on Friday when each of the 5 race Groups enjoyed 2 half-hour sessions on track as well as the infamous Happy Hour Bracket Challenge Classic at the end of the day. As is tradition, the VDCA vintage cars shared the weekend with the Tarheel Chapter BMW Car Club of America which had 4 track sessions. A Red Wine and Brew Party was once again hosted by Formula Ford racer Duke Waldrop and his wife Fay at their RV, featuring a cornucopia of serious hors d’oeuvres and drinks for vintage racers and crew after the racing for the day was over. Catching up with old friends and getting to know new ones continued into the late evening.

 Saturday’s unbelievable weather with temps starting out in the low 50’s and quickly climbing into the mid 70’s had us shedding first our sweatshirt layers and then our shirt layers, resulting in T-shirts by noon. The sky was a beautiful shade of Speedwell Blue with bright white puffy clouds that made you squint. One of my favorite activities between races was lying on my back watching nature’s racing in the sky as clouds at different altitudes overtook (or bumped into) clouds at other altitudes. It was almost as awesome as the action on the track. BMW and vintage practice sessions consumed Saturday morning and prepped us for the excitement of the afternoon Feature Races for all Groups and the BMW Maxi-Enduro. In addition to providing some excellent racing, the action whetted our appetites (and thirsts) for the Pig Pickin’ and Oyster Roast that evening.

 THE GIMMICK RACE

 The first official excitement of the weekend was the Happy Hour Bracket Race Challenge, previously and still popularly known as the Gimmick Race, held after the practice sessions on Friday. The gimmick this time was that each driver on four-man teams stated a target lap time. The plus or minus differential of the closest lap time to the stated target lap time for each of the drivers on each team was added together and the team with the smallest total was declared the winner. Thirty-eight cars from all the Groups started the race and after 30 minutes, thirty-eight finished, a tribute to courteous and gentlemanly racing. The best lap times of cars as diverse as the blindingly fast DSR 750cc Legrand of Casey Haddock who had the fastest lap of the race and the blindingly loud Dreyer Ford Special of Scott Ebert from the Pre-War Group who had the slowest, differed by 35 seconds. A considerable amount of passing and racing was carried out with lots of excitement and no episodes. Due to either careful calculations or pure luck, depending on who you listened to, the Cheap Drunks Times Four Team was declared the winner. Rob Stewart (’67 Triumph Spitfire), Leo Oddi (’68 Triumph TR250), George Wright (’72 Datsun 240Z), and Dean Tetterton (’64 Triumph TR4) were the wily team members who won the only awards that VDCA ever gives out. The plush Snoopy characters weren’t really that bad!  Scott Nettleship in his ‘81 Crossle Club Ford was closest to his target time with an incredible (lucky?) .088 second difference. Casey Haddock, unsurprisingly, had the fastest lap time in his ’80 Legrand Mk 18 DSR.

 THE FEATURE RACES

 GROUP 1

Group 1, small displacement production cars like Sprites, Midgets, Minis, Spitfires, Fiats, and Turners, provided the usual amount of great racing. Not much passing at the front of the pack, but lots back in mid-pack. The Haddocks started first, ran first, and finished first in the smooth, fast and screaming Legrand DSR. Phil Wicks went off second in his yellow ’67 Mini with the always fast but especially so this weekend Rob Stewart in his ‘67 Spitfire right behind him. Rob’s second lap pass of Phil got him into second place, and he skillfully managed to stay there until the end. Both Casey and Rob gained a significant lead over third place Wicks and John Jones in his ’67 Sprite who raced each other real close for the entire 16 laps. Strong efforts and good racing took place between Shea Brown in his ’74 Fiat 128 Coupe and Tim Slater in his ‘65 Spitfire, between Mark Craig in his ’73 Spitfire and Beau Gabel in his ’60 Turner until he went out with transmission trouble, and Gary Hagopian in his ’64 Spridget and Brian MacEachern in his ’59 Sprite.

Becky Labat was doing fine in her ’73 MG Midget until some fuel escaped the carburetors and combusted outside the combustion chambers. Fellow competitor Mark Craig came to her rescue trackside and on Saturday night was presented with an Effingham County Volunteer Fire Department award for assisting her. Talk about vintage racer spirit and concern! Thank you Mark.

 GROUP 2, 5, & 7

This group includes open wheel cars such as Club Fords and Formula Fords, and various iterations of sports racers. Because of an almost ten second per lap difference in lap times of the two styles of racers, a split start was utilized, with the FFs and CFs 30 seconds in arears.

The Fords were theoretically pretty evenly matched until Doug Meis (’74 Lola T340) found his rhythm after lap 5 and pulled out a 10 car lead over Rollin Butler (’79 Crossle 35F) who led the group for the first 4 laps. They finished that way with Scott Nettleship (’81 Crossle 35F) in third. Les Bowers (’77 Hawke DL2A) and Paul Buttrose (’79 Crossle 35F) hooked up after passing a few other cars and had a real close battle until they got together in the carousel. Both came in on the hook. The cars will need some serious mechanical attention and fortunately both drivers needed only some relatively minor medical attention. Meanwhile out front were the five sports racers. Larry Wilson led the first lap in his ’69 Brabham BT29 until the ’88 Swift DB2 with Dave Handy driving passed him during lap 2. They stayed this way until the patient but hard working Wilson got by Handy when it counted on the last lap. Steady but reliable Burt Levy in Dave Bondon’s ’87 Royale RP4, Greg Miller in his blue and orange ’85 Swift DB2, and Robert Hibdon in his ’86 Swift S2 started and finished in that order after much close but uncontested racing.

GROUP 3

Medium size production cars fall into Group 3. Leo Oddi (’68 TR250), Richard Schnabel (’74 Fiat 124 Spider), and Jack Poteet (’64 Morgan 4/4) traded places up front for the majority of the race until Jack pulled off unexpectedly on lap 12 at pit out with some serious mechanical issues. That let Leo finish first with Richard one car length back in second. Hank Giffin in his ’59 Elva Courier had a strong last third of the race and came in third. Tom Turner, in the interestingly unusual ’67 Alfa Romeo Guila Super sedan was fourth.  Mid-pack, six guys were having a ball as they freight-trained it for the entire twenty-five minutes. Tom Coryn (’65 MGB), Mike Fisher (’60 Austin Healey 3000), Bill Vanderford (’90 Mazda Miata), John Hasty (’59 TR3), Dean Tetterton (’64 TR4), and Mike Morrison (’75 MGB) had an exciting time as they raced each other hard all race and finished fifth through tenth. Ben Prewitt pushed his AH 3000 all weekend and was happy with his results.  

GROUP 6 & 8

This Group includes the big guns – the large imports and the larger American iron. It is an impressive display of handling, noise, and strategy. The imports, although smaller in displacement, are faster through the turns, and generally the V8 American cars are slower in the turns but faster on the straights. Since Roebling has 9 turns and only one straight, you’d think the imports have an advantage and you’d be right. The results show exactly that. The light, nimble, and high revving ’65 Ginetta G4s of Michael Clifford and Hervey Parke and the’72 Lotus Europa of Bob Desloge all started in the top 6 and finished as the top 3 after Ceaser Cone (’67 Alfa Duetto), Henry Costanza (’73 240Z), and Skip Bryan(‘72 BMW 2002) all had troubles. Those wonderfully loud and thunderous V8s were from 4 to 10 seconds slower and finished mid pack. But the Fords (Mustangs, Falcons, and Tigers) and GMs (Chevies and Firebirds) sure got the juices flowing. Knowledge of physics and geometry and that built-in clock contributed to the tactics of gaining just enough of a lead in the turns to hold off the faster big cars on the straight. For most of the guys, it worked.

 GROUP 9 & FV

Two races in one -- a very exciting Formula Vee race as always, and a relatively good turnout of four Pre-War class cars, all of which finished the race. FVs, by design, are pretty closely matched. That’s why they run in a nose to tail pack, never brake, take advantage of the slightest variations, and offer the closest racing of almost any class. That’s what we had here, once again. Mike Jackson (’69 Shadowfax) and Mike Ennis (’69 Lynx B) are so closely matched in both driving skill and mechanical configuration that their racing could be said to be rather boring. But if you really watch closely at what’s going on, it is far from it. The strategy, the tactics, the luck, and the outright skill displayed by these two FV veterans is amazing. It’s the little things that count towards one having an advantage over the other. And that changes many times per lap. As the gentle breeze turned into a slight tailwind during the half hour race, the second car in the two car train had an advantage because it was to windward while the lead car was in the lee of the follower. You better believe the windward car knew that and played this advantage for all it was worth. It was almost like a push to pass button. Passing took place numerous times per lap and being at only one place on the track caused the observer to miss much of the raw excitement of what was going on everyplace else. The lap charts showed only six lead changes at the start/finish line at the middle of the front straight, but even from there, one could see passes both before and after that point. Imagine what went on on the back side!  This time, Mike Jackson prevailed but only in the last few feet before the checker was wagged, exactly .024 seconds to the good. Neil Sullivan in a ’69 Lynx finished third, eleven seconds back. (The trio repeated the performance on Sunday afternoon with all three, Jackson, Ennis and Sullivan, crossing the finish line simultaneously!  They had to wait for T&S to tell them who had actually won.)  Back to Saturday--Bo Lemmon had a strong race and finished fourth in his ’65 Formcar while Oliver Tolksdorf with his ’69 Zinc C4 also had a great race. 

In the Pre-war field, George Pardee started on the pole in their split start, but, not surprisingly, the torque generated by the big flathead with 3-2s in Scott Ebert’s Dreyer Ford Special enabled him to out drag the little MGTF between the first wag of the green flag and the start line. George could catch him in the turns, but Scott would pull away on the straight. Sure must have been frustrating for poor George who finished only a few seconds back.

 THE ENDURO

 Like the Gimmick Race, thirty-nine cars started the hour long Endurance Race on Sunday morning but some dropped out because of technical problems, or sufficient laps full of fun, or just plain fatigue. As could be expected the fast sports racers and Formula cars ran away from the pack early on. Larry Wilson in his 1969 Brabham BT 29 and Dave Handy in his 1988 Swift DB2 were acting like FVs, so nose to tail that you almost couldn’t see daylight between them. A sizeable gap behind but respectable never the less was Burt Levy in the Royale RP4 he mooched from Dave Bondon who skipped the Enduro because he was busy shaking down his newly finished Morgan 4/4. By lap 3, the gap was half the front straight and the leaders began lapping the tailenders. On lap 9, a full course yellow was thrown and the pace car went out when a car went off in Turn 3. That provided an opportunity for the mandatory 5 minute pit stop for many drivers, albeit too early for some. Strategies changed big time with that move! When racing resumed shortly thereafter, things settled down for a while until another full course yellow/safety car with about fifteen minutes left in the race. A beautiful Ginetta coupe spent some time in the ugly sand but was quickly recovered. At the end of 39 laps, Dave Handy was solidly in first place with his Swift. Robert Hibdon was in third place in his Swift. And lo and behold, Burt Levy was right there between them in second in the borrowed Royale. He even “missed” the checkered flag and made an extra, “victory” lap. Being pure BS, he claimed it was the first time he ever had done that. Few believed him. We know BS when we hear it.

Because of the normal mechanical and travel attrition most race organizations see by Sunday, the Feature races were held on Saturday with much larger fields and more exciting racing than would have been experienced with the smaller fields on Sunday. This arrangement worked well and will probably continue in the future. Another successful weekend and season for VDCA and its members concluded with lots of wishes for safe travel home and happy holidays.

Our Hurricane in Savannah

or "The Art of Racing in the Rain"

Sept. 11 - 12

Report by Bob Spruck

MotorMouth/south

Many of the 30 some odd North American based vintage road racing organizations pride themselves on and, in fact, measure their success by, the number of entries they have at an event. Some register as many as 300-400 cars for a three day race weekend. Some are big enough to have east and west coast divisions. There is even an attempt to create a national level vintage race organization with a national championship. Some “vintage” organizations even allow non-vintage cars like contemporary Caymans, and Miatas. At the other end of the spectrum are race organizations that are more regional, may race only a few times a year at two or three different tracks, and limit their entrants to cars older than the mid ‘70s. They are proud to claim that they run their events like the races of old, when racing vintage cars was just getting started in the 70s and 80s. Many of them got their start by a few guys getting together with some friends, renting a local race track, and exercising their old cars safely at speed. Thankfully, the greater vintage racing hobby/industry currently contains a wide range of organizations, nation-wide venues, and a broad range of eligible cars. There is something for everyone. All you have to do is state your preference and find an organization. And then have fun doing it.

The Vintage Drivers Club of America emphasizes properly prepared older cars, raced according to the rules and etiquette that were prevalent years ago. Most of the participants build their car themselves, do their own maintenance, and drive their car themselves. Sure, you see some big rigs with multiple cars, maintained by professional shops, and even a few arrive and drive arrangements. But during the 15 years since its inaugural race at CMP, VDCA has been concentrating on the simpler end of the vintage racing spectrum. They provide an opportunity for the serious but limited racer. And they have been a huge success.

One of the most low key events from this low key organization is their two-day Hurricane in Savannah race weekend in September at the equally low key Roebling Road Raceway. Registration and tech opened late on Friday afternoon. Trailers were parked and cars unloaded at leisure in the sandy and grassy paddock. Duke and Fay Waldrup provided an informal (can I say “low-key”) but well provisioned get together at the end of the day for drivers, crew and workers with plenty of snacks, some homemade goodies, grilled brats, and a wide assortment of beverages. It attracted a goodly crowd of old friends most with spouses and pets. It also provided an effective way to get to know the new racers who had decided to try the VDCA style of racing for the first time.

Racing began early Saturday morning with the racer’s bane – showers - just heavy enough to convince some of us to skip our session and wait for drier times. The thrill of racing is weighed against the treachery and inconvenience of foggy windshields, reduced visibility, rooster tails, cold tires, and soggy suits. Many of us waited for later, not knowing that “later” would mean Sunday. Some track starved, brave souls went on track but didn’t make any meaningful speed. Some rationalized that practicing in the rain gives you a much better feel for car control. Others claimed that there is nothing more stupid than racing in the rain but practicing in the rain. At least the Saturday evening dinner and party took place in the dry concession stand.

THE HURRICANE CHALLENGE

The ever popular Gimmick Race was held at the end of the first day of racing as things began to clear up and dry out. The gimmick this time was to award the only prize of the weekend to the driver who passed the start/finish line in the time it would have taken hurricane Sandy to run 15 laps at her max recorded speed of 115 mph. Those drivers capable of using higher mathematics were able to run the numbers and calculate the correct combination of time, speed, and distance. Others just got out there and raced. Joe Henslee was both a little bit smart and a little bit lucky, as he managed to be within 1 second of the right answer. That earned him a bottle of Cabernet donated by Becky Labat and a schlocky Welcome to Paradise sign acquired at an infamous Florida beach paraphernalia shop.

THE ENDURO

By the time our Sunday morning alarm woke us up, we were blessed with a cloudless blue sky, a slight but drying breeze and cool temperatures – ideal racing weather. Most of the drivers, who didn’t go out in the drizzle on Saturday, did go out for the short warm-up sessions early on Sunday and then were ready for the one hour endurance race at 10 AM. Three quarters of the drivers registered for the weekend showed up on the grid for the Enduro, many of them on track for the first time. Robert Hibdon drove his Swift S2 Sports 2000 to the overall win, leading the most laps by far. VDCA regular Ceasar Cone drove his Alfa Romeo Duetto to 2nd, coming from a starting position of 18th. The Triumph twins, Tim Slater and Mark Craig, began in 11th and 14th on the grid but finished 4th and 5th after some real close racing after their pit stops. Once the first few laps were over and again after the individual 5-minute pit stops were taken, things settled down to some good steady racing and some exciting overtaking and passing. The variety of cars present and their significant speed differentials were managed well by all, resulting in another incident free race. Playing nice and preserving our beautiful cars while still having racing fun sure is rewarding.

GROUP 1 & 9 FEATURE RACE

Small displacement production cars and Formula Vees contested the Group 1 race right after the lunch break on Sunday. John Jones, in his potent 1967 Sprite, blasted past Mike Jackson’s ’69 Shadowfax FV when Dennis Moser relinquished 1st place on lap 3 for his DNF. A DNF also claimed Jones on lap 9, leaving Jackson in 1st at the end with Neil Sullivan’s ’69 Lynx FV in second. The biggest advancer was Shea Brown in his well driven ’74 Fiat 128 who started late and in last place but blasted through the field to finish a hard fought third. Tim Slater and Mark Craig in GP and FP Spitfires had their usual ding-dong battle and finished in 4th and 5th.

GROUP 2, 5, & 7 FEATURE RACE

Sports racers were classed in this group and Mark Gompels started his ’84 Royale RP38/42 on the pole. He managed to keep it there until the penultimate lap when he faded and finished in 2nd place despite having the fastest lap of the race. Tom Entsminger also had some difficulties after a good start in his Toyota WSR and relinquished his place to Robert Hibdon in his swift ’86 Swift S2 who started last but finished 1st. Tom managed a 3rd. Those cars sure are fast, smooth, and quiet compared to many of the production cars.

GROUP 3 FEATURE RACE

This race saw one of the more exciting displays of driving skill. Poor Tom Turner was still on pit lane when the green flag flew but ended up first past the chequered flag 14 laps later. In fact, he took the lead at the halfway point! He gets the hard – charger award. Tom Coryn led the British contingent to the flag in his ’65 MGB ahead of the Triumph trio of Dean Tetterton, ’64 TR-4, John Hasty, ’59 TR-3, and Leo Oddi, ’68 TR250. Herman Porter split them in his ’73 Porsche 914/4. Mike Morrison continued to impress in the ’75 MGB his late father raced for many years.

GROUP 6 & 8 FEATURE RACE

Ernie Bello in his ’79 Opel Kadette GT/E got a well deserved 1st overall by racing from flag to flag despite a challenge from Craig Conway in his ’98 Alfa Romeo Spyder until he dropped out and was replaced by Joe Liles in his ’70 BMW 2002. Bradley Steele drove his show car immaculate blue and orange ‘64 Ford Falcon to a 3rd place finish.

 

 

Hotlanta Historics at Road Atlanta

    July 11- 12, 2015

Report by Bob Spruck

(click on the link to read and download his article in PDF)

Guest appearance by Randy Probst

(click on the link to read and download Bob's article in PDF)

                                                   

The Thirteenth Annual Wild Hare Run

at VIR, April 2015

Report by Bill Stoler
(click on the link to download and read in PDF)

Bill Stoler Photography

133 East Franklin St

Greencastle, PA 17225

717-372-2279

has posted his pictures on

his Lightbox Gallery

 

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