Sunday’s weather was again warm, sunny and breezy at Infineon Raceway for the ‘First Annual Sonoma Motorsports Festival’ – an inaugural event – put on as a joint venture by STEVE EARLE’s General Racing and the race track. Saturday’s crowd was up over previous years when Earle ran the Wine Country Classic…which had a 24-year run.
Saturday’s seven Group A races went off, not exactly without hiccups, but no one was hurt. Sunday had six races, not seven as previously reported.
Sunday’s Group 1B was for Pre-War Sports and Racing Cars, 1914-1949. Among the group were two three-wheel Morgans, driven by LARRY AYERS of Vallejo (1930 Morgan Super Aero) and J.DALE BERRY of Westchester CA (1934 Morgan.) Ayers crafted a replica Morgan three-wheeler out of car parts as a gift for Earle. Along with Alfa Romeo, Morgan is celebrating its 100 years of racing. Ayers and Berry have been around for the last 20 years.
Earle was joking around with the two, saying they were the Pilot Fish in the 1B race, running in the shadows and alongside the much bigger Alfas in the group, some with almost four times the horsepower. Berry finished twenty-first (1300 cc), and Ayers ended up with a DNF (1084 cc). Ayers pitted once and got out to wrestle and tug with his right front wheel fender which he removed, before going back on course. The race was won by PETER GIDDINGS of Danville CA in his 3100 cc 1935 Alfa Romeo.
With just this one vintage race to conduct in 2010, Earle has more time now to work on ideas to make next year’s event more visual, having a better traffic flow in the paddock, and increasing participant camaraderie. “It’s a show!” Earle, who had to turn down 100 entries for this year, plans on cutting the entry for next year to allow for more driver track time. This year’s field ended up with 365 participants.
While Earle doesn’t yet know all the classes which will run next year, he does know that in 2011, there will be two groups each for Can-Am and F1.
One wrinkle that Earle has noticed and encouraged is what he calls ‘Daily Driver.’ There is a wide variety of beautifully restored alternative vehicles, for lack of a better word. This includes a 1963 Hot Rod VW Bus, 1938 Model Mac 350cc motorcycle, some kind of bullet-nosed vehicle from 2004 Burning Man, a 1939 Ford woody wagon, 1988 Citroen 2CV, an old Morris Minor panel wagon of sorts, a Little Deuce Coop, an early 1900’s nine-seater touring car to ‘See San Francisco on a Dime” complete with driver in period costume, and a 1911 Flying Merkel bicycle.
Earle confirmed that The Monterey Cup Phil Hill (perpetual) Trophy will be retired. A new Sonoma Cup (perpetual) trophy will be created and presented next year to this year’s winner. There also will be two Presentation/Performance awards, for Pre-War and Post-War. Earle will continue his practice of not awarding trophies for the top finishers in each class, but rather an award for Presentation/Performance. These will be presented Sunday night at the Prize Giving.