The fog lifted mid-morning Thursday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and it was lovely all morning – warm and bright, showcasing all the beautiful and lovingly restored vintage cars, ranging from the one hundred year old anniversary 1911 Fiat S74 to the 1992 Mazda RX-7-92P. They were part of the huge field of cars for the Second Annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. There’s talk of 550 cars, and after walking the paddock I certainly would not disagree. I have yet to do a car count, but there are vehicles everywhere.
Jaguar is the featured marque and there certainly is no lack of eye candy in that department. The display tents are still being set up, but some famous Jags are already in the Jaguar display tent, complete with story boards. Thursday is a good day, with smaller crowds. BOB TULLIUS of the famous Group 44 has a couple of his race cars on display (XJ-5 & XJR5), and he will partake in the Picnic on the Lake meet and greet event on the infield island.
The cars are in 17 Groups, eight in the A Group which will race Saturday and nine in the Sunday’s B Group. Special laps and demonstrations are scheduled for the lunch breaks.
Interspersed with all the historical cars are Classic Cars. These display-only cars are notable for their era, unique, and just plain fun to see. They are all over the paddock, many with a blue Classic Car parking pass
MIKE HAYWORTH of Del Ray Oaks (right outside the circuit) lucked into finding a 1960 MGA nearby in Pacific Grove, much in need of completion to its restoration. He spent three years putting it back into shape. Hayworth, who is a member of SCRAMP, and also a SFR SCCA racer and steward, learned the car had originally been owned by FRASER SIBBALD (Mediocre Motors), a local SFR racer. He was also a race steward, and was involved early on in the staging of the Pebble Beach races. With some help, Hayworth was put in touch with Sibbald’s daughter, who gave Hayworth some historical photographs of the car. She will be at the track this weekend with the Hayworth family. The MGA is not being raced this weekend – it’s one of the many display cars scattered throughout the paddock.
GORDON ENGLAND, so named he said, so he’d remember from whence he came. He has two Sunbeam Tigers at Laguna this weekend. England will race the BRG 1964 Le Mans Tiger in Group 7A for 1963-1966 GT cars over 2500cc – a large group of 41 cars. The car has an unusual bonnet, with eight large round holes. Alongside each row of holes are runners, into which slats can be fitted. The car can run with or without the slats. The holes are for letting out the mice, said England.
England keeps a shop at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma CA, with four historic race cars. He spends a lot of time in the US racing, although he jokingly said he was reluctant to provide details for fear of having problems with Immigration. England races the Laguna Seca Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion events, Steve Earle’s historic wine country race at Infineon, and the CSRG (Classic Sports Racing Group) events at Infineon.
England raves about his engine builder, TONY ODDO. England said Oddo does a lot of historic race engines, including many Historic Trans-Am cars.
BILL WEED said he’s the bravest man at Laguna this weekend, because he’s wearing a pink driving suit. He said the suit was on sale online for two years, and finally he wore down the manufacturer and got a deal. Weed races a 1959 Stanguellini Formula Junior in Group 2B for 1958-1963 Formula Junior cars, with 31 other drivers.
U.DANIEL GHOSE of Norfolk CT is driving a 1955 Jaguar D Type from the Jay Leno Collection. His run group is 3B for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc.
The Thursday schedule was practice and qualifying for the A Group cars in the morning and the B Group cars in the afternoon. Friday it will be more of the same. All 17 run groups in one day.
Saturday the day is devoted to the A Group cars, which are the pearls of the weekend. The admission ticket Saturday is $70. Some of these cars will be on display Sunday at the Pebble Beach Concours, while the B Group cars race. The Sunday ticket is $60.
The rumor is that next year’s featured marque will be announced Sunday evening at the Awards. Stay tuned.