The two-day schedule for the Pre-Reunion, Presented by Jaguar at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was straightforward. Practice both mornings, and races in the afternoon. Traditionally, laptimes aren’t provided, but…
The Saturday ten-lap race results pretty much set the grid for Sunday’s races. In some cases, there were no surprises, such as in Group One for Pre 1940 Sports, Racing and Touring Cars. PETER GIDDINGS of Danville CA drove his familiar 1930 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 to the checkered flag in each session. He shot into the lead Sunday afternoon and won…again.
Group Two, for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars was started by HERB WETANSON of NYC, driving his 1951 Frasier-Nash LeMans, who won in a field of 17 cars.
One of the largest categories was Group Three for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars, with 40 entries. EDWARD NIGRO of Las Vegas won from the pole Sunday in his 1956 Lotus Eleven, but not without the strong challenges of DAVID SWIG of Sausalito, CA, driving the family 1957 Monsterati Special and local driver, DON OROSCO of Monterey in his1958 Lotus 15. Nigro’s MOV was only 00:00.244 seconds. Average speed was 66.927 mph, the best lap time was1:48.004, and Orosco turned the fastest race lap.
Group Four was the biggest field of cars, with 43 1961-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. TERRY GOUGH of Reno NV, driving his 1965 Chevrolet Corvette and for two laps it was close racing with LONNIE LEIBEL of Ontario, Canada, driving his 1964 Shelby Cobra. But Gough pulled off at Start-Finish after two laps, and coasted back into Pit Lane with a broken throttle cable. TOMMY STEUER of Sparks NV won from his third starting position, driving a 1966 Shelby GT 350. Even though he started from the back due to a changed engine part, JOHN MORTON of El Segundo CA finished eighth in a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger.
Another pole winner was BERT SKIDMORE of Sparks had the pole with his 1976 Lola TG-286 in Group Five for 1964-1972 FIA Cars and 2 Liter Sports Cars. This group had several bashful drivers, listed as Unknown. Although he was entered, OWEN GIBSON of Arivaca AZ didn’t run his 1964 Townsend Mk-4. But he gets E for Effort in having a unique ‘story board’ for his car. It was a vinyl hanging, with grommets for holding it in place. He said it was more durable than the usual wooden stand-up story boards.
The pole was the place to be for Sunday’s races. In Group Six for 1955-1962 GT Cars, JEFFREY ABRAMSON of Alamo CA won after starting first in his 1959 Morgan Plus 4. He also turned the fastest lap of 01.48.470, and won by a Margin of 00:07.844 seconds, with a speed of 67.719 mph. To the victor belong the spoils.
Group Seven was loud and fast. This was the 1973-1989 IMSA and FIA Mfg. Championship Cars, with 39 cars, plus at least one which wasn’t on the list. JEFF LEWIS of Newport Beach Ca was yet another pole sitter to win his race. His MOV over KENNY EPSMAN of Santa Clara CA’s 1976 Chevrolet Monza was 00.02.585. The average race speed was 82.135 mph and the best lap time was 1:25.569. RUDY JUNCO of Monterey Mexico turned the fastest lap and finished fifth.
A small but quality group of nineteen 1958-1963 Formula Junior and F-1 Cars were in Group Eight. The pole sitter was TERRY HEFTY of Lafayette CO in a 1961 Cooper T-53. He finished second behind WILLIAM COTTER of Seattle WA, driving his 1961 Scarab Grand Prix. The MOV was 03.914. Cotter turned the fastest lap of 1:41.395. Average race speed was 71.333 mph.
CARL MOORE of Alamo CA had the pole in his 1968 McLaren M6A for Group Nine – 1960-1968 Sports Racing USRRC Cars, but didn’t run the race. Thirty-two cars were in the field, and JIM PACE of Largo Fl won in his 1968 McLaren M6B. The MOV ahead of DAVE HANDY was 00.11.726. Handy started third and ran the fastest lap of 1:31.000. The average race speed for this group was 78.88 mph.
The last group of the day was 1966-1972 TransAm Cars over 2500cc. This is a lively group, and when it includes all Trans-Ams, over and under 2500cc the fields can number more than thirty as it did recently when the group ran The Legends Signature Race Series in Mont Tremblant Canada.
KEN ADAMS of Gilroy CA had the pole in his 1969 Ford Mustang, but he mixed it up with winner BRUCE CANEPA of nearby Scotts Valley CA, in his 1970 AMC Javelin and Epsman, running the Green Slime 1970 Dodge Challenger. Throw into the mix JIM HALSEY of Los Angeles CA, running his 1970 Ford Boss 302, and you had a lively race. The four swapped the lead every two or three laps, and the Margin of Victory was 00:00.999. Epsman turned the fastest race lap of 1:42.758, the average race speed was 71.333.
This weekend was the run-up for next weekend’s four-day activity filled week. Stay tuned, and hope the weather remains as lovely as it was for Pre-Reunion.
Historic races, small h, are so civilized. Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the race track hosted strawberries and cream. The luscious local organic strawberries came from Earthbound Farm in nearby Carmel Valley.
Before I forget, next weekend for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, there will be additional track access openings. For those coming in from the Salinas side of the track, Reservation Road has a gate, which will be open at 7 am Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is a nice way to get in the mood for the races with a slow and winding bucolic uphill drive up. There are twisty bits, and sometimes, parts of the long-since decommissioned Ford Ord army base can be seen. Often there is a string of people driving their classic cars to the vintage races. The 360 degree view is beautiful.
Also next weekend, take note of the scoring Trylon near Turn Ten. A few Beta things were tried this weekend, and with luck, you’ll see something new.