Lorne Leibel 1964 Cobra 289
Lorne Leibel 1964 Cobra 289. Photo by Mike Rutheford

The magic number was 289 at the Pre-Reunion held the first August weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was the number of entries for the historic races, and also the engine displacement of one of CARROLL SHELBY’s early cars – the AC 289 using a small block Ford engine. Shelby – the person, the spirit, and the cars – are being celebrated at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 16-19 August 2012. Those cars were in the Pre-Reunion Group Five for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. Cars with testosterone – Muscle Cars.

An even dozen of those fine specimens ran the Pre-Reunion weekend. LORNE LEIBEL of Canada drove his 1964 Cobra 289 to a Sunday Group Five victory.  It was a close race, with the Margin of Victory only 00.00.671 ahead of a similar car driven by JIM CLICK of Tucson AZ.

Twelve race groups took to the track for Practice & Qualifying and Races. The fastest class was Group 11 for 1974-1980 Formula Atlantic cars with JOHN HILL of Seattle Wa in No.15 1975 March 75A turning the fastest Sunday race lap, considerably faster than the average race lap of 80.827 mph for the group. Hill was runner-up to WADE CARTER of WA driving his 1975 March FA

James Koehler 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
James Koehler 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Photo by Mike Rutherford

Group Ten for 1974-1990 Stock Cars with Disc Brakes had the closest finish, with the MOV being 00.00.446 between winner MIKE CESARIO of Campbell CA driving No.7 1989 Ford Thunderbird and JAMES KOEHLER of Ukiah in No.3 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

CARLOS DEQUESADA of Colombia drove a hard race to win Group Seven for 1973-1982 IMSA cars – GT, GTX, AAGT, and GTU/GTO. His No.16 GTP 1989 Porsche 962 clearly displayed a ‘doughnut’ on the driver’s side. Rubbin’ is Racin’?

Don’t believe weather forecasters. Despite gloomy prognostications for Pre-Reunion, bright sun, blue skies and a desultory breeze made for a beautiful Saturday of the two-day Pre-Reunion weekend. Sunday was nearly as great, with some morning fog and brisker breezes. Stunning weather, lots of beautiful cars with history and owner/drivers with interesting tales to tell – all made for a fine weekend.

The Pre-Reunion is a low-key event compared to the four-day full-blown Reunion, which has an all-out plethora of vintage and historic vehicles. Mega sensory overload.

Fans started hearing about the Pre-Reunion weekend, and it has now become a spectator event after many years of being a private acclimation/test weekend for newer drivers. It was a great time to really get up close and personal with the cars and the people.

Vic Edlebrock No.614 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Vic Edlebrock No.614 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Photo by Mike Rutherford

Carlos DeQuesada No.16 1989 Porsche 962
Carlos DeQuesada No.16 1989 Porsche 962. Photo by Mike Rutherford

Photo by Mike Rutherford
Photo by Mike Rutherford

Photo by Mike Rutherford.
Photo by Mike Rutherford.

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