In Race Group 1A for Pre-War Sports Racing and Touring Cars, Bruce McCaw won in his 1929 Bentley 4.5 liter LeMans rep. He finished third in the morning’s race. His Margin of Victory was the closest of the day at 00.626 seconds. Runner-up Richard Jeffrey’s 1936 Triumph Special 9 had the fastest race lap of 54.023 mph on Lap 5 of the eight-lap race. The morning’s race winner, Pete Thelander, finished third in his 1934 MG NE. Twenty-one cars competed, and the average race time was 52.117 mph.
Not having such a good day was perennial favorite, Ed Archer of Hayward CA. He lost the left rear wheel of his bright yellow 1915 Ford Roadster, and had to be towed in from Turn 10. Unless he can get it repaired overnight, he might have to call Triple A, as Archer is probably one of the few, if not the only, competitor to drive his race car to and from the track. He does it up right, complete with period-appropriate attire. Archer won last year’s Henry Ford Trophy for the most significant Ford-powered entry.
Also towed in on the first lap was Dick Deluna and his magnificent 1912 Franklin Torpedo Phaeton. Deluna collects cars and specializes in ancient cars, and is quite the sight in his antique vehicle wearing up to date modern race gear. He enters concours here and abroad, and is fond of showing off his cars. A retired CEO, who explains his hobby as such: “Why do I do this?” It’s golf and tennis all rolled up in one. I always considered myself a bad athlete.”
Jos Koster of Germany owns Group 2A for 1927-1951 Racing Cars. Not quite sure how the two younger Maserati cars were assigned to this group. His 1957 Maserati 250F won from the pole, with an even larger Margin of Victory than in the morning qualifying race. Koster had the fastest lap of 72.858 mph on Lap 10 of the 11-lap race. He finished 15.531 seconds ahead of runner-up Jeffrey O’Neill in his 1957 Maserati 250F. Third place was Paddins Dowling in his 1939 Maserati 4CL, making up for the morning’s DNF after mechanical problems on Lap One. The average race time was 70.282 mph for the 25-car field.
The Group 3A race for 1955-1962 GT Cars was won by Kaid Marouf in his 1960 Alfa Romeo SZ with a Margin of Victory of 04.453 seconds. Second and third were Adrian Van Der Kroft of Belgium in his 1959 Morgan 4, and Alec Hugo in his 1962 PorscheDyke Ridgley’ and his No.173 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta turned the fastest time of 72.494 mph on Lap 4 of the 11-lap race. He had won the morning’s race. Third overall was Alex Hugo in his 1962 Porsche 356B. The average race time was 70.852 mph. Thirty-five of the 49 entrants competed. One driver hailed from Australia.
SFR SCCA Communications Chief Bill Kirkwood of nearby Carmel took time off from his volunteer race official duties to race his stock 1961 Elva Courier Mk II with 1622cc, up against five Corvettes, a Maserati Tipo 151 and some other big cars. He started and finished mid pack in both of his races Saturday, and was happy to have had his entry accepted and the opportunity to race both Reunion weekends. When next seen, Kirkwood will be back up in Race Control for the next SCCA race at Laguna Seca.
Jeffrey Abramson in his 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Ro won Group 4A for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. He beat John McKenna’s 1963 Shelby Cobra by 23.084 seconds, the largest Margin of Victory all day. Third place was Dale Akuszewski’s 1965 Sunbeam Tiger. Tommy Steuer had the fastest race lap in Spencer Trenery’s 1965 Chevrolet Corvette. The average race time was 77.811 mph. Thirty-nine of the 45 entrants raced in the 12-lap race.
Group 5A race for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT,GTU cars started out as a good race between Ken Epsman in his No.20 1976 Dekon Monza and Bruce Canepa’s No.12 1979 Porsche 935. Epsman won the morning race, and Canepa finished third behind John Hildebrand’s No.56 1978 Chevrolet Camaro.
On Lap Five Epsman lost a wheel in Turn Four, while leading and hit the tire wall, ending his race. He was unhurt. The race was Red Flagged due to Epsman’s hazardous location. The wheel flew over the wall but landed safely in the grandstand, as the spectators saw it coming and all moved. Once landed, there was an Oklahoma land rush to get the wheel – as though it was a baseball. A SCRAMP official took a photo of the lucky retriever. The wheel was returned to Epsman, who took it all in stride as he walked back to the paddock. The Emergency Crew caught up with him to see if he was OK, and he replied with his own special brand of humour.
Meanwhile, Canepa pulled off on the front Straight in front of the Starter with a dead battery. His crew found one and got him restarted, and he joined the pack right after the single file restart behind the Pace Car.
Actor comedian Adam Carolla led the field behind the Pace Car, in his 1988 Nissan 300 ZX; but by the time the green flag flew Hildebrand shot out in front, as did veteran racer, John Morton, in No.01 1982 Ford Mustang. Two laps later Hildebrand took the checkered flag, followed by Morton. Hildebrand’s son, racer JR Hildebrand must be proud.
Third place went to Ranston Webster’s 42 1976 Porsche 935 K3. Bruce Canepa set the fastest race time of 87.052 mph on Lap 3, and he finished fourteenth overall, on the lead lap. The average race time was 69,564 mph, no doubt slowed by the Red Flag. thirty-nine of 45 drivers ran. The race lasted eight laps.
Sports car racer, Marino Franchitti in No.10 Gulf MirageGR8, didn’t run in the afternoon, and only got four laps in the morning race. The beautiful big car had mechanical problems all weekend.
Don Orosco’s won the Group 6A Race for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc in his No.59 1958 Lotus 15, finishing 04.822 seconds ahead of Bruce Canepa, who had a busy back-to-back afternoon, running from one race car to another. Jurgen Boden of Germany placed third in his Maserati Tipo 63.
Orosco set the fastest time on Lap Four at 76.311 mph. The average race speed was 71.465 mph. Twenty four drivers of 31 ran the race.
Three cars spun out in coolant left in Turn Three but avoided hitting each other. One continued and the other two sat out the rest of the race, visibly unhappy. With help from the Emergency Crew, the cars were pulled free and continued on their way back to the pits after the race. They were Erickson Shirley’s No.25 1951 Lister Costin, and David Swig in No.35 1957 Monsterati Special, who had moved up from ninth starting to run a strong seventh. They were credited with P16 and P17, respectively, one lap down in the nine-lap race.
The field got a second pace lap for a car off mechanical exit of Turn 6 up against the tire wall.
Epsman got his back in Race Group 7, again winning the Historic Trans-Am race for 1966-1972 cars, driving his familiar Red/White/Blue AMC Javelin It was an exciting race with lead changes almost every lap, sometimes official at S-F, and sometimes around the course. Clearly, it was the most exciting race of the afternoon. The Trans-Am group knows how to put on a good show, and it was all good, clean fun.
Epsman set the fastest time at 78.149 mph on Lap Five. The average race time was 70.935 mph.
Jim Hague led at least once in his No.16 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and finished second, 00.092 seconds behind Epsman, a photo finish. Third was Mike McGovern in his No.1 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302.
Jim Halsey led several times in his No.61 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302, and finished fourth.
Thirty-one of the 41 drivers raced. One who didn’t was Bruce Canepa and his No.92 1970 Pontiac Firebird. Maybe three races in a row was asking a bit much.
Sunday is the last day of the four-day Reunion weekend. The schedule calls for eight Group B races, followed by the always entertaining Awards Ceremonies, with Mike Joy as Emcee.