Scott Dixon

NTT IndyCar Series driver, Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda topped the chart in the second practice Friday afternoon at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, with a time of 1:07.7940. The weather was sunny and warm, nearly 70 degrees F. “I think it was only an average run. I think I missed the timing line when I went to get the fast lap out of it. We ran long, and the grip felt high, but I made a pretty big mistake in the first two laps.”

Dixon was one of four drivers who broke into the 1:07 area in the final five minutes of the 45-minute session. They were: Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, Rookie Felix Rosenqvist/No.10 NTT Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, and Joseph Newgarden/No.2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet were the other drivers. Of those four, all but Felix, the top Rookie in the session, were at the top once during the session.

Rounding out the top ten were: Rookie Patricio O’Ward/No 31 GESS Carlin Chevrolet; Alexander Rossi/No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti Autosport Honda; Graham Rahal/No.15 Total Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda; Simon Pagenaud/No.DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet; James Hinchcliffe/No.5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda; and Marco Andretti/No.98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda. Say that fast five times.

Patricio O'Ward

O’Ward practically ran into the post-session media conference. RHR was asked if he was smirking at it. He said “He’s enjoying himself. You got to love it. He’s got that talent. He’s got the fire to do it. That’s what it’s about. It’s cool to see, for sure. Yeah, the more you go to press conferences, the slower the entrance becomes, I’m not sure how that goes.” O’Ward was then asked if he was actually having fun out there. “You have to be having fun doing this. I mean, I feel like if you’re not having fun, then why are you doing it, right? You have to enjoy it. You have to have fun where you’re at.

But I think it’s just a place that everybody likes to come to because of the energy around this place. I’ve never been here, but today is a Friday, man, and the paddock is full. The stands are, like, packed. I’ve never seen a Friday so full in my life.

It’s cool. It’s really cool. I wonder what it’s going to be like Sunday. So, I mean, I think Ryan knows better than I do, but I’m super excited.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay

Hunter-Reay responded” Yeah, it’s excellent. Don’t mistake what he’s saying. He’s not out there giggling while he’s on the track. He’s enjoying it because it ticks every box off for a driver that you want. You have the passion; you have the energy from the fans. The track is challenging you as a driver. It has that aspect to it that you really enjoy, you can’t wait to get back in the car.”

Mathew Leist/No.4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet was one of those drivers who found the 1.968-11-turn street course challenging. He drove into the Turn 9 runoffs area early on in the session, bringing out a Red Flag, for which he received a five-minute penalty – for causing the Red Flag. “We had a great Practice 1 here, but unfortunately in the second session, I think the higher temperatures and the setup that I had didn’t work well together. I had too much oversteer on turn-in, which doesn’t help you to go faster.” That was the only drama in the session, although Dixon admitted he probably hit the wall three-four times ‘just lightly’ during the session. He said “The course is very difficult. It’s quite a technical circuit, hard to piece it together. I think any street course, it’s very easy to get caught out. You’re constantly just rubbing the walls or getting close.”

Leist and two other Rookies – Colton Herta/No.88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda and Santino Ferrucci/No.19 David Yurman Dale Coyne Racing were the only drivers who were faster in the morning session. Everyone else went faster in the warmer afternoon.

Sebastien Bourdais, who races No.18 Sealmaster Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan in IndyCars is also racing the No.66 factory Ford GT for Chip Gannassi Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend. He is filling in for Joey Hand, who is ill. Dixon was asked in the post-session conference if he would have taken the opportunity if Ganassi called him. Dixon paused, and said “Chip did call.” Big stunned silence. “You said no?” Dixon – “I said, Call me back if you get stuck.”

In the Historic IMSA GTO qualifying session, Craig Bennett of Wixom MI got the pole in No.3 1990 Chevrolet Beretta. Second was Joel Miller of Oakbro IL in No. 62 1991 Mazda RX7 and Pieter Baljet in his 1990 Chevrolet Beretta. These cars are required to have run five races at five different tracks in a single year, and be outfitted with the original livery as it was period run. They have a 20-minute race Saturday at 5 pm.

IMSA GTO Podium Qualifiers

Left to Right: Keith Freiser, Craig Bennett and Joel Miller.


Wayward Wafting Fog

While the fog blanketed Highway #68 leading to WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca, inside the track it was all sunny and bright. Except for a brief fog delay in the second session when a wayward belt of fog hit the Corkscrew, it was all systems go for the first of the two-day Pre-Reunion, gathering of vintage and historic race cars. More than 300 cars are gathered here for the run-up to next weekend’s four-day Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The race groups run the gamut, from cars dating back to 1947 through cars racing in 1984.

John Morton

This year the featured marque for the Rolex Reunion is Nissan and its illustrious racing history that dates back to its Datsun heritage. No one personifies this more than the venerable John Morton. He is racing No. 46CP 1970 Datsun 240Z in Group 5 for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, and GTU cars, alongside 38 other cars. His car has a place of honor in the paddock, all by itself near the gas pumps. It displays the race car, with the trailer insides set up as a mini-museum containing Morton Memorabilia – posters, helmets, driver suit, and more posters. The Stainless Steel Carrot written by Sylvia Wilkinson years ago, recently updated and reprinted, chronicles Morton’s racing odyssey.

Morton Helmets

John Morton #46 Datsun 240Z

Morton Memorabilia

Morton is also listed as the driver in No.51A 1973 March F5000 in Group 4. But, as those two races are back to back, he had to decline the F5000 ride. To his dismay. Although he is often thought of a sedan driver, Morton raced a F5000/Can Am car in the mid 1970’s.

F5000 Paddock

In the middle paddock there is a large gathering of F5000 cars, from all over the US as well as a large contingent flown and shipped from Down Under – New Zealand and Australia. There are 41 cars entered to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Here to help them celebrate is Ken Smith from New Zealand, long-time F5000 driver. Though his race career spans 60 years and he’s been to the track before, Smith has never raced it. He has an unbroken record of competing at a national level since the 1960’s. The only other driver with that distinction is West Coast driver, Eric Haga/No.8 1970 Lol R140. Smith’s last visit was in 2004 with then Indy Lights driver and fellow Kiwi, Scott Dixon.

Ken Smith

Ken Smith

Smith is racing No. 11 1975 Lola T332. After the Saturday morning session, Smith said he found the course interesting, and it will take him a bit of time to learn it. Some drivers have been here before and one of them pinged the radar gun in Turn 1 at 145 mph. Smith laughed that it wasn’t him.

Ken Smith's 1975  Lola T332  F5000

Michael Collins from New Zealand piloted his No.94 1972 GM McRae to victory, taking the lead on the penultimate lap of the 8-lap race. He bested fellow Kiwi, Steve Ross/No.5B in No.1972 Macrae GM1, who led the first six laps. A field of 35 took the green flag, and 29 finished the race.

During the Saturday afternoon F5000 race, Seb Coppola/No.12 1970 Lola T192 had an unfortunate meeting with Martin M. Fogel Jr/No.11T 1969 MCLaren M10A, and hit the Turn 11 exit wall, necessitating assistance from the SFR Emergency Crew. The drivers are alright, but Coppola’s Lola will need some TLC.

The Safety Car won more than one race Saturday afternoon. In Group 7 for FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars, Neil Alexander/No.1964 Porsche Platypus spun out in Turn 1 hitting the tire wall hard, dislodging the tires and rubber banding. Roger Cassin/No.256 1964 Elva Mk7S spun out evasive. That effectively ended that race. The drivers are alright. Heavy duty track equipment helped the SFR Course Marshals repair the damage.

The drivers were definitely eager to show their stuff this weekend. More than one group started racing before the green flag, sometimes three wide.

William Connor No.15 1971 Ford Mustang

William Connor No.15 1971 Ford Mustang

Group 6 for 1966-1972 Historic Trans-Am cars was lively, with three different leaders, with Chris Liebenberg/No.16 (116) 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 the winner of the nine-lap race. Other leaders were Jim Hague/No.16T (16) 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 John Hildebrand/No.49 1964 Pontiac Tempest/GTO and No.16T. This was a small field – only 14 of the 20 entries competed. It was a bit confusing as the two butterscotch-colored Mustangs had identical numbers. The only difference was the color of their wheels. A third butterscotch 1970 Mustang was No.15 raced by William Connor, who finished third in the race.

Sunday’s schedule calls for morning practice and afternoon races for al ten race groups.

F5000 Pack


Laguna Seca 60 Years

The last day of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca started out as most with a heavy palpable layer of fog; but it was high enough so the racing started on schedule. The sun broke through at noon and the skies were clear and blue all afternoon, with a gentle breeze. Sunday’s races were for the seven B Groups. The schedule was shorter than the rest, as the weekend concludes with the traditional Awards Ceremony. Even the lunch break was shorter – so short the SFR SCCA volunteers had to have their lunches delivered to their stations.

Black Mercedes Shuttle Van

Everything is classier at the Rolex Reunion – even the Shuttle – a huge black Mercedes Benz Van.

Group 1B was for 1955-1962 GT Cars, with a field of 48. Forty-two ran the Rolex Race. Kevin Adair in No.171 1959 Austin Healey 3000 won the race and turned the best time of 1:52.0 on Lap Five of the nine-lap race. Ron Goodman from Australia was second driving No.23 1954 Porsche 356, followed by Wolfgang Friedrichs from Westphalia in No.51T 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT. Fourth and fifth were Ranson Webster in No.39 191 Porsche Abarth Carrera and Kaid Marouf in No.38 1960 Alfa Romeo SZ.

In the morning race, the order was Goodman, Jeffrey Abramson in No.145 Morgan Babydoll IV, Adair, Friedrichs and Webster. Forty of the 48 entries ran in the morning race.

Robyn & Dave Handy and No.44T Austin Mini Cooper station wagon

Dave Handy drove the family No.44T 1962 Austin Mini Cooper station wagon in 1B, finishing sixteenth in the Rolex Race after starting in P20. The car was originally purchased as a street car in the mid-eighties by Robert Pass, father of Mrs. Dave Handy, and converted to a race car while being tricked out as a promotional car for his company, Passport Transport. After Dad quite racing, the car was then sold and had a motorsports hiatus for 15 years. Then Robyn Pass Handy, Mrs. Handy, became nostalgic for the car and somehow through Facebook connected with the then-current owner at Watkins Glen last September. She indicated they would be interested in buying it back if the owner-now getting on in years- wanted to sell it. In November the owner said he’d sell, but Robyn, sadly, wasn’t able to get it at that point. But unbeknownst to her, hubby Dave bought it and gave it to her as a Valentine’s Day gift this year.

No.44T Passport Austin Mini Cooper Station Wagon

He’s racing it this weekend, but is used to racing bigger cars, so from here on out, Robyn will race it. And yes, that’s her name above the door, already. The Handys keep their race cars and their Sasco Sports race prep shop at Virginia International Raceway, and attend 30 races a year. They also run a non-profit “Vintage Racers for Rescues” to raise money for other non-profit pet rescue organizations.

And speaking of such organizations, Dean Case, who handles the PR for Mazda North America is a long-time advocate for MUTS and he uses motorsports to promote animal shelter adoptions. This weekend is “Clear Out The Shelters” weekend, hoping to adopt as many pets as possible. His promotion this event is for the benefit of the Monterey County SPCA shelter across the street from the Laguna Seca main gate. The fundraiser is the auctioning of four custom-designed race helmets donated by SPARCO. All the artists donated their talents, including Bill Patterson, who designed the Reunion Poster and Program Cover.

All the proceeds go to charity.

Group 2B was for 1958-1960 Formula Juniors – front engine and drum brakes. These were the older, smaller of the two groups of cars gathered at Laguna Seca to celebrate its 60th Anniversary. Twenty-five cars comprised the field for this group, coming from Australia, Denmark, England, New Zealand, and all points West. Twenty-one of the field made each race.

Mr & Mrs Ray Mallock

Mr & Mrs Ray Mallock

Chris Drake from England won both races, driving No.55 1961 Elva 300, and won by a good margin in the Rolex Race Sunday afternoon. But the fastest car in the group was the runner-up, Ray Mallock in his No.32 U2 Mallock Mk2. His best time was 1:46.8. Third place winner Joseph Colasacco in No.55 Stanuellini Formula Junior was the second fastest car in the race, with Drake third fastest. Mallock and Collasacco had a good dice in the beginning, with Mallock gridding ahead of Collasacco. They passed and repassed and Mallock held on for the rest of the race. They had the same sort of race in the morning, with a Safety Car bunching up the field. Collasacco was, accoding to Mallock, a bit over-eager on the re-start and tapped the rear of the British Racing green Mallock. It skidded Mallock a bit so he had to play catch-up and repass for second position. After the race Mallock had cosmetic damage to repair. The Mallock race cars are still being built in England by Ray’s brother, Richard.

Twenty-one of the 24-car field raced, same as in the morning’s race. The finishing order for the top three was the same for both races.

Group 3B was for 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc. This was the largest field, with 51 entries, with 43 running the races.

Patrick Long's No.68 1968 Porsche 911 T/R

Patrick Long’s No.68 1968 Porsche 911 T/R

Patrick Long, the only American Porsche factory driver, won the race in Ron Benjamin’s No.68 1968 Porsche 911 T.R, and by a country mile. His fastest lap was 1:43.763 on Lap 7. Second was Michael Malone in No.37 1965 Lotus 26R, followed by Dalmo De Vasconcelos in No.185 1965 Lotgus Elan, Dennis Kazmerowski in No.199 1964 Ginetta G4 and Patrick Byrne in No.162 1965 Alfa Romeo GTA Corsa.

Patrick Long & Gunnar Jeannette

Patrick Long & Gunnar Jeannette

Long’s car has an impressive resume, with wins in the 1975 24 Hours of Daytona and 1979 12 Hours of Sebring – both in the GTU Class. Two Class runner-ups, 1969 Daytona 24 Hour and 1971 Sebring 12 Hours.

Among those who didn’t run was professional racer, Gunnar Jeannette in No.67 1964 Abarth Simca 2 Mila Corsa. He was also entered in two other races.

Dr. Lee Talbot & Ginetta

Another driver of note in the field was 87-year old Dr. Lee Talbot, who raced a MGA in the first-ever raceat Laguna Seca in 1957. This weekend he’s racing his No.62 1967 Ginetta G4, whom he calls “Ginetta.” This is the first time she has been out West. Talbot towed her himself all the way from McLean VA. He has been racing for 69 years. Talbot ran sprint cars for a couple of years back in the day, before he turned to SCCA road racing. He’s enjoyed both Laguna Seca course configurations, and said at the time he drove the first Laguna Seca road races, that it was the best course in the North. It was a real road course. At that point SCCA was running airport circuits, such as Cotati and Vaca Ville, Stockton and Crows Landing. This current configuration is very much different, but it is safe and much more technical. The width is wider, and the camber has changed. It has many turns. He likes it.


Dr. Lee Talbot in No.62 Ginetta

Talbot Crew Shirt

Talbot has raced on four continents including rallyes in Africa. Among his racing honors are 1969 SVRA Driver of the Year, and he’s a member of Road Racing Drivers Club, an honorary invitational driver’s club, whose current president, Bobby Rahal, is on site this weekend as a spectator.

Group 4B was for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. It was another large field, with 46 entries and 41 starters for the Rolex Race.

Lorne Leibel won both Sunday races in No.96 1965 Cobra AC, but second and third places were reversed from morning to afternoon. Thomas Steuer in No.75 was second in the Rolex Race driving No.75 1965 Chevrolet Corvette, followed by Kyle Kelley in No.32 1966 Chevrolet Corvette. In the morning it was Kelley and Steuer. Fourth and fifth in both races were claimed by Jeffrey Abramson in No.5 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster and Bill Ockerlund in No.98 1963 Shelby Cobra.

Steuer was the fastest driver with a lap of 1:40.7.

Kyle Kelly in No.32 1966 Chevrolet Corvette

John Morton in No.74 1964 sunbeam Tiger

Mike Joy in No.89 1966 Ford Mustang

Left to right: Mike Joy, John Morton & Kyle Kelley.

Veteran racer, John Morton, drove Buck Tripel’s No.74 1964 Sunbeam Tiger to eleventh place, David battling many Goliaths. TV Broadcaster, Mike Joy, drove Ken Epsman’s No.89 1966 Ford Mustang, and finished twenty-fourth, on the lead lap of ten.

Among those who DNS were Chris MacAllister in No.146 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 and Dyke Ridgley in No.86 1963 Jaguar Lightweight XK-E. Both drivers are in multiple events.

Group 5B was the newer, faster Formula Juniors – 1961-1963 with disc brakes. The field numbered 39, with 34 starting the Rolex Race. Ten drivers came from overseas, including Australia, England, Nuevo Leon, Scotland, US Virgin Islands, as well as the US. Major kudos go to Karol Andrews who facilitated the organizing of the FJ gathering. She was always too busy to have time for an interview. My loss.

Several of the (local) FJ drivers also race historic Formula One cars and have extensive track time at Laguna Seca. It certainly helped.

Pole sitter Timothy de Silva, driving his No.10 Gemini MkIV was fastest in three of the four sessions and led for the first seven laps until he experienced what could have been suspension problems, and he limped around to the pits and retired. The crew tried shaking the car, to no avail. Danny Baker had been charging through the field from his fifth grid spot, to take the lead on Lap Eight in his No.36 1963 Lotus 27. Hot on his heels was Art Hebert in his silver No.2 1963 Lola Mk5A, turning fastest laps. His Lap 5 time of 1:39.6 held to be the best 5A lap of the day.

Art Hebert No.2 1963 Lola Mk5A

Art Hebert No.2 1963 Lola Mk5A

Baker and Hebert finished 1-2, with Mark Shaw from Scotland drove is No.77 1963 Brabham BT6 to third. Fourth and fifth were Andrew Hibberd in No.272 1963 Lotus 27 and Joseph Colasacco in No.30 1962 Stanguellini Delfino FJ.

In the morning race, de Silva won, with ibberd as runner-up. Third was Robert Hoemke in No.4 1962 Cooper 59, with Shaw and Baker in fourth and fifth. Thirty-five drivers started the race.

Group 6B was for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc. The field was 37 strong, with 27 starters for the Rolex Race, and nine DNS.

Cameron Healy won both races Sunday, in his No.55 1953 Porsche Cooper Pooper. He also had the fastest race lap of 1:50.7 on the last lap of the nine. Second and third in both races were Jeff Mincheff in No.52 1956 Lotus Eleven and Thor Johnson in No.99 1959 Lotus 17.

In the morning race, there were 31 starters and six DNS.

Start of 7B Race

Group 7B for 1973-1991 IMSA GTu, GTo/Trans AM Cars. Ground Pounders one and all. And fast! They turned the fastest times of the day.

Bill Ockerlund won the race in his No.33 1991 Chevrolet Duracell Camaro, and turned the fastest time of the race and the day at 1:31.4 on Lap eight of the ten-lap race. Finishing second was Joel Miller in the ear-splitting No.62 1991 Mazda RC-7. Third was Ken Epsman in his No.53 1984 Pontiac Firebird, a car first raced by Bill Doyle in the original Trans-Am Series.

Those same three finished in the morning race, in a different order: Miller won, followed by Ockerlund and Epsman. Fourth and fifth were Keith Frieser from Canada in No.63T 1984 Mercury Capri, and Kenneth Davis in No.8 1985 Roush Mercury Capri.

The day ended in bright sunshine, as it did all six days of the Reunions. A far cry from the early morning fog experienced some of the days. But – it didn’t stay.

Foggy Morning at Laguna Seca

The 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will be one week later, to accommodate the PGA Tournament. So mark your calendars for 23-26 August 2018. And stay tuned for the featured marque. “It took two hours to decide and now it will take Legal two weeks to clear.” The Formula 5000 cars will be back. And the 2nd Annual Spring Classic will be back 18-20 May 2018. And the Porsche Rennsport has already been announced for 27-30 September 2018. So plan now. See you there!


Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Foggy Friday. The deep fog enveloped Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the start of the morning Group A Races at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. There was line-of-sight between the Turn Stations so it was safe to race, but it was cold, palpable fog. The sun didn’t appear until noon, and then it shone on all the many and varied activities.

The eight Group A races were run in chronological order, as there were no sound limits for the weekend. The morning races set the grids for the afternoon Rolex Races.

Group 1A No.37 Luca Maciucescu 1934 Ford Granite State Special & No.18 Brian Blain 1916 Romano Sturtevant Special

Luca Maciucescu No.37 & Brian Blain No.18

Group 1A was for Pre 1940 Sports Racing & Touring Cars. These cars were really old, dating back to 1911 and up through 1935.

In the Rolex Race, Luca Maciucescu, who gridded third, won in his No.37 1934 Ford Granite State Special after a hard-fought battle with pole sitter, Brian Blain in No.18 1916 Romano Sturtevant Special. Finishing third was Rick Rawlins in No.11 1926 Bugatti 37A. Maciucescu turned the fastest race lap time of 2:15.6 on Lap Five.

The oldest car was driven by Charles Test. He ran a best time of 2:52.8 in his 1911 No.19 National Speedway Roadster. The youngest cars were two 1935 Rileys. Richard Jeffery drove No.117A Riley Special Brooklands and Greg Powell drove No.16. Riley-Ford Single SeatChamp car. Sixteen drivers of the 20 entries ran the race.

In the morning race, Blain won, ahead of Rawlins and Maciucescu. Fourteen drivers ran the race.

Group 2A was for 1927-1951 Racing Cars.

Paddins Dowling won the Rolex Race in No.7 1934 ERA R2A, from the pole position after winning the morning race. Runner-up was Hans Hugenholtz in No.26 1950 Talbot T26C, who hadn’t run the morning race. Third was Charles McCabe in No.6A ERA R6B. Dowling had the fastest time of 1:58.1, on the final lap of the eight-lap race. Eight drivers DNS, including Derek Hill, son of F1 World Champion, Phil Hill, who was to drie No.51 1931 Bugatti Type 51.; and Alain de Cadenet of London, who is also part of the CBS TV Reunion telecast. He was to have driven No.106 1936 Alfa Romeo 8C.

In the morning race, Chris MacAllister came in second, behind Dowling, in his 1938 ERA 14B. That made up for not starting the morning race. Third finisher was Peter Giddings in his familiar No.31 1932 Alfa Romeo Monza.

Group 3A was for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc.

Dyke Ridgley drove his 1960 Chaparral I to victory in the Rolex Race, and turned the best time of 1:43.2 on Lap five of the ten-lap race. He finished second in the morning race. Greg Meyer came in second in No.84 1959 Sadler MkIV. They ran close together. Charging hard to catch them was David Swig in No.16 Scarab MkI. His best time was second fastest of the race – 1:44.1. Fifteen drivers ran and all finished the race. Five drivers DNS including Dominic Dobson in No.60 Cooper Monaco MkIIII.

Between races, Swig received from Executive Director Mark Gessler of the Historic Vehicle Association – on behalf of the Scarab – the beautiful glass bowl which signified the Scarab had been accepted into the HVA Registry. Each year at the Reunion it selects/honors an important car. Last year it was a Cobra. This car is owned by Dyke Ridgley.

David Swig and Scarab Trophy

Vintage Registry Trophy

David Swig & Scarab Owner

1958 Scarab MkI

David Swig and Scarab

1958 Scarab MkI

Race Group 4A was for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT Cars.

This was a large group, with 48 entries, of which 41 ran.

Local driver Bruce Canepa won the Rolex Race after failing to finish in the morning race. He was driving his fast No.12 1979 Porsche 935, which turned the fastest time of 1:32.3 on Lap four on the ten-lap race. Second was Kiel Hogan in No.24 1976 Dekon Monza, one of three in the race. Not often one sees that many such cars in the same place at the same time. Finishing third was Cooper MacNeil in No.0 1980 Porsche 935.

Canepa owns a large restoration facility nearby in Scotts Valley in which he houses his collection of historic vehicles. He also hosts a monthly Cars and Coffee event which is so well-attended that local volunteer college students staff it.

Fourth and fifth were Ken Epsman in No.20 1976 Dekon Monza and Zak Brown in No.18 1981 Porsche 935.

Adam Corolla finished 16th in his No.70 1979 Porsche 935, and 19th in the morning race.

Sat AM Race 4A photo finish

In the morning race, two Porsches proved yet again you don’t have to win or be in front to have an exciting race and photo finish. Mid-pack, Alan Benjamin in No.61 1975 Porsche 3.0 Carrera RSR and Cameron Healy in No.11 1977 Porsche 911 Carerra RSR finished neck and neck, in positions 21 and 22.

MacNeil won the morning race, followed by Gunnar Jeannette driving No.28 1977 Porsche 934.5 and Epsman. Fourth and fifth were Hogan and Brown. Forty-five drivers started that race with three DNS.

Also in the morning race, three fast drivers DNF’d after two laps – Canepa, Mike Thurlow in the boldly colorful No.53 1976 Chevrolet Corvette, and Charles Nearburg in his No.70T 1980 Porsche 935 K3; with Thurlow and Nearburg among non-starters for the Rolex Race.

Don Zurlinden No.25 Tatum-GMC Special

Don Zurlinden & No.25 Tatum-GMC Special

Race 5A was another large group, for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars. Many of these cars used to race in the Del Monte Forest before the opening of Laguna Seca. Most of the Group’s cars are in Row Q at the Reunion, and most of them will still be there Sunday. Several, including four owned by Rob Manson, will be showing at the Pebble Beach Concours on Sunday, including the winner of both races – Dave Zurlinden of Monterey CA. He drove Rob Manson’s 1953 Tatum-GMC Special (with car body by Hagemann) to victory in both races, and turned the fastest time of 1:50.4 on Lap Four of the nine-lap race. Second in the Rolex Race was Dyke Ridgley in No.17 1953 Jaguar C-Type, with John Buddenbaum in No.3 1949 Jaguar Parkinson Special, which also will be showing at Pebble Beach. They all finished in that order for the morning race also.

Fourth and fifth were local driver, Don Pepperdene in No.77 1949 Baldwin Mercury Special and Marcus Bicknell from the United Kingdom in No.15 1952 Streets Manning Special.

Thirty-seven drivers started the race, with seven DNS, including Joe Huffaker in No.77 1955 MG TF 1500, who had mechanical problems after the first lap of the morning race, Bruce McCaw in No.65 1961 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite and Manson in No.9C 1953 Kurtis 500S, who didn’t run the morning race either.

Finishing fourth and fifth in the morning race were Bernard Juchli in No.86 1955 Jaguar Hagemann Special and Don Pepperdene in No77 1949 Baldwin Mercury Special.

Young Timothy de Silva is one of a new generation of vintage racers. The college student won his two races last weekend at the Pre-Reunion. I mistakenly wrote that he didn’t run the second of the Formula Junior races (as his car broke.) But what I didn’t know, and neither did Timing and Scoring, was that Scott Drnek offered up his 1963 Brabham BT6 for de Silva to drive. Timothy started ninth in Group Nine for FJ’s with disc brakes – the faster cars. He won the race.

This weekend, deSilva was fastest in all four of his sessions for Group 6A – 1970-1984 Sports Racing Cars under 2100cc. He won the Rolex Race and was nearly three seconds faster than the next closest car, driving No.25 1978 Osella PA8. Runner-up was Cal Meeker from British Columbia, driving No.115 1973 Lola T294. Third was Andre Lara Resende i o.126 1978 Chevron B36. Eighteen cars started the race, with three DNS including Mike Thurlow, who finished second to de Silva in the morning race. Thurlow drove No.4 1973 Lola T294. Nearly all drivers ran their fastest time on Lap Seven.

Meeker was third in the morning race., which had nineteen starters and two DNS.

Group 7A was for 1963-1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars. There was a nice turnout of 34 cars, plus the seven DNS.

Chris MacAllister won from the pole position in No.5 1973 Gulf Mirage, and was four and a half seconds faster than the runnerup, Cameron Healey in No.20 1970 Porsche 908/3. Third was Richard Dean of England in No.46 1970 Chevron B16.

Fourth and fifth were Gray Gregory in No.44 1970 Chevron B16 and Bob Kullas in No.23 1969 Chevron B16.

In the morning race, the finishing order was MacAllister, Healey, Gregory, Kullas and Dean.

Scott Barrett & No.53 1965 Koch Special

One of the drivers who didn’t run Saturday afternoon was Scott Barrett of Texas. He drove his No.53 1965 Koch Chevy Special in the morning race. The car was built by Wayne Koch, with a 440 hp, 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder Chevy engine, with Porsche 356 rear end. Back in the day it ran a lot of races, including the American Road Race of Championships. Koch won the ARRC DMod class his first year. After that the class became DSR and was a larger, more inclusive class and the Koch Special was not as competitive. Barrett has had the car for nearly four years and completely rebuilt it, saying it’s ‘awesome.”. At the Reunion he runs with the larger FIA Cars, in what he calls a “most diverse class”

Group 8A was the smallest run group all day, with 11 starters in the 19-car field. This group of 1981-1991 IMSA GTP Cars were the fastest all days. Winner Charles Nearburg in his No.99 AAR Eagle MkIII GTP ran a lap of 1:23.9, two seconds faster than runner-up Jonathan Bomarito in his No.202 1989 Mazda 767-B, who didn’t run the morning race. Third was Wade Carter in No.68 1984 Porsche 962. The DNS list for the afternoon was impressive, including Bruce Canepa, who only ran two laps in the morning race in his No.10 1986 Porsche 962; and Zak Brown, who finished third in the morning race, driving No.16 1986 Porsche 962. He won both his Pre-Reunion races in that car last weekend.

The McLaren M23 Formula One car, driven by former F1 driver, Mika Hakkinen, in Exhibition Laps Friday and Saturday, is being packed up and crated for its trip back to the UK. This was the first Hakkinen had driven on the 2.238-mile elevated road course. He found the braking zones required a lot of skill, and The Corkscrew was challenging. He thought German Touring Cars at Laguna Seca would be fun, but it was a long way from Germany.

McLaren M23 F1 Car in Turn 11

McLaren M23 F1

Freight-Prepping McLaren M23 F1 Car

Laguna Seca Sunset


Racing Through The Decades

There is something for everyone at the 8th Annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. This weekend’s Reunion is featuring the 60th Anniversary of Laguna Seca, with a big display of representative race cars from the different decades and large murals.

1957 Ferrari

1963 Shelby King Cobra

Race Cars

2000's IMSA car

1990 Yamaha Moto GP Motorcycle

2016 IMSA Car

There are 15 run Groups, ranging from Pre 1940/Pre-War cars to 1991 IMSA cars. The largest group is 3B with 51 cars – 1961 to 1966 GT Cars under 2500cc. They were double parked in Pit Lane. The smallest group is 8A for 1981-1991 IMSA GTP with 19 cars, the newest cars; but they do make up for it by being loud and fast.

There also are Parade Laps, Fast F1 Laps with Mika Hakkinen, Informal Celebrity Presentations, Bill Patterson Poster Signings, Vendor Island, Picnic in the Paddock with Tom Kristensen, Pete Lovely Book Signings, and of course retail therapy in the Souvenir Shop. And there’s always the sensory overload of all those beautiful cars on display – most of which are seen on track during the weekend, plus all the participant street vehicles instead of generic rental cars, which range from sensuous, exotic and expensive to wild and crazy or just darned cute. It takes four days to embrace and experience it all.

Thursday was overcast until mid-morning when the sun broke out, and then it was sunny and mild all day. The weather was bright and beautiful for the Welcome Party hosted by the track, with the theme “1957.” Local food and wine were aplenty, with a nice musical quartet in the background. Drivers, crew, volunteer SCCA & SCRAMP workers mingled with track staff, and a good time was had by all.


Friday the weather was sunny from the get-go. How refreshing to wear sunglasses while stuck in the notorious early-morning Highway 68 commute traffic. But it was a better class of cars surrounding one this time – classy classics and sporty roadsters prevailed.

Thursday and Friday was Practice/Qualifying. Thursday’s positions (no times on the results sheets) were merged with Fridays, which will then set the grid for the morning races. The eight A Groups race on Saturday and the seven B Groups race on Sunday. The weekend morning races set the grid for the afternoon Rolex races.

Del Monte Trophy

The first Laguna Seca race was in 1957. Prior to that, until the Pebble Beach venue’s demise in 1956, the races were run in the Del Monte Forest. In the Laguna paddock this weekend, in Row Q, are cars of that era, which ran or could have run the Del Monte races. They all run in Bonhams Cup Group 5A for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars.

Dave Zurlinden in Tatum Special

Dave Zurlinden in Tatum Special

So far the fastest car in The Del Monte Trophy Group (5A) is Dave Zurlinden, who is driving Rob Manson’s 1953 Tatum-GMC Special, built by Chuck Tatum, who raced it in ‘the Forest.’ The car was invited to be shown in Sunday’s prestigious Pebble Beach Concours, along with several other Del Monte Trophy cars. It’s a 6-cylinder 300 hp car, called ‘The Beast.’ Zurlinden said the car has no grip and no brakes. The engine was built by Wayne Engineering in Southern California, which became a sponsor of Tatum when he raced it.

Tatum Special Engine

Tatum Special Engine

Tatum Special engine

Tatum’s son, Blake Tatum, is a local club racer with San Francisco Region SCCA and editor of its publication, The Wheel. Zurlinden is a SFR SCCA racer, dating back to 1989 when he started racing Formula Vee’s. He ran a Piper Formula F to win the 2014 SCCA West Coast Majors Championship Majors, and has since sold it to Skip Streets. Zurlinden now plans to drive his newly restored 1969 Formula F Merlyn Mk17 in vintage events, as well as in SFR SCCA.

#32 Mallock

Talking about degrees of separation: Skip Streets’ father, John Streets, used to own and race the No.32 1960 U2 Mk2 Mallock at the Monterey Historics and Rolex Reunions. John Streets has since sold the car back to Ray Mallock, son of designer and builder Major Arthur Mallock, who is driving it in Group 2B for Formula Junior Cars 1958-1960 – front engine and disc brakes. The U2 is based on the Charles Atlas advertising campaign of “You too can have a body like mine.” Mallock wanted it to be an affordable race car driven by the common man, a Clubman’s car. John Harwood campaigned it successfully in Europe for years and had a wild victory in the rain in October 1960 at Nurburgring. For awhile it was raced by Bob Costanduros, now a motorsports broadcaster in Australia. He sold it back to the Mallock family in 1980. For the next twenty or so years it was raced by Mallock’s good friend, John Streets, and Arthur Mallock whose last race was the Monterey Historics in 1990. He passed away in 1993. In 2011 the car came back to Ray Mallock, who restored it back to its original 1960 specifications, including the original distinctive boxy, stubby nose.

Based on his Thursday practice & qualifying times, Ray Mallock will start second in Sunday’s Group 2 B races. He was second fastest Thursday and wasn’t at the track Friday.

Formula Juniors

Formula Junior Flag

More Formula Juniors

Group 2B and Group 5B are both Formula Junior classes, and a large number have turned out to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Formula Juniors, which is also being featured at this weekend’s Reunion. There are 25 FJs in Group 2B and 39 in Group 5B. They come from all over the US, Europe and Down-Under.

This weekend’s events will be live streamed (TV broadcast show quality) Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm on the Motor Trend YouTube channel, with Jonny Liebermann Ed Lohn, and Angus MacKenzie, so I’m told. Also the CBS TV show talent will also be involved, and they are Justin Bell, Alain de Cadenet, Mike Joy, Ralph Shaheen, and Bob Varsha. Somehow the TV production company will find a way to winnow down all the weekend’s events into a one-hour show airing later this year on CBS Sports.

Eye Candy




Group One Start

Augie Grasis in No.11 1953 Allard-Cadillac J2X leading Peter Giddings in No.24 1953 Lancia D24/5 on the start of the Group One race.

Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca started out merely overcast rather than foggy, so the activities began right on schedule for the second and last day of the Pre-Reunion. Practice for each group was in the morning, with afternoon races for the ten groups comprised of more than 300 historic race cars. So far only one (large) car part had been retrieved. The actual race fields were smaller than Saturdays, either by attrition or choice.

Local driver, Dave Zurlinden drove his No.25 1953 Tatum GMC Special to victory from second on the grid for the Group One Race-1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars, and set the race’s fastest lap in the process – 1:50.4/73.011 mph. Pole sitter Dyke Ridgley and his No.17 1953 Jaguar C-type finished second, followed by Rob Manson in No.9C 1953 Kurtis 500S, 4.993 seconds behind. The race ran nine laps, with 21 starting the race of the 25 entries. Grasis started ninth and finished eighth. Giddings started eleventh and finished twelfth. The fastest time for the group in Turn One was 121 mph.

Duke Ridgley No.17 Jaguar

No.17 Jaguar C-type. Photo by Alan Mertens.

The second-place Jaguar has an interesting history. It came in second at Le Mans in 1953 with Stirling Moss and Peter Walker at the wheel. It’s a works lightweight car, which was fitted with a 3.8-liter engine, originally a 3.4. Moss finished second at Lisbon later that year. The car was then sold to Ecurie Ecoss in Scotland and was painted blue for awhile. Jimmy Stewart, the older brother of Jackie Stewart, won many races in the car. It continued on its famous racing ways for the next five years, before becoming a street car and used in performance events. It was never in any serious crashes. It was later restored and driven by a famous racer of the time, Keith Schellenberg in English vintage events. Schellenberg was an Olympic bobsled champion in 1956, owns his own island in Scotland (Isle of Eigg) and raced some amazing vintage cars including this Jaguar and Woolf Barnato’s Bentley. That is the same Woolf Barnato for whom a SCCA award is named. The 1986 recipient of the Award, R. David Jones, will be at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion driving a 1962 Lotus 23 in Group 7A for 1963-1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars.

Pole Sitter Alex Hugo won the Group Two Race for 1955-1962 GT Cars, the largest group. He drove his 1962 Porsche 356B and turned the fastest time of 73.872 mph/1.49.1. Jeffrey Abramson started and finished second, 4.102 seconds in arrears, driving No.145 1959 Morgan Babydoll IV. Starting and finishing third was Ned Bacon in No.61 1961 Porsche 356. Thirty-seven of 43 drivers ran the nine-lap race. This group had a majority of drivers from California, although one hailed from New South Wales in Australia, one from Westphalia in Germany, and one from Bogata. The closest was William Kirkwood from nearby Carmel. Kirkwood drove his No.61T 1961 Elva Courier MKII, and finished sixteenth. Kirkwood is a Race Steward with SFR SCCA and also a SCRAMP Assistant Director. There were a couple other drivers from neighboring communities.

Mid-pack start of Group Three Race

Dyke Ridgley thought he’d try it again, in Group Three for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under/over 2 Liters. He had the pole position in his No.66 1960 Chaparral I. Starting second and third were Greg Meyer in No.84 1959 ASLWE MKIV and David Swig in No.16 1959 Scarab MkI. They finished in that order, in the nine-lap race, Ridgley being the fastest at 76.874 mph/1:44.8. He edged Meyer by 4.315 seconds. Thirty-two drivers started, in the nine lap race and thirty finished. Swig is a second-generation vintage racer, being the eldest son of the late Martin Swig and Esta Swig, who both raced the family vintage cars. Younger brother Howard Swig also races vintage cars, although the lads took time out earlier in their careers to run LeMons races in a whacky series that their father denied originating with Jay Lamm. David now is a Car Specialist with Sotheby’s and has to squeeze in his Laguna races between his car auction duties this month.

Group Four Race was for 1958-1960 Formula Jr – the smaller, earlier versions with front engines and drum brakes. It was the smallest field of the weekend, with 19 entries – from here and abroad. Chris Drake of England had the pole position in his No.55 1961 Elva 300 and he won by a considerable margin of 47.736 seconds ahead of Ray Mallock, also of England in his No.32 1960 U2 Mk2. I didn’t find him in time to ascertain is he’s involved with the Mallock race car. Drake was the fastest driver at 77.002 mph/1:44.6. Chip Fudge, who gridded seventeenth in the field based on his Saturday race, finished third in No.28 1961 Cooper T56. Sixteen drivers ran the race, and all but one finished. This group will run again next weekend as it’s one of the featured marques, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Formula Juniors.

One of the larger fields was Group Five for 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc. The top three drivers finished where they started. Dalmo De Vasconcelos of Rio won in his fast No.185 Lotus Elan, with the fastest lap of 75.205 mph/1:47.1 and a 6.031 Margin of Victory ahead of Dennis Kazmerowski in No.199 1964 Ginetta G4. Robert S. Davis finished third in No.117 1965 Lotus 7. Twenty-nine started and twenty-eight finished the nine-lap race. The winner and another driver, Francisco Lara Resende in No.26 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA hailed from Brazil, another came from England and one from Antwerp. The rest were from California and other states.

Only twenty-six of the 40 Group Six entries raced. This big, loud and splashy group was made up of 1973-1981 FIA and IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT Cars. Polesitter Bruce Canepa again won in No.12 1979 Porsche 935. Mike Thurlow charged from the back to place second in his very colorful No.53 1976 Chevrolet Corvette. Third was Ranson Webster in his pink and white No.42 1976 Porsche 035 K3. Canepa’s Margin of Victory was only 2.713 seconds, and Thurlow turned the fastest lap in his charge to the front, turning a 1:34.0/85.74 mph, the fastest of the day at that point. There were several drop outs due to mechanical and other woes, including Zak Brown in his No.18 1981 Porsche 935. He had gridded second and ran so until he retired.

The second largest Margin of Victory came in Group Seven for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. Alex MacAllister of Indianapolis won from third starting slot in his 1966 Ford GT40. He beat runner-up Lorne Leibel of Canada in his No.96 1965 Cobra AC by 23.625 seconds. Alex MacAllister was the fastest car at 82.997 mph/1:37.1. Third was pole sitter Jeffrey Abramson, a local driver in No.5 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster. Fourth was Chris MacAllister, also from Indy, in No.146 1964 Shelby Cobra. Four cars from Saturday elected not to run, including the very fast Bruce Canepa, who was entered in two different Porsche 962’s.

Smokin' Chris Hines No.58 Corvette

Chris Hines No.78 being pushed by SFR

SCRAMP Directors sweeping

This was a character-building race for Chris Hines of Scottsdale. He lasted five laps before he pulled off at Start-Finish with a blown motor blowing smoke. There was no fire and he was unhurt, but not so for the engine. He was in good hands, between SCRAMP personnel and the SCCA marshals, and he was able to limp back to his pits. He did, however, leave a large souvenir for the volunteers – a large swath of oil to remember him by.

This was the last race of the day. The paddock had started to empty, but soon it will fill back up to capacity for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion which has so many entrants wanting to run that the cut-off was 550 cars. See you there!

More Eye Candy, this time from the Bonham’s Auction display. If you have to ask the starting price, then you can’t afford to bid.

1909 Thomas Flyabout

Thompson Special indy car

1941 Mercedes Cabriolet

Jody Scheckter's Championship 1981 Ferrari F1

Left to Right: 1909 Thomas Flyabout; Thompson Special indy car; 1941 Mercedes Cabriolet; and Jody Scheckter’s 1981 Championship F1 Ferrari


Foggy Start

It started out foggy at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Day One of the annual Pre-Reunion races. The fog-delay was short-lived and the cars took to the track only 15 minutes late. The sun came out mid-morning and remained for the rest of the day, with just the smallest of wispiest clouds dotting the skies. The weather was breezy, warm in the sun and chilly in the shade. All in all, a beautiful day for racing. The fog didn’t start rolling back in until the last race, which started after 5pm.

One of the nice things about vintage racing is that the paper work comes out quickly. The practice/qualifying and Saturday race results don’t show times, just positions, and race results come out right away, as there are no protests. The Sunday results will show times.

The Pre-Reunion event has ten groups of cars with 309 entries, ranging from 1949 Sports Racing and GT Cars all the way up to 1991 FIA and IMSA cars. This is the run-up to the 8th Annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, which will feature three anniversaries including the 60th for Formula Juniors, 60th for Laguna Seca as a race track, and 70th for Ferrari. Lots of history there! Mobile Museums on an iconic circuit.

There was a nice turnout of anniversary Formula Juniors at Pre-Reunion, which comprise two of the ten race groups – Group Four for 1958-1960 with drum brakes and front engines, and Group Nine for 1961-1963 with disc brakes.They came from far and wide, including Australia, Denmark, England, Scotland and all over the United States, totaling 48 cars.

Saturday morning was practice sessions, with races in the afternoon. It was a busy day from 8am until 5:30pm. The Pace Car/Safety Car driver got as many laps as some of the race cars. One car spun out on the Pace Lap and hit the wall in Turn Eleven. The driver wasn’t hurt, but the same couldn’t be said for the car. For this event there are two roll-back/flat bed tow trucks. All of the San Francisco Region Sports Car Club of America volunteer Emergency Crew and Course Marshal Crew worked long and hard retrieving historic cars which suffered from spins or a variety of mechanical woes. Many involved leaking fluids, and the Course Marshals put the sweeper truck to good use. More than 20 bags of oil dry/grease sweep were used Saturday.

Zak Brown #18 Porsche 935

Zak Brown’s #18 Porsche 935

Race Six saw the Safety Car come out after the first lap for a car which didn’t negotiate the front straight. Mike Thurlow, the pole sitter in his 1976 Corvette retired in Turn Six with mechanical problems. The race was ultimately won by local driver, Bruce Canepa in his 1979 Porsche 935, who gridded second. He was followed by Zak Brown of England in his blue with yellow 1981 Porsche 935, originally raced by Rolf Stommelen. Yes, that Zak Brown, now of McLaren. He said afterwards he always loves coming to Laguna Seca. He flies all of his team’s cars from England. They all will be back next weekend, and can be found in the small garages fronting the Pit Lane. And NO, contrary to all the Internet rumors, Brown and his F1 driver Fernando Alonso will not be skipping the Singapore F1 race to compete in the season’s finale IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway.

Richard Dean No.46 1970 Chevron B16

Richard Dean’s No.46 1970 Chevron B16

Zak Brown No.16 1986 Porsche 962

Zak Brown’s No.16 1986 Porsche 962

Brown also ran in Group Ten, starting on pole position with his No.16 1986 Porsche 962. He led flag to flag in the ground-pounding field of 1981-1991 FIA and IMSA GTO & GTP cars. They were as fast as they were loud, with the Zoom-Zoom radar gun in Turn One recording a high of 141 mph. Finishing second was Bill Okerlund in his No.33 1991 Chevrolet Camaro and Kenneth Davis in No.8 1985 Roush Capri. Some of the cars looked like old Trans-Am cars, including Ken Epsman’s No.53 1984 Pontiac Firebird, which had originally been raced by Bill Doyle with its famous teal and yellow Caterpillar livery, which the crew also wears. Epsman started and finished sixth.

Richard Dean ran Brown’s No.46 1970 Chevron B16 in Group Eight, finishing fourth. Keith Frieser from Alberta, Canada won that race in his No.27 1972 Lola T290. This group is the 1970-1984 Sports Racing Cars under 2100cc. Fellow Canadian Cal Meeker finished second in No.115 1973 Lola T294, followed by Mike Thurlow of California in No.4 1973 Lola T294.

Harindra & Timothy de Silva

Harindra & Timothy de Silva

Group Nine for the later Formula Jr cars, with disc brakes, was a lively group with drivers well known in vintage circles. There were two father-son combo. One was the de Silvas, who each also race locally at Laguna in SCCA – Timothy de Silva in No.10 1962 Gemini MkIV, who won the Formula Continental race two weeks ago and his father, Harindra de Silva in No.96 1963 Huffaker Mk3A. The other was the Bakers, Danny the son and Bob the father.

Timothy de Silva No.10 1962 Gemini MkIV Formula Junior

Timothy de Silva’s No.10 1962 Gemini MkIV Formula Junior

Art Hebert had the pole position in his silver No.2 1963 Lola Mk5A FJ, but he spun in the Turn Three oil dry on the first lap, and then played catchup for the rest of the race. Danny Baker, who had gridded eleventh in his No.36 1963 Lotus 27 FJ had charged to first by Lap Two. Timothy de Silva was close on his heels in second place, and eventually caught Baker and Joseph Colasacco in his No.30 1962 Stanguellini Delfino FJ. The young de Silva won, followed by Baker and Colasacco. Hebert finished ninth in a field of 31 FJs.

Some of the FJ drivers are also owners/drivers of historic Formula One Cars, which aren’t running this weekend. They include Dr. Nick Colyvas in his 1962 Lotus 22, finishing eighth; Chris Locke, who drove his F1 car in the movie ‘Rush’ finished eleventh Saturday in his 1963 Lotus 27; Bob Baker in his 1963 Lola Mk5A; and John Anderson in his 1961 Cooper T56.

According to the Zoom-Zoom scoring on the Start-Finish Bridge, the second wave of FJ’s were faster than the leaders, clocking upwards of 114 mph going over the hill in Turn One.

Sunday’s schedule calls for more morning practice, and Sunday afternoon races, with the grid set by the finishing positions in Saturday’s races.

The Run Groups for this weekend are:
1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars
1955-1962 GT Cars
1955-1961 Sports Racing cars under & over 2000cc
1958-1960 Formula Junior – front engine & drum brake cars
1961-1963 Formula Junior – disc brakes
1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc
1963-1966 GT cars over 2500cc
1970-1984 Sports Racing cars under 2100cc
1973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT
1981-1991 FIA / IMSA GTO, GTP

One of the highlights for me at the Reunion events is all the eye candy, and I don’t just mean the race entries.Back in 2000 Gill Campbell, now SCRAMP Senior Vice President of Event Operations, determined that the paddock was too full of generic rental cars parked with the race cars, and felt an upgrade was in keeping with the event. Special Parking Passes were issued for Classic Cars, which weren’t competing. And the idea grew. Now there aren’t many modern-era cars seen anywhere in the large sprawling paddock, but there certainly are some interesting, intriguing, unusual and flat-out gorgeous vehicles interspersed everywhere.

Take a look at just a small sampling.


Mini Convertible

Old Jag

Ferrari Testarosa


Lancia Rallye Car

I Ain't No Balloon Foot"


The fog wreaked a little havoc Sunday morning for the tight schedule of Day Four of the Role Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Each day the fog was thicker until Sunday when the schedule fell an hour behind due to lack of track visibility. But all’s well that ends well. By 11 am, the sun broke through – as it did every day, and the long lunch break helped ease up the schedule … and only seven groups were slated to run Sunday.

Ed Archer and 1920 Transporter

Ed Archer of Hayward epitomizes the spirit of the Tin Pan Alley Gang which has its own lane in the paddock. The spritely senior is always dressed in his period outfit, including dust coat and cap when it’s chilly. For years he drove his Group 1A 1915 Ford T to and from the races on the Bay Area freeways. In 1989 he bought an authentic Chevrolet transporter which he now uses – on the freeways. He gets all kinds of cheers and thumbs up from fellow commuters stuck in the post-race traffic.Group 1A is for Pre 1940 Sports Racing/Touring Cars & 1927-1951 Racing Cars. It’s all Archer says he can do to stay out of the way of the faster cars, but he certainly has fun. He was lapped three times, but still finished twenty-fifth of 41 racers, with everything intact.

Chevy Transporter

No.4 1914 Mercer 45

Pre War Car


At the other end of the spectrum are Sunday’s Historic Formula One Cars. They have a race within a race, as many of the competitors are part of the FIA Masters Series, which has its own set of gleaming trophies. For Sunday’s morning race, Charles Nearburg of TX has the pole in his No.27 1980 Williams FW007 B. There is another 1980 Williams FW07, driven by Zak Brown (the business mogul, not the musician). As the F1 cars retain their original livery and numbers, one has to be keen-eyed to see the miniscule 1 in front of Brown’s car number. The experienced flaggers – and even their crews – use their helmet designs to distinguish the two in traffic. Nearburg has a mostly yellow helmet, while Brown’s has reds and blues.

Charles Nearburg's Helmet

Zak Brown's No.27 1980 Williams FW07 F1 Car

Zak Brown's helmet

Nearburg won the morning race. Dan Marvin of Berkeley CA finished second after starting fifth, driving No.82 1974 Brabham BT44. The Zoom Zoom monitor clocked him at 140 mph going into Turn One.

Dan Marvin in No.82 1974 Brabham BT44

Dan Marvin in No.82 1974 Brabham BT44

The Reunion brings out all kinds of fans including celebrities and professional/retired racers. Among the crowds this weekend taking in the event live and in person are Scott Pruett, Tom Gloy, Dario Franchitti, and Marino Franchitti. And that includes the TV crew as well. Among the talent for the TV show which will air later this fall are Fox Sports TV broadcaster Mike Joy, who raced Saturday in the Historic Trans-Am Race in No.89 1966 Ford Mustang; Justin Bell, retired sports car driver, who did the Pit Lane commentary on Joy’s Trans-Am race; and Ralph Shaheen. The Reunion broadcast will be in 22 September 2016 on CBS Sports at 8pm. Meanwhile, it is being streamed live on automobilemag.com.

Mike Joy

Mike Joy

Justin Bell

Justin Bell

Dario Franchitti

Scott Pruett

Dario & Marino Franchitti

1999 BMW V12 LMR

1999 BMW V12 LMR, which won 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans


David Hobbs, Murray Smith, and Jackie Stewart

David Hobbs, Murray Smith, and Jackie Stewart

The A groups had their Rolex Races Saturday afternoon on Day Three of the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The iconic road course hosted eight groups of widely disparate sizes, styles and colors. And in case you didn’t know, well-known motorsport TV commentator and raconteur, Murray Smith, reminded us at the lunchtime Paddock Picnic Palaver – Vintage means before 1930.

Murray ‘hosted’ two well known British humorists, cum A-List racers – David Hobbs and Jackie Stewart. Much of the funny conversation was off the record. But both Hobbs and Stewart were serious on the subject of America and its role in Formula One. Both stressed the need for an American driver to be in Formula One. Stewart said it’s needed to promote Formula 1 in the United States. Formula 1 still is big, colorful and global. There are more driving (racing) licenses in China and India than in America. F1 has the biggest TV audience in the world. Developing countries are putting major investments into racing. “We Need an American driver.” Hobbs said for an American to succeed in Formula One, he (or she) has to move to Europe at age 14-15 to get inured, because that’s where one learns. That’s a major investment for a family. Then the driver has to get into the right car, not just a Manor. That’s the difficult part. Hobbs didn’t see Formula 1 failing, but said it has issues which need resolving. It’s too technological. And he stressed “We Need an American driver.”

Both drivers felt that America, be it state or local municipality, needs to get behind racing. In all of Europe (except Britain) there is state supported racing resources. They promote Formula One teams and circuits and everyone benefits. In America locals or governments build stadiums and arenas for ball games. Why not racing?

The two agreed on something else. Neither wanted to race vintage. The cars are too old. Stewart said the best day of his life was racing a 1929 Nouvelari Ferrari at Laguna Seca with Juan Manuel Fangio.

Chad Parrish, Glen Seton, and Don Dimitriadis

Chad Parrish, Glen Seton, and Don Dimitriadis

Group Eight A is the Historic Trans-Am Group – a tightly knit and well-organized group of drivers and cars. They’re celebrating Fifty Years of Trans-Am with their own Tour, which includes Laguna Seca along with four other well-known circuits – Sebring, Lime Rock, Sears Point and Watkins Glen. The love of Trans-Am spreads beyond our shores. There is a contingent of loyal Aussies who not only love the cars and like to race them in the US, they own them and keep them here. There are three Australian owner-drivers in this year’s Trans-Am race and all have raced here before: Don Dimitriadis in No.21 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 formerly raced by Dan Gurney; Chad Parrish in No.28T 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302; and Terry Lawlor in No.63 1967 Shelby Mustang. There will be Aussie drivers at all Tour venues this year.

No.21 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

No.28T 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

No.63 1967 Shelby Mustang

No.15 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe

Trans-Am T Shirt

Another Aussie, 1993 and 1997 Australian Touring Car Champion, Glen Seton, is racing No.15 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe in Group SixB for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. That car is owned by Dimitriadis. This is Seton’s first time at Laguna Seca. He really enjoys the circuit, finding it challenging. He likened it to Australia’s Bathurst circuit and Phillip Island, with its blind corners. Seton would like to race more American races and likes the Trans-Am Group, as do all the Aussies.

More Aussies, in non-muscle cars: Ron Goodman is driving No.23 1954 Porsche in Group 3A for 1055-1962 GT Cars; Chris Bowden is driving No.21 1979 BMW M1 Procar in Group 4A for FIA & IMSA Cars, and Duncan MacKellar is driving one of the two No.29 1971 McLarens, a M8E in Group 7a for 1968-1974 Can-Am Car. In the B Groups, Chris Farrell is driving No.18 1982 March 821 in Group 7B for Historic F1 Cars.

Derek Hill, son of American F1 World Champion Phil Hill, won Rolex Race 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing & 1927-1951 Racing Cars, driving No36 1927 Delage ERA, and he turned the fastest lap time of 1:52.434 on Lap 11 at 71.658 mph. The Margin of Victory was 78.047 seconds ahead of Charles McCane in No.6a 1936 ERA R6B. The top BMW was Thomas Feierabend of Bavaria in No.328A 1937 BMW 328, finishing sixth. There were 41 cars in the 13-lap race, of the 49 entries.

David Swig of Sausalito won Rolex Race 2A for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc. Young Swig drove No.16 1958 Scarab Mk1, and beat runner-up Dyke Ridgley of IL by 01.930 seconds. Ridgley drove No.66 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 and turned the fastest lap time of 1:46.488 on Lap 7 at 75.659 mph. It was a nine-lap race. Fourteen of the 19 entries raced.

Chris Cox of NC drove his No.112 1962 Ferrari 250GTO to victory in Rolex Race 3A for 1955-1962 GT Cars, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:49.042 on Lap Three at 73.887 mph. His Margin of victory was 13.972 seconds ahead of Jeffrey Abramson of CA in his 1959 Morgan Babydoll IV in the 10-lap race. Thirty-five of the 41 entrants raced.

Gunnar Jeanette of FL won the Rolex 4A Race for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT, and GTU Cars He drove No.0 1980 Porsche 935, and his Margin of Victory was only 00.484 seconds ahead of Ken Epsman of CA in his No.20 1976 Dekon Monza. Epsman also turned the fastest lap time of 1:33.495 on Lap Three at 86.174 mph. Thirty-seven of the 50 entries raced. The top BMW was Chris Bowden of Queensland, Australia in No.21 1979 BMW M1 Procar, finishing fifth.

Marc Devis of Schoten Schoten won Rolex Race 5A for 1963-1968 USRRC & Can-Am Cars. Davis drove No.47 1967 Lola T 70 Mk3B Spyder, finishing a mere 00.044 seconds ahead of Johan Woerheide of SC, driving No.7 1965 Lola T70 Mk II. Byron DeFoor turned the fastest lap time of 1:37.297 on Lap Five at 82.806 mph, driving No.8 1965 Lola T70 Mk 1, finishing fifth. Thirty-two of 38 entries raced in the 11-lap race. Finishing third in the race was the top BMW, Harindra de Silva, father of young Tim de Silva, driving No.196 1965 Elva-BMW Mk8. Like his son, he too races SCCA in the San Francisco Region.

Wade Carter of WA won Rolex Race 6A for 1970-1984 Sports Racing Cars under 2100cc in No.74 Lola 2-liter, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:26.345 on Lap 11 of the 12-lap race. His speed was 93.309 mph. His Margin of Victory was 05.445 seconds ahead of Cal Meeker of British Columbia, Canada in No.115 1973 Lola T294. Pole sitter Tim de Silva had mechanical issues with his No.25 1978 Osella-BMW PA8, and finished 16th with two laps. On the upside, it gave him more time to get back up to the grid for his next race in 7A. Seventeen of the 22 6A entries raced.

Kirt Bennett of Monterey CA won the Rolex 7A race in No.101A 1974 Shadow DN4, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:25.499 on the penultimate lap at 94.233 mph. I watched the Zoom Zoom radar gun speed trap sign and top speeds going up into Turn One reached 160 mph. The Margin of Victory was 05.534 seconds ahead of Dave Handy in No.102 1974 Shadow DN4. There were four black Shadows in that race and even more in the paddock. Shadow designer, Don Nichols of Carmel CA, was in the paddock overseeing the cars. Twenty-four of the 27 entries raced in the 13-lap race. De Silva, the son finished eighteenth in No.22 1974 Sting Can-Am.

101 and 102 Shadows

Shadow Eyes

Shadow 1

Pole sitter Ken Epsman of CA won the Rolex 8A Race for 1966-1972 Historic TransAm Cars in his No.2 1971 Javelin. He turned the fastest lap time of 1:43.015 on Lap Four at 78.21 mph. His Margin of Victory over Aussie runner-up Terry Lawlor was 00.353 seconds. Lawlor was driving No.63 1967 Shelby Mustang.Thirty-four drivers of 38 entries raced in the 11-lap race. Unofficially, the Zoom Zoom speed trap showed a couple of cars reaching 120 mph going into Turn One.

Sunday’s schedule calls for seven races and the Prize Giving Ceremonies.


Group 4A FIA & IMSA Cars

Group 4A FIA & IMSA Cars

Saturday’s activities at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca had all eight of the A Groups on track for races. Two of the groups included BMW’s. Group 4A for the 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT and GTU Cars had 21 BMW’s from 1971 to 1980, which included well known drivers such as Al Arciero, Jim Busby, Bruce Canepa, and John Morton, among others. This was a fast group which also saw Porsches, Mustangs, Shelbys, Monza’s, Ferrari’s and Corvettes. In practice the unofficial radar gun in Turn One indicated top speeds upwards of 133 mph.

Group 4A is the Bonham’s 1793 Cup Race, and Cooper MaxNeil of Florida has pole position for the afternoon Rolex race based on his finish in Saturday morning’s race, driing his 1980 Porsche 935. The top BMW was Chris Bowden of Queensland, Australia driving No.21 1979 BMW M1 ProCar. The average race speed was 84.954 mph, and there were 41 cars in the 12-lap race.

Group 1 A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing/Touring Cars & 1927-1951 Racing Cars had five BMW’s – a 1935 315/1 Willis Special and four 1937 BMW 328’s. Paddins Dowling of nearby Carmel won this race in his 1934 ERA R2A, beating Derek Hill (son of the late Phil Hill) driving a 1927 Delage ERA by 04.985 seconds. The top BMW in this race was Thomas Feierabend of Bavaria driving No.328A 1937 BMW 328, to finish seventh. The average race speed was 56.011 mph. Forty-one cars ran the nine-lap race.

There are a wide variety of BMWs on display throughout the paddock. In the Display Tent is the Ralf Schumacher 2000 BMW Williams FW22-02 Formula One Car, bringing BMW back into F1 where it had been absent since the eighties. Schumacher finished fifth that season in the points, teaming with Jenson Button, who finished third for the year. At the other end of the spectrum is the quirky little BMW Town Car, outside but near the Display Tent.

BMW Town Car

Rals Schumacher BMW F1 car

BMW Town Car

Tim de Silva

Tim de Silva

It’s always a treat to see a young vintage driver, often younger than the car he’s driving. One such instance is Tim de Silva of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. He’s driving No.25 1978 Osella-BMW PA8 in Group 6A for 1970-1984 Sports Racing Cars under 2100cc. That BMW, by the way, revises upwards by one, my count of BMWs racing this weekend to 56. He’ll start Saturday’s Rolex race from the pole position, having finished first in his Saturday morning race. Tim is also racing back to back Saturday, as he is driving No.22 1974 Sting Can Am in Group 7A, where he will start sixth out of 27 cars. Tim is a San Francisco Region SCCA driver, competing in the Pacific F2000 Series, in which he just wrapped up the championship at the Sonoma race in July. The young lion is one of ten finalists in the Team USA Scholarship, which provides opportunities for talented American race drivers in the early stages of their careers. One of the long-time sponsors and supporters of Team USA is Doug Mockett, who is racing this weekend in the Historic Formula One Cars group (1967-1984.) Mockett, from Christiansted Virgin Islands, races his red, white and blue 1976 Penske PC4. Mockett’s races are Sunday so his car is getting its tune-up Saturday.

No.28 1976 Penske PC4

One of the joys of the Reunion is Paddock Strolling, taking in all the sights and enjoying the Eye Candy.

Led Zeppelin Sports Car

Green #24

No.17 Samson