MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (4)
On the road south towards Mid Ohio, we got lots of messages of GOOD NEWS!
After a couple of days in hospital, Ed Moore of the Mosport crashed Cooper, is expected to make a complete recovery, despite a small skull fracture. Even better news is that the Chassis plate that was ripped off in the colossal prang has been found in the long grass by a search party led by Duncan Rabagliati. It was spotted by David (no wonder I can’t get away with anything at home) Kent’s missus, Leslie. Pity she can’t find us a cold beer when we ask for it. The plate was badly damaged and half worn away, but enough of the important stampings are there to maintain the cars’ important historic significance.
Even more good news is that, after closer inspection, Nigel Hunter’s pretty Sadler is indeed repairable. Work has begun!
David Watkins’ Elfin and Marty Bullock’s Lotus 27 are getting fresh spare engines. Bruce Edgars’ Elfin is hoping for a new gearbox, John Rowe (Lotus 18) and David Kent (Lynx) and Peter Boel (Panther) are trying to get their engines rebuilt. Lance Carwardine’s Lynx is getting a couple of new driveshafts turned and, so he doesn’t look useless and lazy, Bill Hemming is also working 24/7 fitting a 20 cent clip to his distributor on the Tojeiro. Neil McCrudden is doing sweet bugger all to his sweet running Lotus 22.
Lucky we’ve got 3 days between race tracks.
It’s always a joy crossing from Canada to the USA, especially in a foreign registered right hand drive vehicle. Bill’s Fiat van/motorhome/transporter totally threw America’s finest at the gate. “You can’t bring that to the US (but sir, – which is how you address a 6’3” American carrying a gun – I came from the US). What’s that? Another car in the back! You can’t do that! You’ll have to go INSIDE!”
After 2 hours INSIDE, watching 12 people all with guns and bullet proof vests doing nothing but talk to each other, Bill was summonsed to counter 13 (counters 1 to 12 were vacant) and a man with a gun asked about the van and the car with right hand drive. The photo of the Tojeiro (with middle drive) totally threw him and he had trouble matching the paperwork for the van to the car. In the end, he got so much documentation that he guessed someone else had approved everything and we were on our way.
With bureaucrats like this, Trump is a sure thing to Make America Great Again! At least they all apparently had sufficient IQ to be allowed to pack a weapon. Scary! Reminds us of the story where a guy walks into a crowded bar waving his pistol around yelling “I’ve got a 45 Colt with 7 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the barrel, and I want to know who’s been sleeping with my wife!”. A voice at the back of the bar responds “you’re going to need more ammo!”
We arrived Mid Week at the beautiful Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in various states of disrepair. Peter’s Panther and David Kent’s Lynx were non-starters, David Watkins’ Elfin had its spare engine fitted, Marty’s Lotus had 2 new drive shafts that didn’t quite fit and John’s Lotus had an out-of-body gearbox with new seals. Both Marty and John got things together for Thursday practice.
For private testing on Wednesday, Neil McCrudden made a magnanimous offer to non-runners David Kent, Peter Boel and Nigel Russell to have a session each in his Lotus. Just to say they’d driven Mid Ohio. This came to nothing when the three mechanical cripples weren’t allowed on the track without a full entry fee. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.
Another bloody tornado warning, just in time for our first practice session at 8.30am. We managed to start in light rain and slithered around the track to get a time. Just as well because racing was cancelled for the rest of the day. Tony Olissoff from NZ was fastest by seconds in his front wheel drive Emeryson Elfin. Marty was 3rd, Bruce 4th, David Watkins 6th, Bill 7th, Neil 12th, John 16th and Lance 17th after he forgot to bleed his rear brakes when he changed his stub axles. Then back to our vans, motorhomes, motels for the rest of a miserably wet day.
Not everyone went out in the wet practice session. At Indy, we saw winners get a celebratory drink of milk. At Indy, they have a special brand of milk for those who don’t go out in the wet.
Saturday morning saw beautiful weather and all 26 Juniors braved the sunshine for Qualifying and for Race 1 mid afternoon. Marty (Lotus 27) started 3rd but finished his customary second when the pole sitting Stanguellini didn’t front up. Neil McCrudden (Lotus 22) started 11th and finished 7th, Lance (Lynx) went from 12th to 8th, Bruce (Elfin) jumped from 14th to 10th, Bill (Tojeiro) 18th to 15th, David (Elfin) was still having intermittent oil feed issues but improved from 21st to 17th and John Rowe (Lotus 18) from 26th to 20th. A great race on a great circuit.
Saturday night was another dinner party. They seem to have as many free food parties as they have tornados.
Our final race for this leg of the North America Diamond Jubilee tour was on Sunday. Only 1 Aussie car (David Kent’s Lynx) didn’t make the grid.
Peter Boel was so Pissed off his Pretty Pink Panther was Pathetically, and seemingly Permanently Placed in Park mode, that he succumbed to Peer Pressure, Picked up some Parts and Pampered his Pet to Perform one last time. Putting his Panther on the start line didn’t Panic the other Peddlers because after 3 laps the Panther Panted Phew and Pulled off totally Phucked. Poor Peter.
The rest of us fared a lot better, except for Bruce’s Elfin which lost its clutch at the half way mark. The only other non finisher was Tony “Pissedoff” Olissoff when his fantastically quick, and quickly driven, front wheel drive Emeryson Elfin broke its accelerator cable on the start line.
The rear engine Stanguellini missed the 1st race with a broken camshaft, but an overnight engine rebuild saw Joe Colasacco start from 12th and drove like a demon to be second to Greg Thornton in his quick Lotus 22 – until the last lap – when Greg put up his hand to acknowledge a stationary yellow flag and slowed. Joe zipped through to claim the chequer. Apparently passing under a yellow is allowed here.
Marty again mounted the podium for 3rd. David (Elfin) stormed through the field from 15th to finish 6th. Lance (Lynx) came in 9th, just holding out Neil (Lotus 22) in 10th and Bill (Tojeiro) finished 16th and John (Lotus 18) 20th.
Racing over, we trooped off to a terrific steakhouse for a wet, wild celebration.
That’s it for this leg. It’s been wonderful racing on great tracks with great people and cars. Packed up, some headed west for Laguna Seca in a few weeks, the rest headed East to park up at GMT Racing for repairs or storage until we return for Lime Rock, Watkins Glen and Road America in September.
It’s been fun! Bill Hemming
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