Just a Simple Wrench
by Ann & Jake Snyder
BRIC 2003: The Camping, the Track Experience, and an Alternate Route Home
Contrary to what you might deduce from these columns, we don’t spend every weekend in the garage, solving an MGB mystery. So what other place would we rather spend a weekend than Road America? We recently were fortunate to spend two consecutive weekends at that legendary venue. July 12th and 13th we worked corners for Midwestern Council’s Crystal Challenge and enjoyed the bonus of seeing CMGC members Dave Bralich and Scott Fohrman compete in the Vintage Historic group. The following weekend was the Brian Redman International Challenge, sanctioned by the Vintage Sports Car Drivers Association. And coordinated with that event was CMGC’s eighth annual camping trip to Elkhart Lake. We once described this club event as an “unbeatable combination of great company around the campfire in the evening and the chance to watch exotic cars race on North America’s longest road circuit” and added that one of the highlights of these weekends is the chance to watch CMGC members compete. This is true every year, but each year there is something new- new faces around the campfire, a different legendary race car driver willing to autograph your program, and this year even a new CMGC member on the race track.
In addition to those who have participated in this event previously (Bill Mennell, Barney Gaylord and son Elliot, Henneke and Reinout Vogt, Jan and Rick Wesley, Dave Tucker, Curt Bork and Pam, Paul Urquhart, Roger and Shirley Goebbert), we were joined this year by Jim Evans, who brought his son-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew, and by Bill Thompson, Bud Yeager, and Mark and Judith Zapf. The weather was nearly perfect, and, as usual, our Saturday evening potluck was a picnic feast. Bill Thompson, from Racine, brought kringle for not only the potluck, but for everyone’s breakfast as well. Bill Mennell brought plenty of fire wood for the evening campfires.
The first thing you notice on the BRIC weekend is the collection of cars that surround you. This is before you see or hear the race cars- the cars that you see on the streets of Elkhart Lake or in the parking lots at Road America are not what you typically see on the Tollway or at the local shopping mall. For once, your car is not the only classic (old or new) around. You are among “car people” and you will lose count of the Cobras, E-Types, Vettes, and MGs.
In the paddock you will see everything from vintage formula Vs to Can-Am cars. This is not Indy- you can get close to these Lister-Jags, Brabhams, McLarens, Lolas, and, of course, the MGs. Club members racing this weekend included some of the usuals- Dave Bralich (69 MGB), ML Hillard (64 MGB), and Kelvin Palmer (74 MBG). New to racing this year is Chris McGrath who drove a stock 69 MGC, blue 25 in Group 8.
Brian Redman is always on hand for the event, and this year’s featured guest was John Surtees, the first Can-Am champion. Surtees was also the 1964 F1 champion, and manager of F1 Team Surtees (now Williams) until 1978. He began his racing career with motorcyles and was double (350 and 500 cc) World Champion of that sport from 1958 to1960. Where else would we have the chance to get the autograph of some of racing’s greatest figures?
Road America is located in Wisconsin’s Northern Kettle Moraine region and its 4-mile course has many interesting vantage points from which to view practice, qualifying and race sessions. We always watch closely the sessions with MGs and the Can-Am cars are not to be missed. This is one of the finest places you will find for watching cars race!
Finally, An Alternate Route Home
This is an exceptional year for travelling to Road America- there is no highway construction, except for a short section where Route 57 is being increased to 4 lanes. But that doesn’t guarantee that there will be no tie-ups, and as we were headed home traffic slowed south of Milwaukee about 2 miles north of Ryan Road. So we did some “shunpiking” and would like to share the route with you. We exited at Ryan Road and traveled one mile east to County V southbound. While those thousands of SUVs and semis were fighting for road space just a mile away, this well-maintained road was virtually free of traffic. Although it is one of thse straight as an arrow midwestern roads, it was still pleasant country driving. West of Racine V ends on State Route 20, which we took about a mile further eastward to County H, on which we continued south. This becomes Kilbourne Road upon crossing the state line, and there, if you want, you can go west on Russel Road to I 94. And wonder as you travel south, what will be new at the BRIC 2004.
More photos at: www.chicagolandmgclub.com/photos/roadam03