The Chicagoland MG Club
Camping Trip and the BRIC
July 16-18, 2004 - Elkhart Lake WI
by Jake and Ann Snyder
“The Chicago Historic Races are on the weekend of July 19-21, a perfect time of year to take your tent and teapot for a weekend of relaxing to the roars of minimally-silenced race-tuned engines at Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.” (From the Driveline, July 1996)
Thus began the club tradition of a camping trip to Road America, North America’s premier road course, for the July vintage races. We find it nearly beyond belief, but if you count off the years, you will find that this was our ninth annual trip. A few things have changed in that time. The “Chicago Historics” have become the Brian Redman International Challenge. In addition to Mr. Redman, other great drivers have been featured guests, including Sir Jack Brabham, Jim Hall (and his white Chapparal, No. 66), and John Surtees. Many years, a CanAm thunder reunion has been the featured race of the weekend, but this year that honor went to historic Formula 1 cars. These are the same cars that have been on display, under a tent at Indy, during the US Grand Prix. But at Road America, these cars were out on the track, competing.
A notable change that we’ve seen as the years have passed is that more members of this club are out there competing on the track, and it is great to be able to cheer them on, or even to stop in the paddock and help with repairs.
Other things have, fortunately, not changed over the years. At the track, you will find good food, great views, and outstanding racing. You can still walk through the paddock and marvel at exotic, priceless vehicles, or stand by the fence at grid where Brian Redman is putting on his helmet in his blue 1965 Daytona coupe Cobra. There is always a race car concours Friday evening and a sports car concours Saturday evening in nearby Elkhart Lake.
At the campground, the evening campfires, in the center of our circle of tents, are the highlight of the weekend for many of us. We always seem to have more good firewood than we can possibly burn in two evenings. The fires are so large and hot that one can barely get within marshmallow-toasting range. There are always a few brews to be had, and the company is so congenial that we have had visitors from neighboring campsites join us. We don’t actually make tea, but the morning coffee brewed in an enamel pot is always potent enough help us wake up, no matter how late we sat around the campfire the night before. And we can always count on the Saturday evening cookout to provide good food in abundance.
We have always been incredibly lucky with the weather. This year, traveling north on Friday afternoon, we first encountered rain just south of Milwaukee. There was heavy rain with lightening further north- ask Reinout Vogt, who rode his bicycle to the campground from Mount Prospect. We were anticipating the joy of pitching a tent in the downpour when, about 5 miles south of Plymouth, we found dry road ahead.
Next year will be a significant anniversary - our tenth camping trip to the BRIC. We hope you can join us.