Brian Redmond Int'l Challenge at Road America
I had my first experience
racing the MGB on Road Americašs twisting four mile circuit in July.
Fellow CMGC member and MGB racer M.L. Hillard invited my wife ,
Vicki, and I to paddock with him and wife
Jan, along with several other vintage racers comprising the "British
Race Group" team. The weekend weather was perfect and we enjoyed
great racing and great company. The event schedule called for an
early Friday morning practice session for my car group so we made
arrangements to arrive Thursday and be settled in for a less hectic
Thursday evening in the
paddock, upon spying a newcomeršs car in their midst, a group of
other Brit racers huddled around my MGB for conversation and, I
suspect, friendly intelligence gathering. Most small-bore Brits
run in Group 2 and this bunch was confused that my car had been
assigned to Group 8. The sanctioning group, VSCDA, marks a separation
between "Vintage" and "Historic" at the 1963 production year, Group
2 being earlier Vintage and Group 8 being later Historic. My B,
originally a rubber bumper model although now sporting a 74 chrome
grill and fender flares (rather dimly viewed by the vintage types),
by the book should be in Group 8. Having satisfied themselves that
my tamely prepared car and novice level driving experience was no
threat to Group 2, the huddle campaigned to have me switched. A
"tech" person passing by was willing to attempt the switch and told
me to show up at the inspection area at 7AM the next morning to
confirm the plan. So much for a relaxed Friday morning. Vicki and
I rose at 6, wolfed down breakfast and showed up on schedule to
find that the plan had been vetoed by the powers that be, due to
the already large size of Group 2 and the simple fact that rules
are rules. I accepted the decision without argument and prepared
myself and my car to meet Group 8. . . Then I met Group 8.
I pulled the MGB into
the Group 8 starting grid amongst a pack of snarling 911 Turbo Carreras,
Z cars and a few very fast Brits. This was gonna be an experience!
The session went fine, the car ran well and I had no problem STAYING
THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY as I worked to memorize and repeat the "Simon-game-like"
sequence of approaching and exiting 14 very different corners and
all the connecting bits in between. (For those interested, I can
now confirm that your helmet dances on your head in a rather disconcerting
manner when a 911 passes your 100mph MG at probably 130mph and at
who-knows-how-many wailing RPM.)
I had a repeat performance
in a qualifying session that afternoon that ended slowly with my
preoccupation over a missing bonnet latch pin. I couldn't see the
front edge of the bonnet where the pin must have been missing but
I could see the bonnet center buckling downward as the front was
buckling upward at speed. Luckily the session was over just as I
was planning on pulling in anyway to look at it. Another session
Friday night's attraction
was the race car parade and concours in the town of Elkhart Lake.
Dozens of gorgeous, extremely well prepared race cars streamed through
the streets lined with cheering spectators resembling a Fourth of
July parade. The cars were parked around the Siebken's complex for
close inspection, stories and endless photo opportunities. Hallowed
ground this, as this street, and this spot in particular, was the
start/finish line of the original road racing Elkhart Lake hosted
in the 50s and 60s. As fun as the arrival and viewing of these cars
was, their spirited and squealing exit from town later on had to
be the supreme exhibition of glorious, all-American, testosterone
oozing, "boys with their toys" enthusiasm. I had to laugh as an
unsuspecting motorist passing though downtown in a Buick was suddenly
confronted, face to face, with a thundering CAN-AM McLaren in his
path. His mouth is probably still agape.
Saturday brought the
CMGC campers to the track. Vicki and I did hook up with a number
of you and I hope you enjoyed seeing me run as well as M.L. and
the others. My morning warm-up session and afternoon Group 8 race
were again both FINISHED fun and safe. (Seven DNFs in that race
by the way...the MG ran flawlessly if not exactly up front.) M.L.
had his Group 2 race a little later and really put on a great show
for us and the other cheering Turn 5 spectators with some really
close "dicing" between his MGB and another British Race Group Triumph.
I look forward already
to next year's Brian Redmond International Challenge vintage race
event at Road America. If you havenšt been there I assure you will
find the biggest, best and most exciting collection of fantastic
sportcars ever, and you will have not yet left the parking lot!!
See you there.
Click here to read
Kelvin's First Race Season Summary