An eventful weekend
Normally we start these updates with news of the race, and save the comments on driving, if any, to the end. For two years we have had 98% green flag racing and no damaged cars. But a reminder of the challenges we face staying safe, and the judgment required to be in this series and in our host clubs, is really the key message of the weekend. We are friends racing together, not competitors playing a zero sum game, and we need to keep that at the center of what we bring to the racetrack. On the same weekend at Thunderhill we had two cars come together, resulting in one being destroyed. The Historic Ford group in the UK, had two cars come together and the driver was rescued by bystanders from an inverted car and a fire that flared up briefly. And at Buttonwillow a car flew over a competitor and landed on another. In all cases, the drivers were uninjured. The CSRG board are finalizing their review of the Thundershill incident, and we will get a debrief from HSCC, but there are nontheless key lessons to take away after much discussion with the group.
1. If you need to leave the racing surface to make a pass, don't make the pass. Over-driving in that regard, is never acceptable. The host clubs will be far more vigilant and more furled black flags will be shown to drivers who create too much risk.
2. If you need the guy in front to move or adjust for you, don't make the pass. If you can't have at least half a car-width of leeway, don't make the pass.
3. Dangerous behaviour needs to be discussed in an open, honest way. If you scare the pants off someone, or have contact, apologize, have a chat, have a beer, but don't keep it a secret. And if you really think someone's behaviour is toxic and persistent, please elevate your concerns to the stewards as soon as you have them. We have sent people home whose behavior is not in the spirit of what we do, will continue to do so, but need data to act on.
4. Shunts are very, very rare, but do occur. If your roll bar is not at least 2-4 inches above your helmet, get it fixed or lower your seating position in the car, or both. The best approach always, is to sit on a poured seat, on the floor of the car. If you have a mounted seat, most likely it is elevating you. By being on the floor, you get better feel and better clearance. All the drivers involved in that weekend's shunts are over 6 feet tall and their cars kept them safe with the right roll bar clearance. If you need assistance with this, please contact us and we will connect you to someone that can help.
5. Use a HANS device, this is without question, something you may not live without.
6. If you don't have a clear mind, or have background issues clouding your judgment, give some thought to your approach to the weekend... maybe don't race, or talk to a friend and test your frame of mind.
Testing and Qualifying
Friday testing showed all the newcomers, what an interesting challenge Thunderhill is. As the afternoon wore on, times came down a bit, and the fun you can have there started to happen. Lots of advice flowed, lots of lead follow sessions happened, and for the most part testing ended with everyone reasonably comfortable. Unlocking more speed in particular was Jim Cody, with the help of Tom Fallon from the Anderson Racing crew and Kurt Joerger. Jim made some changes and was quickly knocking a stunning 4-6 seconds a lap off his best previous times.
Friday night the group gathered at La Cascada for a Mexican banquet and drinks that lasted far too late into the night. So Saturday morning opened qualifying under perfect, bright, sunny conditions that made all the tequila we consumed seem like a bad idea.
Returning to the series a now healthy Greg Vroman, led a pack than included thunderhill rookie John Greeven, Jack Wilson, big bore driver in his second formula ford start Gary Goeringer, George Jewett, "ironman" Alan Dezanni (has run almost every available event on the west coast!) Jonathan Kitchen and Jeff Rothman, struggling to find a happy set up at Thunderhill. The midpack running in the mid 2:06 range, and separated by .8 seconds from front to back, included a far more rapid Jim Cody, Paul Kitchen, Dave Alvarado, and Norm Cowdrey, and an increasingly quicker and more comfortable Chris Schoap. Into the 2:04's was Dave Cooper, Steve Hoogs and Roger Pujol. Kurt Joerger, the master of turn 9, and a Thunderhill veteran was next separated from Ed Lauber, and a struggling Dave Zurlinden, by less than .5 sec. Dave had a new set of Avon A29's and found it challenging to switch them on and get them into their best window. The top 7 drivers, led by Ethan Shippert at a 1:59 (fastest lap of the weekend) and Todd strong in their Club Fords and then Art Hebert on the Historic pole, followed by Martin Lauber, Dan Cowdrey, and Andrew Wait.
It was an unseasonably warm track, with less grip and a crosswind at the apex of turn one, that greeted the drivers as they lined up. At the green Ethan Shippert and Todd strong fell into line for a brief, but intense dice with Todd briefly passing Ethan for the Club Ford lead, before his coolant system let go and Todd had to call it a weekend with a warped head allowing Ethan to claim the Club Ford win. Behind them an epic back and forth between Martin Lauber and Art Hebert ended with Martin going wide in turn 15 and having to settle for second behind Art. Tom Duncan's motor stumbled at the start, trapping him and Andrew Wait a bit as cars passed. Both of them eventually raced back into podium contention, but Andrew's engine quit on lap 4, and he parked his car behind an equally broken Dan Cowdrey on the exit of turn 6 as Tom eventuallly finished second in Club. Chasing the third step on the historic podium Kurt Joerger edged away from Dave Zurlinden for third followed by, Ed Lauber and Jim Cody scoring his biggest points haul ever. Dan Wise narrowly beat a surging Jeff Rothman for third in Club Ford, but all massively entertained with a dice that included Paul Kitchen, Chris Schoap, and hard charger, with 11 passes John Greeven.. all running withing .4 seconds of each other.
A pack that included an increasingly faster Dave Alvardo in his show-car-perfect Titan, Mitch Roth, Alan Dezzani, Jack Wilson and Gary Goeringer, circulated nose to tail having huge fun. DNF's included an overheating Mike McDermott, and Norm Cowdrey with a engine that started feeling tight.
Art Hebert, Martin Lauber and Dan Cowdrey maintain the top three positions in Historic ford. But with Andrew Wait and Dan Cowdrey's DNF, Danny Baker now moves into 4th, with 2 races to go and well within reach of a podium spot if Dan C stays home for one race or suffers a DNF. In Club Ford,Todd Strong, Dan Wise and Jeff Rothman have strong positions, but are closely followed by Erik Inkrott, Kim Madrid, Alan Dezzani and Tom Duncan. In Master's Dave Zurlinden, Dan Wise and Jeff Rothman (who celebrated his 70'th birthday at Thunderhill) lead, but are closely followed by Steve Hoogs, Tom Duncan, Jonathan Kitchen and George Jewett.
The Thank Yous
We keep saying it, so support and spread the word about our sponsors!
If you have a car you want to donate, and take the tax write off, please use http://vehiclesforcharity.com
If you need an a marketing agency, for almost any service, contact https://www.19york.com/
For sophisticated financial management services, see https://www.cogmentum.com
If you want to buy or sell a race car, please visit http://www.motorsportsmarket.com/
If you are in the market for a home in San Francisco, there is no one better thanwww.ninahatvany.com
As always if you need tires, please see Roger Krause Racing and for all engine needs, many thanks to our friends and supporters at Ivey Engines.
Races coming up
The next triple appearance points event, is the Pacific Northwest Historics, June 29-Aug 1, at Pacific Raceways in Kent Washington. If you enter this and want your 6 bonus points applied, pease email us with proof of entry and we will add that in.
The next Crossflow event, is the wonderful Columbia River Classic and All British Meet at Portland, September 8-9. We will have a full test day for Formula Fords only on Friday September 7 and the Ivey Engines reception that evening. We will organize the usual convoy towing up from California for those that are interested.
And the Series finale at the CSRG Charity Challenge at Sonoma will be huge fun. We are working on another grid walk, a second documentary, and the CSRG board has approved umbrella girls and boys if we want to organize that. There will also be a spouses reception at Ramsgate on Saturday afternoon as well.
In the next issue of the newsletter
. Review of the Spring Classic
. 2019 major events
. Clarity on protest rules and engine legality
. More details on Portland and Sonoma