"Inside Line" 2016 - 1

Inside Line vol 1 – 2016

Border crossing

The ‘70s

Racing amongst friends

My winter

The 2015 winter season was a fascinating one for me. My son is making a documentary as his senior thesis the topic (imagine this) “the social and economic impact of collector cars.” I really had nothing to do with the topic. Connor needed to interview people to get their perspective on “the market” and of course he needed a “roadie” (me). We interviewed 15 HMSA members around the country. What a blast I had. During any race weekend throughout the year I get the chance to meet most if not all of our participants. Through the years I would say I know many HMSA members well. I find it fascinating the diverse lives our members/participants lead. I won’t go into any detail but I must say we must have the most interesting people. I had no idea just how diverse our members are. You all are a unique group. I have always been proud of our diversity but I only had a casual understanding. I am very proud to call HMSA members friends. This group of people opened up their homes and their lives to a couple of college kids that were like sponges taking in the world experiences. Some were life long car crazy enthusiasts and others were new to the sport. But there was a common thread that ran through everyone; they all want and believe in the HMSA philosophy in preserving history, keeping the cars period correct for future generations to enjoy as well as learn from. My steadfastness in keeping our cars period correct is the correct way to go and I will not weaver from that philosophy.

 

Crossing the border: I say often everyone needs to experience our Sommet des Legendes event at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant in Quebec Canada. A common barrier seems to be the fear of crossing the border. There really is no need to fear! I have been told  more often that not, the border crossing is simple, simple if one follows the proper procedure. We have a dedicated Canadian customs agent based in Montreal that specializes in motorsports, his name is Gabe TXXXXX Gabe can take care of all the paperwork and take the pain and fear out of the process. The other way is to hop on board one of the transporters from the many prep shops that come to Mont Tremblant. They will make this trip the easiest for you. Visit our Travel Network section on the HMSA website for a list of the different prep shops.

 

The 70s

The 70s were a great time to be growing up in motorsports, it was also one of the worst. The 70s are probably no different than the 50s or the 60s however, I was in the middle of the U.S. racing scene and was experiencing life 1st hand.

My family was running the CanAm series again and again with a Ferrari. I had been promoted to # crewmember (did I mention there was only 2 of us!). I got to live and breathe everything Doane Spencer said or did. Jim Adams had unretired and was driving for us. The Ferrari was a 512S, one of 25 built. Doane made some changes to the fuel cell area so the car would carry 80 gallons of gas needed to finish a CanAm race without a pit stop. Our list of spares consisted of 1 set of spare wheels! If the car broke we went home. It never broke. It did surprisingly well. At Mid –Ohio Jim qualified 5th fastest – with a 5 Liter “stock” endurance race car! The car was sold after Mid-Ohio to Kirk White – Roger Penske’s partner at the time. The car became known as the Sunoco 512 and was driven by Mark Donahue. It was a great car and we had a great time.

Not all things were great in 1970. Things started going bad with Bruce McLaren’s accident at Goodwood. Followed by losing Pedro Rodriguez, Jerry Titus, Mike Spence, Jochen Rindt and others. Particularly difficult were Jerry’s and Pedro’s death. Pedro and my dad were like brothers. Pedro had confided that this was his last year of driving. He and my dad had already started planning on their business after Pedro stopped driving. My dad did not attend another race after we lost Pedro. We were committed to 2 more years of the CanAm be dad never went to them. The fun really left me when Peter Revson was killed in ’74. I was over losing friends. Racing had become a cruel sport where your friends/heroes were killed. I stayed away from the sport for 6 years. Then in 1980 a friend bought a Grand Sport clone and he asked me to take him to Willow Springs and show him how to drive it. Thus started my vintage racing which I’ll cover in the next edition.

2016 – The year ahead.

2016 is looking like a great year. By the time you read this the season will have started with the 1 day LSR event and our Spring Club event at Mazda Raceway. Dennis and Bill have some get photos of these 2 events included in this edition.

We will visit Barber Motorsports Park for the 2nd year. The Barber Historics will be the main focus event for the Formula Junior group as they start their 60th anniversary of Formula Junior Tour which runs worldwide through 2017. Mont Tremblant we are celebrating the CanAm which started at this fantastic track with the 1966 Player’s Grand Prix. We will finish up our season at The Thermal Club Invitational.

What is HMSA? Along with it being the organization where you’ll find the greatest cars ever built racing as they were intended, HMSA is also the place where friends race with friends. We all say the cars are the stars and I firmly believe this, however, additionally it’s about friends racing each other. We 1st must be friends. That sets the tone of everything else. Friends don’t push each other off course or run into each other. Friends especially don’t cheat friends. If you see or know of someone who is cheating you should be hopping mad. Friends can disagree with each other, have heated arguments but at the end of it all friends hug each other because they are . . . well friends. This is what HMSA is.

Cris Vandagriff