After 14 hours of sleep, I'm feeling a LOT better. I actually
feel human again. We have a great breakfast, which more than makes
up for me missing dinner, and hit the road for our first timed
segment. Dad drives the first segment and we luck out by having
nobody check out the minute before us... that means we hopefully
will not see a repeat of yesterday's fiasco at the finish checkpoint.
Fred & John Ehle in their 1967 Corvette Sting Ray Roadster.
The day is overcast and much cooler than yesterday... much to my relief. The segment is 51.1 miles
long and we cover a lot of ground in a little time. At one point
Dad decides to let the car run and gets it up to about 100 mph.
He had to ease off though because the hood came loose, forcing
us to stop and close it. As we travel west though the sky gets
darker and darker, and eventually it starts to rain. Dad & I are
debating stopping to put the top up when we see a few lightning
strikes and what appears to be a deluge about a quarter mile ahead
of us. Thankfully the shoulder was wide and flat, so we quickly
dove to the side and got the top up with just a few seconds to
spare before the heavens opened on us.
Some serious Florida rainfall.
We arrive at the checkpoint in Salt Springs and praise our luck
from this morning with nobody ahead of us. We switch drivers,
so I can run the finish and then check out immediately for the
next segment, again with nobody checked out in that precious minute
before. We finish with zero penalty time - Check out and go. The
next segment is a short one to Marjorie Rawlings State Park. It
is uneventful other than the fact that the deluge has ended and
the rain is trailing off and that the Merc's drum brakes are pulling
like mad to the left when you try to stop the car. We arrive at
the checkpoint, situated at the state park and join the lineup
for the finish.
Our time comes and there is nobody ahead, and strangely, nobody
behind us. We know there should be several cars behind us, and
we know of at least one car behind us that should have crossed
the line two minutes ahead of us. It is John Whitney Payson in
his AC Greyhound. We passed him about halfway through the segment,
so we are nervous that he might come barrelling in right as our
turn comes. It doesn't happen and we cross the finish with a zero
(whoo hoo!) and all alone.
The next segment is a transit stage, so we relax and take the
chance to hit the rest rooms and chat with other rallyists. We
hear that a train held up several of the participants about 10
miles before the checkpoint. Based on the timing we must have
been the last car to pass the track before the train came. What
good luck for us!
Above: Richard & Helen Fraser's 1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Vignale
Coupe, and Dad's 300sl, after the second segment.
We drive the short transit stage to the Gainesville Raceway for
the single speed event of the rally. Thankfully the track is merely
moist, rather then soaking wet, and it is in good condition for
the event. The Merc, while it was the fastest production car of
it's day, is really not a racer. Dad doesn't really know where
it's performance envelope lies, and knowing that and engine rebuild
would probably be about $25K he's unwilling to find it. However
he is a real trooper and wants to take it out on the track. We
stomp on the brakes a few times to dry them out and get in the
lineup for the event. Dad wants me to go first, probably because
he knows I'll be cautious.
There are two courses, both about a mile long, but with lots of
curves. The first one includes a circular skid pad and two straights
with a 180º hairpin.
I promise not to rev it past 5000 RPM and hit the track for the
first go around. The car actually feels real good between 4000
and 5000 RPMs.
I dutifully shift at 5000 each time. Coming out of the hairpin
I am reminded why this car is nothing like the E-type... it has
no low-end torque. It seems to take forever to get back up to
speed. It also feels big and heavy in the corners, and the fighting
the steering wheel is like lifting weights. But once you get it
up to 4000 RPMs it comes back alive and starts behaving like the
thoroughbred that it is. I finish my first go around and head
for the other course. It is actually a lot harder, with more turns,
and a chicane. I just about get a hernia wrestling the car through
Above & Below: Chuck wrestles the 300sl around the track.
I hand the car over to dad and go position myself to get some
pictures of both him and Pascal Gademer (who handed me his camera
to get pictures of him on the track. Don't forget to send me some
pictures Pascal!) Dad is going through course one and I am lining
myself up to get a shot of him coming through the skidpad 'finish
line' when I hear the unmistakable sound of tires sliding sideways.
I spin around just in time to get a shot of dad sitting backwards
on the track... he had spun a 180º as he entered the skidpad.
Left: Dad stopped, and looking the wrong way down the track. That
smoke you see is from his tires, as he has just spun 180º. If
I knew he was going to do this I would have had my zoom set better.
I was preparing to take a shot as he passed in front of me on
the pavement you see at the bottom of the shot.
He doesn't even bother trying to finish, but heads instead over
to the other course. He turns a fair time there and I head over
to the tent for lunch.
Above (all): Dad's run on track two. You can really see how the car rolls in the turns. Of course I
hope I can look this good whem I'm 44 years old. =)
Above: About two gazillion Lire's worth of Ferraris over lunch.
After Lunch I wander back to the track and look at the cars. I
take some pictures and marvel at the sounds of 12 cylinder Ferrari's
as they go around the track. They do have a nice note to them.
They sound like motorcycles on steroids. I take a couple of shots
of Pascal's jag. Here is a shot, complete with URL and link back
to jag-lovers.org. =)
I also have a shot of the Jag V-12. For comparison click the picture
and see the original straight six XK engine from dad's
E-type from seven years earlier.
I decide to take a run around the track again... and just for
kicks I call my office just before I start, and hop into one of my staff's voicemail.
I leave the sound of me going around the track, complete with
revving engine and squealing tires for posterity on his voicemail.
I'm sure it is already on the company MP3 server.
The next stage is a tranquil transit to the hotel on Cedar Key.
It is a 104.5 mile run, with Dad at the wheel and me catching
a nap on the long parts with minimal navigation. We arrive pretty
early, check in and I finally get a chance to catch up on my writing
and photo editing.
Above: David & Paula Fischer's Porsche at Cedar Key. (full discosure: I made liberal use of PhotoShop's tools to erase
several power & phone lines out of this picture. I should probably
go all the way and take the construction mess out too. Florida
sort of reminds me of Alaska... very scenic, except for where the people are! But unlike Alaska there are a lot of people in Florida unfortunately.)
Dinner was nice. I set up my powerbook on the bar with a 'slide
show' running of all the photos I have taken the past two days.
Quite a few folks get a kick out of it. Quite a few more are completely
floored. Modern technology and old cars are a weird mix.
Go to the Next page: Wednesday.