A start, and a finish (?)
Left: Bond's Aston Martin in
front of the Cranwell
My alarm goes off and startles me awake. It is 3:20am PDT... way
too early to be getting up, but since I am in the Eastern
time zone it a somewhat reasonable 6:20. I shower myself awake,
pack and head outside. The weather is not too encouraging...
misty and low overcast. I put my stuff in the wet cat and head
up to the main building for breakfast.
Above: a wet cat.
I run into Frank & Clark in the mist...
After breakfast we join the lineup for the start.
Back to front: The Jag, Craig Benson's 1975 Jensen Healy, Brad
Mottier's 1972 Datsun 240z, a Ferrari,
Ron Gaeta's Jaguar XK-150, Peter Star's one-of-a-kind 1967 Toyota
a Porsche 356, a Mercedes 300sl roadster, The Kretchmer's Morgan,
another 300sl, another 356.
Above: The starting queue.
I drive the first timed segment. Since it looks like rain we keep
the top up. I hate driving the jag with the top up because I am
inch too tall to fit when it is up. Everytime we hit a bump my
head bangs into a cross-brace of the roof. I don't go too fast
since the roads
are wet, but we make good time anyway, and arrive at the end with
plenty of time to wait. We had passed all of the cars you see
picture above, along with a few more... so we pulled over to wait.
Dad checked our clock against the rallymasters while I dropped
roof (the clouds were lighter, but it was still grey.) The finish
of the first segment was at a racetrack. We were scheduled to
gymkhana and a drag race.
When our time to go for the last 100 yards to the checkpoint came,
the yellow Merc 300sl roadster you see just in front of us above,
came rolling in almost a minute late, he made his run for the
checkpoint right as our time was coming. What followed was a complete
disaster. The 300sl stopped on the line and left me no room to
pass. Then he slowly crept about 10 feet over. There were two
working the checkpoint. One was busy talking to the guy in the
Merc, and filling out his time sheet, the other was chatting with
woman about 5 yards past the line(!) Neither of them were paying
attention to us! Dad was counting down our time and I had NO IDEA
where to go. I crawled up to just short of the line and gunned
the engine as I crossed hoping to get somebody's attention. I
nose of the Jag between the 300sl's wide butt and the cone on
the drivers' side of the checkpoint. The rallystaffer whose conversation
interrupted turned and gave us a clearly annoyed look and said
":01"... meaning a one second penalty! Grrrr. It was a repeat
"Austin Moron incident" of last year. Dad said: "Since this is America, where you are supposed to
be innocent until proven guilty,and
since neither Iain or his pal (who called us guilty) saw us cross
the finish, you would think they would zero us, rather than find
and penalize us. Oh, well." I figure we are right where we started
last year: "Crap, one leg down, one second behind."
Speed Event: AutoCross.
Every year the New England 1000 hosts several speed events. Since
we always fall into the "Early Historic Over 4.0 liter" class
(The Jag has a straight six 4.2 liter, so we barely qualify) we
perenially share a class with a bunch of big V-8s. This year share
the class with two beautiful Corvette StingRay roadsters. One
is owned by George and Donna Von Gal, some friends of my parents,
and George is a veteran racer. We'll be lucky to limp away the
track alive. Our only hope is that the Sunbeam Tiger, driven by
Stephen Hansen and Rich Riena overheats (like it did last year),
and the 'Vette's get lost on the way to the track. =)
The first speed event is an autocross (or gymkhana) where you
negotiate a small course laid out on a parking lot with cones.
Based on my stellar
performance last year, where I spun the Jag around and around,
much to the entertainment of the whole crowd, I decided to let
Dad run it, and
I'd take the drag race. Due to the rain though, the drag was called
Left: Dad pulls the jag into the start area.
I watch quite a few folks run the course, and take a
bunch of pictures. (They're on the next page.)
The Jag is not really the best car to run this sort of
event with. It takes a real good driver (something
neither of us is!) to get the big road machine
through the cones. Frank Filangeri knows his Jag
like the back of his hand and turns in a very respectable
time. The best sort of car to run on these courses
are little machines like Porsches. Last year the 914s
kicked butt. This year the 356's and Speedsters do
the same. Dad's turn comes and he requires several
trips around... he loses his way in the practice run...
then Rich Taylor joins him to guide him around the course.
Then the timer malfunctions! Finally he gets a timed
run and turns in a 31.31. Not bad really. The best times are
just over 28 seconds.
Below: Dad's final run around the cones.
Since the Drag Race is cancelled I decide to take my turn on the
autocross. Last year I pushed the car real hard and managed to
spin it around twice.
This year I didn't even try that hard. The course was wet and
the car was sliding around a lot, but I didn't a repeat of that
thing where I was holding still and the whole planet was spinning
around me. =)
I drove what I thought was a very conservative course and ended
up getting a 31.32! Heh, only 100th of a second behind Dad. Maybe
I should have
pushed it a bit more!
By far the most entertaining autocross participant is Stephens
Dunne & Trevor Calhoun in their 1967 Lincoln Limo... complete
seal and Monica Lewinsky doll in the back. They tossed two hubcabs
as they rounded the curves. I managed to catch a pic of one of
We check out for our second timed leg. It is a long one, 93 miles.
We are given 130 minutes to do it, so it can't be too hard. Dad
and thankfully we keep the top down. I get some good pictures
along the way:
Above: Going through a covered bridge in Vermont.
Below: Left to right, The Jag, a ferrari, and a gorgeous 1958
BMW 507 driving along a twisty road in Vermont.
This stage finishes at an airport. We roll up with a good 20 minutes
to spare. I waltz up to check on the official rally time, and
watch a few cars
make their final runs. The checkpoint crew here is great, Jim
Reed & Leslie Berblinger... they run it very well with Jim watching
the line and Leslie
about 10 yards further to check your timecard. They use walkie
talkies between. This is great. Clockwork. No confusion. And if
up (like the last leg) then you always have room to deal with
it. (*BIG hint to Rich!*): Too bad they can't all be like this.
Dad wants me to drive the finish. Despite our first leg he still
thinks I can close better than him. I manage to prove him right
as we zero out. Woo Hoo! =)
We take a quick break at the airport...
Left: Avery nice Stearman.
Right: I drooled over this BMW. This must be what inspired the
Z-3. Very nice. It is a 1958 BMW 507 being driven by Susan Tatios
and Nancy Finkelman.
The next leg is a short transit to Lunch. We eat lunch at
the offices of Hemmings Motor News. They have a
nice collection. Including a couple of VW beetles. I buy
some old ceramic car memoribilia signs, including 2 VW
ones. I also grab a Vermont Fridge Magnet for the boys.
They gave us a 10% off discount coupon. I was tempted to ask if
it would apply to the Beetle covertible they had!
Left: 1959 Beetle.
The next leg is a long transit to our hotel in Woodstock Vermont.
I drive and Dad completely drops the ball as navigator within
about 2/10ths of a mile! Whatever...
It is only a transit stage anyway. We get out the map and just
figure a quick route to Woodstock and go.
We're flying along US 7. The traffic is light, the road is great...
things are unusually perfect.
OF COURSE SOMETHING HAS TO GO WRONG!
"Chhhhiiirrrppp! Flap, Flap, Flap, Bang!" ...Says The Jag.
Sounds like something just fell off the car. I quickly look in
We look at each other... 'what the hell was that?!' I take an exit of the highway. We stop and discuss
going back to look for loose Jaguar parts on the road. I go to
pull out and the car refuses to get in gear. The clutch feels
real funny. I struggle for a while to get into a gear, *any* gear
with no luck. We shut it down. We open up the hood, and give the
car a full visual inspection. Inside the engine compartment...
nothing unusual. Outside and under.... nothing funny. I pull out
my cell phone and call the Stephen Markowski, the rally mechanic.
I tell him about what is happening and he says they'll be there
in a bit. Dad and I discuss heading back to see if there are any
spare Jag parts back up the hill on US 7. I volunteer to take
the hike, just in case.
I walk about a mile back up the road. I find many interesting
car parts, but nothing from a 1965 E-Type Jaguar. After I reach
the top of the hill I turn and head back and - low and behold
- here comes Dad in a new Mercedes. This is not good. Mercedes is the major sponsor of the Rally and they provide
cars for people whose vintage machines die. Dad picks me up and
we head down to the underpass where the dead Jag awaits.
Left: Dad talks with the Rally mechanics inside their trailer.
In the capable hands of Mr. Markowski, the problem has been quickly
diagnosed as a Clutch Hinge Pin that has fallen out of place.
We all know that E-Type drivetrains require engine removal before
they can be worked on.
We are finished with the rally.... at least in the Jag.
I'm *really* bummed. I want to tell Dad to just drive me to the
airport... I'm not really that interested in driving a new Mercedes.
Yes, they are really nice cars, and way beyond my price range,
and very high performance in comparison to a 35 year old beast...
But c'mon! There's no comparison!
Dad seems to be taking it a whole lot better than I am. He offers
to let me drive, but I prefer to sulk. He talks about what a nice
car this Merc is... 'yeah whatever dad.' We navigate our way to
Woodstock using my PowerBook and GPS unit, since we left the route book in the Jag.
When we drive into the parking lot in a Mercedes everyone *KNOWS*
what has happened. They extend their sympathies.
I check into my room and sit down to edit photos for the day.
Dinner comes and I walk over to the place where we are all meeting.
The place is packed and I drink enough wine to take the edge off
my disappointment. I bring the powerbook and show some of the
photos I have taken.
Just as dinner is over one of the rally mechanics comes in and
tells my dad: "You're on... we fixed it!" Somehow they have managed to reset the hingepin.
Woo Hoo! We're back in business!
Go to the next Page: Speed Event: Gymkhana.
Or to the Next day: Tuesday.