Race Report for VARA's British Extravaganza: May 4-5 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park
Welcome Race Fans, this is your amateur race reporter Troy Tinsley coming to you for the May '13 VARA race report. (VARA is seeking volunteer reporters for future events, so please sign up and join the fun.)
This weekend was the 18th annual British Extravaganza at Buttonwillow Raceway, and we had an excellent turnout with more than 120 vintage entries. Also joining VARA at the track this weekend were SVRA West, the Lotus Cup USA race group, and the Bakersfield British Car Club for its car show and lunchtime drive-arounds. Many competitors took advantage of the Friday test day to get in a few extra laps of practice and to dial in their car. The weather Friday and Saturday was hot and sunny with temps in the 90s and blustery afternoon winds. After the gust front passed through Saturday afternoon (leaving some racers dodging tumbleweeds and pit crews dodging canopies), Sunday was partly cloudy and about 10 degrees cooler.
Check out photos from this event on VARA's Facebook page.
On Saturday evening VARA hosted their famous (infamous?) BBQ and Karaoke sing-a-long. Camaraderie and good vittles were enjoyed by all. Now if only some of our members could sing as well as they race...
Saturday's Qualifying races set the stage for a great day of racing on Sunday, which started with this weekend's signature race, the All British Car Union Jack Challenge. With the fastest five cars within two seconds a lap time of each other, the race finished under caution with Jerry Barker taking the chequers in his '71 Triumph Spitfire. Dick Hughes sang Sunday's National Anthem (with accompaniment from his faithful hound), and then the weekend's Flag Races took the stage. Group 1 (Big Bore) started the action with John Wilkins in his GTU Datsun Z taking the group win during a tight, race-long battle with Ron Anzalone in his CR Lotus. CP honors were taken by Wayne Blasman, Mark Wood in AS, and Daniel Martinez in WSR. We missed the usual large turnout of vintage V8s this weekend and are hoping they were just taking the weekend off.
Group 2 (Small Bore) saw Fred Plotkin gap the field for the group win in his ESR Kangaroo, with tight racing and Class wins going to Daniel Schwartz in EP, Frank Mons in DSR, Dennis Racine in DS, and DJ Issac in FP, while Ken Beck took the FV subgroup win. This weekend, Group 2 welcomed visiting CVAR racer Forrest Tindal, who towed all the way from Missouri with his iconic '60 Lola Mk1. Group 3 (Medium Bore) saw Troy Ermish take the group and BS win in his '71 Datsun 510, with Ken Knight taking DP honors in his Triumph TR4, and Ken Blasko in CS with his BMW 2002. Usual front runner David Wychoff battled his dying Sprite all weekend, and earned the 'Golden Wrench' award for a Saturday night cylinder head rebuild. The TABS 2.5 West Challenge joined Group 3 this weekend and offered the Sedan racers an opportunity to participate in a new points series.
The fan favorite Group 4 (Historics) rumbled to the grid with a blur of hand-cranked engines. Our annual gathering of vintage thunder showed fans what pre-war racing is all about when Brian Blain's 1916 National took to the track, along with its mandatory ride-along mechanic. Peter Giddings took the group win in his gorgeous '35 Alfa Romeo with a very respectable lap time of 2:26.
Group 5 (Wings and Slicks) and Group 6 (Formula Ford) finished up the day showing off their top speeds after a track configuration change to remove the back straight's Bus Stop chicane. Group 5 saw Brian Blane take the group and F2 win in his '74 March 742 with a one second margin over Martin Reinhardt. Paul Lisec took FSV, and Jerry Kehoe took FB. In Group 6, Steve O'hara took a slim group win over Mark Wilson, and Todd Strong took the monoposto FF honors in his '70 Titan Mk 6.
» Go here for the Race Results on MyLaps (note: their recent upgrade makes it difficult to review personal results)
Results Group 1-3 | Results Group 4-6
Special thanks goes to this weekend's Race Chair Scott Parsons, who had the unenviable task of setting the race schedule. Thanks, also, to co-race chair Joe Siam. And of course we couldn't enjoy our race days at the track without our Long Beach MG Club corner workers, who make their appointed rounds through heat, wind, rain, or snow. We look forward to seeing everyone at the next VARA race!
Members: If YOU would like to show off your writing prowess (and share your sense of humor), we're looking for volunteers to write race reports. Email VARA if you can help.