[xk] The First Annual Central New Jersey Jag-Lovers Picnic (plus VSCCA racing at Lime Rock)

Thanks, Mike, for a great picnic - and congratulations on having you 120
there for all of us to enjoy.

Thanks, again Mike and everyone else who came to the NJ picnic. It was a
great idea and very well organized - and, as one attendee said, not
over-organized. We all just hung out and shared our cars, experiences,
stories, and advice for a while. I think more of these without the car
shows might be a good idea whose time has come.

Donna and I had a great time and just got home a few hours ago - stayed
at a motel in Millbrook, NY last night when it started getting dark.
Hood and side screens up this morning to start as it was raining and
cold but hood down after a couple of hours on the road.

Our 120 behaved flawlessly all weekend - and what a weekend it was. We
left Thursday morning to arrive at Lime Rock to help Tivvy set up for
two days of racing. He was doing tech inspections starting on Thursday
and it was fun to hang out there as the cars came by for inspections.
Quite a variety of vintage racers showed up - Jag, Lotus, Cooper,
Morgan, MG, Alfa, Bugatti, Maseratti, Curtis, Lister, Mini,
Aston-Martin, Porsche, and many others.

Donna and I were corner-workers all day for both days - practice
sessions on Friday and practice plus VSCCA vintage races on Saturday. It
was our first experience with this work. We began to feel like we were
jinxed as the only accidents on both days were at our corners. Friday we
were at turn 11 at the bottom of the diving turn at the beginning of the
main straight. An MGA spun in the turn and was hit by two cars - Lotus
and Porsche. The A driver was wearing a neck brace at the dinner that
night and there were no other injuries. On Saturday, we were at turn 7
at the bottom of the uphill at the end of No-Name Straight. The driver
of a lotus coming out of turn 6 was holding his steering wheel over his
head to indicate to us that he was going to crash and he proceeded to go
straight into the tire barrier with his brakes locked and turn upside
down in front of us. He wasn’t hurt. I was on the headphones and
couldn’t go help but Donna and Harold, with the assistance of three
drivers who stopped to help, turned the Lotus upright to let the driver
get out as petrol was dripping on his helmet. He confessed that he had
forgotten to lock the steering wheel in place after he got in the car
for the practice session. This was the same Lotus that had hit the A on
Friday. (This driver borrowed another car and was racing again later in
the day without further incident.)

We learned how important the corner workers are in racing - especially
in dangerous situations. It’s very high stress work demanding constant
focused attention and fast responses to a variety of situations.

In appreciation, about a half dozen drivers gave us rides around the
course in their race cars at the end of Saturday’s activities. I did a
few laps with Gordon MacKenzie in his Lotus coupe then a few in a
Porsche Speedster and a few more in a Lotus 7. Great fun. I told the
Lotus driver I was hoping a 120 or 140 would be there to ride in also.
He asked me if I had seen the nice black 120 daily driver from Vermont
over by Tivvy’s place in the paddock - he really liked that one. I was
happy to tell him it was mine.

Weather at Lime Rock ranged from hot/humid to cold/rainy and from calm
to a microburst (small tornado) that took down two big trees near us on
Friday. Leaves and branches were all over the track and they stopped the
practice session.

Saturday night on the way to our B&B we stopped in the little village of
West Cornwall for ice cream and met a 78-year-old couple who were really
excited to see the 120. We talked to them for a while about it. They
were still there when we finished our ice cream so I asked the man if he
wanted to go for a ride. It was difficult to convince him I was serious

  • especially when I made it clear that he was going to drive. (I had
    learned that he used to drive a friend’s Austin Healy regularly.) We
    went for a brief ride. When we returned (and he drove beautifully, BTW -
    never crunched a gear), I persuaded him to take his wife for a ride. (He
    wanted to give me his Honda keys for “security” but I gave them back to
    him.) What a great time they had. An experience we’ll both remember for
    the rest of our lives.

Sunday we left in the morning for NJ and got to the picnic around noon -
with some of the trip at about 80 mph on the NJ interstates. Lots of
appreciation from toll booth operators and other people on the roads.
Took the Palisades and GS Parkways for most of the way - nice driving
roads for the 120 on a nice day. Played tag with a black, top down Vette
Sting Ray for a while.

We now have about 2,000 miles on the “new” engine (in one month) and it
is behaving beautifully. With the new upper ball joints and tie rod ends
it is handling extremely well at speed and is more of a joy to drive
than ever.

(Lots more to tell - maybe I’ll write more and post it on our web page.)–
Slainte Mhath
A day to come seems langer than a year that’s gane. (Scottish proverb)
Bruce Cunningham - home page://www.together.net/~bcunning/