Regional Vice President – Bob Goeldner (click here to contact)
Governors Cup – Alton, VA – Sanctioning Club – VSCCA
Saturday, June 15th – Sunday, June 16th, 2013
The Southeast FJHNA race was held on Fathers Day weekend at Virginia International Raceway. It is difficult to say exactly where the south begins but you know when you have arrived as that Dixie hospitality is unmistakable. The relaxed attitude of the people, meandering terrain and the VIR track itself immediately announce “Grand Old South”. Peter Krause, event chair of the VSCCA Governor’s Cup, did a good job making certain details was taken care of. Although bookended by severe storms, we managed to race in some picture perfect weekend weather.
The entire event went off without a hitch and there were no incidents. The great Saturday night dinner always takes the chequered flag at the gracious Plantation House on VIR. The picture was eloquently framed by some of the racers sipping on their drinks while sitting under the beautiful veranda. The warmth of the evening was gently tempered by cool breezes. Due to some unexpected mechanical issues on some of the planned FJ entrants however, FJ participation was unfortunately less than what was expected. Compared to the attendance of FJ’s in previous years, it was an acceptable showing. In addition, there were 5 FJHNA members in attendance qualifying for points.
Bob Goeldner had the race won for 1st in class and 1st overall after lap 2. He easily coasted to victory in his Brabham BT2. A Formula racer back in the day, it is obvious Robert’s touch has not been affected by the passage of time.
Possibly the most exciting part of the weekend was the duel for second place overall (1st place in Class 2) between the three Lotus 18’s in the Sunday 15 lap feature race. Evenly matched, these three cars changed places no less than four times between them during the race, with exciting passes in some very technical turns.
By lap 13, the order was Grewal, DeLucia and Allison, with Allison and DeLucia going head to head and nipping at the heels of Grewal. In the part of the South Course that is known as the “Shrew” (for very good reason), Grewal started to lose the back end of his 18 as the rear started to squirrel. As Grewal was setting up for the right hand second turn in the Shrew, his 18 spun. To his credit, Nick kept a controlled spin and the car rested safely in place but unfortunately, perpendicular to the course blocking the road! DeLucia was 2 seconds behind Grewal and, finding Grewal’s 18 directly in front of him, slipped just behind Grewal’s 18 on the grass, avoiding the dreaded T-Bone. Allison was barely 2 seconds behind DeLucia but also managed to take some evasive action as he went to the left of DeLucia, also ending up on the grass. All cars safely avoiding disaster, the drivers without a second’s hesitation got back on course and finished out the race in an exciting tooth and nail dog fight.
At the penultimate lap, Allison was out in front by 5/10‘s of a second, only to passed in turn one by DeLucia for the final lap. After the race, spectators came up to Grewal, Alison and DeLucia recounting what turned out to be the most exciting duel of the weekend. These FJ cars lived up to their reputation in sterling fashion and the drivers should be commended on spirited, safe racing. As for the racers themselves, they knew that it was a great race as donning off their helmets and balaclavas, one could see smiles going from ear to ear.
Results of the feature race were:
- Robert Goeldner – Brabham BT2 1st place in Class 3, 1st overall
- Joseph DeLucia – Lotus 18 – First Place in Class 2, 2nd overall
- Stefan Vapaa – Saab S – DNF
- David Allison – Lotus 18 – Second place in Class 2, 3rd overall
- Nick Grewal – Lotus 18 – Third place in Class 2, 4th overall
- Stephen Morici – Cooper T67 – Non Classified
- Sharon Adelman – Brabham BT6 – DNS
- Robert Mirabile – Lotus 18 – DNS
- Chris Cunningham – Lotus 18 DNS
- William Gelles Jr. – Stanguellini – DNS
Although not having to do with racing proper, there is a story that deserves recounting as it illustrates why the people in vintage racing are so special. Steve Morici’s Cooper was not behaving well on Saturday and that rough riding British car expert Tivy Shenton went overboard trying to trace the problem. Finally narrowed down to one of the small rotational supports in the distributor being broken, as is so often the case, even the best of us tend to become myopic when looking at a problem for too long. So after the Saturday night banquet, Nick and Joseph went with Steve back to his car in the paddock despite protests of fatigue from Steve to wait until the next day. Here, it proved that Nick Grewal is not only good with computers, but can also be a consummate mechanic. Jokingly, he said he would fix the distributor with bubble gum if he had to but in examining the distributor, the glaring problem was simply the metal springs on the side of the distributor being too loose. Tightening the offending parts put paid to the majority of the problem and the next day, a pigeoned Tivvy was successful in garnering some spark plugs for that particular engine which also contributed to the problem. The valiant effort ended up in Steve being able to take part in the Sunday race.