For years I was a great booster of the historics, but as so often happens, the event has grown up and changed. Back in the early days you drove in, picked a camp site and suckered the SCRAMP guys into believing you had already paid as a race entrant. Now camp sites are reserved months in advance and cost more than a hotel room in Salinas. Plus, they make you buy a weekend's worth of entry tickets whether you are there for the weekend, or just a day. One would like to hope the quality of the experience has improved, but in fact the opposite is true.
We used to camp above turn two. From there you could see most all of the track, but eventually we got chased out to make room for pricier clientele. Then, in an effort to attract more international events, the track layout was modified. The net result was more concrete barriers, and frankly, less viewing opportunities. The experience has been further degraded by the construction of pit suites which block any view of the pregrid. After all, we must keep these things exclusive. Today, it appears one of the keys to successful road race organization is to limit access. Life didn't used to be that way.
In spite of my disaffection with the event, I understand the economic forces at work. Its just a shame to have lost the simplicity of it all. Collected here, in no particular order are some of the photos I've snapped over the years. That's another thing which bugs me, over time they make it progressively harder to be an amateur photographer. I don't want to buy somebody else's pictures. I want a fair shot at bringing home my own.
|Now why was it I wanted to pay money to live in the dirt for five days and nights? Ah yes, this would be it.|
|For a little vintage flavor we'll go black and white. No, I didn't just convert a color image. I shot a lot of black and white film in those days. Had I known in a few short years it would be possible to convert on screen, I might not have done it. Hey, how'd that pig boat Chevy get in there?!|
|Bugs. Remarkable machines. Proof the French, in spite of themselves, can get things right sometimes.|
The old turn two really was a great spot to get photos. Not only were the cars really on it coming into the turn, but it was one of the few places around the track where you could get that wonderful outside turn exit shot. I had this stonking great 600mm lens which must have weighed about 12-13 pounds. You could walk down to the gate on a track access road and get a good low angle, or move farther back up the hill for a higher angle. The long lens was a must to pull in the action.
Upon further review, this might be turn 5 on the new layout. Never trust anything you read on the net.
|I see where Ford and 'ole Shel are back in business together. Too bad, that Shelby Series I thing was a fiasco from start to finish. And the grand old man appears to be about as bent as a three dollar bill. To celebrate the reapproachment of Ford and Shelby I present a Daytona Coupe...or is it? Lawsuits anyone?|
|Isn't this just the perfect cross section of europe. Here we have the Italian Alfa, all elegance and flair. Fast? Absolutely, but it will probably break. Then the French Alpine Renault. Almost looks like a fish, don't it. And the British, mustn't foget them. Quick to point out they are not "in" Europe. In spite of everything - well like Morgans for example - they none the less built the wold's last and largest empire. Just imagine if they had been the Germans. Speaking of the Germans, none of their cras are visible in this shot. Probably long since run off and left this rabble to fight for scraps.|
|I love cars like this Lancia Kappa. I think it was this guy I used to see scooting down frontage roads on the way home Sunday after the races. He would run along the frontage roads, then duck on the freeway where they didn't run through. Odds are, given a chance, the CHP would have ticketed him for something stupid.|
The DB3S may never have been an all conquering race ride, but what a looker. I would kick a pontoon fender Testa Rosa aside to have one of these. Talk about stupid.
This is anther example of where the long lens came in handy. I was over on the corkscrew early one morning when Peter Egan came by. He asked about my rediculously large telephoto lens, and that led to an interesting conversation. Nice guy.< /p >
|Nice kitty, good kitty...sigh. Beautiful machine - not good in corners.|
|Say it with me. Let it roll off your tongue. Jaun Manuel Faaaaannngiooo, driving what looks like a very large 12 cylinder Alfa Romeo.|
|Only a knuckle dragging Covette owner would want the Lister to win. It did. To his credit, the guy was a capable driver in a very fast car. If memory serves, the DBR was piloted in a highly spirited fashion by Sir Stirling. This of course, before he developed a penchant for shortening other pe ople's priceless race cars in the Andretti hairpin.|
|Uh, gee Nigel I don't think that's how to do it.|
|I did something like this once in a Bugeye at Phoenix. Whereas this guy went into a mild tank slapper, I just ground to a near stop and then rolled forward into the infield. Of course, I was bucking for my VARA license and the chief driving instructor just happened to be sitting atop his RV right by the corner. When I went to see him after the race, he put a finger in the air and made a circular motion. Yup, that was me boss.|
|Things don't always go according to plan. There was a story this machine had been purchased (to the tune of millions) at auction Friday night. He tangled with a corvette, naturaly. The story sounds a little too juicy to trust, but its a shame none the less.|