CSRG Charity Challenge Weekend recap

The Mini's at this year's CSRG Charity Challenge Race were all in group B, a representation of the smaller engine displacement sports and GT cars as raced in the US under rules of 1967 and earlier. As such we had a wide variety of cars ranging from a Lola MK1, Elva Couriers, Porsche 356, MG's and Alfas.

Saturday Morning:

The Monty ran strong in Saturday's Morning Qualifying/Practice, clocking in at 1:58.666 for second on the grid for Saturday's race. Ed Nigro took the pole at 1:58.244 in a Lola Mark 1. Next Mini on the grid was Doug Peterson, in 4th spot with a 2:02.924. Next was Don Racine in 23rd with a 2:08.385, Julie Racine in 35th with a 2:17, and Steve Lives in 38th with a 2:20.

Julie blew a head gasket after about a lap or 2. Don managed to do a little off-roading in turn 5 after dropping some fluid on his own rear tire and performing a nice tank slapper and then going up the inside dirt embankment before getting things completely back under control. No harm to the car or driver and continued without issues.

We replaced the head gasket on Julie's Green Mini and did the normal check list on all the cars for the Afternoon race.

 Saturday's Race:

This was supposed to be a pure 'time' qualifier for Sunday's race, but instead it ended up being a regular race, and our finishing positions would set Sunday's starting grid. (aka we'd continue this race on Sunday).

I started 2nd, and had a terrible start. I let the motor load up, and therefore couldn't get off the line when the green flag flew. As a result I was 5th going into turn 2. Fought my way through to end up 3rd on the day. Having some great battles with At the time we didn't know they were going to change the way they were going to set the grid, and my time in the race, a 1:58.688 would have put me second again.  Doug Finished 5th with a 1:59.857, his best lap of the weekend. The time would have put him 5th by time, and as it turned out that was also his finishing position, so nothing changed for him with the 'grid change'. Don Racine turned in a 2:03.968 which by time, would have put him around 13th, but because he came in early, he would start near the back on Sunday. Julie Racine finished the race in 33rd, with a personal best time of 2:13.071. Steve Lives finished 27th, with a 2:08.034. Terrific Racing by all.

Sunday Morning Practice:

Sunday Morning Practice was great fun. The four Minis all hit the track nose to tail to have some fun. And we did just that. No issues for anyone, just great fun.

Sunday Charity Ride Arounds:

I was given the opportunity to take a few people for some hot laps around the track during lunch in the Yellow Mini. The first young lady (in her 20's I would say) was a real hoot. Her father came over to me before she got in the car and told me that she has no fear, so give her a good ride. She was so funny. Every time i put the car sideways a little in a corner she would pump her fists near her chest and giggle. I got the car completely sideways in 5, and she gave out this scream of joy! It was so funny. She didn't want to get out when we were done

Sunday's Race:

I started 3rd, Doug 5th, right behind me on the 2-by-2 starting grid. I was really excited for a good race, but rounding turn 6 on the pace lap I noticed my oil pressure gauge reading zero! Engine sounded perfect, I wondered if it could be a problem with the gauge, but alas, I needed to shut it down, didn't want to take a chance. I pulled off at the end of the esses, and parked it behind a tire wall in a place i could at least watch the race.

As the green flag flew, I watched everyone go up through turn two and out of site. As the leaders came around, I didn't see any of the people who started around me on the grid. What the heck? Looking back at turn two again, I could see waving yellow flags and a lot of smoke. Turns out that the 4th place Alfa, spun in turn two right in front of Doug, who proceeded to collide together as he had nowhere to go. As a result Doug's car took heavy damage to the front right, taking him out of the race.

Meanwhile Don Racine, was moving quickly up the field, until the full course yellow came out, and then before the green flag fell again (3+ laps later) suddenly lost the drive. Something in the differential at first glance, but we're not sure yet.

The two remaining Minis, Steve and Julie and good runs in the short time remaining in the race as a result of the long full course yellow.  Steve finished 18th, with a fast lap of 2:10.778 and Julie Finished 24th, with a 2:12.835. Not a bad time considering she's currently got a stock cooper S ratio gear box in there at the moment.

So maybe it was a blessing that I had oil pressure problems, otherwise I might have been in the middle of the incident in turn 2, so as a result I was counting my blessing, rather than my disappointments. Overall It was a very fun weekend, I had a great time.

I have a ton of video, from all the cars, including Doug in the Cooper Works tribute car. I'll get it all edited and up on youtube this week.

There are some pictures here in the meantime:  http://webmaster.miniowners.com/comm_PhotoGallery.cfm?galID=1112

-Dennis Racine