2018 CSRG David Love Vintage Races

2018 CSRG David Love Vintage Races

As the old saying goes, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."  The 2018 CSRG David Love Vintage Races were proof of this concept.  

The weather gods have mercifully bestowed some serious late season rain on Northern California this year, and the threat of it loomed over the event all week.  We kept our eyes glued to Accuweather and The Weather Channel all week to see if our trip to Sonoma Raceway was going to be a GO or NO GO proposition.  As the week matured, the odds of a decent weather window opened for us, and on Friday evening, we decided it was a full GO!

 A curvy 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ1

A curvy 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ1

Lucky for us and the brave participants who also decided to make a go of things, Saturday morning signaled the end of the deluge and our first vintage racing event of 2018.  Honestly, the paddock was a little light.  Between the ominous weather reports all week, the rain and the closure of some local roads, this wasn't much of a surprise.  Those participants who decided to gamble on the weather clearing were treated, Saturday morning, to a drying track, (sort of) warming conditions and calm and mellow atmosphere conducive to working out last season's bugs and off-season tuning changes and updates. 

Unfortunately, because of the soupy and frankly treacherous conditions of the premises, we did not capture any of the on-track action of the Saturday we spent at the track.  Regardless, there was plenty going on in the paddock to capture.  Perhaps the most exciting  part of our day was loitering around as Charles McCabe started up and fiddled with his magnificent Maserati 250F.  Normally, a car with a "straight 6" wouldn't garner much of our attention, but as cars like this illustrate, not all straight 6's are created alike.  From its tidy Boranis to the 3 pack of Weber carbs and white painted exhaust bursting out of the bodywork, this thing was extraordinary...and that's no Bologna!  And speaking of white painted pipes, this thing exhaled a sound akin to angels singing.  This thing alone was worth the drive. Kudos to Mr. McCabe for sporting a Hawthorn-esque period, helmet w/ full face shield for the occasion!

Events such as the CSRG David Love Vintage Races remain, in our opinion, the best and most cost effective entry point into car culture.  Car owners are happy to discuss their machines and fill you in on the details of how they were constructed and their histories.  Often, automotive events can become stuffy affairs where the fashion of the car owner becomes more important than the actual car.  Vintage racing circumvents this haughtiness by bringing  automotive culture back to its roots as a home and showcase for the tinkerer, the fabricator and the collector.

 Charles McCabe fettling with his glorious 1955 Maserati 250F

Charles McCabe fettling with his glorious 1955 Maserati 250F

It’s not often that you can enter the pit garages at Sonoma Raceway completely unrestricted.  Even in the rare cases where it happens, it is typically too crowded with cars, equipment and people to get good photos and enjoy some quality time with a magnificent beast. Shockingly, even for big time motorsports journalists like ourselves the garages can be off-limits (or just not worth the effort) at certain events.

On this day, things were different.  CSRG is essentially a club of, for and by enthusiasts who want to match their machines to others of the same vintage (to the extent possible).  These cars aren't racing for cash, they're racing for show, glory or bragging rights.  There are no technical secrets to be kept or proprietary tech to be kept under wraps.  These factors make CSRG events, and events like them an inviting fan friendly opportunity that gives access to places normally off-limits. 

When first approaching the pit garage area the open doors on one end seemed to reveal emptiness (sad face).  After entering, the story changed dramatically.  We were presented, in the soft light of the garage, with no one in site standing around two stunning Italian masterpieces from Ferrari and Maserati.  The 800 lb gorilla of the two was a Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa, the same car that at one time belonged to David Love…scratch that....it didn’t just belong to David Love.  He raced it at just about every track in California for several decades.  This was no trailer queen, but a purebred vintage race car that had thousands of miles on it that were run in anger.  David Love and the Ferrari were together for 44 years and competed in 250 race starts.  Like the 250, this thing was worth the drive to see.

As always, we freely admit that our pictures are much better than our words.  Please take some time to take a look at our gallery from the event.  If you like what you see, please consider making a vintage racing event part of your 2018 automotive calendar.  You won't be disappointed.

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