Great Racing, Great Cars and Great Friends at the Masters Speed Festival
Nearburg, De Silva, Trenery and Bouzaglou take home the silverware!
The Masters Speed Festival at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca was our very first home US event and proved to be an all-round hit! Although the weather was no quite what anyone had hoped, the event provided some exciting racing and a relaxed paddock bonhomie for everyone to enjoy! The first races back for Masters Historic Formula One USA proved that those cars have lost none of their interest and it was great to see the new Masters Formula Atlantic Plus take to the 2.238 mile, 11-turn track!
The weekend ran to a 2-day format, with Saturday morning was dedicated for the race groups practice sessions. Unfortunately, the unseasonal California weather refused to cooperate with heavy mist shrouding the circuit. A small number of cars took to the track for practice in the cold conditions. Fortunately for all involved the weather improved for the Saturday afternoon qualifying sessions!
For Day Two on Sunday, the activities got under way under cool and overcast skies and the McLaren Senna GTR pace car, supplied by McLaren San Francisco had a busy schedule with 11 races to get through during the day!
In Masters Historic Formula One USA, Charles Nearburg was untouchable during the weekend. Having thrown down the gauntlet in qualifying with a 1:20:543 in his Williams FW07C, he started Race 1 from pole and never looked back, taking a flag to checker victory. Timothy De Silva was chasing in second in the lovely-sounding V12 engined Alfa Romeo 182 until lap 9 when the low oil pressure light came on. Martin Lauber in his March 741 then took over the second position with Steve Romak in third. Nearburg was dominate again in Race 2, never looking flustered. Cal Meeker (Tyrrell 009) drove a blinder to finish second and Tim De Silva managed to get to 3rd place. A great finish in the Alfa considering he started from the back…
The newly launched Masters Formula Atlantic Plus group proved a very welcome addition to the Masters family. In qualifying, Tim De Silva topped the qualifying field in the 1976 Ralt RT1 with a time of 1:25.363. The 1977 Chevron B39 driven by Laurent Parmentier was next, but almost 3.5 seconds behind.
In Race 1, Tim De Silva made up for the disappointment of retiring in the Formula One race with a flag-to-flag win. Laurent Parmentier had a good, but lonely race starting and finishing in second with his 1977 Chevron B39. Danny Baker finished third in his 1979 Ralt RT1. Race 2 was a carbon copy of Race 1 with De Silva victorious and Parmentier and Baker finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. James King started fourth in the 1972 McLaren M21 Formula 2 car. He dropped a place to Gray Gregory on lap 10. Gregory kept his Chevron B39 in fourth to the finish. Kyle Buxton started ninth in his 1977 March 77B. He moved up to sixth on lap 2 and stayed there for the rest of the race. Geir Ramleth was the last finisher on the lead lap, coming home seventh in his Ralt RT4. In the pre-1986 class Geir Ramleth won his class in the 1982 Ralt RT4 and Paul Richings finished 2nd in class in his 1985 Ralt RT5 Super Vee car.
In Masters Endurance Legends USA, Spencer Trenery (2006 Riley MK XI Gen 1 DP) was the leader from the green flag to the checkered in the first race. In addition to the win, Trenery picked up fastest lap. Stephen Romak had an interesting drive into second place with his new 2011 Pescarolo Morgan. Romak started second, dropped to third and then fourth on the second lap. He held fourth through lap 10 then moved up to third and on lap eighteen took second which he held till the end. Cal Meeker started fourth in his 1987 Spice GTP. Moved up to third on lap three. He took second on lap 11 and was back to third on lap 18.
The second 40-minute Masters Endurance Legends USA race also went Trenery’s way as he led from start-to-finish. Cal Meeker followed up in second place with John McKenna & Ross Thompson third, making up for a late race spin in the first race. In the GT Classes, Loren Beggs with the 2004 Porsche 996 RSR, Doug Baron in his 2016 Porsche 991 GT3R and Ed Hugo, 2008 Dodge Viper, took home the class trophies.
The event welcomed the chance for an extra grid in the form of The Vintage Sports Car Trophy for 1961 to pre-1979 sports racing cars to enter. Jim Bouzaglou seemed like the man to beat in his 1973 Lola T292 from the start, setting a time of 1:29.065 in qualifying. In Race 1, Bouzaglou started the day of with a flag-to-flag run to take first place. Danny Baker was second in the 1973 Chevron B23 with Gray Gregory’s third in his 1973 Chevron B26 passed him on lap 7. Jim Bouzaglou wrapped up a perfect weekend with a repeat of his win in Race 2, Danny Baker started second and held the position until lap 11 when his 1973 Chevron B23 stopped with a broken rear axle. Gray Gregory driving a 1973 Chevron B26 inherited the second place and held it to the end. Chris Bender started fourth in the 1976 Lola T296 and drove a steady race and moved to third position with Baker’s retirement.
Next stop in on the US Tour is the Masters & HSR Race Weekend at Watkins Glen International (July 8/11) followed the week after by a stop at the fun-filled by The Hawk at Road America (July 15/18). We hope you can join us there!
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