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Laguna Seca, 14-16 August 2009

Let's start with a moan and get it out of the way, as once again it was a great event, but, if one is granted media accreditation then one expects just that. There were numerous disgruntled scribes and photographers, many of whom had travelled from Europe at considerable expense (Monterey is also not the cheapest place to stay during the historic week), and who had been attending for a number of years, who felt let down, even cheated, by the media accreditation procedure. If the media pass that you were issued with didn't have a yellow band, then, despite the pass stating “media” you weren't allowed access to the media room! Basically, it just amounted to a free ticket. As if that wasn't bad enough, even if you were fortunate enough to be issued with  a ”yellow band” pass it didn't guarantee you a photo vest, an essential for any photographer to carry out their work properly. This may sound petty to those who have to buy their tickets, but it is the journalist's work that publicises the event, and hopefully captures the public's interest and imagination, which in turn makes the popularity, and thus longevity, of any event a success. That said, after a fraught time securing a photo vest, everything worked smoothly, including the welcome media shuttle bus, it's a long haul by foot up the hill to The Corkscrew!

The 36th running of the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races this year celebrated Porsche, and of the 450 race entrants, 145 were the representing the marque from Stuttgart. They ranged from a 1949 356 SL model, through 550 Spyders, RS and RSKs, various 356 and 911 variants, 904s, 906s, 908s, 910s, 917s, 935s and 956s to 962s, virtually the whole Porsche racing stable, they made an impressive sight. Added to this the new Porsche Museum had loaned a quartet of special cars for display, a 1960 Type 718 F2 car, a 1962 Type 804 F1 car, a 1962 Type 718 W-RS Spyder and a 1998 GT1 model, of the type that finished 1-2 at Le Mans that year. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic 917 model, there were four examples racing in grid 7A, the penultimate race on Saturday afternoon, along with a host of 906, 908 and 910 models, a Porsche fans dream!

Non Porsches notable in grid 6A were a quartet of pontoon-fender Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas, plus a 335 Sport model from the same stable, but it was not a good race for them, as Jon Shirley spun his example down the Corkscrew in the middle of the pack on the first lap, amazingly everybody avoided him and he avoided the wall, to continue unscathed. The same could not be said for David Love's example on the following lap, when he appeared to arrive too quickly, couldn't make the turn before reaching the run-off area, then bounced the right side down the tyre wall inflicting cosmetic injuries to the beautiful pontoon fender body, although fortunately he emerged unscathed from the incident. It is worth noting that he has raced this car in all thirty six runnings of the event, quite an achievement.

It wasn't only the cars that attracted vast crowds to the circuit, but legendary names like Jurgen Barth, Derek Bell, Vic Elford, Hurley Haywood and Brian Redman, all of whom had great success in Porsches, and not forgetting the spritely Sir Stirling Moss as he approaches his 80th birthday.

Race Results
Grid 1A

1   27    Jan Voboril   

1924 Ford T Barber-Warnock

2   14    Mark Sange    

1935 Austin 7 Spl.

3   11    John Kerridge 

1926 Frazer Nash Boulogne

Grid 2A

1   7     Paddins Dowling

 1934 ERA

2  71     Mark Gilles          1939 Maserati 4CL
3  31     Peter Giddings       1935 Alfa Romeo 8C-35
Grid 3A

1  27     Bill Perrone    

 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

2  15     Spencer Trenery      1954 Maserati A6GCS
3 500     Dean Meiling         1954 Maserati A6GCS
Grid 4A
1 711     Doug Sallen          1964 Morgan +4
2  61     Ned Bacon            1961 Porsche 356 B
3  49     Ranson Webster       1960 Porsche Abarth GTL

David O'Neill