News Blog 9: 2021 Covid-19, cancellations and alternative events

Message about the Monterey Motorsports Reunion from Doug Sallen and Rob Manson (2020 Bulletin 2) …

Hello All, after what has truly been a long strange Spring-into-Summer which in most of our cases has facilitated some serious garage time. We likely have our 1947-1955 race cars prepared like never before – all dressed up but with nowhere to go … perhaps “current license plates and open road at sunset”! There are hopeful signs for an active late summer and fall schedule in Northern California. Here is a list of events that could get us back on track. These organizers are our friends … get out on the track if you can …

CSRG Sonoma 7/10…
Laguna Seca Recreational Area Mangement Company Laguna Sea 8/8…
Sonoma Speedfest 9/3…
CSRG Sonoma 10/2…
CSRG T’ Hill 10/30…
SVRA Laguna Sea 12/3 …

Those of us who received invitations to this year’s August Monterey Motorsports Pre and Reunion and who are on their mailing list ( not necessarily the same thing … hmmm! ) will have received communications from Laguna Seca in the past week … copy below.

Laguna Seca Recreational Area Management Co …. the event organizers … in the end the intention as we all understood … was to hold the Pre and Reunion event “as a Club event” collapsed recently … county health and volunteer organization issues. The details are summarized in an article from Vintage Motorsport … below!

A consolation event … Drivers Appreciation Weekend … has been offered for the traditional 8 – 9 August Pre-reunion weekend for those entrants accepted for either or both of the Pre and Reunion. It will be organized by our friend HMSA / Cris Vandergif in adherence to the Monterey County guidelines for track day and private rentals for Laguna Seca Recreational Area / The Race Track. Recent weekends have held events including SCCA. Effectively, this means seat time for our vintage race cars at a reasonable / club price on our “home track” Laguna Seca. “No pool, no pets, no cigarettes” – paddock camping but no social events, no spectators and limited crew in the paddock. We’ll fly solo more or less … but fly all the same.

We would like to gather 10-15 of our Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the weekend and will stake out paddock space best we can given the “times” and work with Cris re group sturctures. This would ensure that we have someone to race with without too much hassle and enjoying beautiful Monterey Penninsula race track. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to get our group together for a bit of socially distanced celebration of our great cars and the friends who keep them on the track.

Please tell us when you apply for the event so we can do a bit of organization in these turbulent times. All the best, Rob & Doug

From “The Track Mgmt Co”…..

Dear Participants,

We deeply regret to inform you that the Pre-Reunion and Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 13-16 are canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and its impact on public social gatherings. The health and safety of you, your crews and family are our utmost concern. After much discussion and consultation with local health and government officials, and feedback from many of our participants, we cannot envision a suitable way to provide for the wonderful race and social settings for families of all ages to enjoy.

CAL/OSHA still mandates as of June 5 that, “All public events or concentrated gatherings, including musical or other performances, at these facilities must be canceled or postponed.”

This has been a very difficult decision to make and we are truly disappointed. The entire team wants to thank you for your calls, email messages and feedback. You have been extremely supportive of the event and our attempts at finding a way to get you back on track.

You will receive a full refund of entry fees. Please contact [email protected] to begin the process.

In an effort to still get you on track, we will be hosting a Driver Appreciation Weekend to replace the Pre-Reunion dates of August 8 and 9, with load-in occurring on Friday, Aug. 7. This will be a private track rental where you will be able to enjoy driving in a low-key club-like affair. We empathize with many of you who remain dedicated to coming to Monterey, and this event is for you.

Please complete the attached simple pdf entry and return it to [email protected] by July 1. We want to make this process as easy as possible. Once entries are received Cris Vandagriff of HMSA will begin assembling the groups and developing the schedule to maximize your track time.

The attached press release will be distributed within the hour, as we wanted to ensure you heard the direction that we are taking firsthand.

Again, we cannot begin to thank you enough in words. But we hope to provide a suitable thank you when we return in 2021. We will keep in touch about run groups, opening of registration and other important matters in the coming months. Your patience and understanding during this time have been greatly appreciated.

Please continue to stay safe, healthy and happy.

Most sincerely, John V. Narigi , Barry Toepke, & Francesca Flores

Events

This page will carry information on upcoming events for Del Monte Trophy Race Group cars. Please provide information to Rob Manson and Marcus Bicknell (see Contacts page).

2017 August   Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, August. Triumphantly completed.

2018 August   Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Can’t wait.

2019 August.  Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. News: July 2019… the latest bulletin gives details for competitors in next month’s Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion – Group 1.  CLICK HERE

Rob Manson: 1953 Tatum GMC Special

Charles “Chuck” Tatum was a decorated Marine Corps veteran of Iwo Jima from Stockton, California. He built the Tatum GMC Special in late 1952-early 1953 on a dare from friends Phil Hill, Sammy Weiss and Doug Trotter. Pre and Post War Ford suspension and drum brakes are mounted on a Tatum, designed and built, tube frame chassis. The engine, originally from a truck, is an inline 6 cylinder GMC. For the 1954 and 1955 seasons, Wayne Engineering of Los Angeles, supplied full race 302c.i. versions with its 12-valve cross flow cylinder head. Jack Hagemann of Hayward, Ca. built the all aluminum body.

The Tatum GMC Special was an active road racing participant and occasional winner, throughout California, from 1953 through 1955. During that period it also won the Best Sports Car Trophy at the 1954 Oakland National Roadster Show and was Hot Rod Magazines’s Cover Car for October 1953. The Tatum turned 157 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats and co-starred with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in the Hollywood epic JOHNNY DARK. Chuck Tatum raced his Special in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races. The Tatum GMC Special has been an active vintage racing participant since the mid-1980’s and is entered in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion most years since 2015.

In 2021 the car was driven by Blake Tatum, Chuck’s son, as a tribute to the 70th Anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races. At our request Blake sent some information about him, as a driver…

Blake Tatum, race driver, in his own words.

I got interested in racing as a little boy; I spent hours hanging out in the garage watching my dad build and work on race cars. When I would come home from school I would sit in whatever race car we had sitting in our garage and pretend to drive it. As I got older the desire to race cars intensified but the financial resources never showed up.  Finally when I was about 27 years old I could afford to go SCCA racing. Since my background was in Volkswagens and since my dad was the builder of the Crusader Formula Vee we decided that was my path into road racing. My dad and I built a new car based on the then current hot setup for Formula Vee.

Our first car was not a smashing success mainly because the learning curve for me as a driver and for us as designers was not up to the standards being set at that time. In 1994 we redesigned the car and instantly went faster.  I won the regional Championship in the ultra-competitive FV class that year.  From there I again won the regional championship in Formula Vee in 2005 and 2006.

I won the Formula Car Challenge FV Championship also in 2005. This was a Challenge series between everyone on the west coast.  The Championship race was at Kent Washington, a track I had never driven on. I qualified on the pole in damp conditions but when the race started it was sprinkling. Unfortunately I only had intermediate tires for conditions that called for rains. Not knowing the weather for that part of the country, I figured it was going to be a sunny weekend since it was the very first weekend of September. At the start I fell back to third place and was able to hold onto the position but the guy in front of me was my rival for the championship and he was on rain tires.  With one lap to go he spun at turn three and I was able to slip past. From there it was a matter of who was able to keep the car headed the right direction in the now torrential downpour. Luckily I had just enough grip to beat him to the finish line and take the Championship.

I still race the Formula Vee and also have a Formula First which my dad and I built together.

At one point I had the track record in Formula Vee at Laguna Seca which was eclipsed when the runoffs were held at the track. I currently have the track record for Formula First at Thunderhill Raceway Park and at Laguna Seca. I have over twenty victories in SCCA racing and over fifty podium finishes.

My very first victory of any kind was when I drove the Tatum Special at an CSRG event back in 1998 at Sonoma Raceway and I look forward to driving it at the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Laguna Seca, August 14/15 2021.

As a side note I am currently the editor of the SCCA San Francisco Region’s magazine called The Wheel and have been on the SCCA Board of Directors for the region for over 12 years.

Here’s a picture of my father and me that was in the program for the 1965 SCCA races in Stockton California.

 

Blake Tatum                                                                            By email Tue, 3 Aug 2021

 

PS Marcus, it’s a shame we cannot meet in person. I really like your writing style in the press release!

See also Blake Tatum’s article at https://www.sfrscca.org/news/memories-of-my-competition-school-blake-tatum-1402/