RPM Nationals at Santa Margarita, California, with the three Baldwins – Rob Manson in the Baldwin Mercury, Max Jamiesson in the Baldwin Payne and Stu Hanssen in the Baldwin Hanssen. Rob won the V8 Full Race Trophy running against period Flathead dragsters.
You Tube has several videos posted, of which https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7H3htZKDYI shows two of the Baldwins.
Stephen Cloud sent photos and says “Hi Rob, It was a fun weekend and great to see you and Bob and be a hot rod grease ball rat for an afternoon. Best. Steve “
The 70th Anniversary celebration of the Pebble Beach Road Races and Concours d’Elegance kicked off with a press conference in the Concours Village before the start of the annual Tour d’Elegance. The backdrop was all 5 of the Pebble Beach Road Races winners positioned in front of our 50 foot Celebration Display. Sandra Button, CEO of the Concours opened this year’s event. Derek Hill, Phil’s son, moderated and spoke of his father’s recollections of the inaugural 1950 race and his win in the Jaguar XK-120. Robert Devlin, motorsport historian, continued with details about the Pollack Allard J2 (’51, 52), Hill Ferrari 250 MM (’53), Edwards Ferrari 375 MM (’54), and the Hill and Shelby Ferrari 750 Monza (’55,’56) as well as commentary on the historical importance of those early road races.
We created two sets of Celebration Displays, the first for the Concours d’Elegance. The second was located in the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion exhibit area at Laguna Seca. The Pebble Beach Road Races winners were on display in front of it on Saturday. They did a few demonstration laps at the lunch break and riding in the #14 Allard was driver Bill Pollack’s daughter Mellette.
Our Paddock Rows J and I were again a rolling museum exhibit of early 1950’s motorsports history in California. We displayed a late 1940’s Kurtis Kraft Midget, the dominant local oval track attraction during and immediately after WWII. Also the Baldwin Payne Special, one of the first hot rods built as a sports car in the late 1940’s for Southern California drag races, hill climbs and speed events, prior to the first road races in 1950. We had an extraordinary display of our early 1950’s imported and domestic sports cars. The two-time Pebble Beach winning Ferrari sports racer and the Devin Chevrolet Special closed our era in period, and demonstrated where the sport would be headed.
Our Race Group 4A track sessions were well fought, exciting racing. Pollack, Hill or Shelby didn’t drive those cars any harder when they were new than we drove them last weekend, 70 years later! All that great racing in a respectful, no contact experience: that’s what fun on a race track in a great old car is all about. The track announcers were very well informed this year and demonstrated their skill and interest in our cars in each of the 4 sessions. These were also live streamed over the internet and followed closely by our many friends and fans who couldn’t attend this year. While the live stream commentators were ill informed and apparently uninterested, the track announcers can be heard in the background. You can still watch it at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M40SjhDf74 and race 2 starts at about 6 hours 22 minutes in)
Marcus Bicknell was following the streaming cast in England and doing simultaneous written reports of each race. Here are the links to the correct page of our web site. These are not to be missed!
Race 1: http://www.dmtrg.com/race1-report-14-august-2021-monterey-reunion/
Race 2: http://www.dmtrg.com/monterey-race-2-report-14-august-2021/
Photo by Jim Rose courtesy of Celac Colvert, editor of Victory Lane.
Buddenbaum, Manson, Streets in Race 2.
Our web site also carries pieces on the Huffaker Healey, the descendants of the original Pebble Beach drivers, the 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Scaglietti Spyder, the article on us in Victory Lane, and the 1956 Cleary Crosley Special, all available by scrolling down http://www.dmtrg.com/category/news/
There were daily posting on each of the cars and drivers in Race Group 4A on our FaceBook page (https://www.facebook.com/MontereySportsCarRoadRacers) prior to Thursday the 12th. Also posted are many glorious photos taken during the event by Colin Warnes, our illustrious DMTRG photographer, David Gentry and others. You might want to check yours out.
We issued 3 Press Releases and others were sent out by the Concours and Reunion press staff. We’ll put together a folder of those and the articles in online and print magazines that they produced.
David Gentry is the artist who did the original artwork of several of our cars, the graphics and the composition of the 70th Celebration Displays, the Rows J and I Information panels and, of course, our Del Monte Trophy Race Group logo. He is as passionate about our cars and the stories that they tell as we are. He volunteered his talent and time to create a wonderful presentation for us and for spectators at both the Concours and the Historics.. His web site is www.machinemadness.biz. Please visit it to see more of the extraordinary motorsports art that he creates. Your car may be there, and if it isn’t ,you may want to commission him to do it.
Our fellow DMTRG Allard racer Jon LeCarner, whose company TotalExpo, Inc. specializes in convention exhibits, did the production and provided the structure for all of the displays. Their web site is: www.totalexpo.com
The black and white period photos that we have been privileged to use in the displays and throughout the pits are used by permission of the Julian P. Graham, Pebble Beach Company/ Lagorio Achives.
Each year, at our Del Monte Trophy Race Group gathering, we honor two of our group who have raced and finished; one in the Under 2000cc and one in the Over 2000cc Classes. Two previous honorees choose this year’s winner. On our behalf Gregor Magnusson and Kaiden Marouf chose Robert Davis and his Siata 208S as this year’s Under 2000cc honoree and John Buddenbaum and James Heth, standing in for Tim Barnes, chose Rob Manson for Over 2000 cc. Their names will be added to the perpetual Del Monte Trophy along with the past winners going back in each Class to 1950. Congratulations to the honorees and to the selectors!
The Del Monte Trophy Race Group Logo cloth patch should have been received by everyone in Race Group 4A and hopefully is now firmly attached to your race suits. But…There’s more swag for anyone looking for birthday or Christmas or just everyday stuff with our logo on it. Any profits are for the DMTRG Project. Go to: https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/84120896
• Thanks go to everyone in the Race Group for the hard, clean racing and for making this 2021 Historics so much fun.
• A special shout out goes to Marcus Bicknell in Chalfont St Giles, England, David Gentry in San Francisco and Jon LeCarner in Placencia. We couldn’t have accomplished all of this year’s projects without their dedicated efforts.
• Thanks also go out to; Dave Nelson and his initiative to create a cinema house in the bright sunlight of a race track parking lot (“Racing Through The Forrest” has to be one of the only car movies you could want to see twice);
• to Bill Rooklidge who created the Phil Hill Award for the Jaguar XK-120 that is first to finish (and isn’t the Parkinson).
• and to Colin Warnes, DMTRG photographer and all around Allard resource.
All the Best, Rob Manson
An exchange between Scott Marston and Rob Manson is of interest to many lovers of the Del Monte Trophy Cars…
On Aug 17, 2021, at 2:07 Scott Marston wrote:
“Hello, I see the Huffaker Marston Healey Special was part of your earlier photo shoot, is that car going to be displayed this weekend? It was built by my father, Mick (ok, he watched Joe do all the work!) and Joe Huffaker and we might make the trip down to see it if it’s there. I’ve read thru the pages, but am not sure.
Dear Scott, Your dad’s Healey Special was sadly not entered with the Del Monte Trophy Race Group at this year’s Reunion . It did participate in May in an extensive video shoot on the roads of the Pebble Beach circuit. The filming was organised as part of the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races and Concours d’Elegance. It was shown repeatedly during Sunday’s Concours.
The Marston Healey Special competed in the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races and was, as you know, we’ll driven by your dad. We were able to get its current owner to include it in the Special Exhibit of “California Specials That Raced At Pebble Beach” at the 2017 Concours d’Elegance. We are hoping that it will join the Del Monte Trophy Race Group on the track for next year’s Historics. It’s owner, and soon to be neighbor, has always been a hot shoe! Best, Rob Manson
The Del Monte Trophy Race Group Announce a Unique Special Event in Conjunction with Celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of the Inaugural Pebble Beach Road Races
On track in August – the descendants of the original Pebble Beach drivers
The Del Monte Trophy Race Group is proud to announce a unique event within this year’s celebration of the 70 years since the inaugural Pebble Beach Road Races and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. At the 2021 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, five of the early 1950s Special in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group 4A will be raced by present day race drivers, each with a direct family connection to the car’s original driver.
The 1950 Cannon Mk.1 Special driven by Rick Cannon. The Cannon Mk1 Special was built by Ted Cannon in his North Hollywood, CA, machine shop and was driven by local fireman Jim Seeley. It is entered by the Cannon and Seeley families. Rick is Ted Cannon’s nephew. Dave Seeley, Jim’s son will be assisting. The Cannon Mk1 Special chassis and front suspension are from Ted’s grandfather’s 1934 Dodge sedan. It is powered by a full house Mercury V8 built with the help of the Throttlers Hot Rod Club. The current presentation has an Ardun overhead valve conversion. The transmission is a Ford 3-speed with a Zephyr gear set. Major body panels were repurposed from the wrecked Lincoln Zephyr that was bought for the gears. The car finished 3rd in the inaugural 1950 Pebble Beach Cup feature race and then raced in the Pebble Beach Road Races in 1951 and 1952. See annex below.
The 1952 Streets Manning Special driven by Skip Streets. Skip is the son of builder and racer John Streets and is a well-known Formula Vee and Formula Ford racer and Regional Champion. He is the only National Formula Vee Champion from the West Coast. Chuck Manning was a Stress Engineer at Douglas Aircraft. He designed and built the Manning Special as a technical exercise for Road and Track magazine and made the plan set available, for $2, to subscribers. Three Manning Specials were built and road raced in the 1950s. The Streets Manning Special is one of them. It was built by a collaborator of Mannings, Wally Chapman, in the upstairs back bedroom of his grandmother’s house in Schaghticoke, New York. John Streets, then a young engineering student from England helped him finish it and raced it in Eastern Canada and New York. The significant feature of the Special is Manning’s ultra-lightweight, rigid, tubular chassis. It has pre-War Ford suspension and drum brakes and is powered by a classic hot rod Mercury Flathead V8. The two other identical Manning Specials raced at the Pebble Beach Road Races in 1952, 1953 and 1954.
The 1953 Tatum GMC Special driven by Blake Tatum. The Special was built in Stockton, CA, by Charles (Chuck) Tatum. Blake is Chuck Tatum’s son and is a well-known racer and major supporter and Board Member of the Northern California Region of the SCCA. He is a multiple Regional Formula Vee Champion, including in cars built by his father, and is currently Editor of “The Wheel’. Chuck Tatum was a young Marine Corps veteran of the assault on Iwo Jima who got interested in auto racing after returning home to Stockton, CA. At dinner during the Stockton Road Races with Phil Hill, Sammy Weiss and Doug Trotter, he accepted a dare and committed to building a racingsports car that would beat the imported Jaguars and Aston Martin that theothers were driving. The Tatum GMC Special is the result. Chuck designed and built the tubular chassis and used Ford truck running gear. The OHV in-line 6-cylinder engine was from a Stockton Fire Department truck. That engine was replaced in 1954 and 1955 by full race versions supplied by Wayne Engineering the go-to manufacturers of GMC speed equipment. The all-aluminum body is by Jack Hagemann of San Leandro. The car, which was quite famous in the day, was Hot Rod Magazine’s November 1953 cover article, won the Best Sports Car Trophy at the Oakland National Roadster Show and did 147 mph at Bonneville. In 1954 it starred with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in the major Hollywood bomb Johnny Dark. It won at the Stockton and the Madera Road Races and was a strong competitor in West Coast races from 1953-1955. It raced at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races.
The 1951 Baldwin Hanssen Special driven by Stu Hanssen. The Special was raced in the mid-1950s by William Hanssen throughout California at events such as those at Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Pebble Beach. Stu is William Hanssen’s son and is a long time SCCA racer in his own right in both Formula Ford and Formula 2000. The Baldwin Hanssen Special is the third of the iconic California Specials built by Willis Baldwin in Santa Barbara, CA. The car was built on a shortened and boxed 1947 Ford sedan chassis and has Ford running gear. The engine is a hot rod Ford Flathead V8 with an Ardun overhead valve conversion. Baldwin had a fully enveloping all aluminum body fabricated for this Special.
The 1955 Cleary Crosley Special driven by Mike Cleary. The Special was built and raced in period by Michael Cleary: “I drove it to school but was too young for the SCCA to allow me to race. My first race was in September of 1957.” It has always been in the Cleary family so at race events the car is always supported by a large group of Cleary family members. This beautiful little Special was built for the 750cc Class H. Its chassis came from a Fiat Topolino and it is powered by a Crosley 4-cylinder motor. The bright yellow body is Devin fiberglass.
DEL MONTE TROPHY RACE GROUP
70th Anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races
Race 2 report Saturday 14 August 2021
After our 24 sports racing cars from 1947-1955 had completed Race 1 in the morning of Saturday August 14 at Laguna Seca, there were only a few hours before they were out on track again for the weekend’s feature race for the Rolex Trophy, the Del Monte Trophy and other special awards. All was busy in the paddock, not least the Tazio Ottis Ferrari 750 Monza which had suffered overheating problems in Race 1.
Not everyone made the start of Race 2. The front runners were there except Don ”Slim” Pepperdene in the dark blue #77 Baldwin Special and towards the back there was no sign of #116 James Smith (1955 Rae Special), #58 James Cleary (1955 Crosley Cleary Special 1) and #55 Kaiden Marouf (1951 MG TD Special). The Race 2 grid order reflects the finishing order in Race 1, except Tazio Ottis who was rolling his superb Ferrari in 18th position not last, surely by special order of Il Commendatore Enzo himself.
Now the chips are down. Even before the start is given we can sense the urgency in some of the drivers like Rob Manson who positions his red Kurtis well to the left of the car ahead, the pole sitter Tatum, and Skip Streets looking for a gap too. Surely a more eclectic group of cars has never taken the start of a race. 19 pairs of eyes strain for the lights on the gantry. The four California specials, who ran so close together in race 1, surge off the line in grid order, gapping Hanssen, Magnussen and the battling Jaguar XK120s, of which more anon.
Buddenbaum positioned his Parkinson Jaguar to the outside of the Turn 2 hairpin, the Tatum on the tight line. Would he repeat his Race 1 Lap 1 overtake here? Nope… his mirrors were full of a yellow Manning and a red Kurtis, so defence was momentarily a priority. Skip Streets was looking alive (the technical term for rapid full-lock steering wheel movements as the rear axle answered back) in the Manning and had stolen round the outside of Rob’s Kurtis. The live stream Goodwood commentators (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M40SjhDf74 at about 6 hours 22 minutes in) were also picking up on Skip Streets’ ambitions and within another 100 yards Streets he made a move to pick off Buddenbaum . No, warm but affirmative shutting of the door, and the nimble, talented and hands-busy Streets stays in third.
Throughout Lap 1, the battle for 2nd was on. Manson had a look up the inside of Streets approaching the last turn, the left-hander leading onto the main straight, but the order was maintained… Tatum, Buddenbaum, Streets and Manson. The man on the move was Tazio Ottis in the superb #2 white and blue 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza who started near the back because of his overheating. The ticker under the live stream images was already out of date at the end of lap 1 because Ottis had gained 10 places in the first lap, and was now witting in 8th behind Hanssen, Magnussen and the battling Jaguar XK120s of Mapstead and Rooklidge. By Turn 5 on Lap 2, the white and blue Ferrari was in front of the two Jags… what a performance. He has that Italian masterpiece flying and knocking off the laps in the 1’54s.
End of Lap 1:
1. #25 Blake Tatum, white and blue 1953 Tatum GMC Special
2. #3 John Buddenbaum, white Jaguar Parkinson Special
3. #15 Skip Streets, yellow Streets Manning Special
4. #9 Rob Manson, red Kurtis 500S Dodge
5. #51 Stuart Hanssen, alloy-silver Baldwin Special,
6. #183 Lars Mapstead (Jaguar XK120),
7. #13 William Rooklidge (Jaguar XK120) and
8. #60 Gregor Magnusson (Porsche 365 Coupe),
9. #63 John Mote (Allard K-2)
10. #33 James Alder 1952 Jaguar XK120 OTS)
11. #14 Robert Davis (1953 Siata 208S),
12. #29 David Nelson (1955 Triumph TR2),
13. #2D Tazio Ottis Ferrari 750 Monza
14. #71 Rick Cannon (Cannon Mark 1),
15. #44 Ben Wysard (1952 Porsche Glockler),
16. #1 Bernard Dervieux (1950 Allard J2)
17. #114 Jean Pierre Molerus (1954 Nichols Panhard Special)
18. #77 Don “Slim” Pepperdene (Baldwin Mercury Special)
19. #116 James Smith (1955 Rae Special)
20. #72 Leland Osborn (1955 Crosley Shannon Special),
If #55 Kaiden Marouf (1951 MG TD Special) or #58 James Cleary (1955 Crosley Cleary Special 1) were running, the moving pictures did not pick them up and I did not spot them.
By the end of Lap 2, Manson has the red Kurtis ahead of Streets’s yellow Manning. Early days though. Skip Streets is hustling that hot-rodder his dad John Streets helped build, hence the name Manning Streets Special to distinguish it from the other Mannings to the same design.
At the end of Lap 3, Ottis has the Ferrari in 5th place! Hanssen is on his own, then the two Jaguars, Mapstead and Rooklidge battling it out, elbows thrusting outside the cockpit, ahead of Magnusson’s #60 silver Porsche and Mote’s #63 “Riviera Blue” Allard, the four of them in quite a bunch. Now on the move behind them is Don “Slim” Pepperdene in Rob Manson’s dark blue #77 blue Baldwin Mercury Special, 10th on Lap 5 and 6th on lap 6. He had clutch problems in Race 1 and had to race in third gear (but, my friends and cognoscenti, surely the Baldwin only has three gears; Slim would be able to peddle it even faster by not bothering with second and first…). Now the car is running fine and Slim is running in the 1’52s against the leaders 1’50s and the Ferrari’s 1’54s.
On Lap 5 John Buddenbaum suddenly slows the white Parkinson Jaguar; a misfire, a sliding moment or a missed gear? Manson and Streets pounce on the hill up to the Corkscrew, then Buddenbaum gathers it up again in 4th position. We have just got our breath back when, out of the Corkscrew five seconds later, Blake Tatum is slow and pulls enough to the right to let the flying pair of Manson and Streets through. Wow. Action. Surprises. Tatum then pulls off left into the convenient pit lane entry – he had engine problems but your reporter had not been informed of the details on the day. Blake writes me August 21 to say “the engine started knocking; I suspect a rod bearing”. Fats Domino – I Hear You Knocking – was not released till 1961 so clearly the Tatum’s inline 6 cylinder engine, originally from a GMC truck, was the inspiration for this great tune.
Buddenbaum gets back on the pace and gives chase to the two leaders.
So at the beginning of lap 6, Streets is battling Manson for the lead. Right up his chuff (that’s “exhaust pipe” to you). The commentators have rightly mentioned that Manson owns both cars and is in the lead… are there team orders? Maybe not because as they approach Turn 2, negotiating the first tail-ender (#114 Jean Pierre Molerus, 1954 Nichols Panhard Special), Streets darts for a gap then thinks better of it entering the hairpin. Manson is under pressure and we can see his hands working the wheel to control the incipient oversteer on the Kurtis just like Streets; both drivers are really pushing.
Further back, all eyes are on Lars Mapstead and Bill Rooklidge, also known on social media as Cackhanded Wally (https://www.facebook.com/cackhanded.wally) in the majestic Jaguar XK120 road-legal sports cars. Our boys are having a fabulous battle at high speed, so much so that they are closing the gap to Stuart Hanssen in the alloy-silver Baldwin Special ahead. He would like to have been in 4th after the Tatum retired but the flying white Ferrari and Slim’s dark blue Baldwin have got past too. #63 John Mote (Allard K-2) has gotten ahead of #60 Gregor Magnusson (Porsche 365 Coupe) and they are both keen to join in the fun. John Mote is getting squirrelly down through the Rainey Curve after the Corkscrew on lap 8 as Magnusson applies the pressure in what the commentator call “The Bubble” of a Porsche. Magnusson stuffs his Porsche into the last corner sideways to get the straight-line acceleration going but Mote stokes the fire of his V8 and creams under the gantry at 100mph, just ahead.
So we are in the final lap. Pepperdene must be closing on Ottis but we don’t see them on camera. We see Hanssen looking in the mirrors at the two Jaguars closing from behind, so he puts the pedal to the metal to secure his 6th place. Rooklidge is nailed to Mapstead, partially alongside on the hill up to the Corkscrew, but he can’t find a way through; they are both looking forward to a clear cool drink and the co-competitors’ embrace in the paddock afterwards.
Would Skip Streets let the boss win? Oh no, this is Racing. The cameras missed the actual overtake but it was likely between Turns 4 and 5 on the last lap because we see Rob Manson’s impressively big red Kurtis V8 in an enormous tank-slapper of a left-right out-of-control moment coming out of turn 5. His guest in the Manning has done him over good and proper. Within seconds Rob is 10 car-lengths behind Skip; that’s what it looks like even though the official results show Manson finishing 0.001 seconds behind Streets… surely a gentlemanly Rolex Monterey way of saying well done chaps, we could not have put a cigarette paper between you two.
As they cross the line, John Buddenbaum is within sight behind them to take 3rd position. The Ottis Ferrari held off Slim’s Baldwin for 4th, then Hanssen and the two Jaguars, battling to the end. Lars wrote me shortly afterwards “Bill and I had an epic battle in each race; he was smelling my exhaust every lap of both races, kept me on my toes with no mistakes by either driver. At the end Bill had a trophy and the Phil Hill memorial award for the best-finishing Jaguar was presented to me by Rob. Yes Bill and I set new personal best times with our eye on the elusive sub 2 minute laps both of us got 2.00 flats, Bill nudged me with a slightly best lap time. What a thrill.”
Viewers and the commentators could tell how excited Skip was at the win, gesticulated and high-fiving to the corner workers and the spectators on the slow-down lap. I enjoyed the racing from my PC back in the UK; great coverage and even the roar and bubble of the Californian side-valve flat-head V8s carried perfectly over the interweb. My apologies that there is no reporting on cars outside the top ten but none of that action was shown on screen; isn’t that just the way…
All this action was being viewed by me on the live stream, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M40SjhDf74 at about 6 hours 19 minutes in from the start, which you can still access now to have a look yourself.
Here’s the finishing order of our Race 2, subject to official confirmation:
1. #15 Skip Streets, yellow Streets Manning Special
2. #9 Rob Manson, red Kurtis 500S Dodge
3. #3 John Buddenbaum, white Jaguar Parkinson Special
4. #2 Tazio Ottis (white and blue 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza)
5. #77 Don (‘Slim’) Pepperdene, dark blue blue Baldwin Mercury Special.
6. #51 Stuart Hanssen in his striking alloy-silver Baldwin Special,
7. #183 Lars Mapstead (Jaguar XK120),
8. #13 William Rooklidge (Jaguar XK120)
9. #63 John Mote (Allard K-2).
10. #60 Gregor Magnusson (Porsche 365 Coupe),
11. #33 James Alder 1952 Jaguar XK120 OTS)
12. #14 Robert Davis (1953 Siata 208S),
13. #44 Ben Wysard (1952 Porsche Glockler),
14. #29 David Nelson (1955 Triumph TR2),
15. #1 Bernard Dervieux (1950 Allard J2),
16. #114 Jean Pierre Molerus (1954 Nichols Panhard Special
17. #116 James Smith (1955 Rae Special)
DNF – did not finish
#25 Blake Tatum, white and blue 1953 Tatum GMC Special
#71 Rick Cannon (Cannon Mark 1),
#72 Leland Osborn (1955 Crosley Shannon Special),
DNS did not start
#58 James Cleary (1955 Crosley Cleary Special 1),
#55 Kaiden Marouf (1951 MG TD Special)
I will report soon on the winners of the various trophies awarded by the Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the weekend’s heroics.
For your publication or web-site you may download many period and modern images of these 1950s road-racers at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1hz5SYuv48FF_2292kA0St2pd09EYkezx
Download the results in pdf Group 4A – Race 2 – Monterey Race Results
Download this report in pdf Race 2 report Saturday 14th August 2021
DEL MONTE TROPHY RACE GROUP
70th Anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races
Race 1 report Saturday 14th August 2021
Our 24 sports racing cars from 1948-1955 rolled up to the start at Laguna Seca at 10h45 on Saturday as the morning mist lifted off the top of the Corkscrew. In pole position, Rob Manson’s red #9 Kurtis 500S Dodge but the white and blue 1953 Tatum GMC Special driven by one of our most eminent guests, Blake Tatum, son of the car’s creator Chuck Tatum and a well-known racer, Editor of “The Wheel’ and Board Member of the Northern California Region of the SCCA, out-dragged him over the top of the hill. The other big bore V8 Californian road racers were line astern…, Skip Streets in the yellow #15 Streets Manning Special (son of the car’s co-builder John Streets), John Buddenbaum in the white #3 Jaguar Parkinson Special and Don (‘Slim’) Pepperdene in the dark blue #77 blue Baldwin Mercury Special.
But John “quick-start” Buddenbaum was not going to stay in grid order exiting the Turn 2 hairpin a few hundred yards later. He turned tighter than Tatum and it was he who emerged in the lead heading for Turn 3 for the first time. Rob Manson, Skip Streets and Slim Pepperdene were on their tails. These five cars had already made a small break from #183 Lars Mapstead (Jaguar XK120, sitting admirably high after qualifying), #60 Gregor Magnusson (Porsche 365 Coupe), #51 Stuart Hanssen in his striking alloy-silver #51 Baldwin Special, #13 William Rooklidge (Jaguar XK120) and #63 John Mote (Allard K-2). That was the top ten at the end of lap 1.
All this action was being viewed by me on the live stream, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M40SjhDf74 which you can still access now to have a look yourself.
Lap 2 started with excitement when Blake Tatum took on a pace suited to the multiple Regional Formula Vee Champion which he is, and bustled down the hill through the shallow Turn 1 hot on the gas. Whoops. Hairpin coming. The4-wheel lock-up under braking was a joy to behold for everyone except the car’s owner and blew clouds of rubber smoke into the morning air for 50 yards into Turn 2 and half way round it. The commentators surmised he had blown his engine, such was the smoke, until they saw Tatum continuing to chase after Buddenbaum. Now they settled momentarily and at the end of Lap 2 it was the five big V8 specials in line astern, Buddenbaum, Tatum, Manson, Streets and Pepperdene. Mapstead, Magnusson, Hanssen, Rooklidge and Mote still made up the top ten. Down the field the battles raged, the order being #33 James Alder 1952 Jaguar XK120 OTS), #72 Leland Osborn (1955 Crosley Shannon Special), #14 Robert Davis (1953 Siata 208S), #55 Kaiden Marouf (1951 MG TD Special), #29 David Nelson (1955 Triumph TR2), #44 Ben Wysard (1952 Porsche Glockler), #1 Bernard Dervieux (1950 Allard J2), #58 James Cleary (1955 Crosley Cleary Special 1), #114 Jean Pierre Molerus (1954 Nichols Panhard Special), #71 Rick Cannon (Cannon Mark 1) and #116 James Smith (1955 Rae Special). #2 Tazio Ottis (white and blue 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza) was trailing at the back due to overheating problems and he retired shortly afterwards. They got it fixed for Race 2 though… read on.
Now we settled down for a couple of laps. By lap 5, Skip Streets in the #15 Manning was wondering whether he could nip by Rob Manson… Streets pushed the Manning along and starting hanging reh back ou under acceleration, especially a leary one on lap 5 at Turn 6 coming up the hill towards the Corckscrew, which drew gasps from the commentators. Blake Tatum had not given up either and by the end of lap 5 he felt that Buddenbaum was waning. Under the bridge on the home straight and Tatum took the lead under braking to Turn 2. All that locking up on Lap 2 at the same place was just a rehearsal. Tatum-Tatum in the lead. Close viewing of Buddenbaum showed that his Jaguar Parkinson was understeering (pushing) on several medium speed corners and by lap 7, Tatum was stretching his lead and Rob Manson in his Kurtis was snapping at Buddenbaum’s heels.
At the end of lap 7 the order was 25, 3, 9, 15, 77, 51, 60, 183, 13, 63, 72, 33, 14, 29, 44, 71, 1, 58, 116 and 114. It looked like #55 Kaiden Marouf (1951 MG TD Special) and #2 Tazio Ottis (white and blue 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza) were no longer running.
Most of the drivers were aiming to complete their 9 laps with a view to having cars in onme piece for the Rolex feature race tomorrow Sunday. Except, that is, Blake Tatum who was having much too much fun in the lead. On the final lap Blake Tatum had a massive lock-up going into the Corkscrew but he kept it together and maintained his 4 second lead over John Buddenbaum, still in second with Manson and Streets in attendance. Pepperdene had dropped off from the top four but was out-of-sight clear from Hanssen, Magnusson and Mapstead.
Blake Tatum brought the Tatum built by his dad home in first place, Buddenbaum hung on for 2nd ahead of Manson and Streets (photo above). Here’s the finishing order as seen on screen, and subject to official confirmation:
- #25 Blake Tatum, white and blue 1953 Tatum GMC Special
- #3 John Buddenbaum, white Jaguar Parkinson Special
- #9 Rob Manson, red Kurtis 500S Dodge
- #15 Skip Streets, yellow Streets Manning Special
- #77 Don (‘Slim’) Pepperdene, dark blue blue Baldwin Mercury Special.
- #51 Stuart Hanssen in his striking alloy-silver Baldwin Special,
- #60 Gregor Magnusson (Porsche 365 Coupe),
- #183 Lars Mapstead (Jaguar XK120),
- #13 William Rooklidge (Jaguar XK120) and
- #63 John Mote (Allard K-2).
- #72 Leland Osborn (1955 Crosley Shannon Special),
- #33 James Alder 1952 Jaguar XK120 OTS)
- #14 Robert Davis (1953 Siata 208S),
- #29 David Nelson (1955 Triumph TR2),
- #44 Ben Wysard (1952 Porsche Glockler),
- #71 Rick Cannon (Cannon Mark 1),
- #1 Bernard Dervieux (1950 Allard J2),
- #116 James Smith (1955 Rae Special)
- #58 James Cleary (1955 Crosley Cleary Special 1),
#114 Jean Pierre Molerus (1954 Nichols Panhard Special), #2 Tazio Ottis (white and blue 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza) and #55 Kaiden Marouf (1951 MG TD Special) were not running at the end. Kevin Pitts in the Jabro #75 and Tommy Trabue in his Denzel 1500 were not seen on the live stream of the race; I will try to bring some more information.
Download the official results in pdf here
More tomorrow. Marcus Bicknell at 21h British Summer Time near London.
For your publication or web-site you may download many period and modern images of these 1950s road-racers at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1hz5SYuv48FF_2292kA0St2pd09EYkezx
Hot on the heels of the article about our Del Monte Trophy Race Group in The Wheel, here is one about us and the 70th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races in Victory Lane magazine.
Read page 33 on a one-page pdf at Victory Lane Vol 36 No 7 July 2021 p33
Flip through the whole magazine at https://www.flipsnack.com/victorylane/victory-lane-vol-36-no-7-july-2021.html
Hmmm; the writer is one Marcus Bicknell. I thought I was just drafting something for one of their staff writers, but there I am, in print. Apologies for any inaccuracies (but Rob and our team did look it through). You can contact me at [email protected]
Read the terrific article about the 70th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races by Gary Horstkorta in The Wheel, the journal of the SCCA. He emphasises the five cars which ran there in period and will race with us at Laguna Seca 14/15 August 2021.
Click on the link below