10/7/2013 - CSRG Charity Challenge A Big Success
Photo: David Love's 250 Testa Rossa reposed in memory of David, who passed away early Saturday morning.
Sonoma, CA - If you like vintage race cars and you wanted to have some fun, Sonoma Raceway is where you should have been October 5th and 6th. CSRGs 10th Annual Charity Challenge was by any measure a grand slam, hat trick, hole-in-one or any other sports superlative you care to use. The entries were only two short of the all-time record set just before the recession hit.
Ticket sales hit an all time record by a 5X factor, the charity rides, wherein spectators can get a ride in one of the race cars entered for the weekend in return for a contribution to the Sonoma Chapter of the Speedway Childrens Charities, netted a 40% gain. Even the weather fell in line with the feel good character of the event.
The centerpiece of the Charity Challenge was David Loves 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. Love co-founded CSRG 46 years ago and was a driving force for decades in the vintage race car scene. He was the guy who featured the cars first, with the drivers following far behind in priority. The racing world lost Love on the Saturday morning of the event, but to have the car present reminded everyone of Love's spirit and contribution to the racing scene. The Testa Rossa nobly served as Loves sentry.
The Charity Challenge had something for everybody: F1 cars on display including Chris Lockes ex-Andretti Lotus 77 from the movie Rush; four-time World GP Motorcycle champ Eddie Lawson driving an Osella PA3/5 as well as a March 78B, and 1992 Indianapolis Rookie of the Year, Lyn St. James driving a Brabham BT21. The depth of each race was impressive, 15 Formula Atlantics, 14 Formula Bs and where else could you see a Ferrari 312P between a genuine 1952 Carrera Panamericana Lincoln and a Shadow MkII? You had Huffaker team carsMGBs, Genies (Juniors and sports racers) and Cobras. The list goes on and on.
There were boutique beer and wine vendors, sushi, Korean ribs, a coffee shop with pastries, a Mexican cantina and even a food court in which to taste the goods under an umbrella to temper the suns intensity. If that were not enough, CSRG held a Saturday night party attended by 450 people enjoying the wine and food provided by Sonoma eateries while a blues band entertained. In the midst of all this, Frank Zucchi presented to his father, Arnold, a restored 1967 Ford Anglia that was Arnolds first race car 40 years ago. To say it tugged at your heartstrings would be an understatement.
The litmus test for whether or not youre having a good race weekend is if you lose track of who won because youre having too good a time. The fact is, enjoyment of the event trumps results every time---and thats what happened at the Charity Challenge. Having said that, kudos should still go to Eddie Lawson, Danny Baker, Joe Huffaker, Jon Norman and all the others for some great performances.
If you didnt attend, you missed one hell of a race weekendbut theres always next year.