Trans-Am Samaritan Brian Ferrin Earns “Spirit of Monterey” Award

by Mike Silverman. Look for a full report from Mr. Silverman in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue.

Salinas, CA — It’s almost a cliché that vintage racers are always willing to help a fellow competitor make the next session, or the big weekend race, with a crucial spare part, or a differential overhaul overnight, or even an entire motor – even if the parts donor knows his generosity will result in the parts recipient stomping the donor in the main event.

That bromide turned out to be true last weekend at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, when longtime Trans-Am owner/driver Brian Ferrin, who spent the last year restoring a privateer 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 in order to run at the August races, learned that fellow driver Bill Ockerlund blew his Parnelli Jones-driven 1970 Boss 302 motor during the previous weekend’s Pre-Reunion.  Yet another Boss 302 driver, Ken Adams, offered his fresh backup motor to Ockerlund, but Adams was staying in Monterey between the race weekends.

L to R: Artist Kelly Telfer, award winner Brian Ferrin, and emcee Mike Joy (photo: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca)

In short order, Ferrin offered to schlep back to his Sonoma base Sunday, then to Tony Oddo’s shop in Suisun, CA for the Adams engine and segué from there to Chad Raynal’s shop in Campbell, CA for the Ockerlund install. Raynal’s crew beat him to it, and snagged the engine themselves post-Pre-Reunion.

Nevertheless, Ferrin’s gesture and intent was magnanimous, even if it wasn’t his engine, nor his car in need. As Mom told you, in this case, “It’s the thought that counts,” and the awards committee thought Ferrin deserving of the top award for the weekend, “The Spirit of Monterey” Award. It’s presented to the driver or entrant who “exemplifies why we are all here…to safely experience our cars at speed and share its history with others.”

Ironically, had the replacement engine’s owner, Ken Adams, been savvy enough to not actually win the big Saturday afternoon Trans-Am race,  he just might have walked off with Ferrin’s top award. You see, from its 1974 beginnings, the “Historics” and its awards have gone not to race winners but to drivers who embrace the competitive but courteous nature of the event in a nicely period-prepared car. Ferrin’s red/black Boss finished mid-pack in a car he’s likely still fettling.  Adams gets bragging rights for now. As his trophy, Ferrin has the original event poster painting (Boss 302 with event co-grand marshals,Parnelli Jones and Trans-Am teammate George Follmer, signed by both). Which one lasts longer? There is no pat answer….

Other deserving award winners were:

Phil Remington Award – to the mechanic who went above and beyond, won by John Schirtzer, who drove five hours to get parts to labor overnight to get Robert Kelley’s 1966 Corvette on the morning race grid.

Bonhams Award – The Passion Spirit for cars up to 1500cc, won by Dennis Adair in his 1955 Elva Mk 1;  the award really goes to the entire Adair family; son Kevin and his dad also raced a ‘62 MGB,  ‘59 Austin Healey 3000 and 1968 Ford Escort, with longtime support from “Mum.”

Peter Giddings Memorial Award – in memory of longtime pre-war owner-driver who brought passion, knowledge and skill to his prewar race cars; presented to Paddins Dowling and his fast and authentic 1934 ERA R2A.

Ken Miles Award – This HMSA-sponsored award is for the best-presented car under 1500cc; to the 1952 Porsche Glockler driven by Ben Wysard.

John Lamm Memorial Award – Since 1974, longtime event friend Lamm crane-shot the group photo; inaugural award presented by magazine to the most photogenic car in the field, Ned Spieker’s red (of course) 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

Motul Most Significant Car – A prize package presented to the Group 7A Indy Car with racing history chops; winner was the 1964 Lotus Type 34 of Bruce McCaw.

Henry Ford Trophy – for the most significant Ford-powered entry; won by Chris Liebenberg for his No. 16 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 originally driven by George Follmer.

Rolex Awards – The longtime sponsor of major international sports events presents these silver trophy cups to a driver in each group who displays overall excellence in each afternoon race on the weekend:
Group 1A:  1951-61 Sports Racing – Nicholas Colonna, 1958 Devin SS
Group. 1B:  1955-64 GT – Steve Schmidt, 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster
Group 2A: 1963-66 GT over 2500cc – Gay Bentley, 1966 Chevrolet Corvette
Group 2B:  1961-66 GT under 2500cc – Michael Malone, 1965 Lotus 26R
Group 3A: 1973-81 FIA, IMSA – Carlos de Quesada, 1979 Porsche 935K3
Group 3B:  1920-51 Racing Cars – Luca Maciucescu, 1928 Bugatti 37A
Group 4A:  1947-55 Sports Racing & GT – Rob Manson, 1953 Kurtis 500S
Group 4B:  Ragtime Racers – Brian Blain, 1916 Romano-Sturtevant Spl.
Group 5A:  1966-85 Formula One – Lee Mowle, 1977 Lotus 78/2
Group 5B:  FIA Manufacturers Championship – David Hogan, 1967 Porsche 910
Group 6A:  1966-72 Trans-Am – Forrest Straight, 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Group 6B:  Masters Endurance Legends – Wally Owens, 2007 Crawford Porsche DP
Group 7A:  1963-78 Indy Car – Michael McKinney, 1967 Vollstedt
Group 8A:  1981-91 IMSA GTP, GTO, Trans-Am, Group C – Joe Robillard, 1984 Porsche 962
 

Stewardship Awards were also made to each of the race group stewards, who helped coordinate cooperation, camaraderie and cool heads in their respective race groups; they were Michael Kaleel, James Smith, Martin Lauber, Tom McIntyre, Bill Ockerlund, Steve Schmidt, Alan Benjamin, Rick Rawlings, Brian Blain, Don Anderson, and Travis Engen. Ellen Bireley also awarded for curating the Motul Indy Car Heritage Display.