MGs at Carlsbad, H.A.I.R, and L.A.

Thumbnail: MGB roadster in Carlsbad's Turn One   CLICK to see a larger version

Not the best line through Turn 1 at Carlsbad Raceway. At the end of the drag strip shut-down area an abrupt near-180 leads up a hill and then back down around the staging area. A potentially spectacular race course. Many will tell you about the two-day-old 427 Cobra that did an endo out of the Hot Car Pits and down the near-cliff on the north edge (from "Racing Pits" toward Turn 5 on your diagram). That was in a Solo I event.

Photo by Rick LaZelle, a stalwart in the SD SCCA region of the era. Wonder where he is now...

04-08-2005: Rick found his way here and wrote that he retired from a fire captaincy after thirty years, and that he's lived in an East County community for the past 26 years. He still does photography, dirt bike riding, and off-road racing, finishing the 1998 Baja 1000 in a car he prepared. His parting shot: "Life is quite interesting when you let it be, huh?"

Rick must have been using a filter that turned the Oh-So-Medium-Blue MG this dark color, and the fluorescent pink chin to white. Larry Crum took some color photos at the Willow Springs Enduro. They show the color to advantage. I wonder where he is now...

Official Web page of (what's left of) Carlsbad Raceway

To find other Carlsbad Raceway pages on the Web, click HERE.

To see a results page from the Solo I event, click this text, or the image.

Thumbnail: results sheet from  September '69 Solo I time trial


There were two days' activities at this event: Saturday practice and Sunday warmups and timed runs. The course was torn down and rebuilt after Saturday's events, since the regular Carlsbad Grudge Drag Races had to go on as usual. Some of us hung around and did some 1/4-mile timed runs. I did about three, very consistent, with the best a 16.10 at 88mph. If you saw the Barracuda page first, you may be hearing the Twilight Zone theme song. Best Carlsbad time in the Formula S was 16.05 at 88.9 . . .

The "William Martin" Austin-Healey 3000 driver second in the C-Production /Sedan class is the same person as "Bill Martin" in the Willow Solo results. In the latter he was "DNF, DNR." It was him in the chartreuse Z-car that rolled in Turn Nine during the filming of my Willow hot lap.



Scan: A TR makes his move at HAIR
©FLICKERPhoto.com
I guess this ugly thing is the only picture I have of the MGB in action at Holtville. It was a battle for second in class. I waved this guy past on the left, and didn't back off to let him in. He was apparently so excited to be passing, he forgot to slow down enough to make the turn, and went off into the sand. Wait. I think that was another weekend and another Triumph. Anyway, I never had a very fast car, but if intelligence and instinct counted for much, I could get something going.
Scan: Juat after flagfall at HAIR
©FLICKERPhoto.com

I guess that ugly thing isn't the only picture I have of the MGB in action at Holtville. Here's the start of that race. The TR2 is on his way, The TR6 is in the way, and the Elva Courier Mk. III is on the verge of getting in front of me. Figuring no one is going to be going near optimum speed at the first turn after a 50 mph rolling start, I reckoned I'd be able to brake much later than usual and much, much later than these other dudes would be trained to do, thereby putting myself in front of them, if only briefly. It worked on the TR2, but the others just went wide, didn't brake much at all, and breezed on by.

I don't remember seeing the TR6 again, you saw what happened with the TR2, up there at the previous picture. I had no trouble catching the Elva, and for several laps was able to prove faster cornering speeds by staying right behind him everywhere except the end of straightaways. On the third from last lap I laid back a few car lengths in every turn: where he was used to looking in his mirror and seeing me a couple feet off his tail in the entrance to every turn, I was not there. Then, coming up to Turn One on the penultimate lap, all of a sudden I showed up again, closer than ever. His double-take and slightly delayed braking sent him wide, and I was able for the first time to take my optimum line, drawing away by several car lengths at each turn. Fun.


Scan: Lunch under the salt pines at HAIR
©FLICKERPhoto.com

It's pretty certain this is not from the same weekend at Holtville. It's a Polaroid where those other pictures are from a little green Kodak, and I think the full windscreen here is a giveaway. I don't know for sure who took any of them, but this one was not by YOBS, Geneva, or Margarita: here we are lunching under the salt pines west of the paddock.

Now that I think about it, Holtville was one of the places where over a period of years I did as much concentrated physical, mental, and psychological work as anywhere on Earth. And where on any given weekend there was as much concentrated enjoyment as I ever experienced.

scan: MGB tourer approaches S/F at HAIR    scan: MGB tourer approaches S/F at HAIR
                                                                                                                                                                         Photos by Larry Crum

Larry Crum, another pillar of the San Diego SCCA culture, stumbled across these pages a few months ago, and very kindly sent along these photos he made at Holtville in the late 60s. Larry is retired and living in Northern California.

Photo: MGTD overlooking LA's South Bay
©FLICKERPhoto.com

The view is across a favorite parking place on Palos Verdes. Out there in the haze are Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and... Well, it's Los Angeles, 1957.





Thumbnail: MG TD in a Palos Verdes curve   CLICK to see a larger version
©FLICKERPhoto.com

Here we begin to enjoy the road performance of the car. I think this was within a day or two of my having got the TD. Brother Don took the pictures. One version of this I printed reversed, so it looked like a right-hand-driver.


Thumbnail: MGTD in the snow above San Bernardino, California  CLICK to see a larger version
©FLICKERPhoto.com

Picture is scanned from a Polaroid taken at the side of Rim O' The World Highway between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, above San Bernardino, California, in 1961 or so. Cropped view.

I owned this car from August, 1957, through June or so, 1962. I knew its every nut, bolt, and shim, and even its body number (29068, of 29664 TDs made) and engine number (29595).

Other -centric pages on this site:
MGB on Riverside International Raceway, 1968
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