View Full Version : How did you get into racing?

03-14-2006, 10:38 AM
I don't race myself, but I know many BCF members do. I'm curious as to how you got interested in racing. How did you first get started in whatever form of racing you participate in?

Basil /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/computer.gif

03-14-2006, 12:36 PM
Parents would attend Cumberland Hillclimbs and racing at the old airstrip there. Me Ol' Fella had friends who ran T series MG's and Jags. Mid and late fiftys, I was transfixed by age five or six. I got the yen VERY early in my life, just KNEW I wanted to DO that in some form or other. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

03-14-2006, 01:32 PM
My Dad was very mechanical (still is) and he got me interested in old MGs at an early age.
I was born in England and lived there and Ireland when I was young...so LBCs were the "norm" for me at an early age.

When my folks moved to Toronto, our neighbor had a brand-new turquoise MGA. Dad and I admired it often (though he still prefers the "T" series cars).

Later, I read the book "The Red Car". I know that book had an influence on me (and others here at BCF have said the same thing).

I spent my teen years in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and most kids had "woods cars" that we drove in the "fire lanes". The big American cars weren't too good in the narrow woods trails, so skinny foreign cars were always better.
My first woods car was an Austin A-40 (age 14). HERE IT IS. (https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v170/aeronca65t/Cars/nial_a40-4.jpg)
I also had a Hillman, a Renault Dauphine, a Simca and others.
My friends had such things as a FIAT 500, an Autobianchini, an 850 Mini, a Lloyd, a VW, an Anglia and lots of other tiiddlers.
Naturally, we organized races.
It's all been downhill ever since.

03-14-2006, 02:10 PM
Hard to say for sure what started my racing interest. I attended motorsport events with my Dad from an early age, but he never raced, just as spectators. I think I was 10 years old (the shorter one)
I started gymkhana's, rallies, and ice racing in my late teens. I was then invited to help crew for friends that were running Formula Fords. I bought a Lotus 61, liked it, won a regional championship and enjoyed myself until I ran out of money to compete.
Not competitive any longer ... but looking forward to getting back into the seat as a "gentleman racer"


03-14-2006, 04:00 PM
MGAdams Wrote:
... but looking forward to getting back into the seat as a "gentleman racer"

[/ QUOTE ]

Well put!

You mention ice racing... Clyde Billings "ring a bell"? Maine fella. Been a long time ago.

03-14-2006, 06:04 PM
Clyde Billings? Saab driver? Saab dealership? Farmington, Maine? ... never heard of him. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
Maine is about 3000 miles from my ice racing location, but I did a bit of snooping and might ask if this could be the same Clyde Billings from your memories.
I also have a passion for Motorsport history and research quite a bit.

03-14-2006, 07:17 PM
When I was stationed at Luke AFB, outside of Phoenix, one of the pilots was racing a Bugeye. I started out crewing for him, and that's how it all began for me. This was back in the day of the factory sponsored SCCA teams, so I got to know guys like the Huffakers, Kastner, Mueller, etc, pretty well. It's been a nearly forty year long road, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

03-14-2006, 08:47 PM
My little Brother heard about Auto-X but didn't really know what it was.
He said we have to buy helmets.
I said...Why don't we just go & watch one first.
He said...I'm going to buy a helmet.
I said, OK...get me one too.

(I had a really nice checking account balance back then)

03-14-2006, 08:53 PM
I'd like to get into autoX one day... They had one locally here back in around 1992 or so (was advertised in the local paper), I was able to run my CRX with a borrowed helmet. I sucked of course (first time and all), but had lots of fun. I remember getting out of the car with my knees shaking. I haven't seen one advertised since then.

03-15-2006, 01:00 AM
hmmmm my brother had a 64 356 & I drove Maggie down the Pasadena freeway to Wilshire Blvd (Los Angeles) to work everyday. At 7:15 am everyone said "here come those idiots-get out of the way" screamed through the 360 degree turn- passed through the tunnels- smelled Barbara Ann Bread-avoided downtown traffic-blew by Dodger Stadium-channeled 4 lanes of traffic to Wilshire-tried not to run the light made it to parking garage and lived to tell the tale.

03-15-2006, 01:39 AM
sooooooooooo.... driving in LA got Randi into racing? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-15-2006, 01:13 PM
That's the guy, Mike. As far as I know his daughter raced as well, and competitively. Dunno if the Saab store is still going, been too long since I've been "up there."

03-15-2006, 10:28 PM
sooooooooooo.... driving in LA got Randi into racing? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

[/ QUOTE ]and a good deal more trouble than I would ever admit to(especially as my child is a member here) /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/devilgrin.gif

03-15-2006, 10:37 PM
...Well, I had always been interested in road racing, so when I reached 49 I thought it was now or never. I lived in the Bay Area at the time and the SF region of SCCA is just fantastic. So I jumped in with both feet, bought an older Sports 2000 and showed up at the regions drivers school. It just a wonderfull experience. I ended up racing for 12 years, 2 SP 2000's and a FF which I stuffed at Laguna. They had a class for older Sports 2000 and it was the best bang for the buck there was.

I would recommend to anyone who is thinking about it to DO IT NOW! If you want to get serious I might recommend Karts first, but whatever, you wont be sorry! <font color="black"> </font> /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif

Paul Johnson
03-16-2006, 09:25 AM
Big brother took me to an SCCA race in '57 or so, and I was smitten. Worked flagging/communications for about 15 years and then finally went through school in an old FVee. Raced only a few years, trying also F440 and FF. Found I'm just not competitive enough to 'have to win'. It was fun, and glad I did it, but was not worth the expense and time for me. Odd thing though, it ruined autocrossing, something I'd done for many, many years. I also think that some of the lost luster has to do with SCCA joining the Earnhardt style 'win any way possible' manner of racing that is alien to me.

03-16-2006, 09:32 PM
Yes,Yes,Yes.....Where did all the gentleman racing go..

VSCCA....I suspect not even them at times.

(And I believe they are the most conscientious, of the groups I have seen)

03-16-2006, 09:37 PM
I think gentlemen racing still has it's roots in autocross, SCCA solo1 and 2... Once you start trading paint with another car, it can go downhill quick.

(still relaying info from my R/C car racing days)

03-17-2006, 12:57 PM
I'd like to get into autoX one day... They had one locally here back in around 1992 or so (was advertised in the local paper), I was able to run my CRX with a borrowed helmet. I sucked of course (first time and all), but had lots of fun. I remember getting out of the car with my knees shaking. I haven't seen one advertised since then.

[/ QUOTE ]

Where in Alabama are you located? We have a very active club here in Huntsville, with a schedule at www.teamtac.org (https://www.teamtac.org) . Alabama region is still searching for a site in Birmingham, and Wiregrass region SCCA has regular events.
I ran my Sunbeam all last season here in Huntsville...it was slow but it was a riot.

03-17-2006, 01:12 PM
I'm in Tuscaloosa.

Dave Russell
03-17-2006, 08:05 PM
I started out drag racing at an early age. Did auto-X for a while. Not enough speed. Couldn't afford "real" race cars. Really enjoyed spectating at old Laguna Seca &amp; informal racing through the Santa Cruz Mountains on old highway 9. The V8 BN2 Austin Healey was a real handful.

Decided that working under a car was a lot of work. Switched to motorcycles. You don't have to crawl under them. Enduro, motocross, TT, &amp; flat track. The longer flat tracks were the most fun. Really enjoyed getting sideways at 100 mph plus &amp; surviving. The inevitable crashes were exciting &amp; even somewhat fun in a warped sort of way. The 120 mile enduros were also fun in a different sort of way. As fast as you can go through unknown territory with every possible obstacle just around the next corner. Keeps the adrenaline peaked for hours.

To many crashes &amp; broken bones for this prematurely old body. Now, I just have to settle for reading about the exploits of you folks who are still able to do it, &amp; putzing around in my OBC. I don't really belong on this forum but enjoy reading it.

The advice of "do it while you can" is right on.

03-18-2006, 12:38 PM
Dave R. wrote: [ QUOTE ]
The advice of "do it while you can" is right on.

[/ QUOTE ]

Right there with ya, Dave. To include the "prematurely old" bit as well: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long..."

03-18-2006, 01:16 PM
Always wanted to race and signed up for SCCA at a Trans-Am race in Reno, Nevada (really!). Auto-crossed for five years then kinda dropped out. Did a couple road race schools and want to get back in now that we have a decent road course here (Fernley, NV).
How well I remember the enjoyment everyone got at my sad little beater MGB ('67 roadster with wires) squealing around the cones on old all-season tires. Then I got "serious" and the "B" was seriously hammered after that! Kumho's made the difference.

03-24-2006, 11:43 PM
Got my racing license when I was 20 and haven't looked back - 3 decades of fun and poverty!

Michael Oritt
03-25-2006, 04:40 PM
The advice of "do it while you can" is right on.

[/ QUOTE ]

I grew up in Miami and going to Sebring was an annual pilgrimage in late 1950's and 1960's and always dreamed about racing a vintage car. After getting my 100 in 1998 I began autocrossing it at Conclaves and other Healey events, then a few more competitive ones in the DC area.

Finally last year I decided to do something about the dream and attended Skip Barber's three-day racing school at Sebring. This past December I bought the Courier and entered several practice sessions at local tracks (Sebring, Moroso and Homestead) in the last 90 days. Finally I ran in my first wheel at the SVRA Sebring event earlier this month--a great experience and I am definitely "bit". I do need to get a new engine but apparently that is part of racing.