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CSRG At Thunderhill
November 5-6, 2005

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Mr. Russell May and the lovely FJ car he built in the early 1960s

The Miller gets "dinged" at Thunderhill


Now this event turned out to have outstanding highs and lows. First the high point.

When we entered this event about a month ago, the CSRG website noted a charity raffle that they were conducting. So, Team Terrific purchased a $20 raffle ticket. What the heck, right? The Grand Prize was a one-off vintage Formula Junior race car built in the early 60s. Believe it or not, WE WON THE RAFFLE and were able to pickup up the car during the week between race weekends. Simply amazing!

When picking up the car we were privileged to spend time with the generous donor (and owner for the past 20 years) of the car, Mr. Terry Buffum, as well as the restorer and caretaker of the car John Buddenbaum and John Streets. They were most gracious in sharing extensive history and information on the neat little car.

They even put us in touch with the builder of the car, Mr. Russell May, who, as it turns out, lives about 20 miles from the Thunderhill race park. Mr. May, now about 79 years old and still very active (building and flying airplanes!), was kind enough to come out to the track where we had the car and to share considerable other history on the car he built some 40+ years ago. He and his wife were a delight. It was yet another privilege and high point of this trip to be able to meet the man who built this unique race car.

But -- and this is where the story gets wild—it turned out that there were some folks that had really wanted to win the May-DKW Formula Junior. So much so that they immediately approached us to buy the car. After much deliberation on my part, it was decided to sell the car to them. While I’d love to have this unique car in our race stable, the reality is that it will have a better home in California where it will get to race with a lot of other FJ cars. The buyer of the car, father and son Terry and Morgan Grimm (of Sonoma), already own several other Juniors and were determined, rightfully, that the car remain in California. I’m sure they will give it a good home. So, a deal was struck and on our way back to Denver they met us in Sacramento to take delivery of the car.

So, we owned it for a mere week. But it was great fun learning about it and we look forward to reading about Morgan racing the car out West.

Anyway, back to the race weekend. The weather was cooler, but DRY, and both Diane and I had great fun. For my final race on Sunday I had a wonderful back-and-forth battle (for 7th) with a fellow. We passed and re-passed each other probably six or eight times, but he had the lead on the final lap. Best race I’ve had in years.

Also, there was a one-hour Enduro race on Saturday morning where Diane and I shared her car. Great fun. We finish about 10th out of 20+ cars, most all of them faster (class) cars.

During Friday and Saturday Diane was running very well, but unfortunately, during her Saturday afternoon race there was a big problem at the very start of her race. One of the lead cars broke a transmission which caused the cars behind it to take massive avoidance actions. And, as bad luck would have it, there was contact between two cars near Diane and one of them was pitched back right in front of her and she tagged him, ending her race and weekend early.

Other than some fiberglass damage (Hello, Vic Cooper!) and a radiator, her car is fine and very fixable over the winter. She wasn’t hurt at all and was, in fact, more mad than anything else. It really was just one of those racin’ thangs where she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. No fault of anyone, but a bummer.

But, considering all out other good, nay GREAT, luck we had during this two-week season finale, who can complain?

To cap of the trip, on the way home we met up with Jimmy Steinmetz in Park City, Utah where he lives and went out for a great meal and more than a few giggles.