On-track coverage from Road Atlanta
By Kelvin Dodd; photos by R. Harrington, Scott R. Lear, & David S. Wallens
Road Atlanta: Vintage racecars, vendors’ row, and a host of classic car enthusiasts make for one heck of a party. This year’s running of the Classic Motorsports Magazine Walter Mitty Challenge, held April 27-30, was no exception, as spectator counts and vehicle entries were up from last year. The Classic Motorsports Big Top, which featured tech speakers during the day and genuine gearhead camaraderie in the evening, anchored the vendors’ row.
The infield autocross course was popular all weekend, with Kumho Tires supplying a fleet of new Minis on Saturday and test-drives of the new Lotus Elise sponsored by Lotus and The Tire Rack on Sunday. It was difficult to see who was having the best time, the drivers or those waiting their turn, watching for mistakes.
The car club corrals started to fill up early on Saturday morning and there was a great turnout of cars. The Lotus club had been lobbied effectively and there was also a large turnout of Sunbeam Tigers and Alpines, including a lovely Talbot. Moss Motors sponsored dart games on both Friday and Saturday nights, and many thanks go out to Gary Hunter for the great job he did building the backboards, which gave the place a pub-like feel.
Saturday night featured the CM-sponsored party and auction to benefit the Brain Injury Resource Foundation, with Burt Levy—author of the Last Open Road series of books—as auctioneer. Burt was man of the hour as he introduced his latest book, “Toley’s Ghost,” and spent the weekend signing copies, hitching rides, and telling stories.
The feature races on Sunday had a real Southern flair, as the air was filled with the sound of squealing tires and vintage stock car motors, something not seen in many venues. British racecar fans had a lot to take in, as the day kicked off with an Anglo-American GT Challenge where the 1961 E-Type Jaguar of Larry Ligas came a close second to the winning 1966 Corvette of Steve Collins.
The Moss Motors sponsored MGB of Hesse Prather finished the day on a high note after passing all but one of the Porsche 356s that have historically been a worthy foe for vintage production MGS. In the Vintage/Historical Production Group dominated by Porsche 914/6 and 911 six bangers, Mike Munson and his 1970 TR6 represented the British flag. Mike proved that finishing is the most important part of racing, as there were a lot of cars that did not make it to the feature heat.
All in all, the 2006 Mitty was a great weekend of racing, cars, and people.