Last weekend, at the Monterey Motorsport Reunion, better known to us crusty old timers as the Monterey Historics, Moss salesman Leif Jacobsen got his first crack at the Corkscrew. Racing his family’s 1934 MG NA racer, Leif showed his potential with a solid driving performance. The car, purchased by Leif’s grandfather, and progressively modified for racing, has now been placed in Leif’s hands. While 100 year old race cars are a common site at the Reunion, it’s a rare occurrence when the same car has been raced by three generations of a single family.
Racing in Group 1a at Monterey often means a misty morning start on Saturday. This year was no exception. With an 8:30am qualifying session, seeing through the ground fog can be almost as much of a challenge as avoiding 4 Litre Bentleys. Leif handled both with ease, coming in second behind Pete Thelander and his MG NE Magnette. Pete has a lot of experience in what is a purpose built MG factory racer. Finishing positions in the morning qualifier set the starting grid for Saturday afternoon’s race, er make that “demonstration.” There may not be a trophy for the winner, but that never stops folks from trying.
Starting along side Thelander, Leif managed to get by into the lead…briefly. Like the Andrettis at Indy, the racing dietys wanted someone else to win on this day. Within a couple laps, Leif was falling back. It seems his rear brakes began to drag. Truly an unheard of issue on a British car. Yes, I’m kidding. However, the devil in me would like to point out this never happens with cable brakes. What, you have a story about all four wheels locking with cable brakes? Please go post somewhere else, this is my story. By about lap six, Leif was parked and watching. Pete Thelander’s NE did a magnificent job, but to paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, those darn Bentleys have an awful lot of torques under the bonnet. Enough in this case to overhaul Pete’s MG and take the win.
No doubt this is only the first of many demonstrations of the Jacobsen family’s NA in Leif’s hands. We look forward to next year’s installment. One of these years the pesky MG ant will beat that lumbering Bentley.
So what have we learned? First, it’s a lot harder to camp in the dirt and stand in a spot, camera raised, for hours on end when you’re fifty something than when you were twenty something. Second, like the B-52 bomber, you can’t kill off a classic machine. Just train a new flight crew and keep on plugging. We expect Leif will be flying for many years to come.
— Robert Goldman