Oxford took to the track this last weekend and headed up to Watkins Glen International for the Glenora Wine Cellars US Vintage Grand Prix.
All MGA racecars made the trip - #345, #105, #912, and #518 - and Jeremy, Jon, and Chris all ran the event (unfortunately, Jake didn't run as he recently tore his ACL). A couple of the cars had a few issues, keeping Joe (or as we like to call him, "Buddy Palumbo") very busy, including a late night engine pull! The weekend was a blast and it was great to be apart of such a historic event.
Part of our weekend at Wakins Glen involved a parade (parts of it seeming like a real race!) around the the original course. First, we followed a Watkins Glen International pace car and a few police cars into the center of town, where we parked our cars and people flooded the street to look at, admire, examine and look under the hood of the 123 racecars that participated. At the same time, a car show was taking place, where we saw EX186, an experimental car built by MG.
After an hour or two, people cleared the streets and the race officials cleared us to go out on the old course. People lined the streets and cheered on the cars as we came screaming around corners and flying through the downtown strip. It truly was a time-warp back to the late 40s.
The weekend was a blast. A special thanks to SVRA for hosting such a great event and Watkins Glen International for providing a fun venue. All of us at Oxford are very proud to be a part of such history and are looking forward to next year! This is an event that car enthuiasts absolutley cannot miss.
A little bit of history...
The road course at Watkins Glen started as a dream of a law student named Cameron Argetsinger, who spent his summers as a child in the village of Watkins Glen.
His dream came into fruition on October 2, 1948, when a group of drivers raced a 6.6 mile road course through the hills and valleys of the small village, with the start/finish line infront of the Schuyler Court House. October 2nd was known as "the day the trains stood still," because all the roads surrounding the town were closed, including the train tracks, which the road course (roughly, with large bumps causing bottomed out suspensions!) crosses over. It was the first road race in five years since the end of World War II.
(Photograph curtosy of www.theglen.com)
The original 6.6 mile course covered the outskirts of the villiage - traveling from downtown to accompaning farm lands - and included the famous "Milliken's Corner," where William F. Milliken rolled his car over during a race in 1948. Milliken survived the crash and lived to be 101 years old! The corner is at the end of a very long downhill, which is probably the reason Mr. Milliken may have been driving a little too fast around a sharp corner.
Races on the original 6.6 mile course ended in 1953, when competition was moved to a temporary course until a 2.3 mile circuit was built in 1956 at what is now known as Watkins Glen International Speedway. Formula 1 came to the track in 1961, and the track was expanded in 1971 to include "the boot." However, in 1981, due to financial difficulties, the track closed and fell into a state of disrepair - only hosting a couple weekends of SCCA racing a year. In 1983 the track was purchased by Corning Enterprises, a subsidiary of Corning Glass Works, who subsequently formed a partnership with International Speedway Corporation, forming Watkins Glen International. In 1992, the track was expanded to 3.4 miles in length and hosted a range of NASCAR and SCCA events.