Return to Willow Springs 2024

Return to Willow Springs 2024

The 2024 Return to Willow Springs Historic One Hour Enduro on March 16th was filled with great people and great cars. Participants were limited to B-Sedans with Trans-Am history.  This was a bit of a feat considering there are approximately 20-25 remaining B-Sedans that raced from 1966-1972. We had six cars committed by race day: three Alfa Romeos, two BMW 2002’s and one Datsun 510. We were up to seven cars, but Steve Link’s Datsun 510 needed another week to finish a 2-year restoration. 

The idea for the Enduro came about as I was talking with the original driver of the Hyde Park 34, and friend Jeff Kline. I thought it would be an incredible event to reunite Jeff with the car and have him pilot the 34 one more time. Sharing a 1-hour enduro with Jeff Klein would be an experience of a lifetime, while getting more seat time myself. As time passed, my friend Anthony Rimicci asked if he could join us. That led to mutual friends of mine and Anthony’s, Billy & Chet Taylor, who recently purchased the green 58 John Norman Alfa GTV being added to the roster. With these cars interested, I decided to reach out to a few more friends of mine who owned Datsun’s with Trans- Am history, Glenn Chiou and Steve Link. The final line-up was as follows:

  • Hyde Park Motors BMW 2002 #34
  • Hyde Park Motors BMW 2002 #35
  • Dave Burns Alfa Romeo GTA #9
  • Charlie Thieriot Alfa Romeo GTA #95
  • Fin/Harris Datsun 510 #37
  • John Norman Alfa GTV #58
  • John Meskausas Datsun 510 #49 (unable to attend)

In addition to the one-hour enduro, the drivers were welcome to join the VARA B-Sedan practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday morning. It was the first time Jeff drove the car since Rug Cunningham owned it in the 1990’s. We changed and removed a lot, so it was basically a new car to him. The biggest issue was getting the seat height raised. Other than that, he was good to go. 

During the middle of the day, the 6 Trans-Am B-Sedans were on display alongside the B-Sedan vendor tent in an area next to the café. It was the perfect spot to hang out and meet new people. The staging in the hot pits for the enduro was scheduled for 4:15pm. Other than a minor delay for the officials to clean the track, everything went smoothly and ran on time. I was to drive the first stint and Jeff was scheduled to finish the race. Immediately following the enduro, the two Hyde Park cars went back on the track but this time at 20 mph as they followed my friend Jim Delk in his F-350 pick-up truck with two photographers, Kyle van Hoften and Rami Garcia, in the bed of the truck. The reason for the additional laps was to shoot a cover shot for an upcoming article in Roundel, the magazine of the BMW Car Club of America. 

The only thing I would change is getting a flat tire on the 4th lap of the enduro. I picked up a screw and had to come in for a tire change. Unfortunately, my spare tires were in my trailer, so the crew had to drive the cart to the paddock to pick them up. After changing all four tires, it was time for Jeff to climb in as there was a mandatory five-minute stop halfway through the enduro. The crew did everything they could to get me back out. I owe a big THANK YOU to Ken, Ed, Jack, and Mike. Thanks guys! Regarding track support, I want to acknowledge all the pre-race preparation and on track support from Ken Blasko at Blasko Racing. 

Someone once said vintage racing is like a picnic where a race breaks out. I couldn’t agree more. It was fun hanging out with Tim Brecht, Jeff Kline, the Delks and all the owners and family members of the other B-Sedans. It was a lot of work, and a couple times I swore it would be my last time hosting an event, but in the end, it turned out better than I expected and we are already planning for next year.