May 31 - 2 - 2016

Sonoma Speed Festival

LOCATION: Sonoma, California

NEAREST AIRPORT: San Francisco

RACE REPORT

Sunshine, food and wine heaven, with racing on a circuit that’s a regular host of NASCAR

 

What an incredible start to the North American Masters Historic Racing season. Exciting races, Californian sun and a great launched for the Masters Endurance Legends USA series!

 

 


Frieser takes charge at the Sonoma Speed Festival!

Keith Frieser in his 2011 Oreca FLM09 was the man to beat in the inaugural Masters Endurance Legends USA races at the Sonoma Speed Festival! 

For the first running of the Masters Endurance Legends USA grid, there were many stunning cars and stories to tell in the paddock.  From Kevin Buckler in his 2003 Porsche 911 GT 3 RS, which he raced and won Daytona with in 2003, through to Masters-regular Travis Engen with his stunning 2005 Audi R8 LMP1 and Steven Read’s beautiful 1989 Ferrari F40/LM.  Unfortunately, Andrew Wait and Art Herbert would be non-starters after breaking a hub in their very rare Picchio.

Saturday afternoon’s 40-minute race, including taking an unnecessary a 1-min mandatory pitstop, was won by a flawless Keith Frieser.  Spencer Trenery (2006 Daytona Prototype) came in second managing to keep Travis Engen at bay in 3rd, who qualified 5th the day before.  Engen said “he has hopes of catching Frieser in tomorrow’s race” – the pair have plenty of history of racing together at US and Europe!

Kevin Buckler had a great battle in his Porsche with the prototypes during the race, managing to move up one place in 5th, finishing right behind James Hagan sharing his 2011 Oreca FLM09 with Chris Atkinson who finished in 4th place.  Atkinson forgot to switch his engine off during the drivers change which led the team to take a drive through penalty on their way to 4th.

Frieser was again the man to beat for Sunday’s Race 2.  Starting from pole position, Keith Frieser was in control throughout in his 2011 ORECA FLM09, taking his 2nd win of the weekend.  He was followed in the race by Spencer Trenery in the Riley Daytona Prototype, and, starting in fifth Travis Engen in the Audi R8 LMP1. Travis and Spencer traded places with James Hagan, who spun in the very beginning, and the results are Keith Freiser 1st, Travis Engen 2nd and Spencer 3rd.

Kevin Buckler finished up in 4th place, which was a great result with the Porsche beating the Prototypes, followed by Johannes van Overbeek in the Ferrari F40/LM.

While the pit window was open, Mark Mathis had an unfortunate incident on track which caused the safety car and a delay in releasing the pitting cars on the track again.

Next stop for Masters Endurance Legends USA is Circuit Mont-Tremblant and Road America in July and for Monterey Car Week at Laguna Seca in August.

Romak and Thornton share the honours at Sonoma Speed Festival

The Masters Historic Formula One USA cars were a hit at the Sonoma Speed Festival!  The spectators clearly appreciated the sight and sounds of these cars in action. Huge cheers were heard in appreciation, at the thrill of seeing these iconic cars zoom by.

In Saturday’s Race 1, James Hagan (Tyrrell 011) had an unfortunate spin at the beginning of the Carousel. He couldn’t restart the car again which caused a 3-laps safety car period to recover the car.  The race winner was Californian native Steve Romak (1985 Tyrrell 012-6), who qualified on pole and enjoyed a great race with Greg Thornton from the UK (1982 Lotus 91/5) who challenged him the entire run.

“Its lots more fun when someone is in your mirrors the entire time.”  Romak said afterwards!  It was a fair fight with Romak never closing the door on Thornton during the race. Thornton pledged to “pass him tomorrow on Sunday, it’s against the rules to pass on Saturdays!”  The two finished with less than a couple of nano seconds between them! 

Nick Colyvas (Tyrrell 007) drove well coming in third, the top three taking positions just as they had qualified. The next five drivers were all within a second of each other, setting the scene for an exciting Race 2. Chris Locke (Lotus 77) and Bud Moeller (Ensign MN179) had a great time racing each other further down the field!

Danny Baker (McLaren M23) was unlucky in race 1, losing power in the last few laps and pulling off on Lap 10!

Sunday’s Race 2 was welcomed with great weather and full Californian sunshine. The pre-grid lined up with Steve Romak (1985 Tyrrell 112-6) on pole, who was the quickest all weekend in every session, followed by Greg Thornton (1982 Lotus 91/5) and Nicolas Colyvas in his 1974 Tyrrell 007.

It was an exciting race, with no clear winners from the start. Thornton and Romak enjoyed a good battle which was won by Greg Thornton, who took 1st place.  Romak took 2nd and Nick Colyvas, third. 

Bud Moeller (Ensign MN179), a very experienced contender at this track, came in fifth after Martin Lauber (1974 March 741) who had started 2nd.

Ron Maydon (LEC CRP1) came in 7th having moved up a position. There were enough position changes to keep the spectators’ full, undivided attention on the race!

Romak said “Thornton came close to a critical corner and I had to let him pass”. Nick Colyvas said his goal was to pass Martin Lauber today! A nice compliment from Chris Locke for Ron Maydon, saying it’s great to be a part of his Masters Series on both sides of the Atlantic.

Charles Warner (Shadow DN9) had an unlucky race, having to park the car up towards the very end of the race. 

Masters Historic Formula One USA is next up at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Canada and Road America next and then two weekends in August at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for Monterey Car Week.

 


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