• ST. MICHAELS CONCOURS: SHOWTIME ON CHESAPEAKE BAY!

    Mike Matune brings us highlights from one of the top East Coast Concours.

    As the show season winds down, we always look forward to the St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance for one last hurrah. To celebrate its tenth year on the Concours calendar, it returned to the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. This location allowed the showcasing of stunning wooden boats and outstanding automobiles, delivering pure sensory overload. Making its debut at St. Michaels was the North Collection’s ‘33 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. Under its flaming Italian Racing Red paint is body done in the style of Touring, build by Pettenella.

    Robert Tattersall freely admits the lovely lady, right, featured on the hood of his ‘48 Triumph TRA 2000 is the most frequently photographed element of his car! It’s something of a shame as the car has many other notable features. Among them a “dickey” or rumble seat with a pop-up windshield.

    Tattersall’s Triumph, below, showcases some of the details that make it an excellent addition to the show field: period blanket and picnic basket. One could almost see Yogi Bear running off with the basket!

     

    Karen & John Gerhard’s ‘66 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta was made for, and feels most comfortable on, the open road. When introduced at the 1964 Paris Auto Show, it marked a move by Ferrari to produce a more user-friendly version of its front-engined, closed sports car. But that move didn’t come at any reduction in performance. A Colombo designed 3.3-liter 280 horsepower V12 powered a new 275 chassis with four-wheel independent suspension.

    Here is an early example of American Muscle, Peter Stiffel’s ‘11 Mercer Raceabout. It utilized a minimalist approach to lower weight and high performance. Nothing was included that didn’t serve the singular purpose of providing its driver with a thrilling adventure.

    Max Hoffman, the legendary auto importer of the 1950s, gave us several important marques and models, among them the BMW 507 roadster. Impeccably styled by noted industrial designer Albrecht Goertz, it features a V-8 of just over three liters backed by a four-speed transmission. They became the darlings of the rich and famous in their day. Thomas Pesikey owns this beautiful, Rudge wheel equipped example.

    Paul & Linda Gould’s ‘35 Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid Roadster was one of those cars you had to observe from every angle to drink in just how striking it is. This one is one of only two that were completed with bodies built by the Swiss firm, Worblaufen. This rear angle gives you a good idea of how all the elements of design combine into one very cohesive shape.

    Alvis is one of those British manufacturers that has disappeared. But before they went, they produced some very well styled cars like James Sprague’s ‘64 TE21 Drophead Coupe with coachwork by Park Ward. Actor Tony Curtis originally owned Sprague’s car. He had it fitted with power steering and brakes, automatic transmission and air conditioning.

    In a car that bore his name, E. L. Cord combined cutting edge engineering with equally impressive styling. FWD drive and a monocoque chassis rested under a rakish body with hideaway headlights and a “coffin” nose. Thomas Haines’s ‘36 Cord 810 Convertible Phaeton takes it all a step further with an open car still allowing for all weather protection.

    Barbara and Al Mason are frequent Concours competitors with their brilliant orange ‘28 Auburn 8-115 Speedster. At St. Michaels they came away with a double victory, earning not only People’s Choice, but also taking Best in Show. An impressive “Double” to say the least!

    Here is proof of the old adage about “There’s nothing new under the sun”. Bill Alley’s Waverly four-passenger Brougham is an electric car built in 1911. Originating in the period when the automobile was beginning to replace horse drawn conveyances, its appointments are more in keeping with an aristocrat’s carriage than what we would expect in an automobile. The interior looks like the drawing room in a fine home.

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  • Johnson: Harvick is still the one to watch for Sprint Cup

    Following his recent third win of 2015, NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson remains as humble as ever despite his success on the tracks of late. The 39-year-old had fewer than 10 laps to go when he drove through Turn 3 of the Kansas Speedway at the recent SpongeBob SquarePants event and it became apparent that victory was his. Describing how he was looking in rear-view mirror in the race’s final leg, he said: “Sometimes you can tell what the masses are going to do, if they’re looking at pit road or not.

    “Usually [voice crew chief] Chad Knaus gives me some indication early in Turn 3 what he’s going to do, and he didn’t really say much, so I knew he was thinking hard, and I could see most guys were favoring down and trying to find their way onto the apron. It just dawned on me.”

    Hence, a split-second decision led Johnson to the 73rd win of his career and more adoration from loyal fans. But that doesn’t stop him from being modest however, and now, he has advised NASCAR fans that Kevin Harvick may be the one to watch.

    Johnson said: “I still think he’s the car to beat right now. I mean, he qualifies better than we do. We’re finding ways to win races, but I just think that they have a bit more control of their own destiny right now.”

    Indeed, Harvick may in fact be the man to place a wager on, and with sites like Bettingsports offering so many bonuses, it is no wonder that NASCAR fans may be turning their attentions towards Harvick. He has two more top 10 wins that Johnson and a marked statistical edge in qualifying, with an average of 8.4 compared to Johnson’s 16.4.

    However, what the two do have in common are their engines – they both drive the Chevrolet SS, with Johnson racing for Hendrick Motorsports and Harvick for Stewart-Hass Racing. Both have fared extremely well with this engine, and it could be thanks to the innovative new technologies as introduced by the model in January this year.

    The Generation 6, it has been claimed, will “change the face of racing,” largely thanks to its improved safety considerations, reduced weight and a small block V-8 engine. The cars are now two years in the making and today’s models are largely considered to be the best for racing.

    Whoever we have our eye on for NASCAR, it seems the real key to success is the innovative technology that continues to evolve in the world of motorsports.

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  • All eyes on Austin as MotoGP touches down in the USA

    All eyes on Austin as MotoGP touches down in the USA

    When the fans arrived at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas last year, little did they know that they were about to play host to what would become a hatrick of victories in the USA for Marc Marquez in his rookie MotoGP season with the superfast Spaniard securing his first victory on American soil from his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. Fast forward to 2014 and reigning MotoGP Champion comes to Austin on the back of a thrilling victory against Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi.

    While Marquez will be reliving his winning strategy from last year, Rossi will aim to improve on his sixth place finish and back up his stunning pace under the floodlights in Qatar three weeks ago. Pedrosa also comes into the race off a third place finish in the first round and the Spaniard was unlucky not to have won the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas last year after leading the race for 12 laps last year.

    Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

    Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

    Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

    Jorge Lorenzo will be focused on getting points on the board after crashing out of the first round while in the lead for the Movistar Yamaha team. Lorenzo has an improved YZR-M1 this year but the two-time MotoGP Champion is still struggling to get to grips with the 2014 Bridgestone rubber but despite this a third place finish here last year will give him something positive to focus on.

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  • Bridgestone MotoGP: Qatar debrief with Shinji Aoki

    Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez won the MotoGP season opener at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit, as the reigning World Champion claimed victory ahead of Movistar Yamaha Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who finished in second and third place respectively.

    Weather conditions for the race were cool and humid, with a peak track temperature of 20°C for the … Keep reading

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  • Bridgestone: Marquez takes victory in spectacular season opener in Qatar

    Marc Marquez got his MotoGP™ World Championship title defence off to the perfect start after the Repsol Honda rider emerged victorious from a closely-fought contest with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi.

    Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

    Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

    Photo by: Repsol Media

    Starting from pole position, Marquez traded places with Rossi at the front of the field numerous times throughout the twenty-two lap race, before Marquez made the race-winning pass in the final stages to take the chequered flag by 0.259 seconds. In third place at the Qatar Grand Prix was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who crossed the finish line 3.370 seconds after his teammate.

    The track temperature for the race was the coolest recorded over the whole race weekend, with a peak recording of just 20°C which brought with it a spike in humidity levels. This resulted in many riders commenting after the race that grip levels were lower than the Warm Up session four hours earlier. Although conditions were quite cool, only two riders selected the soft compound front slick, with the rest of the grid opting for the hard compound front slick. For the rear tyre, only race-winner Marc Marquez selected the hard compound rear slick for the race, and the medium compound rear was by far the popular choice, with fifteen riders selecting this option. Seven of the eleven Open-class entrants selected the soft compound rear slick for the Qatar Grand Prix.

    Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department: “That was a fantastic way to start the season; it was great to see riders from so many different teams fighting for position in the opening half of the race. Congratulations to Marc Marquez and Honda on winning the first race of the season, and well done to Valentino for pushing him all the way to the finish line. Every session this weekend was closely-contested, culminating in a thoroughly exciting race which I am sure was appreciated by MotoGP fans all around the world. I hope this trend of close racing continues for the rest of the season, starting with the Grand Prix of the Americas in three weeks’ time”

    Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department: “The 10pm start for the race in Qatar means we had cool and humid conditions for the Qatar Grand Prix, and listening to the comments from riders after the race, it seems this reduced the grip levels compared to the Warm Up session. As expected we had big variation in tyre strategies for the race, with all our front and rear slick options being utilised. I am happy to see that Marc was able to be so competitive on the hard compound rear slick, we made a big development with this option late last year for improved edge grip and the race result today showed it’s a viable race option for this year.”

    Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – Race Winner: “I’m very happy with the victory as I didn’t expect this result. I felt better physically yesterday but I still had a question mark over how I would go in the race. I chose the hard rear tyre so I was a bit cautious at the start of the race, but then it was ok so then I decided to push. The battle with Valentino was very exciting and we swapped positions many times, last year he came out on top but this year it was my turn. I hope to have many more nice battles like that this year.”

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