CSRG Infineon Season Opener 2011 – Three to Get Ready

Carl Moore and his Lotus 23B were ready for Sunday’s “Group D” race, “representative of the sports racing and open wheel cars as raced in the U.S. in the 1960s and early 1970s.” His suspension was the way he wanted it, and the car was behaving like a really top-form Lotus should.

Ready for his race, Carl More felt that the suspension settings on his Lotus 23B were spot-on.  William Edgar Photo
Ready for his race, Carl More felt that the suspension settings on his Lotus 23B were spot-on. William Edgar Photo
Carl Moore in his Lotus 23B, ready to go to Infineon's start grid for his Sunday race.  William Edgar Photo
Carl Moore in his Lotus 23B, ready to go to Infineon's start grid for his Sunday race. William Edgar Photo

Carl went to the race grid’s second spot with his Lotus facing a lot of competition to overcome on track. In particular, he was sandwiched on the grid between pole-sitter Harin de Silva in the closed wheel Elva-BMW and third qualifier, another younger guy, Danny Baker in an equally quick open-wheel Lotus 27 Junior.

“We had a good day yesterday,” Carl told me an hour before his Sunday race, “and we did some suspension tuning, which helps a lot. We got the car settled down. In practice this morning everything was working good, but we have a little bit of a grumpy third to fourth shift, a grumpy gear. You don’t like them, because it makes you think about the grumpy gear when you are making that shift—which you shouldn’t have to do. You want to pay attention. And you have to slow it down just a little bit for that third to fourth shift. It’s not a big deal, but you don’t want to have to be thinking about it when you’re going this fast.”

Head of the grid for Carl Moore's race, with pole-sitter Harin de Silva in #196 Elva-BMW and Danny Baker in the green Lotus 27.  William Edgar Photo
Head of the grid for Carl Moore's race, with pole-sitter Harin de Silva in #196 Elva-BMW and Danny Baker in the green Lotus 27. William Edgar Photo

I asked Carl about the other guys up front for the start—Baker and de Silva. “We are within a hundredth of a second of Danny, and he’s a very good driver. And Harin drives the Elva well. He’s young and fast and brave, and there’s a few places that I can still catch up to him, and I’m not telling him where. That Elva’s a fast car with a lot of juice. He has 50 or 60 more horsepower than I do. Michael Malone drives his Elva well, too. He’s predictable and safe and fun. But the young kids, like Harin and Danny—darn them anyway. Us older guys feel like the seniors tour in golf. The young kids coming along are quick and talented. This is good sorting out time now for the coming races.”

And the track, in Carl’s estimate? “This is one of the toughest tracks to drive,” he said. “My car is stored here, and we do testing here. It’s technical to drive. I raced back in the ‘60s with a Lotus Seven for a while, but, when I quite, this track was just starting to be built. This is a great track, and I take advantage of the home course knowledge, so they say.”

Carl Moore in his Lotus 23B during the Group D race at CSRG's Opener, going strong.  Graham Blake Photo
Carl Moore in his Lotus 23B during the Group D race at CSRG's Opener, going strong. Graham Blake Photo
Harin de Silva's Elva-BMW (left) leads Carl Moore's Lotus 23B in the way they would finish Sunday's race.  Graham Blake Photo
Harin de Silva's Elva-BMW (left) leads Carl Moore's Lotus 23B in the way they would finish Sunday's race. Graham Blake Photo

Carl took second place to winner Harin de Silva. Understandably, our Lotus 23B driver was a bit upset with his finish, thinking earlier that he could pull off a win over the Elva, even with de Silva’s Nerus BMW power being more than his own less-strong Lotus-Ford. But Carl will be back, and there will more times in 2011 when he and Harin will face off in these same feisty race cars from the ‘60s.

John Goodman ready for his Sunday Group F race, as crew chief Walter Gerber attended to the Ferrari.  William Edgar Photo
John Goodman ready for his Sunday Group F race, as crew chief Walter Gerber attended to the Ferrari. William Edgar Photo
John Goodman's red Ferrari among the competition, moments before the Group F race.  William Edgar Photo
John Goodman's red Ferrari among the competition, moments before the Group F race. William Edgar Photo

Once again in a list of many meets over the past decade, John took his red car to the race grid, ready for the go this time with CSRG’s “Group F” that includes Brabham, Lola, Chevron, March, Leda and his own Ferrari, a mix of machines with engine displacement ranging from 1600cc to 5000cc. It had all the earmarks of a main event.

John Goodman's V12 Ferrari howled properly during his Group F race.  Graham Blake Photo
John Goodman's V12 Ferrari howled properly during his Group F race. Graham Blake Photo
Stunning to watch, John Goodman's Ferrari had no further problems and finished the race well.  Graham Blake Photo
Stunning to watch, John Goodman's Ferrari had no further problems and finished the race well. Graham Blake Photo

John did well with his Ferrari’s mid-pack finish in Sunday race that led to the afternoon break in the CSRG’s seven race groups. Then, just a little over an hour later, it was time for John’s second and last race of the day—taking the Devin to do battle in the “Group C” bunch that included Terry Gough’s pre-race favorite Corvette.

Goodman Racing mechanic Mike Collins was busy getting John's one-eyed Devin SS ready for the Group C race.  William Edgar Photo
Goodman Racing mechanic Mike Collins was busy getting John's one-eyed Devin SS ready for the Group C race. William Edgar Photo
The 327 cid V8 Corvette engine in John Goodman's Devin SS with its 4-barrel Holley makes 500 bhp. William Edgar Photo
The 327 cid V8 Corvette engine in John Goodman's Devin SS with its 4-barrel Holley makes 500 bhp. William Edgar Photo

John’s Devin SS, as far as Mike Collins and Walter Gerber could speculate, was going to be OK for the Sunday “Group C” race. The SS’s oil issue had been addressed, the engine was sound and strong, and on went new Avon rubber fitted to the car’s Minilite aluminum wheels, a departure from the Devin’s original spokes and switch some purist find inappropriate.

Before his Group C race, new Avon rubber went on John Goodman's Devin SS.  William Edgar Photo
Before his Group C race, new Avon rubber went on John Goodman's Devin SS. William Edgar Photo
On the race start grid, John Goodman hoped that all would stay well with his Devin SS.  William Edgar Photo
On the race start grid, John Goodman hoped that all would stay well with his Devin SS. William Edgar Photo
A classic sight from late 1950s racing, John Goodman's Devin SS was loud and fast as the Group C race got underway.  William Edgar Photo
A classic sight from late 1950s racing, John Goodman's Devin SS was loud and fast as the Group C race got underway. William Edgar Photo
Clocking John Goodman's Devin, crew chief Walter Gerber saw lap time drop as low oil pressure finished John's race.  William Edgar Photo
Clocking John Goodman's Devin, crew chief Walter Gerber saw lap time drop as low oil pressure finished John's race. William Edgar Photo

The Devin’s oil specter did not go away, but came back to haunt John during that Sunday race’s early laps. Oil pressure weakened, dropped, and John pulled in and parked the car. I caught up with him and his wife, Shawn, as they were saying good-bye to the crew and already set to head north for hometown Seattle.

“What happened with the Devin for you to bring it in early?” I asked. “Something is wrong in the pan,” John said, “and I was just losing too much oil pressure. The larger catch tank worked for the earlier problem, but for some reason now I’m losing pressure. It was just too hard to manage that and also manage the race. So, I would rather save the Devin’s motor for another day.” And the Ferrari? “The Ferrari was awesome,” said John. “It felt good! We’ll see you at Wine Country!”

Of course, he meant the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival on June 4-5 this year, where there will be 400 entries compared to the 200 this CSRG Opener had. It’ll be almost summer again and many here this weekend, and many more who weren’t, will return to vintage racing at Sears Point—err, Infineon Raceway. It’s hard to break old habits when it comes to the names of tracks and events. But they continue to be and to grow and to provide fun and entertainment for all.

The CSRG Opener weekend and its good times came to a close at the base of Sonoma County hills.  William Edgar Photo
The CSRG Opener weekend and its good times came to a close at the base of Sonoma County hills. William Edgar Photo
Carl Moore didn't win with his Lotus 23B, but had a great time with this beauty of a race car.  William Edgar Photo
Carl Moore didn't win with his Lotus 23B, but had a great time with this beauty of a race car. William Edgar Photo
All done, John Goodman's Devin SS V8 and Ferrari V12 gave him what he came for - a great time in vintage racing.  William Edgar Photo
All done, John Goodman's Devin SS V8 and Ferrari V12 gave him what he came for - a great time in vintage racing. William Edgar Photo
The 2011 CSRG Opener came to a close with memories of excellent times had by all.  William Edgar Photo
The 2011 CSRG Opener came to a close with memories of excellent times had by all. William Edgar Photo

To echo Tom Franges and maybe make of it a mantra: “It’s really about the people and people talking about the cars.”

I’ve been going to sports car races since 1951, and must say I had a grand time at Infineon with this “three to get ready” trio—Pete Thelander, Carl Moore, John Goodman—and thank them and all the others who helped make CSRG’s 2011 Season Opener another winner of a vintage racing weekend.

Oh, one more thing. I have a footnote to Carl Moore’s “podium” second in that he was one of two top-3 Lotus finishers within the same racing week. The other was in distant Malaysia where Nick Hiedfeld took his F1 Lotus Renault GP to third spot at Sepang International Circuit. I venture to declare that this double Lotus pop was enough to put a smile on Colin Chapman’s face—wherever he might be.

[Source: William Edgar; photo credits: William Edgar and Graham Blake]

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Show Comments (8)

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  1. Wealthy or not, I personally thank the owners of such cars for sharing them with us. Where else are we able to literally touch the best of the best of anything other than at the vintage car events?

    Try touching your favorite painting at the local museum…and I could go on.

  2. Really nice article Mr. Edgar. It’s always great to get a behind the scenes look at these great people and the wonderful cars they pull out to “exercise” every so often.

  3. Great article and photographs. The Lotus and Devin were great and the MG just jumped off the screen. Well done that I will surely keep. Thank you.

  4. I love the stories, I have a Devin SS in my shop and the interior shot of the SS shows some side protection bars in the door. I would like to do that! Can you send along that photo for me to show my client? Safety is good even if not period, we know more now.
    Thank You in advance,
    Don Breslauer

  5. The style of Mr. Edgars’s race report is the best I’ve read in the vintage race genre. When reading it I felt I was part of each of the three teams, sharing the problems and anticpating the results. I was riveted! Much better than most race reports where only a few of the more interesting cars are described and the race results are pretty meaningless.