Factory Five Racing customer and Team Thunder Valley Racing owner Karen Salvaggio joined more than 50 Factory Five owners in attending the 2012 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 50th Anniversary event last weekend and has sent us a full report covering the event. Read all the details below.
“One of the best things about the Factory Five Racing community is the large amount of adventurous and fun-filled activities that come along with car ownership. From build parties at a forum member’s house, to touring the beautiful byways of this great Country with fellow builders, to competition events, enjoying dinner outings, and everything in between, FFR ownership brings a new level of fun and enjoyment to life. Every once in a while though, one of these events rises above all others, and becomes “”the” event of the decade within our community…….For me, the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion was that event.
Over the last ten years, this annual event, held at Laguna Seca Raceway in beautiful Monterey, CA, has built in prominence, and for one week each year, becomes Mecca for classic cars, collectors, and vintage motorsports enthusiasts. Each year, organizers of the event identify a historically significant marquee to feature at the reunion, and for 2012, it was the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the C-car.
As a racer, and a classic and vintage motorsports enthusiast, I knew from the moment the featured marquee was announced last year, that I would be attending this event. It was with great excitement last fall, that I received an invite from Peter and Gayle Brock to join them in the first ever “Brock Coupe Group” to attend a number of exclusive and highly sought after events associated with the Reunion. Needless to say, I couldn’t say, “I’m in!” fast enough, and as our good friend and fellow FFR builder/adventurer Arch Fonken says, “Default to yes!”
I was joined at the event by fellow FFR Type-65 Coupe owners/builders Garry Bopp, Tom and Carolyn Coon, Ron and Charlene Stebles, and Rick and Diane Anderson, and was very pleased my daughter Tracy Marshall (checkerFFR) was able to join me for this memorable event as well. As many folks know, Team Thunder Valley Racing has been campaigning our Coupe in endurance racing for the last three years, and this year has been spent taking all that we’ve learned from the track, and building the first of a series of Competition Coupes. We cracked open our Coupe kit on February 5, 2012, with a goal of having the car completed for the Monterey event in August….No small order indeed, and special hats off to Rick Anderson for lending his extreme fabrication and build talents, to Hank Lopez for his amazing design and fabrication skills, and to Coupe officiando Russ Thompson for mentoring us and providing hands-on body fitment. With all of their expertise, and a whole lot of hard work and sheer luck, we completed the “new” #28 on August 10th, and loaded our new beauty into the trailer just in time to make the trek to Monterey.
First up was the McCall’s event at the Jet Center in Monterey. ” Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center is “one of the most exclusive lifestyle events of its kind in the country. The one night event privately kicks off the World-Class automobile week held each August on the Monterey Peninsula. With an “A-List” of VIP guests from Hollywood celebrities to Captains of Industry, this “Jet Set” crowd arrives in first-class style, to feast on the latest offerings from some of the world’s top luxury brands in a relaxed and elegant party setting.”
The next morning we had front row seats with the Coupe group at the Cobra designer and driver panel discussion sponsored by Hagerty Insurance, and held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Monterey. Joining the panel was Coupe designer Peter Brock, as well as drivers Allen Grant, Lew Spencer and John Morton. They interacted with each other in a roundtable style discussion regarding the development of the Cobra and the Cobra Daytona Coupe, reflected on life working within the Shelby organization, and spoke with amazing frankness regarding the trails, tribulations, tragedies and successes that made the cars, the people, and the era legendary in motorsports.
Friday and Saturday we were spent in the C-car Corral, where we joined 18 Coupes and more than 170 Cobras, virtually representing every manufacturer. The Factory Five Racing community was well-represented, with more than fifty FFR’s in the field. The corral was amazing; however, it would’ve been way cooler if we could’ve communed with our fellow FFR brethren a bit more, however, with the corral arranged by model, the Coupes and Roadsters were in separate sections. It was awesome to get to know so many more Coupe owners though, and being parked with Peter Brock and the group was, well, awesome!
We participated in parade laps with the C-car group on Saturday, and the car count exceeded 170 C-cars on track. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, I had the additional good fortune (pinch me now) to follow Peter Brock on track, and watch him attack each turn “on the line,” and attack the corkscrew with zest left memories that will last a lifetime. At one point, I pulled up alongside of him, and his smile and huge “thumbs up” glowed through the window of his beautiful Coupe. All I could think of was, right back at you Peter, as you made all of this possible for all of us!
Above: Karen Salvaggio piloting her #28 Type 65 Coupe behind Peter Brock. Below: Pete Brock gives a thumbs up!
The on track events included a C-car race which was held at 1:00 PM on Saturday. More than 40 original C-cars were registered for the race, and amazingly, included the #9 C-car Daytona Coupe, one of only six originals. As racers, we were stoked to see an original on track, and were thrilled to watch qualifying from the legendary corkscrew, and to see the Coupe attacking the track, and setting 3rd fastest time among a wicked fast group. We watched the race from the top of the hill, and our hearts raced as the Coupe held onto a very solid 3rd place, and was racing to a podium finish when, to our complete shock, the Coupe crashed hard into the wall at turn 5. In a complete twist of fate, Peter Brock would be standing at the turn 5 wall capturing photos from the race, when the Coupe came sliding through the sand, hitting the wall hard directly in front of him. The driver was fine, however, the Coupe would be badly damaged in the crash, and would require loading on a rollback for its return to the pits. The car is repairable, but as one of our colleagues noted, it was like watching the destruction of a national treasure. As fellow racers and Coupe lovers, everyone from Team Thunder Valley Racing wishes their team good luck in the rebuild. As was noted online, there’s a small sense of nobleness in knowing that the Coupe was doing what it was designed to do: Race!
In all, we had a simply amazing time in Monterey. Gayle and Peter Brock were truly kind and generous hosts to all of us, and their commitment and friendship to the Factory Five Racing community is nothing less than amazing. We met so many new friends, and our lives were enrichened to have been part of this awesome event!!! Thanks Peter and Gayle, and big thanks to Dave Smith and everyone at Factory Five Racing for continuing to make these dreams possible!”
Thanks to Karen for a great write-up! And thanks to Factory Five Forum member 289FIA_Cobra for all of the awesome photos!