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When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies – to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear – only a common desire to retreat from each other – only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers.

Kennedy’s voice radios in from a not so distant past. As great as the mindless menace of violence-speech may be, right here and now, it remains inconclusive. Hovering between gentle soothing of the bitterness spreading through my deepest cavities. Or just sharpening the crude realization that, once more, I let my weakness get the better of me.

Deep down, we all know that fellow men will hand us nothing for free. That, on the contrary, at the slightest sign of weakness, they will grab whatever they can. Deprive others from what they had achieved through hard work and cunning manners without a second thought.

I’m not saying that every man is, in essence, evil. That would be paying humankind too much credit. Ninety percent of mankind is too feeble for evilness. When all the layers of civilized understanding, of cultured education, of fear instilled respect are peeled off, all that remains is a sad insignificant lump of opportunistic and envious weakness.

One day, a great Dutch bard will strikingly capture it as follows: “in the silence before the storm, a tiny rat seizes its chance, asks an ashen mouse to dance.[1]

Among the remaining 10% of men, there are some extremely rare good people. The others are evil to the core. Those of these evil who succeed in masking their fundamental depravation, are often those in power. Whether it be government circles or out on the street; or anywhere else for that matter.

Always, have I known and understood this. Worked it to my advantage. But there is this penchant within me to, at times, truly believe in people meaning well by me. As naïve as it may be, it seems that I need just that to shield me from the worse of this carnival of madness and violence that is my life.

Even if in my neighborhoods naivety gets you killed at best, I at regular intervals was sufficiently naïve to belief in man being fundamentally kind and righteous.

With hindsight, it was plain stupid to believe that some Italian fatsos from Belmont would care for a seven-year old black kid from Fordham Heights. A black kid that was not even a black kid, but a half-caste. A half-breed. An outcross. A bastard. A mongrel.

I walked past the Italian corners of Belmont daily. On my way to the West Farms Square subway station, from where one of the 5-trains would take me to the Upper East Side. Every day at least one of them dago’s would launch profanities at me. Or a tomato; or an empty bottle of some kind.

And those were just the better days. On others, a score of wop teenagers would chase me through their streets. A few times, they caught me, and threw me to the ground. Then seemed to have no clue as to what next and turned away. Withdrawing while treating me to some last smothered mulattos and mules.

Even if it was only a 2-mile walk, I hated it. And often I would beg mother to let me take the D-train at closer by Fordham Rd station. Which she always refused as this would force me to either cross Central Park or Harlem on the other side of the underground trip.

Then, one day, one of these fat middle-agers, who always hang out on a street corner, in front of a butchery or a pub, wearing glossy suits, with shirts bearing oversized collars smothering narrow ties, pulled his Cadillac up to me. The driver simply pushed a lever to slide the passenger’s window open. I could hardly believe it. Never before had I seen a car with electric windows.

Then, the slick hair-dressed Italian offered me a ride to West Farms Square station. I was reluctant and puzzled as to how this man knew where I was heading for. But it was a frisk and wet day. And avoiding another 20 minutes of wet shoes was more than I could resist. From that day on, the rides were offered on an almost daily basis. After a while, the man even started adding a dime for me to buy a soda and some candy.

Gradually, I got convinced that, contrary to what mother always claimed, this Italian really meant well by me. Just because I was a good kid.

Until, one day, while getting off at 86th Street Lexington Av, a police detective pulled me from the street. And retrieved an envelope with 350 dollars from my schoolbag. Which was a pile of money back in 1947.

I was dragged to the precinct on East 102nd street. Where it was claimed that the money in my schoolbag was pay-off money destined for a high-up civil servant living on the Upper East.

My mother was brought in, as were some white people I had never seen before. And would never see again after. There was drama. And there were tears. And the yelling and lamenting that seem indispensable for these situations.

I dropped a few tears, rather stemming from bitterness than sadness. But kept my teeth shut, whatever the threats from the police-officers or the doom prophecies my mother was employing to compel me to cooperate. My silence was primarily caused by a lack of understanding how the envelope had ended up in my schoolbag. But also by the dawning comprehension that I had been played, an awareness that filled me with hate. Hate for that dirty goombah. Hate for the world. And mainly, hate for my own silly stupidity.

Then, somehow, word reached the streets that the little mongrel from Fordham Heights had kept his silence. Cementing the first stone of my reputation.

The hate I felt that day, was of a kind I had never experienced before. And since that day, it never entirely disappeared. Trusting people became a no-go zone. Which had not prevented me from being lured into trust on other occasions. Often to my own disgrace and embarrassment.

It had now been a very long time since that weakness of mine to be inclined to belief in the good of others, had gotten the better of me. It had taken setting up an entire race team to allow that feebleness to demonstrate itself again. And at Mid-Ohio, it inevitably exploded in my face.

Following Ogonoski’s ban from the series, it was al musical chairs on pit row. Grant Riddall abandoned the Porsche 917-10 for the Shadow. We immediately applied for the better Porsche. With the additional memberships under our section 501(c)7 scheme at the Glen and Road Atlanta, there were no real budgetary constraints to get that car.

Henrique however also petitioned for the car resulting in the series organizers handing it to the Brazilian on the back of a rule stating that the driver with the more starts enjoyed priority. And Henrique had four starts compared to Voigt’s three starts.

The aforementioned priority is indeed part of the series rules. I do not argue that. And, prior to Mid-Ohio, Henrique indeed had four starts to Voigt’s three starts. It should however also be mentioned that the only reason for Voigt only having started three races prior to Mid-Ohio, was the late change in date for the Road Atlanta race. Had that date not been changed, Voigt would have started at Road Atlanta. And would also have had 4 starts prior to Mid-Ohio, allowing our team to get the better Porsche.

We never asked for the Atlanta-date to be changed. We had carefully planned Voigt’s Asian trip around the initial schedule, but rearranging everything last minute proved impossible. That, at least, should have met some consideration, I felt.

Then Henrique did not even show for the Mid-Ohio race, the number 20 Porsche car becoming available for this one race. We were swift in reaching an agreement with Zuffenhausen to at least have Voigt in the car at Mid-Ohio. But the organizers would only allow it if we forfeited any lien to our regular car.

Obviously, we could not accept that, and so, for Mid-Ohio, Voigt was back in our trusted Porsche 917 PA.

We had thus been denied the Porsche 917-10 as a result of circumstances that were not of our doing. Moreover, when Henrique will start the Porsche 917-10 at Road America for the first time, Voigt will have as many starts as him.

Still, even if hard on our team, I was willing to put it all down to an unfortunate combination of rules converging with an unlucky set of circumstances. Drowning that initial seed of frustration planted in my mind by the total lack of leeway. But things would get much worse during the race.

As Yves Plaçais and David Jundt, who shared the front row, lead the field to the rolling start, some bad blood was thus simmering. Behind, on the second row, both Grant Riddall and Andres Adamovich, who had picked up Henrique’s McLaren, put their new rides to good use, by claiming thirth and fourth place on the grid. The factory McLaren M8F seemed less at ease on this twisty circuit, Sabre only qualifying in fifth, with Jereb in a Motschenbacher McLaren in sixth.

Pat-daddy Voigt had qualified our Porsche in 23rd, leaving five cars behind him. It was the best starting position we ever achieved. Marcelo had lengthily explained that this was mainly down to Voigt having a strong car control, allowing him to overcome the power handicap of our car on this twisty circuit. I thought to sense a degree of admiration for Jonny P in Marcelo’s voice. But then realized that such a thing was near impossible.

As the flag dropped, Jundt immediately jumped Plaçais’ Ferrari. Grant Riddall followed suit, relegating the French Ferrarista to third with just one turn dispensed with. Riddall then tried to deploy the power of his fat 8 litre to also settle Jundt’s case on the run to the Chicane.

Riddall’s attempt did not quiet succeed but the pressure seemed to get to Jundt. Out of the Keyhole, the Swiss went on the power too soon. Spinning the McLaren into the midfield. He avoided damage to the car and rejoined. Be it in 19th, with the lead now far away.

Behind, the entire field managed a clean first run through Chicane and Keyhole.

Jundt set out to work his way back up and did not waste any time. Before the start finish line was crossed a first time, four places had already been made up for.

Up front, Riddall kept a tight grip on the lead, although Plaçais kept the Ferrari within the Shadow’s shadows. The numbers one and two however seemed to be steadily escaping from numbers 3, 4 and 5. Sabre, Jereb and Adamovich, making a strong debut in the McLaren M8C.

With merely 5 laps ran, Jundt was already back to 8th.

Further down, Mikula, Bos, Kowalski and Janik were battling over positions 14 to 17. Mikula had the advantage for now and seemed able to stretch out a bit in the twisty sections. Behind, Bos used the power of his gusty 7.6 litre Chevy to close straight back up on the straights.Pic06.jpg

Bos in turn had to pay attention to Kowalski, who had finally gotten the beloved number 20 Porsche for a one-off, and Janik in an older McLaren. Both Kowalski and Janik had better car control, putting pressure on Bos in the twisty section. The Belgian compensated his lack of control over the car by the sheer power of his engine.

The yellow McLaren then braked very late for turn 7 in a vain attempt to catch Mikula. He went very wide, almost ending up in the China Beach sand trap. The Belgian driver lost all momentum on the way to Madness, taking a very defensive line. Kowalski simply pulled the Porsche along side on the outside and drove around the McLaren through Madness. Ability had outsmarted power.

Voigt was meanwhile doing pretty well. He had, so far, not had one spin and was about 20th, running about 4 seconds behind Dave Miller. Our back-up at Road Atlanta was now filling in for Jason White in the Performance Engineering McLaren. There were laps where Voigt looked like reducing the gap, but he would then loose time again in the next lap.

Pascal Kalide had a bad exit out of turn 1 and Pat Voigt actually managed to make a move on Kalide through the Chicane. On the long backstretch, Kalide pulled back along side. Voigt made the inside line somewhat narrow through the Kink, but then left plenty of room. It however forced Kalide to retard his passing attempt slightly, tempting him into braking very late for turn 7. Too late, as it turned out. The Lola spun into China Beach. And Voigt sailed by, disappearing into the distance. A very cunny move from our man, earning him a large smirk across Marcelo’s old skull.

I suspected a similar grin on Jonny Pat’s lips.

Leader Riddall meanwhile had a big power slide out of the Keyhole, losing momentum. Plaçais’ Ferrari immediately challenged the lead, but the Brit could hold the Frenchman off. For now at least.

From 3 to 5, the running order had been inversed. Adamovich had dispensed with both Jereb and Sabre and was now running 3rd. Sabre had somehow also lost a position to Jereb, the Croatian driver thus still in 4th.

Jundt Unchained was already back into seventh, and on the hunt for the lead that was taken hostage from him. He was now stalking the 6th spot of Tony Dean, who was a tad slow out of the Carousel. It was al the Swiss needed. Sixth was his.

Bos was now completely out of his debts and spun out of the Carousel, also letting Brian Janik through. Just in front of those two, Kowalski had caught Pascal Mikula and was making his fabulous Porsche very wide in the Saxon driver’s mirrors.

Mikula had a troubled exit out of the Keyhole and the Lola and Porsche covered the entire backstretch side by side. Mikula had the inside line but braked too late, leaving the inside of turn 7 uncovered. An open road lay ahead of Kowalski.

David Sabre spun his car in turn 1 and fell back to eight. With as a side result that Jundt had amazingly snuck back into the top 5.

The first drama of the race prepared to unfold. In an attempt to lap Marazzi before entering the twisty section of the track, Riddall braked rather late for turn 7. And went straight into China Beach. He rejoined the track, but Plaçais and Adamovich were passed.

Pic02.jpgAs Filippo and Grant approached the Chicane together one lap down, the Shadow-driver completely misjudged the speed difference with the white McLaren. The front of the Shadow slid under the rear of the McLaren, almost like a shovel. The Australian car got launched sideways of the track.

The English driver had yet another spin out of turn 1, losing another 2 spots. His recovery of the car was testimony of Riddall’s immense talent. Yet, he was down to fifth. And some started wondering whether something was off with the Shadow.

A fantastic Jundt had managed to dispense with Jereb and was now amazingly back on the podium. He had made it back from 19th, in barely more than 10 laps of racing. Hall of fame honors were beckoning.

David Sabre still seemed all but at ease with the big McLaren around Mid-Ohio. He was down to sixth and had another spin in Madness.

Voigt was meanwhile under pressure from Steve Parker. Jonny defended his turf valiantly in the twisty sections, but on the long back straight had not much to put up against the full 8 litres of the Chevy big block. Parker went by, then blew his engine in the Esses, letting Voigt back into 21st.Pic03.jpg

Riddall was trying to find his earlier pace back. He tried to benefit from the Shadow’s power on the back straight to pass Jereb for fourth. The Brit however ended up with his left wheels on the grass and once again ended up deep in China Beach. It seemed there definitely was a problem with his car.

The other Motschenbacher car, driven by Whited, was growing ever more desperate at finding a way past Dean. But for the time being, Tony Dean stayed ahead.

The entire electronic system on Jereb’s car then went awol. The McLaren sputtered to a halt on the side of the road. The Croatian’s race was over.

With a quarter of the race ran, the running order was now: Plaçais in a rather firm lead; a strong Adamovich in second with a first McLaren; an amazing Jundt back up to third. In fourth, Sabre, who had benefitted from Riddall’s and Jereb’s misfortunes. Grant Riddall was still holding on to fifth. Tony Dean was up to sixth with seventh placed Whited hot on his heels. Dana Schurer, Gerard Ryon and Gabriel Sterr rounded out the top 10.

Grant Riddall then called it a day, parking his car in the Keyhole. A post race interview learned that, from the first lap onwards, the Shadow had been hampered by a loose steering column. Rendering the car less and less drive-able.

Mikula and Janik, now joined by Chapman, were still quarreling over 13th, 14th and 15th spot. And now also had to content faster cars lapping them.

As Jundt came to lap them, Janik snuck in behind the McLaren. Stepping out of the sight of Chapman’s BRM. And then followed Jundt past the BRM. The Detroiter immediately proceeded with putting some pressure on Mikula.

Dana Schurer retired the exotic Autocoast Chevy. A potential top 10-finish was lost.

Detroiter Janik made it past Mikula and Chapman’s BRM also had a prudent look at the German’s Lola. Mick however had a small spin in turn 9, losing contact with Mikula and Janik. He now moreover had Bos to contain behind him.

Up front, Jundt had reeled in Adamovich and was starting to think of how he would get past the purple McLaren. Adamovich being the latest of the late brakers, David would have his work cut out for him.

As they came up to lap Jason Fitch entering turn 9, the Hoosier spun his McLaren in front of the charging leaders. Adamovich had to hit the brakes hard, swerving to the right. Jundt’s position allowed the Swiss to move to a free left line. An opportunity he grabbed with all four of his wheels, elevating himself to second.

There suddenly was action all over the place. Mikula was in hot pursuit of Janik. Under braking for turn 7, the cars slowing from close to 185 miles per hour to about 80 miles per hour, the tangerine Lola touched the rear of the shiny blue McLaren. Janik spun. Chapman in the BRM only avoided him by also spinning, and losing heaps of time. David Sabre, who was about to lap this trio, was also forced into avoiding action.

Mikula, who was at the basis of this incident, could continue his way and skipped the courtesy of waiting for Janik or Chapman. Bos was now looming large in his mirrors.

The tires were starting to wear and the turns and elevation changes of this track caused several cars into spins. Kowalski spun, Sterr went around and Ryon went exploring China Beach. As to Tony Dean, his engine bought the farm.

Jundt had reeled in Plaçais. The Ferrari was plain and clear within his vision and DJ could start dreaming of a shot at the top spot.

It would only take the Swiss two laps before mounting his move under braking for turn 7. Plaçais did not insist. The man from Angers clearly preferred to be safe rather than sorry.

Pic05.jpg

Just past the halfway mark, the order was now David Jundt majestically in the lead. Plaçais content with second, although I doubt the Commendatore appreciated the ease with which DJ had been allowed by. Adamovich was in third, but further back after a spin. Championship leader Sabre was in fourth, with an outlook on valuable points. Ray Riddall was running a steady lonely race in fifth. Jason Whited, Adam Hackman, Gabriel Sterr, Gerard Ryon and Jan Kowalski rounded out the top 10.

Voigt was now running 15th and had Dave Miller, running in the Performance Engineering McLaren, almost straight up his behind. A battle was brewing here, and my man was about to make quite an impression.

Miller had a very decent McLaren-chassis. He had bulks of power from a 7.6 litre Chevy. He had downforce from a rear wing. Our tender Porsche had nothing of that. And was about 10 miles per hour slower on the long backstretch.

Jon P however gave the English driver a more than decent run for his money. By being brilliant in the twisty section, where he edged away slightly. And by putting the power down much earlier out of the turns and braking very late into the turns. It were all characteristics of a great great driver. But inexplicably, besides Marcelo and me, everyone seemed to refuse giving Voigt credit for it.

Some pundit even managed to turn our car’s lack of power into a deemed advantage. As it would be easier for Voigt to put the power down. Well, maybe they should try the soapbox once. Only one thing made the Porsche fast out of turns: Voigt’s skill.

Then they put it down to Miller being more courteous for lapping drivers. After the race, some of the fast drivers actually came over to our garage to thank Voigt for making it easy to lap.

Miller then went of all on his own in the Carousel, but no one felt any urge to make a comment on that. Whatever, it gave our boy some breathing room.

Mikula and Bos were also dicing hard, over 11th place. Bos however spun entering the Keyhole, and Mikula was past.

Hackman was gingerly getting closer to Ray Riddall. Creating him a very decent possibility to take fifth.

Bos went for another spin in Thunder Valley, this time hitting the barriers head on and damaging the car.

Miller had used all the aforementioned assets of his McLaren to reel in our Porsche again. And Voigt was about to make me burst with pride.

Patrich was having an increasingly difficult time at the end of the back straight. There, the McLaren could deploy all its power and our nimble Porsche had not much to counter with. In the other parts of the circuit, Voigt brilliantly extracted the most from his skill and the handling of the German chassis.

On lap 51, Miller managed a strong exit from the Keyhole and now had all this power to blast at us along the entire endless straight. He was set to sail by as Voigt moved to the inside line in the Kink, hampering Miller’s progress. Just at that moment, Sabre came by to lap them.Pic04.jpg

“He was just moving aside for the faster car, not blocking,” Marcelo spontaneously yelped. I looked at the fool with question marks all over my face, but the Spaniard would not have it any other way than that Voigt had been making room for Sabre. Besides, even if, changing lines once while defending is generally considered admissible.

After the race, I asked our driver whether it was an ultimate defense of his spot or moving over for Sabre. He just smiled at me with a grin I will patent. It is only a question of time before this new Lorimar Productions outfit will produce a television series dealing with the ins and outs of Dallas oil barons. And that smirk of Voigt would be just perfect for the villain of the series.

“Letting Sabre through,” he finally mumbled.

Me says we should all call Voigt J.P. as of now.

One pundit suggested that Voigt was likely to shoot a champagne cork at a car trying to pass him. Which I would obviously never allow. Some things in life are set in stone. Such as that champagne is for drinking and to good to waste at anything else. Cava, in exceptional circumstances, could be used for cork shooting. Prosecco most probably. And all the other shitty bottles of sparkling or semi-sparkling misery were not even good enough to shoot at anyone. Except if you despised them profoundly.

Plaçais had succeeded in getting the lead back. And Jundt was chasing again. The Swiss had been on a sand trap excursion in the Esses.

Miller was now raising his game and pulled along side our Porsche on the back straight. J.P. was however fully in control of the situation and forced Miller to the outside line. Which allowed him to hold on through turn 7 by braking later and adopting the shorter inside line. Followed the twisty section where the McLaren was no match for our ace.

I am pretty certain that I caught a furtive glimpse of admiration in Marcelo’s weary eyes. And even a blob of drool dribbling from his chin.

“Don’t even think that I will be paying for diapers,” I harshly warned him.

One lap down, and Miller tried again at the very same run down to turn 7. Voigt again wisely protected the inside and braked later. Both cars then started to round turn 7 side-by-side as they touched.

Miller spun off and seemed to have serious damage, as he was now a lot slower. Voigt continued but also seemed slower. After the race, we found out that his left rear suspension had been bent. And Voigt confirmed that the car had been a handful to drive from that point onwards.

Pic01.pngMiller made it back to the pits but the damage to his car could not be repaired and he was forced to leave the race prematurely. In all honesty, even if the way Voigt valiantly defended filled me with pride, our entire team felt sorry for Miller. When he drove for us at Road Atlanta, he had shown himself to be a very levelheaded bloke. Who succeeded in making some sense from Marcelo’s grumbling. Which is saying a lot.

Post-race, Miller would also confine that he thought that, in equal cars, Voigt would have bested him. One can not expect a man to be fairer than that.

Janik and Mikula were at it again for 11th.

The fierce ardor displayed by Voigt while defending our colors, had however exhausted me. And I decided to go for a walk throughout the backside of the pit area, to escape the action for a while. That was when my weakness, this ghost eternally haunting me, dealt me a knockout blow.

Coincidentally, I overheard one of the officials who had refused us the Porsche 917-10, comment my man’s race.

“Jon was making that car wide. He has not been making friends out there.”

“That was painful, no,” a voice I had never heard before, responded.

“Yeah, Voigt was not cool there,” was the official’s reply.

Even if I started sniffing a bad smell of bias, everyone was, in the end, entitled to an opinion. To spread it through sneaky gossip rather then through open communication was rather a sign of weakness than a menace.

But then, suddenly, belligerent and sneaky farmers with shotguns were drawn in. Now there was a threat. Off course, it takes more than a score of farmers with air guns to impress us.

The worse of it was that there was not one thing even remotely wrong with Voigt’s racing. The McLaren pulled up on the straight. Which, with a 10 miles per hour speed advantage, is really not that much of an achievement. So J.P. takes the wise decision to take a protective inside line. Which is perfectly allowed.

Then Voigt manages to brake later and keep the inside of turn 7. The McLaren, carrying too much speed for the outside line, needs to move towards the inside just to hold it. But the Porsche is already almost entirely passed the McLaren at that point. Resulting in the McLaren’s left front bumping the Porsche’s rear right.

Our car gets freaking hit in the rear and el funcionario calls Voigt “not cool”?

Logen Ninefingers once told me that his father always told him to never take a man face to face if you could kill him from behind. And that that was one good piece of advice he would always try to follow.

Well, I had my shot right then and there. The slandering nobility would not even see me coming as I reached out. But then, a track during a full race weekend was probably too public a place. And I could already hear Guzik about the dirty work no longer having to be dealt with by me personally. And by the clean rep we needed to work on. All that stuff that just sucks the marrow out of fun.

So I strolled on, trying to reduce the raging thunderbolt in my stomach to a containable breeze. Cursing myself for having been suckered into believing in the righteousness of mankind once again. And having been betrayed for it.

I could not be bothered with the race anymore. Janik passed Mikula, which was some kind of justice. But who cared.

Jundt was back on Plaçais’ gearbox. But the Ferrari-driver had clearly been instructed that, with merely 20 laps of racing left, he was to not make it as easy to be passed this time around. The zeal of their battle distracted me from my darker thoughts to some extent.

Jundt was driving like a divine hero. But old fox Plaçais has few lessons to learn when it comes down to defending a lead. Certainly with only 16 odd laps remaining in the race.

The Swiss by times had his nose so close to the rear of the Ferrari, that it looked near lascivious. A big strong jock from Motorcity tempting la Cardinale. Even Mikula had the wits to not intervene in this struggle of beauty and wisely moved aside when lapped.

On lap 65, Claudia wiggled her lovely buttocks just an inch too much out of the Keyhole and her stiletto’s lost grip. The Detroit pusher planted his sneakers firmly down and pulled to the side of the Ferrari. He reclaimed the lead into turn 7.

Mikula was passed Janik again, but the Detroiter was nearly snarling into the Lola’s gearbox. The animosity between those two started bordering a mild case of road rage.

Swiss DJ had to remain firmly on top of his game, as Plaçais was not giving in and kept his Fezza straight behind the McLaren. Ready to jump at the first opportunity that would present itself. Yves however overcooked it in some turns, allowing Jundt to stretch out slightly.

As the action between the two leaders was easing off a tad, it however rekindled even more fiercely further down. Mikula and Bos, who had made it past Janik, were having a serious argument over 10th spot, the last points paying position. When they were not at the ragged edge, they were plain simply transgressing it.

Bos and Mikula’s battling allowed Janik to close in again and this looked like turning into a fabulous three-way fight to the end. Or would it end up a story of two dogs fighting for the same bone?

It looked much like that when, with barely 5 laps left, Janik was right back onto Bos and the latter made a mistake out of the Carousel. Janik shot by and went hunting for Mikula.

Ray Riddall had a big moment spinning on the entrance of the Carousel and hit the pit wall hard. With only 5 laps remaining, it was a merciless faith to end his race that way.

From the trio Mikula, Janik and Bos, two could now get points.

With one lap to go, Janik was very determined to get past Mikula. Out of turn one, on the last lap, Janik made it past. Mikula then moved to the left of the track, bumping Bos of the track and into a hay bale. The yellow McLaren lost a wheel and limped to the finish on three wheels, missing out on the last point.

Post race, Mikula claimed that Janik had hit him in turn one and that that had unsettled his car. The broadcast did not reveal much to sustain that claim. Super 8-footage shot by spectators however provided a more in depth view on the incident.

Certain is that, entering turn 1 on the last lap, Janik touched Mikula from behind. There is also scarcely any doubt as to the fact that that at least accommodated Janik in passing Mikula. In Nascar-racing, it would be classified as a classic case of bump-and-run. As rubbing is racing. Moreover, Janik could justify himself by the fact that Mikula had earlier deployed a similar approach on him, be it intent or not.

The contact between Janik and Mikula however occurred at the very entrance of turn 1. And once Janik was through, it did not prevent Mikula to stick to the inside line throughout the turn, seemingly without problems. His car did not look unsettled at all.

He had lost some momentum though, and that allowed Bos to have a peep. On the Super 8-footage, the orange Lola moving towards the inside rather looked like adopting a defensive line than like a car out of control. Moreover, there was a first initial touch between Bos and Mikula prior to the one sending Juha onto the grass. Still on the Super 8-footage, that first contact did not look like unsettling any of the two cars. The German driver must, after that initial come together, have been aware that Bos was there.

So when he continued moving towards the left side of the track, he took a chance. Blaming the move to the left on his car’s instability caused by the initial incident with Janik, on the basis of the Super 8-footage, looked rather questionable.

There however were some things that the Super 8-footage allowed to establish beyond reasonable doubt. Such as that, passed the checkered flag, with the race over, the German smashed his Lola very gründlich into the back of Janik’s McLaren. Then bumped the McLaren again in the Keyhole, and again on the back straight. And once more on the back straight.

That was really uncalled for and clearly illustrated the bad blood between the two drivers. Frustration that was further vented by Mikula during a post-race interview in the booth. Where Mikula indulged in a rant on Janik’s supposed aggressive driving. That also felt a bit exaggerated as, one, the absent Detroiter had no way to defend his case and, secondly, complaints are normally filed with the race organizers. Allowing them to be processed with fitting serenity and cool.

Jundt took a well deserved victory, with Plaçais in second. Adamovich scored an excellent podium finish on his first outing with the McLaren M8C. David Sabre took fourth, followed by Adam Hackman and Jason Whited. Gabriel Sterr had a discrete race to an excellent 7th spot with Mick Chapman 8th in the BRM. The two last points went to quarrelling duo Janik and Mikula.

In the championship standings, David Sabre narrowly maintains the lead, but sees his advance over Yves Plaçais reduced to 3 points. Third placed David Jaques is already 26 points down on Plaçais. A showdown between Sabre and Plaçais thus seems the most likely scenario at this point.

David Jundt’s magnificent victory shoots him into the top 5, with Jason Whited in 4th.

Voigt finally came in 13th. Equaling his previous best at the Glen. In the Mid-Ohio race, our man had however not made one spin, not had one off. His race had been near faultless, and still we were unable to score a point.

We were thus left wondering whether it really was worth continuing spending time and energy in this enterprise. It was clear that we were going nowhere and, even if the section 501(c)7 status cuts us some slack, this thing should one day allow to leave our core business behind all together.

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Our boy had nevertheless given all he had and deserved a treat. So, I had Shumway arrange for us to have use of the Mid-Ohio track on the day following the race, with the Porsche 917-10 at Voigt’s disposal. It took J.P. exactly 8 laps to get that Porsche down to a high 1 minute 24 seconds lap. Enough to qualify in the first half of the field.

If this weekend had made one thing crystal however, it was that changes of us getting the better Porsche were close to non-existing. We are thus left rejoicing in our ego’s getting another thumping on track from Henrique at Road America.

The anger of the weekend was subduing a bit. It blended with the lazy but decisive thumping of the 462 cubic inch V8 MEL-engine in my 1969 Lincoln Continental.

In true West Coast-fashion, the car had been slightly customized, making it to my likings. The 69-model is the last and also the largest of the fourth generation Continentals. Offering the best legroom in the rear. The fifth generation cars, presented as of last year, are even longer, but they have lost all off the charm the sixties’ generation so abundantly displayed.

Even the 69-model had already shifted too much towards the sharp edged, square design that seems to become the norm for cars in the seventies. With that protruding V-shaped fascia grille, almost like a cheap harlot pushing her pelvis forward. And a plump rear, that was nothing but a flat shapeless mass of chrome bumper and metal-sheet trunk.

So, I send my Conti to a guy called George Barris over in Los Angeles. To get the grille replaced by a rounder softer one, imitating that of 63’ Continental. And had a similar treatment on the rear, installing tarnished chrome plaiting in between the rear lights. Again resembling the 63-model.

1969_lincoln_continental-pic-57846-1600x1200.jpgThe Conti now looked like the perfect middle way between what Tom Wolfe refers to as the Dionysian style of the West Coast customizers, with their kandy kolors and all, and the more Mondrian mainstream design of cars. I loved that car.

Sitting in the front are Tullio and Meats, two hoodlums from the hood. They have no clue as to our racing team or weekend. They just made it down here as soon as they could because someone told them to pick up a Continental. That someone had received the order from a lanky fellow in a bar, who knew the coded words. And so no further questions were asked. Just as the lanky guy had never questioned a phone-call from a familiar yet unknown voice. Again the coded words were key and thus they knew that, if they carried out the requested with appropriate diligence, fat envelopes would find them.

If, on the contrary, they would fail to meet the requests made… Well, no one really wanted to think about that.

Tullio and Meats, for now, just understand that they have to get onto highway 30. And then make it to highway 23. They will, as instructed, stop to fill up the Continental in a gas station just before Fostoria. There, a raunchy broad with a saggy bosom will slip them additional guidance.

No one but me is aware of the entire scheme. And Guzik, who guesses it with near certainty.

“We cannot do it this way. Not with these people.” Guzik. Calm, yet determined in my ear.

I know he is right. But, here and now, I am in no mood for reason. Reason to me, at this junction, is just another excuse for the weak to be weak.

Broadcast of the full race is here.

[1] From: The Scene – Beschaving