Report and photos by Bill Wagenblatt
The Portland Vintage Racing Festival presented by SVRA was held July 9-12, 2015 at the 12-turn, 1.967-mile Portland International Raceway in Oregon. A field of close to 160 cars competed under perfect Pacific Northwest weather. In addition to SVRA’s 10 race groups, the Historic Trans-Am cars were included in the weekend’s schedule. The class is a fan favorite wherever they run and Portland was no exception.
Thursday was an optional test day with the entry broken into three groups, each having four sessions throughout the day. The racing picked up on Friday with each of the 11 race groups getting two 25-minute sessions. During the lunch break, participants and fans were treated to the annual United Salad strawberry shortcake treat courtesy of Portland vintage racer Ernie Spada and his team.
Saturday morning was qualifying for all 11 groups and the first feature races were held throughout the afternoon. The day’s activities were closed out by the SVRA event party with entertainment by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Sunday was kicked off by the 60-minute enduro. The enduro was opened to all the closed-wheel classes and featured cars from a Lotus Eleven to Corvettes. The entrants were required to make at least one 5-minute pit stop with teams swapping drivers and others refueling to complete the hour race. At the conclusion of the Enduro, the 11 race groups competed their second feature race.
This was SVRA’s first year running the Portland Vintage Racing Festival and marked a significant change in the event. Tony Parella, SVRA CEO and President, walked the grid for each race group and thanked the drivers for supporting the event. Saturday’s pre-race ceremonies featured the cars from Groups Three and Four on the pre-grid and the gates were opened for spectators to mingle amongst the cars and talk with the drivers. SVRA partnered with Jaguar to promote the British company’s range of vehicles. The paddock included a display of the Jaguar and Land Rover model lineup. Spectators could take the wheel of one the British performance cars and, with the guidance of a Jaguar co-driver, demonstrate their skill on Jaguar’s driving experience autocross course. For the more adventurous drivers, the Land Rover range was available for off-road testing on the Portland Motocross track. It will be interesting to see how SVRA promotes and grows the event over the next few years.
Portland Historic Races 2015 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: Bill Wagenblatt]