The 11th annual Classic Sports Racing Group (CSRG) Charity Challenge was held October 3-5, 2014 at the 12-turn, 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway Sears Point in Sonoma, California. The event featured a strong field of more than 250 historic race cars, with pre-war, sports racing, production and GT entrants running in eight race groups. Open-wheel racers from Masters HGP and Formula 5000 Drivers Association were the featured classes at this year’s vintage car race.
Masters HGP joined the event with more than twenty Formula 1 cars from the 1970s to the early ’80s. It had been two years since this series visited the West Coast, and the class was highlighted by John Delane’s 1971 Tyrrell 002; Nicholas Colyvas’ 1974 Tyrrell 007; Harindra De Silva’s 1974 Shadow DN3; Eddie Lawson’s 1977 Wolf WR4; Sean Allen’s 1980 McLaren M30; Chris Locke’s 1976 Lotus 77; Nathan Kinch’s 1982 McLaren MP4 and Laurence Kinch’s 1980 Ferrari 312T5.
Nathan Kinch was unstoppable at Sonoma in the CSRG Charity Challenge 2014 for Masters HGP cars. The Brit, in his McLaren MP4/1B, won both races at the Californian circuit having been the man to beat in the qualifying session as well.
Kinch started the opener from pole and scorched his McLaren into the lead, coping with temperatures reaching 34 degrees. On the twisty circuit, he built his advantage to win from Bud Moeller’s ex-Derek Daly Ensign N177 who rocketed his way up from sixth on the grid and local hero Steve Cook’s March 741 who was the best of the Pre-1978 division drivers. Having qualified an impressive second fastest, Cook took an excellent third in the first race, belying the age of the car. Behind him, Sean Allen’s McLaren M30 secured fourth place ahead of four-times World Motorcycle Champion Eddie Lawson who was fifth in his Masters HGP debut driving a Wolf WR4, after a race-long tussle with Greg Thornton’s March 761 and Martin Lauber’s Wolf WR6.
Kinch blasted clear at the start of the second race and once more was able to establish a lead, although the race had to be halted early after late-entry Michael Eckstein crashed his Williams FX3B. Behind Kinch, Moeller chased hard in his Ensign to secure second place. Cook’s impressive pace in his ex-Hans Stuck March continued as he ran third early on, but a cracked fuel line ruled him out of the race. That allowed Martin Lauber up to third after a great scrap with Greg Thornton’s March, while new four-wheel convert Lawson bagged fifth from Allen’s McLaren. Chris Locke’s Lotus 77 was seventh ahead of Nic Colyvas’s Shadow DN5 who took eighth despite a spin, while Scott Drnek took ninth in John Delane’s Tyrrell 002, its owner having raced it on Saturday.
The Formula 5000 Drivers Association racers were also featured at the CSRG Charity Challenge 2014. Finishing first in F5000 Class A (pre-1972 cars) was Bruce Leeson driving a 1969 McLaren M10B. Bruce returns to F5000 racing at his home track after almost a two-year absence. Second in Class A was Bruce Sevier in a 1968 Lola T140. Sevier and Seb Coppola in a Lola T192 had a spirited dual during the Sunday race swapping second and third place positions early in the race. After Coppola retired with gearbox problems, Sevier cruised to a second place finish. Finishing third was Tony Adamowicz in the 1969 Gurney Eagle in which he won the 1969 F5000 Championship. Tony suffered from low tire grip throughout the weekend but kept the car on track to clinch third place.
Finishing first in F5000 Class B (1972-1976 cars) and first overall in the group was Paul Wilson in his 1973 March 73A (ex-John Cannon/Skip Barber car). Wilson dominated with fastest laps through practice, qualifying and the feature race. Coming off an unfortunate incident at the prior race event at Road America in July which cost him a likely top three finish, Wilson was unbeatable at Sonoma.
Second place in Class B went to Tom Malloy in his 1974 ex-Vern Schuppan Jorgensen Eagle 755. After experiencing gearbox problems in the qualifying race, Malloy drove a spirited feature race staying just ahead of Jim Stengel who finished third in Class B in his 1973 McRae GM1.
In addition to the wailing F1 and booming F5000 machines, further notable and interesting entrants at the CSRG Charity Challenge 2014 included Charles McCabe’s 1955 Maserati 250F; Richard Duncan’s 1966 Leonhart USRRC Special; Ian Wood’s 1965 Fournier Marcadier Barquette; Dennis Losher’s 1971 Shadow Mk II Can-Am; Jim Gallucci’s McLaren M8C Can-Am; Jim Stengel’s 1973 McLaren M8F Can-Am; Jim Froula’s 1972 Nissan Skyline GTR; Mike Thurlow’s 1973 Lola T294; Tom Claridge’s 1953 Kurtis 500S and Nick Colonna’s 1963 Jaguar E-Type Low Drag Coupe.
Proceeds from this race weekend benefited the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of the raceway. CSRG has contributed over $600,000 to Sonoma County youth organizations through Speedway Children’s Charities since 2004.
Similar to the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 races, Senior Photographer Dennis Gray also documented the CSRG Charity Challenge 2014. We split up Dennis’ 120 pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view of Sports Car Digest, while the second gallery and race results can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
CSRG Charity Challenge 2014 – Featured Photo Gallery
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