Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Maricopa Speed Sunday

Fellow blog follower and contributor Marty sent this to share. This is a story and photos of an event going back to March 1959. It is about a very amateur race at Maricopa, which he helped put on. The slides were Anscochrome, and faded badly, but still very cool. I just love these old photos!

By Martin Goldsmith
In the whole history of the Jaguar Owners Club in Los Angeles, there has probably been only one race event sponsored by the Club. That was on March 1, 1959. The JOC members mostly drove sports versions of the marque, and a few participated in competitive events such as slaloms (as autocross was called then), or drag racing, or a few time trials. But, inspired by an event put on by the Singer Owner's Club, our JOC planned and carried out a race event at an abandoned airstrip near Maricopa in the San Joaquin Valley. We called it Maricopa Speed Sunday.

A course was laid out on the featureless pavement, and was marked by paper bags weighted by sand (who had cones?). Two or three members set up the course the day before. Because groups like the SOC often hosted our members at their events, the JOC invited others to join with us. The only outsider that I now remember was a very special guest, and he was the only "regular" race driver there. That was Lew Spencer. Lew was a very accomplished driver, who went on to make his mark in national and even international racing. At that time he drove for Rene Pellandini, the importer of Morgan automobiles. Lew showed up with "Baby Doll", his BRG Morgan, on a trailer. The rest of us drove our mounts to the track.

It was a lot of fun that day, taking practice laps. Finally in the afternoon the field lined up for a standing start. How long the track was, and how many laps we drove, I cannot remember. But the track had several long straights, and in spite of Lew's skill in the curves, my XK150S managed to get in front and stay there. There were pewter cups for trophies, and my first place cup still resides on my desk. It reminds me of crazier days! Did we have emergency equipment? No. Did we have insurance? I don't think so. Did we have fun? You bet your bippie.

The Start/Finish tower.

Flagging the winner Marty at the finish.

Baby Doll arrives on trailer.

Baby Doll in the pits, with crew.

L. to R. Marty Goldsmith and Lew Spencer.

Mechanic Bill Scott working on the Jag 150S.

Overview of Maricopa airport - bleak!

Just a note, more info on Lew Spencer and his "Baby Doll" can be found at:

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