SVRA: Brabham, Said set pace at COTA

SVRA: Brabham, Said set pace at COTA

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

SVRA: Brabham, Said set pace at COTA


Above: Theo Bean in the ex-Geoff Brabham IMSA 1988 Nissan GTP car came home first overall in the Group 11/10 feature race Saturday.

Names widely recognized among vintage racers and two legends from the professional ranks continued to run at the front – as they have all weekend – during the SVRA’s Saturday feature races. Professionals Geoff Brabham and Boris Said again set the pace in their respective classes as they have in practice, time trials and Friday’s qualifying sprint races. Both champion drivers led start to finish during eight-lap contests.

Brabham (pictured, in front of Ron Hornig), driving Hornig’s 1971 Brabham BT35, was not only first in the Formula B class but also the overall winner in Group 2. Hornig came up second best behind Brabham as he has all weekend.

“I guess I beat myself,” Hornig chuckled in the media center after the contest. “No, really, I love that I can do this for him. It was really special what we did at the Brickyard Invitational in winning the races there. I’d finish second to Geoff Brabham any day, there is only honor in that.”

Said again topped Group 10, which is running with Groups 11 and 12b as well. He not only was the first of the Group 10 runners to finish but also won the GT4 class. Said finished sixth overall in his 1999 Corvette GT4 – behind five prototype racers. Theo Bean topped the overall group of 28 cars with his stiffest competition of the weekend, Randy Johnson, in the 2007 Pescarolo 01 on his heels. Johnson won the GTP3 class.

The 23-year-old Bean is driving Geoff Brabham’s 1988 Nissan GTP IMSA championship racer. He has been receiving some unanticipated but highly valued coaching from Brabham this weekend. The 1993 Le Mans 24 champion has paid a few visits to the Bean family’s Formula 1 garage space. Among Brabham’s suggestions have been spring settings.

“His help has been very real,” Bean reports. “It has translated into improved lap times.”

Tony Parella (pictured), the SVRA’s president and CEO, has had a great weekend so far with two race wins. He shared the victory with Ed Sevadjian, who won a national championship Bell Helmet trophy in Group 6 last year, in the Saturday morning one-hour enduro. The two partnered in Parella’s red Duntov Motors-prepared 1972 Corvette. His second victory was a Group 4 B Production class win with his black 1958 Corvette roadster – another machine tuned by Duntov.

Thor Johnson, profiled with his 1959 Lotus 17, picked up a class win – Group 4 F Modified – in the same overall field as Parella. This contest included Groups 1a, 3 and 4. Also running in this 37-car field was “Savage Suzy” Patterson, still grappling with her newly acquired Group 1 1964 Triumph Spitfire. Patterson had another mechanical failure and retired after two laps but should be able to try again Sunday in the Bell Racing national championship event for Group 1.

Erickson Shirley proved vintage racers can look good and go fast by taking the class win in Group 4 F Modified in his immaculate 1959 Lister Chevrolet Costin. Shirley is known for his family’s impressive, ultra-valuable collector cars, including an ex-Tazio Nuvolari Alfa Romeo. Not only did he take the class win but came home an impressive eleventh overall in a field of 37.

Ed Sevadjian (pictured) picked up his second victory of the day and served notice he intends to take home a Bell Helmet trophy again tomorrow in the popular Group 6 A Production class. Four perennial SVRA Group 6 front-runners were at the front in this contest. All are Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am podium finishers: Sevadjian, Peter Klutt, Curt Vogt and 2016 winner Andre Ahrle. Sevadjian led from the start, convincingly pulling away to start the race and again after a yellow flag caution.

Peter Klutt, the star of the Velocity Channel’s “Legendary Motor Car” TV show and winner of the first Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am in 2014 with Al Unser Jr., ran uncontested to the runner-up spot both overall and in A Production class. His teammate Ahrle ran third overall for the first several laps but lost the position to occasional professional Trans Am driver Curt Vogt. Ahrle was awarded third in the A Production class as Vogt won the Trans Am class.

Professional Trans Am ran their main events of the weekend on Saturday. The first race was a mix of classes as TA, the top level series, ran with the smaller bore production classes of TA3 and TA4. Paul Fix picked off the TA win to come away from COTA with a 10-point lead for the championship over defending champion Amy Ruman, who finished third this weekend. Fix entered the COTA round trailing by a single point. Dillon Machavern won the afternoon TA2 contest, prevailing over a field of 22 entries.

Sunday is devoted to vintage racing national championship competition. The SVRA will present their full slate of run groups and several classes within each. Bell Racing is prepared with helmet trophies for the winners. If the events of the last three days are a good prediction of what to expect, look for Brabham, Hornig, Said, Bean and Sevadjian to make some additional noise.