For the first time in recent memory, the Jefferson 500 was held under dry and sunny skies. Perhaps this was in honor of track owner Bill Scott, who died in December. Bill surely would have appreciated the great conditions for the race he and Brian Redman started 18 years ago. Beautiful, although a bit warm, weather prevailed throughout the weekend. VRG wisely condensed Sunday’s schedule to avoid predicted afternoon thunderstorms and all races were held under dry conditions.
The VRS paddock was, as usual, perfectly prepared and ready to go thanks to Brian, Tim, Harvey, and John. With the weather well under control, VRS drivers Richard Kresch in his Lola S2000, Dave Gussack in his Porsche 914/6, Josh Lewis in a classic Lola S2000 and Ben Sinnott in his newly acquired Beach sportsracer were ready for some serious track time and close racing. Also driving were VRS manager/partner, Brian Rechtiene in his GRD Formula B and Larry Neviaser, ARI/VRS partner, in his Ginetta G16. On hand to provide a woman’s touch in the paddock and, far more attractive than the rest of the VRS contingent, was Richard’s lovely wife, Jane.
Thursday test day got underway with Ben and Dave taking advantage of the services of professional driving coach (and S2000 driver extrordinaire) Peter Krause. Everyone enjoyed plenty of test time on Summit Point’s repaved (but less grippy) surface. Unfortunately, Thursday claimed two casualties, the G16 with input shaft problems and Ben’s Beach, with a distributor drive gear failure. The good news is that VRS was well prepared and had our Swift DB2 S2000 ready for just such an eventuality. With a little convincing, Ben jumped into the Swift and quickly felt right at home.
The Jefferson 500 is known for enduros and on Friday the first hour of the Brian Redman Enduro included all of the VRS drivers. At the finish, it was Josh in the lead, Richard in 4th and rookie Ben in 7th. Dave, who was going very well in his Porsche, had jet lag from his recent trip to China combined with the high temperatures sneak up and whack him causing some discomfort in the car. He wisely retired halfway through the race. Earlier on Friday, our own Brian Rechtiene, driving his beautifully prepared GRD won from pole in the Phil Hill Cup race for single seat race cars. Friday concluded with the VRS dinner at the Battletown Inn in Berryville. Good food, good drink, good friends and great stories combined to make it a fun evening then off to bed to be ready to race again the next day.
Practice, qualifying and the second hour of the Enduro were on the schedule for Saturday. The cars were gridded up in their finishing order from the day before with VRS man Josh Lewis on the pole. Ben, being a gracious gentleman, kindly offered rideless Larry the drive in the Swift. At the conclusion of the two hours, Josh took the win, Richard was 4th, and Ben and Larry were 6th. A great showing for the VRS team.
Dave was back in the saddle again on Sunday morning, having gotten his internal clock working again. Although lack of a qualifying time forced Dave to start from the back of the grid, he quickly moved up to 2nd in the Eifel Cup race for Porsches. A battle then ensued with a well driven 911. Dave ultimately finished in 3rd after an excellent drive. Next up was an all Sports 2000 race. A registration mix-up caused our guys to start toward the back, nevertheless, our man Josh charged up the inside into Turn 1, passing several cars. Clean pass completed, he was hit from the left as another car turned into him, knocking him out of the race. Richard had to drop out after having second gear decide it no longer wished to participate. Ben soldiered on to finish a creditable 6th.
By anyone’s standards, this was a terrific race weekend. The weather was perfect, our drivers drove exceptionally well and excellent results were had by all. Special recognition must go to Ben Sinnott whose very first race weekend was a huge success. Ben’s great attitude and approach as well as obvious talent were a pleasure to observe. Well done Ben.