Venice Rotary Arts Festival 2020

Although mid-January can be harsh in much of the U.S., on the Suncoast it was “shorts” weather.

On January 19, our club was invited to display our cars at the Venice/Nokomis Rotary Club Arts Fest which took place adjacent to the Venice, FL Airport. This is another one of our long-standing annual events. 

Through their Futures Program, the Rotary Club does exemplary work with young people providing college scholarships to deserving students in our area. The arts fest is their main yearly funding event and we generally support them with a strong showing. We are the only car club invited and the organizers have now positioned us up front which offers maximum exposure. 

Although the weather in mid-January can be dicey, this year we lucked out and were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and warm breezes. We had a great turnout with 22 cars – 21 British and 1 German(?). After the show, 14 members adjourned to the British Open Pub in Venice for lunch/early dinner and refreshments.  

Jim Wilson and Bruce Skaggs provided input for this story.

Debbie Wilson dispensing coffee and donuts to appreciative members.

Daytona “Roar Before the Rolex 24”

Not your average Corvette flanked by admirers in the pit at Daytona

Jim Wilson, Club President, filed the following report.

On Friday, January 3, I drove over to Daytona International Speedway to see the practice session for the 24 hours of Daytona Endurance Race coming up January 22-26, 2020. The “Roar” is a special event sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, International Motor Sports Association and Daytona International Speedway. Scouts and their families camp in the infield for two nights, and tours, track walks and autograph sessions are included for the kids. Best of all, those under 15 are free. All others pay only $20 a day, which includes full access to the pits, unheard of before now. What a deal! 

Racing and practice were continuous the whole three days. The new Corvette was a huge draw. I was able to take some great pictures (even touched the front spoiler!). They change the rotor, caliper, and pads of the Corvette front brake rotor assemblies in less than a minute four times during the 24-hour race. Among some of the other famous marques in attendance were the Cadillac DPi cars, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Porsche GT RSR, Maclaren, Acura NSX, BMW M3, and Aston Martin.    

Several famous drivers were seen walking through the pits including: Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Kyle Busch of NASCAR fame.   

This is the third year I have attended this event; the huge number of families and kids makes it special. I plan to return next year

Turtle Beach White Elephant 2020

For January 1 on the Suncoast, in sharp contrast to the winter being experienced by those up north, it was top-down weather for the roadsters

Like sands through the hourglass, so passed another rendition of our club’s oldest annual event. As in previous years, the popular January 1st Potluck Picnic and White Elephant gift exchange was held at Turtle Beach, located at the southern terminus of Siesta Key. The food table was groaning with a variety of yummy dishes while the gift table was loaded with gaily wrapped presents ready for new owners. The weather was pleasant under a cloudless sky, helping to draw out 19 British cars and about 44 members.

This year’s gift exchange featured a number of items that presumably came from holiday merchandise shelf clearance sales at local stores. But the most sought-after gift chosen was a new electric fuel pump. It quickly went through the 3 times max trade limit before landing with its permanent owner. The cutest gift was a battery-powered toy snake that slithered all over the floor. It was a fun-filled outing and a great start for the year 2020.

Thanks to Bruce Skaggs for additional input.

Holiday Lights Tour 2019

Club members assembling for the Holiday Lights tour. Note that even in mid-December it still can be “top down” weather on the Suncoast.

On December 15, Bruce & Carolyn Skaggs and Jack & Karen Knuese plotted a fabulous Tour of Holiday Lights through the neighborhoods where some of Sarasota’s finest and most elaborate decorations were on display. Thirteen cars were on the drive that culminated at the home of the Skaggs for dessert and coffee. Unfortunately, there were so many other gawkers with the same idea that a few members got separated from the group and ended at the Skaggs’ via independent GPS. Bruce said this mishap will be taken into account in the planning for next year. Regardless, it was a great night weather-wise for the drive and everyone had a good time, with a delicious ending.

This report was provided by Bruce Skaggs.

Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Sebring 12 Hour, Pistons and Props 2019

Club member Ron McLeod (white hat) looking to add to his collection.

Jim Wilson filed the following report. 

The annual dual celebration of Sebring International Raceway’s rich auto racing history and patriotic aviation heritage returned there December 4 – 8, 2019, with an awesome lineup of historic race cars and iconic aircraft. Pistons and Props is a celebration of the 12 Hours of Sebring at historic Hendricks Field, the World War II era military and civil aviation facility on which the famous sports car race has been run for more than 65 years. The Classic Sebring 12 Hour features four full days of historic and vintage sports car racing.

Jim and two other club members traveled the 80 miles to Sebring for the fourth annual rendition of this event. Bob Tullis, the man behind “Group 44,” had his awe-inspiring P51 on display. Bob’s Group 44 raced British cars – Jaguars, the TR6 and TR8 were some of the vehicles he raced and made famous. Louis Hamilton of F1 fame uses 44 as his car number to honor this legendary British Racing Team. 

Included in the photos below is the Old Salty Dog Lotus Elan owned by the proprietor of the Old Salty Dog Restaurants in the Sarasota area. Note also a TVR, a beautiful Lotus 23, a Sebring MGB, and several Lola T 70’s.  The weather was great, a perfect day to watch these classic vehicles race. And like all vintage races we had total access to the pits, along with the bonus of the static aircraft display, for a very reasonable ticket price. Hopefully, we can get a larger group from the SBCC to go next year.