Featured: GALLERY: The On-Track Action From The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

GALLERY: The On-Track Action From The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

By Alex Sobran
August 22, 2017

Photography by Alex Sobran

A lot of people wish they were the drivers who competed from the seats of history’s significant racing cars in period, but only a few get the next best thing: entering historic track events like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. I’m not sure if it’s pettiness generated by envy, an instance of deriving pride from jadedness, or just common parroting, but the vocal detractors always make their presence known. You hear it in accidental trackside eavesdropping on the day of, and inevitably you’ll read it somewhere online not long afterwards: “This isn’t real racing.” No shit. But you know what? It’s still some kind of racing, and it’s pretty much the only thing affording us the chance to see these titans getting some exercise, decades after their job’s been done. Are we so spoiled that this isn’t enough?

Compare it all you want to the more intense attitude toward this stuff that exists in Europe, and this is not to take anything from the competition that occurs at the Revival for instance, but the drivers at Laguna Seca were still spinning, locking up, bumping, passing, and most importantly, motor-mouthing to each other in the shade of their pop-up tents afterwards about how much they enjoyed sharing the track with friends they trust in cars they love. They might not be bouncing off of death’s threshold with every lap like the drivers who originally sat in these cars, but put yourself in the cockpit of something engineered decades ago with half-a-thousand horsepower and turbo lag and flush yourself down the corkscrew with someone on your door before scoffing at these “parade laps.” Again, I’m not saying this is anything like elite racing, I’m asking why some think it’s supposed to be. It’s funny the standards that people can apply in cases like these; where’s the value in dousing the enthusiasm of a wedding by pointing out that the cover band is not in fact the Rolling Stones?

The enjoyment we take from weekends like these doesn’t come from the competition (though I always enjoy Bruce Canepa’s seemingly yearly charge from back of the grid to its podium positions), but instead from the sheer spectacle; from the chance to see former rivals hunting apexes together again; from the view atop the hill that lets you see an entire track dotted with legends in motion and in song; from the ability to follow these cars into the paddock to inspect the details that were moving too quickly to catch at speed. It comes from an appreciation of the cars, an appreciation for their owners who keep them race-ready, and an appreciation for seeing all of this happening at half-throttle as opposed to asking for full and being left with nothing.

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4 years ago

Nice job! I think I may have been by you when you got those shots from the corkscrew! I’ll be posting them on my instagram if you feel like checking them out!

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant(@mgcam)
4 years ago

2 nice shots of the Group 5- E21 Alex, would have loved to have attended!

Harv Falkenstine
Harv Falkenstine(@harv)
4 years ago

I think Guitar Slinger just wanted to ensure that you got plenty of compliments on these pictures. I attended my first historics in 1981 while studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute – still treasure those “poor quality” pictures. Thanks for posting the pictures for those of us that had to work this year instead of attending.

Dennis White
Dennis White(@alfa66)
4 years ago

It’s always great to see and hear these great classics in action and this past weekend was no exception. It’s always amazing to me the competitiveness of the “gentlemen drivers” given the values of some of the cars. While it may not have been a level playing field, Patrick Long put on a master class in 3B Sunday, a real learning lesson for those of us who aspire. Great photo shots!!

4 years ago

Great shots Alex! GS is just jealous that he lost his iPhone and couldn’t post any of his super duper professional shots.

Stephen DeOreo
Stephen DeOreo
4 years ago

Nice! More great pictures. I like seeing the cars from the 70’s and 80’s.
The BMW – photo number 53 is my favorite – Love it!

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss(@itsnicolas)
4 years ago

Phfft. I am enjoying the pictures, thanks for taking them Alex. If I knew you were at the track on Saturday, I would have looked hard so that I could offer to buy you a quality beverage of your choice (it does get hot and dusty there in the afternoon).

As for the racing/non-racing… it seems every race has a few folks who like to dice it up. Even in the pre-war class, where in the afternoon race at turn four someone ended up riding through the dirt on the inside of the apex because all of a sudden there was no room at the inn (and my gosh that’s a big car with no brakes or seatbelts).

4 years ago

To be honest the photography is lacking verging on rank amateur . I mean honestly Alex … I know you can and have done better . So whats the deal ?

4 years ago
Reply to  GuitarSlinger

To be honest the commentary is lacking, verging on rank amateur troll. I mean honestly Guitar Slinger (aka Jack B.)… I know you can and have done worse. So what’s the deal?