Tigers United XXII
The After-glow (Installment Four)

There are those that would accuse me of glossing over much of what transpired during the drive from Long Beach. David Ducanson could have a case, since I hardly mentioned his participation at all. Aside from a naggy fuel leak, which was finally fixed in Santa Rosa, AHP 294B seemed to tick along as an ever-present, friendly escort. With its rally heritage, one could hardly have expected anything else and as the editor of STOC's newsletter, I'm sure David will have his own version of our "Tour-De-Force" in print before you know it. And I suppose, credit to the Australian support crew of Peter Thomson and Geoff Morse (the mates with the beer in their hands) might be in order. In fact, without those guys things could have been a lot longer and a lot dryer. Their ride was known fondly as the "ROOTES" van and it performed triple duty in the roles of spare parts carrier, all around luggage cart and rolling liquid refreshment bar. Cullen Bennett and girlfriend, Bobbie, simply never stopped enjoying the unique marque experience, or their obvious personal happiness. Cullen's cool (air-conditioned) blue Tiger may have had something to do with their pleasure, as it didn't miss a beat, even when exercising the higher end of the speedometer scale. Those that joined the caravan for the last day's drive into Eureka, included visitors from as far away as Virginia (Chris Williams and his fourteen-year-old son, Jeremy), Colorado (Dave McDermott, trailering one of the nicer red restorations) and Texas (Tim Morin, the man who just captured tons of NOS parts). The locals (mostly the Northern California group) were also well represented, rounding out to a very respectable collection. Ian and Rosemary continued zipping in and out of caravan action, seemingly oblivious to the historic nature of what was happening, but unquestionably having a bloody good time.

"I am not a crook". The above reenactment bears no similarity to fact. Regardless, I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of this chap. He was referred to us by one of the waitresses in the Hotel coffee shop, whose husband was a police officer. Even though STOA member and Oakland policeman, Ron Hanson, was ready to sign off the "goose-poop" fix-it-ticket, we were more than happy to have a local involved in the final action. I think you can tell there was little in common between the two CHP representatives I had to deal with.

Two-thirds of the VIP invasion - Mr. Hall and Ms. Smith. The most congenial pair of marque ambassadors we could have found anywhere. If you didn't get to rub elbows with them - sad luck.

I was amazed by the number of people and cars already in the parking area when we rolled in on Wednesday afternoon. Who could have asked for a better reception? My only anxiety was the obvious underestimation of the food needed for the PTC hosted BBQ. If I remember correctly, except for Dick Barker (with the Le Mans "mule") and Mike Hall, who was bringing the Miles prototype, all of the special cars had arrived. We spent a little time moving things around to position the significant machines next to each other and then set about checking in with the multitudes. People and cameras were everywhere. I was having so much fun yakking, that the barbecue was at full tilt before I realized what time it was. I know, there are lots of you who think I've never known what time it was, but from my perspective, we were off to a great start. Capping off the arrival day seemed to be the goal of a colossal group, if the activity in the Palm Lounge was any indication. Some even extended the 2:00 AM closing by moving, first to the lobby of the Inn and finally the Annex parking lot. All in all, I can't remember when I've seen such a large collection of smiling faces at a Tiger gathering and there were still four full days of party to go. Next time we're off to the raceway and a fabulous, historical reunion.

1997 After-glow Series

Installment One

Installment Two

Installment Three

Installment Five

Installment Six

Installment Seven

Installment Eight

Installment Nine

Rootes One Home