Tigers United XXII
The After-glow (Installment Six)

With everyone back from the track, the parking lot display was once again the main attraction. All three Le Mans coupes settled in next to each other and those that missed the consolidation experience earlier, were "gobsmacked". Instant experts began discussing the subtle differences between each of these hand-built machines, while the less assuming resorted to asking questions. No matter how it happened, there was some serious education taking place and for those who were interested, similar circumstances permeated the entire event. The first of the Duncanson tutorial contributions (Thursday evening's entertainment) featured an in-depth review of Rosemary Smith's impressive past and present career. But, attendees had no idea Ms. Smith would be annotating the one-of-a-kind collection of historical images with copious personal memories - absolutely fabulous. It's not hard to imagine that this vivacious woman is one of only three personalities to have received the "Sporting legend" award in her own country (more prestigious than our own "Hall Of Fame" honors). Aside from having been a successful works driver for Rootes , Ford, Porsche, Lancia and B.M.C., she is the first woman to be registered for Le Mans and Daytona, one of only four women to win an International event outright and most likely the best female driver ever to sit in a car. It's been said that she's done more in her life than any hundred men put together. After having only watched her from Long Beach to Eureka, she has my vote hands down. As the recap of Rosemary's remarkable accomplishments wound to a close, I couldn't help thinking about the joy and enthusiasm she brings to all of the space within her reach and how lucky we were to have her grace our 1997 gathering.

Just one corner of the parking lot lineup: Three Lister coupes, one Harrington and one of six MK II prototypes. Not quite the kind of collection you'd see every day.

"Now David, let me tell you how it really happened. You see…". The stories behind the careers of our special guests were brought to life in their own words. The Duncanson collection of photographs will no doubt grow a little after Tigers United XXII.

I might be a little prejudice, but for my money you'd be hard pressed to find a more delightful lady - either of them.

Above: The big picture, laid out and ready for the onslaught. Below: Matt Taylor taking up a family tradition.

Above: Mr. Nanzig 'lunches' his fourteen-year-old engine just when things were going so well - oops.

Above: Tom Hixon making lots of noise and loving every minute. Below: Gary Haslip showing off for his passenger and the grandstands

After another late evening of solving the problems of the marque, the Tiger world seemed ready for the "lead-footers" and their first chance at stardom. A 10 AM start left just the right amount of recovery time for the party animals, who (as it turned out) all managed to find a place called the "Samoa Drag Strip". When I got there, my first contact was with Karen Foster, who informed me that all of the "Porta-Potties" were without "TP" - not a good thing for the ladies. We did make special arrangements for these sanitary facilities, so I was less than a happy camper. Regardless, a quick drive back into town remedied the situation and on my return, the kingdom of autocross was restored to full potential. Willing workers had taken up their appropriate positions and the first brave souls collected for a very small run group. Chairman, Paul Nanzig, suffered a brief moment of, "If the groups are no bigger than this, we'll be finished by noon", but soon moved on to organize a unique drive through the course. With that kind of detail, no one should have had trouble finding the route. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and pointed toward the starting grid, "Isn't that your car? Who's driving?" With that, Ian Hall went blasting by on his way to the zero-miles-per-hour first turn. No, he didn't make it, but to his credit and in spite of all that spinning, he collected nary a cone. He soon settled into more patient driving, with much less fanfare. The second run group started lining up just before noon and any fears of not having enough participants disappeared in seconds. When we got around to lunch, 120 mid-day snacks evaporated before everyone had been fed. To meet the crunch, the caterers were nice enough to generate an additional 30 box meals, which they did in less than thirty minutes. If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now, we couldn't have found a better bunch of behind the scenes workers anywhere. They made it look as if we had been doing events like this for years. Eureka folks are second to none and no one left without food. During all the pylon avoidance maneuvering, STOA's Tiger authentication committee (TAC) managed to add another fifteen cars to the increasingly impressive list of Sunbeam Tigers wearing that small, but reassuring triangle. Only two out of the entire group of production Tigers attending this year's "United", failed to leave the event without a sticker - seems like a movement to me. Other off camera activities saw Peter Phelps nearly faint at a series of strange coincidences that looked for all the world like a blown power plant. Turned out to be Holley-by-Golly and some very loose headers. Gary Haslip gets the 'at-a-boys for lending the big hand, but no matter what he did, there was no fix for the Nanzig factor. Paul proved that a good thing can only last so long. He got more years out of that engine than many marriages - just kidding. When you think about it, where else would you rather break down. The offers to help came from everywhere and as you'll see, B9470034 (not running of course) made an appearance at what has become known as "The Goose Poop Concours". After all of this, it's hard to remember who did what with the "loop-t-loops". I seem to recall Rosemary jumping into someone's car and producing the second fastest time of the day. I'll have to look into that for the next time.

1997 After-glow Series

Installment One

Installment Two

Installment Three

Installment Four

Installment Five

Installment Seven

Installment Eight

Installment Nine

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