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Emerald Empire Sports Car Club
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Featured Article
Why I Like Turning Left And Right
By Tony Chilton

2018 EESCC Registration
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2018 Year End Awards Banquet
Theme: 007
Saturday, November 10th Valley River Inn

Early Bird Registration Closes 10/13 /2018 and
All Registration Closes 10/27/2018
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click here to register electronically or click here to register USPS

EESCC Current Noise Restrictions
Remember we have a 95 db Max noise limit in place
Please have your car quite so we can continue to respect our event sites and the neighboring areas.

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HELMET REGULATIONS
Snell M and SA helmets of these years
will be allowed for 2018:
** Only 2015, 2010 and 2005 **
**** Snell 2005 will be legal until 2021 ****


Why I Like Turning Left And Right
By Tony Chilton

In 1964 I was a freshman in high school and my brother had just started at Cal, living in the dorms on Dwight Ave. Up until then I’d been very interested in cars, especially hot rods. I was an avid reader of Hot Rod and attended every day of the Oakland Roadster Show. My friend’s dad built motors for sprint cars so I’d gone to some roundy round races and thought that was cool. A 57 Chevy with a corvette fuely 327 was my dream car.

My brother’s roommate at college was older and had a neat (I thought) hot rodded corvair and was into sports cars. In May he talked my brother into going to Laguna Seca for the weekend to watch the USRRC races, not as spectators but as corner workers. I don’t remember how exactly I wangled my way into going on this trip, nor how they got me a corner worker position, but they did. This got us cool white coats with SCRAMP on the back in big letters, and access to anywhere on the track so when not working our assigned spots we went and hung around in the pits checking out the cool cars. One distinct memory is of this one small guy sitting beside a Lotus Cortina calmly catching flies with amazing hand speed – he never missed. That was Jackie Stewart who I watched later that day drive that Cortina around Seca lifting one or two wheels in every corner, inside rears on the way in and outside fronts on the way out. We worked turn 1; there was no chicane then so on Sunday when the precursors to the CanAm cars ran they came straight at us at high speed and slammed on the brakes to get around the corner. It was won by Jim Hall in a Chaparral with Roger Penske third in another Chaparral.

I was hooked. I stopped buying Hot Rod and started buying Road and Track and Car and Driver. My dream car became a Lamborghini.  I kept going and working as a corner worker most years until 1972. I don’t remember much about the ‘65 race except during practice Ken Miles stuffed his 427 Cobra into the hay bales at turn one when his brakes failed. He exited the car after removing his helmet and gloves and throwing them angrily in the car before stomping off towards the pits. I got a real close look at it before they came and got it after practice. It was now my dream car sans the bent fender.

1966 was the beginning of the actual CanAm. The rules were wonderful – basically no rules. They had to have two seats (you really wouldn’t want to sit in the passenger seat), enclosed wheels and a roll hoop, period. The first year brought cars from Cooper, Lola, Chaparral, and McClaren (called a McClaren-Elva). Laguna Seca featured the newly bewinged Chaparrals. These had airplane like wings (upside down though) mounted way up high and connected directly to the suspension uprights. It was actuated by the brakes so you could see it change angle as it came into the corner. No one had ever seen anything like it. They took pole and first and second in the race followed by John Surtees in the Lola. Parnelli Jones finished finished 3rd after punting Surtees off track. Jackie Stewart’s car failed to start the race. Big name drivers, fast cars with roaring V8s, this is heaven.

By 67 I had my drivers license and was terrorizing the world in a crumpled bright yellow 36HP bug bought from a friend of the family who forgot to set the hand brake and watched it roll over as it descended their driveway in reverse. I bought it for $100. Miraculously none of the windows had broken. I missed the race, won by the McClarens, due to having too much fun with my new car, but I went again in ‘68, worked corner 8 (the middle of the corkscrew), camped in the rain and watched John Cannon, an unknown, run off with the race in an old uncompetitive car because he had rain tires and no one else did.

I graduated high school in 68 and missed the 69 race, but went again in 1970 and saw the amazing Chaparral 2J sucker car take pole. It had giant sliding side skirts and a snowmobile engine powered fan at the back to suck air out from under the car. It was pretty ugly, looking somewhat like a squared off roomba, but it sure was effective. That car was stuck. It was the later FIA decision to outlaw “movable aerodynamic devices” that drove Jim Hall and Chaparral from competing.

The last time I went was 1972. It was the end of McClaren domination and the beginning of the Penske/Porche 917K juggernaut. The 917s were incredible cars. They had dominated Lemans and WEC in 70 and 71 and then Porsche moved them to the US because the WEC introduced a 3 liter limitation. In 1972 the car had a 5 liter twin turbo flat 12 that produced 900HP at 1.5 BAR (21 lbs) the next year they were getting 1500+HP at 2.7BAR. I saw an interview with George Follmer where he said the cars were so fast you had to be thinking several corners ahead because you were there by then. The two Penskes took first and second with Francois Cevert third in another Porche. David Hobbs, Deny Hulme, Mark Donahue, Peter Revson all were in the race.

I was forever hooked on sports car racing and turning both left and right. I wish they would start up the CanAm again with the same lack of rules. It was cool.

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