October 2002 VTR Regional - Jekyll Island








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The Southeast VTR Regional at Jekyll Island
                               By Brian Watts

One by one, we gathered. First a blue one, then green, followed by carmine red, signal red, yellow, then black and silver. We all gathered Thursday morning for the trek east to the VT.R. Southeast Regional in Jekyll Island. Just about all the Temple was ready to go. With J.K. leading the way in his big rig, the Triumphs followed through the soggy country roads of North Florida/South Georgia. J.K. and Obin selected a terrific path for the Triumphs to cruise on. Halfway there, we stopped at a local Italian restaurant in Waycross, GA. to take a break, dry off, and to have some lunch. Rain or shine, driving doesn't get any better than this.

We arrived on the island around 3:00 and a couple of us went immediately to the autocross site. After all, this is the main attraction for most of the Temple.  The island closed down the airport for the day and allowed us to use the entire airport runway for the event. The big, open area made a nice fast course
possible. Setup was fairly straightforward, J.K. obviously knows what he is doing. It always seems easier when someone else is doing the planning and figuring, and I'm just handing out the cones. The course maximized the full advantage of the long runway and we knew it was going to test the capability of the cars and ability of the drivers.

That night, the Georgia Club set up a very nice welcoming reception for the participants. There was plenty of food and a nice variety of beverages to enjoy. The Friday morning autocross weather was questionable early on. With the rain all night Thursday and the promise of more, no one was sure what the day would hold. But we were lucky. The rain stayed away on Friday and the course was ready for racing. Over the day there were over 70 cars entered in the autocross. The day was separated into
two heats. The morning had mostly stock Triumphs with a few prepared cars thrown in.

The afternoon had mostly prepared cars with a few stock Triumphs thrown in. There was a lot of action throughout the day. One of the Spitfires decided to go out on it's own and take a spin in the woods.

No injuries, just a blown tire and a romp in the grass. Most of the Temple waited until the end of the day to make their mark in the history books. Danny Boyd was the first of the Temple to see how fast a TR6 can really go. His maiden run of his most recent
acquisition, the Blue Meany, was a good one. A short time later, Chris Moore surprised the crowd with the first sub-60-second run and ended with overall FTD for the day. 

On my second run, I was close behind. Tim Suddard (in his street-prepared MINI) was also right in the mix. I believe J.K. only ran two runs that day, but that was plenty fast to get second overall. Tim was third and I was fourth overall that day.

During the post-race fun runs, a TR6 decided to follow the Spitfire's line on the back slalom and also took a spin in the woods. With a little more vehicle damage, some EMS vehicles, and a short trip to the E.R., the TR6 managed to one-up the Spitfire. I believe the only serious injury from the wreck was
the driver's wounded pride.

Needless to say, nine Temple members racing on Friday trophied their class. In addition, the top five overall times were made by Temple members The Temple, once again, continued the tradition of dominating the racing events.

Friday night was the Low Country Boil. Hmm: what are those things biting our legs? I can't see them, but I sure can feel 'um. I think the No-see'ums had a better meal than we did. Compared to the terrific food and atmosphere the night before, the Low Country Boil was the low point of the event.

Friday evening's official events weren't a complete bust. Kas Kastner had a terrific question/answer session on some of the modifications on Triumphs and his rich history in the Triumph Competition Department. With Kastner's tech session and all
the beer you could drink at the hospitality Suite afterwards, things picked up. Saturday morning, life around the hotel was buzzing with activity. The cars were getting their baths and people were beginning to line up their beauties on the large grass area over-
looking the Atlantic Ocean.

The Concours entries were really a fine lot. It's been awhile since I've seen that many perfect Triumphs in one place. On the other side of the walkway from the trailer queens, the participants choice cars began to pour in: almost 100 cars total. It was a
great tumout! There was everything from a supercharged TR4(?) and a bunch of race cars to some great looking daily drivers. While the car show was going on, J.K. and I decided to test drive the new MINI that was running round the event. Nice little car, fun to drive.

Before we knew it, we were entering the MINI in the Funkhana to see just how fast we could bounce balls, count money, create electricity, and go fishing. With J.K. driving from station to station and me catching the lobsters, we managed to take first place. I'm not sure what was more gratifying: my sub-60 second autocross
time or winning first place in the Funkhana (in the end the autocross gave me the biggest grin). Later Saturday, everyone got together for the group photo. The photographer couldn't take the picture fast enough - the No-see urns were having their way with us once again.

However, there was a good number of us lined up with our shiny sides facing forward. The awards banquet was quite nice~ Being held at the convention center, there was plenty of room for the festivities. When I arrived I noticed that the Temple was dispersed throughout the hall. I can't speak for the dinner, but the awards
presentation was well done. Shortly afterward there was a nice reception back at the hospitality suite. Plenty of beer, snacks and great conversation.

After breakfast Sunday morning, everyone was getting ready for the trip home. Many of us went back together. A large group of us beaded west and made our way toward home. With a long pit stop for lunch, we all managed to make the trip with no breakdowns or mechanical problems. Once again it is a testament to the simplicity and engineering of the Triumphs and to the care we put into these great little machines. I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend than driving my favorite toy and sharing the experience with my favorite people. 

                       Temple! Temple! Temple!

(Note:  This article is reprinted from the December 2002 Tablet, the Temple's newsletter.)