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7 things I learned traveling with a race team

Submitted by on September 12, 2014

Race Team - Ron Goodman and his 356MSR contributor John Young seized an opportunity to travel to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion with Ron Goodman’s race team from Australia.

Here, he shares a few of the things he wouldn’t have seen any other way:

Early morning start

There’s never enough time

So, you’re thinking (or, like most of us, only dreaming) of taking a car to a bucket list event like the Monterey Historics? The time to start planning is now. Yes, this year’s event is just over. But the time to start planning for 2015 was yesterday. The logistics of preparing a car that stands a chance of being accepted, testing it, finding somewhere to stay, transporting it to the circuit and a thousand and one other things mean that it’s a major undertaking in anyone’s language. Ron Goodman started thinking about 2014 on his way home from the 2013 event. And the car only just made it.


If it can go wrong, it will

Chances are that you’re unfamiliar with Ron’s 1954 Porsche 356 ‘Pre-A’ coupe, so let me paint a picture. You could roll up to a concours with it tomorrow. And that level of thoroughness has been lavished on every aspect of the little car’s preparation. Nothing, seemingly, had been left to chance; including entering the car at a home historic race meeting for a final shakedown three months out from Leguna Seca. What happened? The engine lunched itself.

Never mind, there’s still time to rebuild one engine and reassemble the spare before packing the container with car, tools and spares and shipping the lot to the States. What happened? At about the time the container should have been landed in America, it was still somewhere off New Zealand. The only way to get the car to Monterey was to unload and unpack the container in Auckland and fly the lot to America. Even then, the car arrived at Leguna Seca on the back of a truck at 5pm the night before Ron was due to race in the Pre-Reunion event. Too close for comfort.

356 arrival

If you don’t take it, you’ll need it

This was Ron’s second visit to Monterey. Having had a few problems the year before, he took just about everything you could think of. Tools, technicians to use them, a spare engine and a spare gearbox. And it was just as well. During final qualifying for the Reunion event there were little puffs of smoke from the exhaust on downshifting and overrun. Rather than try and effect repairs in the compromised environment of the paddock area, the spare engine came into play. Problem solved.


PHOTO GALLERY: Ron Goodman’s Porsche 356

Budgeting. Think of a number and double it

If you’ve been paying attention so far, you’ve probably worked out that this is not an inexpensive exercise. Enough said.

Racing Team - Ron and 356

Details will never be so important

Whichever part of the world is your home base, the best advice would be to talk to someone you know about their experiences and take careful note of what they have to say. There are so many pitfalls and government authorities who can spoil your fun, and you have to take them all into account when you do your planning.

John Young (me) and car owner

People are unbelievably helpful

I can’t speak too highly of the helpfulness of other teams. Offers of help abound. “Need any machining done over the weekend? Ask me and I’ll fix it.” “Hey is everything going well for you guys? Don’t forget to see us if you need anything.” Comments like this from the American teams make you realise that historic racing attracts great people who love what they do and will go out of their way to keep you on track.

Ron with future star

Take time to smell the gasoline

At any event like this – and in the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to visit several fabulous events including Goodwood Revival, Circuit du Remparts in Angouleme, Silverstone Classic and Le Mans Classic – there’s a great deal going on outside the paddock area. Travel with a team and you’re in danger of taking a big sigh of relief when the car gets onto the circuit and missing the rest of the show. Make sure you don’t… and remember to have fun!

To be honest, I’ve never seriously thought about taking a car overseas to race even in my more fanciful moments. But if you have the wherewithal to do it, go ahead. Ron Goodman is already planning his 2015 program with the 356 – so the ups and downs haven’t discouraged him. And if you’re not in a position to race overseas yourself and are presented with an opportunity to travel with a team, do it. You’ll enjoy a unique perspective of a major event and have a great time to boot.

Images: Rob Scheeren – AutoFokus

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