NEW CATEGORY ALERT!
After months of cajoling, begging and pleading for help, I’m pleased to announce that The Condor is ready to soar and reminisce about the days of yesteryear. Racing today can be tedious, so what better time to introduce a category dedicated to being a buzzard in the 60’s and 70’s? We’ve all heard about the triumphs and tragedies that took place on the race track during that perilous era, but now we have the opportunity to be transported back in time to relive the experience from a fans perspective.
Before we proceed, I need to remind you how one achieves the level of Condor. You don’t just automatically progress from Race Fan to Buzzard to Condor. It takes decades of dedication to the craft to be able to grasp the powers of a Condor.
Question: How do you know when you become a Condor?
Answer: You reach the level of Condor only when you can sit in a grandstand for hours on end in a state of total Zen, feeling at one with every driver and car on the circuit, knowing if a driver is operating in harmony with his car, if he or she is happy or sad, if the car is peaceful or stressed and you possess the ability to telepathically send encouragement to both driver and car.
One such man who possesses all of these powers and then some is my very own father. His racing resume is impeccable and you would be hard pressed to locate another person in California who has dedicated so much of his life to being a fan of road racing.
Some of his highlights include:
- F1 Races Attended: 40
- First Race: 1950 USAC Sprint Cars at Bay Meadows on dirt
- First Sport Car Race: 1953 Pebble Beach
- Attended the first races at Laguna Seca, Sears Point and Long Beach.
- Drove solo from Palm Springs, CA to Montreal 10 years in a row to watch the F1 race.
- Was sitting in the last corner at the 1970 Monaco GP when Jack Brabham made an error and let Jochin Rindt through for the win.
I could go on and on, but I’ll let him tell the tales in due time.
But be prepared for the Condor to educate you on various buzzardly subjects such as:
- Track Security – A reason why security did not have to be so tight was that the race cars and all associated equipment was taken back to the local city, town or village each evening. The teams set up shop in the garages of the auto dealerships, repair facilities and gas stations. It was like an open house!
- Crowd Control – Spectators were supposed to stay behind the snow fences lining the track and this was generally observed with the exception being Italy whenever a Ferrari was leading the event. The attitude seemed to be if you were brave enough to sit there, it was your problem if a car ended up in your lap. Being fleet of foot was a real advantage for the daring Buzzard.
- The Box: Some of you younger readers may find it curious as you are watching a F-1 race on TV and the team instructs the driver to pit by calling out “Box Box Box, this lap”. What the driver pulls up to hardly looks like a box. However, back in the day, the pits were little boxes all lined up in a row. For a clever Buzzard the box could also be a substitute for a hotel room!
Stay tuned for more Condor to come.