by Mike Kearney
Infineon Raceway - Sonoma, CA
Sept. 30 - Oct 2, 2011
The Seven Enterprises' Mini racing team participated in its final race event of the year at the 2011 CSRG Charity Challenge at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. This event always has a very good turn out as it benefits Sonoma Children's Charities.
The Minis were put in group three, which consists of most small-bore sedans and English roadsters. Seven's Mini entries were the 1964 Morris Cooper S owned by Mike Kearney and driven by Doug Peterson, and Mark Kearney in his 1965 Austin Cooper S. Nick Martin drove his 1968 MK2 Austin Cooper S; Don and Dennis Racine were also entered, so five very good Minis were set to race.
Friday & Saturday Sessions:
Our testing program on Friday went great. We were able to run both cars all day and improve on the handling with tire pressure adjustments and just getting familar with the track again. Saturday's qualifying was more of the same, good performance that had the Seven Minis 12th and 14th on the grid of 31 cars.
Lunchtime Saturday provided four spectators each the ride of a lifetime in the Seven Vintage Mini, with seven-time SCCA National Champion Doug Peterson giving them a good taste of what these cars can do. Rides were sold by CSRG and all profits went to the event charity. The Mini sold out in just a few hours. I could tell by the huge smiles as the ride ended that they all got their money's worth!
The race started out well, with Doug moving up three positions right away. At the start of lap four, I could see there was a problem with the car as Doug was going much slower and went into the pits. Post-race, we discovered the shifter roll pin had come out in Doug's car, and we were stuck in forth gear, but it was an easy fix and we were soon ready for the main event, but would have to start in 31st position for Sunday. Mark did well and finished 10th.
The main race was scheduled to last 20 minutes, and I knew we would move up several positions during that time. Doug got a great start and was passing cars two at a time as he moved up the field. Mark was having a good race and holding down 10th place. Our times improved by one second over qualifying, and at the end of the race Doug was right behind Mark in 11th place.
Congratulations to Jim Lamantia for winning first over all in his 1966 MGB, powered by a
Seven Enterprises engine!