[Healeys] Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival

Charlie Baldwin mgcharlie at comcast.net
Tue Feb 3 18:36:52 MST 2015

I have some new information for those of you who may be interested in 
the festival on September 11, 2015 in Watkins Glen.  Actually it will 
probably last for the entire weekend since the SVRA vintage races have 
been rescheduled by WGI to the weekend of July 24 because the track will 
be being paved in September.

If you know anything about the Watkins Glen area, you know that there 
are several very worthwhile attractions other than racing at WGI.  In 
fact Watkins Glen was a tourist destination long before there was any 
racing going on there.  The beauty of Watkins Glen State Park, the 
gorge, is unsurpassed.  Seneca Lake is also quite beautiful with vistas 
from the hills surrounding it and there are tour boats plying the waters 
of the lake.  Seneca Lake is one of the finger lakes with Cayuga Lake to 
the east and Keuka Lake to the west.  Lake Ontario is a bit over 60 
miles to the north.  There are wineries galore in the area to stop in 
and check out and take some wine home with you.  The Glenn H. Curtiss 
Aviation Museum is in Hammondsport on Keuka Lake.  And there is also 
Corning Glass to the south.

After last year's Grand Prix Festival and vintage race weekend 
Austin-Healey was announced as the featured marque for this year's 
festival.  Many of us Healey owners said it was about time.  After MG 
and Triumph participation at British car shows, Austin-Healeys usually 
have the next largest number of cars attending.  So after roughly 20 
years of the festival, we finally were named as the Tour de Marque brand.

Unfortunately that has been sabotaged by someone in our midst.  Some AH 
(no hyphen and nothing to do with Donald Healey) who is high up in a 
leadership position of one of our clubs declared that we would not care 
to participate because there are no races going on in September this year.
Casey Creamer is one of the organizers of the GPF and put it this way:

"When we decide on a featured marque, one of the major considerations is whether we have club buy in. In this case we were essentially told off by the people putting on the enclave. So we quickly dropped that idea, called the artist who works on the poster and told him to scrap what he was doing and now we are working on coming up with a different marque with club buy in. I understand that you are sort of offering some club buy in, but if the enclave people are poo pooing the idea of being the featured marque when there are no races, that will be a lot of negative attitude if we were to ignore them and do it anyway."

So now thanks to some jerk in a leadership position in one of our clubs Casey believes that they would be lucky to get 25 Austin-Healeys to sign up for the TDM.  Whoever it is that told him that should resign from their position in disgrace.  With well over 1,000 Austin-Healey club members within a state or so away from Watkins Glen, I believe that even with no vintage races we could come up with 100 cars which is what they would like to see at a minimum.  The event holds up to 120.

But those up on high have ordered Watkins Glen Promotions to not have Austin-Healey as the featured marque, so they are afraid to disobey.

It is probably too late to resurrect our marque as the featured marque this year, but it may help if you have interest in Austin-Healey being the featured marque in the future that you email casey and let him know that. I suspect that many were holding off to find out what exactly is planned for the festival this year.  And the website has not been updated so it seems that they will charge $140 with no laps of the WGI circuit and no tickets for the vintage races.

Here is Casey's email address: casey at senecasaw.com.  And here is the website for the festival:

Thanks for reading my rant.

Charlie Baldwin
'62 BT7

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