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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 11 Post By Alfa02
  • 1 Post By Hapnyny
  • 1 Post By HealeyRick
  • 1 Post By patrickt
  • 1 Post By tkb289
  • 1 Post By mrmustang
  • 1 Post By 86Sebring
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Old 11-21-2022, 11:45 PM
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Default My Weekend with Mr. Mark Donohue

As you know, major events in your life start long before they play out. Meeting and spending the weekend with the One & only "Mark Donohue" @ the 68 Trans-Am race Kent WA. I usually have my Father to thank (SCCA Marshall) for meeting famous race car drivers but this one, I have to thank my Mother, and the great cook she was. 1965 we were pitted next to Randy Hilton (Car Owner) and Chuck Parson (Driver, he raced a Cobra in 1964) with their Genie-Chev in the USSRC race, my mom, she always made enough to feed the whole pits, fed them lunch all weekend (The team never forgot her) Fast forward to 1968 Randy Hilton is now Partnered with Roger Penske for 68 Trans-Am series, of course we saved a spot for the now Penske/Hilton team. Randy introduced me to Roger & Mark, I was 13yo @ the time, Mark joked that I had the build of a race car driver SMALL & TRIM!! I said that I already race Moto-X. He said you want hang around me this weekend you may learn something, I thought he was joking, he wasn't Roger told me if you're to be a crew member, #1 rule "No just standing around, for god's sake POLISH something" (Clean Race car are faster than dirty ones ) That weekend was a burr, but Saturday evening after Mark got Pole Position, we took his Loaner (67 Z-28) around Pacific Raceways, He asked if I knew what an Apex was, did I know how to Heel & Toe, etc. I said yes to his question's. We stopped SWITCHED seats, now I was Driving MARK DONOHUE around a track in a Z-28 We did 3-laps at a slow pace, Mark said Nothing during the drive, when we pulled in, this is his Quote "Tom, you have the Drivers Gene" Sunday, Mark won the race & the Series. I would like to thank, Roger, Randy, Mark, but this really is a tribune, to unsung heroes like my Mother who without them, we could never enjoy our hobbies. Hope you enjoyed the story, Brent(EM-0785) said we need to write a book about my crazy life. Cheers Gentlemen, Tom. Here is the exact car. https://www.motorsportretro.com/2016...maro-trans-am/
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Old 11-22-2022, 06:53 AM
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That’s a great story, thank you for sharing.
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Old 11-22-2022, 08:53 AM
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I consider myself lucky to have watched Mark race in a few Trans Ams, but always as a fence-hanger (ok I was up a tree at Lime Rock one year). You're a fortunate man. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-22-2022, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapnyny View Post
That’s a great story, thank you for sharing.
That was a good story. But it would have been better if it was titled "My Weekend with Stormy...."
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Old 11-22-2022, 11:07 AM
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Tom,

Wonderful story and thank you so much for sharing!

You were very fortunate to have parents that gave you the opportunities to be exposed to racing at such a young age. You were also very wise and mature for your age, to recognize those opportunities and to have life experiences that very few would ever have.

- Tim
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:06 PM
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Great story


Bill S.
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:27 PM
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Awesome story Tom, thanks for sharing!
The closest I ever came to MD was watching him on TV driving F1, ha
I did read the "unfair advantage" though
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:27 PM
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Way cool!
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:29 AM
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Like Tony said, this is waaay cool, Tom.
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Old 11-24-2022, 04:10 AM
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You've lived the life!
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Old 11-24-2022, 09:02 AM
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Thank you all, for your kind words Gentlemen. If you would like, I can share the finer driver points Mark taught me, most of those I used during my racing career. Didn't want the post too long and bore everyone Growing up, I thought all families were like us (Mom was everyone's Mom), Dad helped keeping everyone Motorcycles running. It wasn't until years later, I found out, not all my friends had a "Wonderful Life" like I had. I hope everyone here has a "Happy Thanksgiving" and are grateful for what we have Cheers Tom.
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Old 11-24-2022, 11:23 AM
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I’ll tell you a little bit about Tom (Alfa02), a living historical reference to the local (and beyond) racing scene. Tom spent his free waking moments at the track from a young age through his many years of racing. Only occasional breaks in form for some mischief outside the track, so he had to make those count, for some other great stories.

A voracious researcher on topics of interest, Tom is a living, walking, and those who know him ‘talking’, encyclopedia on most things cars and racing from the 60’s forward. His first-hand knowledge is both fascinating and unique, and he loves to share it and help others with it.

Tom remembers details…rule changes, technologies, and competitive advantages that drove incremental developments in racing. The people behind the cars… their styles, techniques, strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. What the drivers and teams were going through that impacted their driving and car development. Drivetrain and suspension details and specs. Where various parts went to, often under the radar, etc.

A self-proclaimed ‘wheel guy’, Tom can recite the details of many wheels…sizes, types, and changes on each model of race car over the years. Little gets his attention nor musters his adrenaline faster than the wrong, or right, set of wheels for an application.

Tom’s story here is one of many, and a great one. A willing and engaging ‘track rat’ and ‘gopher’ to one of the greatest eras of racing history, it doesn’t get much better than that. Thanks for sharing Mr. Tommy.

I’m thankful for my friend, and for all who share their Cobra cars and experiences.

Happy Thanksgiving! Brent
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Old 11-24-2022, 09:29 PM
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I guise I will tell my one and only Donohue story. It happened at the beginning of this century, not as exciting as Tom's, and unfortunately a big swing and a miss on my part. I was talking to Otis Chandler, we were at the motocross track east of town, we were supporting a mutual friend doing vintage racing. We of course were talking motorcycles, when the subject of Porsche came up. He mentioned he had the Donohue Talladega record setting 917. I asked what it was like to drive, he said, after driving the 917, then getting into his 996, "it was like driving in slow motion!" Otis then invited me to come out to his invitation only museum, and sit in the 917, like an idiot, I thought I had plenty of time to get out there, so I never did see it! Incidentally, our mutual friend, set up the Art Of The Motorcycle at the Guggenheim, so when Otis passed away, he received a Brough Superior SS100 Alpine. He sold it for a record amount, low $100,000s! Cheers, Dennis
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Old 11-25-2022, 12:36 PM
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Default 917-30 1500+hp

Speaking of a 917-30, in 1992 while @ Monterey Histories, #003 Cam-Am 917-30 was there, driven by a younger Porsche Factory driver. When asked why the 917 was so slow coming out of the last corner before the straightaway, he said (with a straight face) it has to be pointed straight before the turbo's come on, as the FRONT TIRES ARE LIFTING OFF THE GROUND!! Mark was once asked if you can have too much HP? He said if you can't spin the tires in Top gear @ Top speed, it's not enough. He mentioned the 917-30 came close to that mark 1500+ HP with the screw twisted down on the wastegate. We may never see cars like these again, except in Vintage Racing. Cheers Tom. https://www.autoweek.com/car-life/cl...lat-12-photos/
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Old 11-25-2022, 01:04 PM
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As much as I love the looks of the Ford GT40/GT and the 05-06 update, the 917 is my all time favorite race car ever. A friend gave me a Euro race car book of a guy in Europe that has collected a version of all of the Gulf cars, and the 917 is hands down the best looking of all of them.
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Old 11-25-2022, 10:03 PM
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I always like Sam Posey saying people would always ask the fastest he ever went on the race track? He would reply 230mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans! Then he would say, I never told them, I was being passed by a 917 and his Ferrari was weather veining on dry pavement! He would add, he just kept the steering wheel straight and hoped it would be going in the right direction. At those speed, just a couple of degrees, there would be no time to react! Cheers, Dennis
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Old 11-25-2022, 10:11 PM
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Of course, 240mph is slow now! There are a few production cars that have been clocked at 300+ mph. These cars really do prove the old adage, "more money then brains." I feel sorry for the Cops and Firefighters that will have to show up to the eventual bad shunt! Cheers, Dennis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkiyAZ63RT8
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