Event Recap: 2010 Vintage Volvo Challenge

SoCal VSA member and contributor Tom Dougherty describes his experience at Sears Point Raceway during this year’s Vintage Volvo Challenge the weekend of April 9th, 10th, and 11th.

First launch of vintage Volvos from the paddock.

It was a very promising couple of days to be at the 2010 Vintage Volvo Challenge. Here was a collection of unique vintage racing Volvos, namely 444, 544, 1800, 142, and alternate models such as a custom car by Ole and a few British built Marcos’s using the Volvo B1800 engine. My wife and I drove up from Temecula, CA in our ’99 C70 to attend this event and take in the beautiful parts of northern CA. Also in attendance were Roger Fritch and Mike Gaston and his wife and family who were enjoying some Easter vacation time.
Besides being amid the entire fantastic Volvo race cars there was a pleasant surprise and display of Alfa Romeos (65+) where they were celebrating their 100th year of production. Their presence also led to a last minute joint race on Sunday because of the weather. The results were lopsided in the Volvo brand. On Saturday April 10th we went to the race track and were able to meet and mix with the drivers and fans that drove down from upstate New York, Seattle, and Southern CA to participate in this remarkable event.

Our promoter and pilot of his 544 and all the way from Poway, CA is Alan Berry.

We arrived at the raceway on Saturday around a half hour before the start of the qualifying time trials.  The weather had changed into a cold, cloudy and windy day dropping 10 – 20 degrees with the wind chill it was like a winter day. Yet, the bad weather turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Volvos still performed well thanks to their Viking DNA.

Long time Volvo expert and veteran race car driver Ole Anderson. He had his custom “Ferrari look alike” race car using the Volvo engine and drive train and chassis. As a youngster back in Sweden Ole started racing motorcycles and then moved to cars and still enjoys the challenge of a day at the races.

The first time trials at 10:00 AM were set up for the Alfa population followed by the mixed groups of other manufacturers and platforms that took to the track. There were Minis; MGAs and MGBs; Cortinas; and custom designs. The Vintage Volvos got their chance to run the track around 11:30 AM. It didn’t rain and all of the participants got a chance to race. I managed to capture some of the action on video:

YouTube Video: Vintage Volvos Racing at Sears Point

YouTube Video: Ole Anderson Leads A Lap

The following text is part of Alan Berry’s description as to the way the races were held on Sunday:
“Well, they had a special Driver’s Meeting at 11AM on Sunday. The decision was made that there would be only two races and we’d call it a day. Our race was turned into a Volvo/Alfa Challenge. There were only a handful of Alfas left from 65 cars, but most of the Volvos stayed. It was horrible on the track and everybody’s windshield was fogging up from all the moisture. I’m proud to say the Volvos took 1, 2, 3 , and 5 th. Gil Stuart in the red PV 444 took first! My car and two other Volvos got damaged from literally floating off the track. There was a giant lake at turn 10 and my car just went into the wall, even though I was crawling at that point. Not too bad, I’ll replace the left front fender (just bought one for $50), the rear one is repairable.  All in all a great show!”
An amazing finale demonstrating the Volvo “brand” in motoring excellence.
Article by Tom Dougherty


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