Report: Gathering the Clan, Texas 2011

-Words: Chuck Warnes         -Photos: Bob Weiner

Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing held their 20th Annual Vintage Fall Festival the weekend of November 4 – 6. Their gracious invitation to the Allard folks presented the second opportunity in the past eight years for us to enjoy their laid-back hospitality and company at the historic Texas World Speedway.

TWS is located just outside of the twin communities of Bryan/College Station TX, and dates back to its NASCAR origins of the ‘60’s. It began as a steeply banked two-mile oval, and over the years has evolved into a three-mile, fifteen-turn road course that continues to use about half of the original oval.

Bill Bauder from nearby Manor TX (100 miles away, but that’s ‘nearby’ in Texas vernacular) headed up organizing the Allard contingent that included 20 Allard folks and four immaculate Allards on display front-and-center between the pre-grid area and paddocks.

The Allards included Bob Weiner’s white Cad-powered K2 that he drove up from Houston. Besides being on display, Bob and his Allard were also drafted into doing some pace car duties together with a beautiful Ford GT sporting an eye-catching Gulf Oil color scheme.

Bill and Barbara Boone brought their yellow J2X down from their home in Tulsa OK. This particular Allard made its debut at Texas World Speedway during the first Gathering of the Clan in 2003, and has been raced extensively around the US and New Zealand. We appreciate Bill giving us an update on his other car projects, including his effort to bring his JR back to its original 1953 LeMans specs.

Bill Bauder and his Holman-Moody Ford-powered J2X date way back to 1960 when he originally bought ‘The Bitch’ (Bill’s name for his Allard), and 1969 when he ran it in the inaugural sports car races at TWS (See A LOVE STORY in The Allard Register #53 – Summer 2009). Bill admits that he rushed completion of his second restoration in preparation for the 2003 Gathering of the Clan. Thus he was glad for this opportunity for him and his wife, Ginger, to have a second chance to display and demonstrate his award-winning Allard this weekend.

Peter Booth brought his ex-Carroll Shelby J2X down from his home in Colorado. Peter, together with four other Allards, had completed running The Colorado Grand this past September. The presence of this car at TWS was a special treat for the President of Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing, George Curl. George helped his uncle, Dr. Richard McKee restore this car some 40+ years ago.

We also had a nice visit with Dr. McKee’s son Clayton, who told about his father attending one of the Texas races back in the 50’s and becoming enthralled at the sight and sounds of Carroll Shelby racing an Allard. He was determined to own and race an Allard someday. Once his medical practice get established and his kids were out of diapers Dr. McKee commenced his search in earnest, eventually finding a rather tattered J2X in Ohio. Some time later he was to learn that this was the exact same car that piqued his interest several years earlier.

This year’s Gathering gave us a chance to renew old friendships and acquaintances from overseas – including Michael & Diana Knapman, and David Hooper & Pat Lee from the UK, along with Barry & Mary Ellison from Australia. We welcome any opportunity to share ideas and insight about what is happening with our sister organization – the Allard Owner’s Club – and pick David’s vast body of knowledge on Allard-related technical matters.

Domestic Allard folks included Bill & MJ Peden, and Bob & Lynn Lucurell from the state of Washington. Many of us still have fond memories of participating in the Allard Northwest Tour that the Pedens and the Lucurells organized and hosted in 2006.

Jere Krieg has played a major role in planning and organizing Allard activities in recent years. Two that come to mind are the 2007 Gathering of the Clan at Virginia International Raceway, and touring ‘The Dragon’ in 2005 (The Allard Register #53 – Summer 2009). ‘The Dragon’ is a notoriously challenging 18-mile two-lane stretch of Hwy 129, consisting of 111 curves through Great Smokey Mountain National Park. It was great to meet and visit with Jere after all these years.

Finally, this year’s Gathering gave us all another chance to visit with Andy and Judy Picariello from Massachusetts. Andy played a critical behind-the-scenes role in working with CVAR on organizing this year’s event, and also helping to foster our ongoing partnership with the Allard Owner’s Club.