Jamie DeRuiter CSRG Season Opener, April 12, 2015, Second Annual
David Love Memorail Vintage Races
By Jamie DeRuiter, Editor, der Riesenbaum

On my wedding anniversary this year, I attended the Classic Sports Racing Group's gathering at Sonoma Raceway. What a great event. While I enjoy watching the various groups race around the track, I truly have much more fun walking the pit and seeing the actual cars up close and talking with the owners. The people who make up the CSRG are very friendly and approachable. For instance, one of my fellow 912'ers brought his kids to the event and on multiple occasions, without asking, his kids were invited to sit in the owner's cars. How cool is that for a kid?!? 

This event for CSRG was their 2nd annual David Love Memorial gathering and they couldn't have picked a more perfect spring day. It was sunny, in the mid to upper 70's, with only the slightest breeze in the air. David Love started his racing journey in classic fashion. First he borrowed an MG-TD and got hooked, then he purchased his first race car, a Porsche 356. He started the way most of us do by first attending some tours, rallies and autocrosses. He progressed into obtaining his SCCA license and the days of road racing were born to his future. After moving to California and taking a job at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, he bought his second race car (his 356 had been stolen) in 1961, a Porsche 550A. A few years later, the opportunity to purchase a Ferrari 250TR (Testa Rosa, Italian for 'red head') happened and after a year of rebuilding the car, his long racing journey with his iconic ride began. Rule changes in SCCA and faster cars took his race car out of competition years later and not wanting to park the car he looked for a venue to race his older car. In 1968 he and his friends Dave Burch and Gordon Mills made a list of owners of similar cars and invited them to join them for a day of racing at the Vaca Valley Raceway. CSRG was born.

CSRG's big event happens in the Fall with their Charity Challenge. This year it will be hosted on October 3-4 at the Sonoma Raceway. The event has raised over $700.000 for the Speedway Children's Charities to date. 

This spring's event was very enjoyable for me. I got to meet some really cool drivers/owners. Anyone familiar with CSRG around here knows about a blue 912 that was raced by John Thornton #902. John was a local racer out of Sonoma. He had a true passion for the sport and was known for offering good advice to his fellow 912'ers on the 912BBS site. After becoming ill, he put his beloved car up for sale and it ended up in the hands of the only other guy to have driven his car while he was avidly racing...Steve Torp of Classic Autobody out of Berkeley. I met Steve in the pit next to his red 1963 Porsche 356B and his red 1966 Brabham BT-18 both #93. Steve is a super friendly guy who was quick to chat with me and share his love of the sport and his passion for the #902 he now owns. I got to watch him race his Brabham BT-18 in Group 6 during a practice run. What a beautiful car and the sound the engine makes I cannot describe in words. You have to come hear it yourself sometime. 

Realizing I had forgotten my earplugs I headed toward the local race shop. On my way I ran into Phil and his white/red 1964 Porsche 356C #152 filling up to race. I chatted with Phil for a few minutes and found out he has some good 912 parts on his car (his Fuchs wheels). I told him that must be why his car is so fast and we got a good chuckle since I'd shared my ownership of a 912 with him. I told him I was at CSRG to enjoy the races and get some good material for our newsletter. I asked him if I could get a photo of him for my write up and he was very proud to pose for the pic with his 356C. Phil is a great example of the people of CSRG. Super nice and willing to strike up a conversation with a total stranger. I got to watch him race as well in Group 2. His 356C has that classic Porsche cornering stance with the front inside wheel lifting off the ground.

My first car was a white 1975 914 so when I ran into Martin Baker's white 1975 914-6 I couldn't help but stop and take some photo's. Martin is another example of the friendliness of this group. We soon had a good conversation and he ended up giving some really good advice on my 912's racing setup. I watched Martin drive his #40 Porsche in Group 8 later that day. There's something about a 914 that will always be in my blood and seeing him drive that car around the track was very rewarding for me. Of course I'm jealous and want one of my own but my garage won't fit one I tell myself and my wife wouldn't either. I can still think 'someday' to myself though and it makes me smile. 

 Well, it was my anniversary, so I had to go home a bit early so I could take care of the most important person of the day. I left filled with the desire to go home and drive my Porsche somewhere. Events like this charge your passion for all things motorsports related. As I write this, I cannot wait to get out and autocross this weekend at our second AX of the season. CSRG is an event you have to attend sometime if you haven't already done so. The Charity Challenge this fall allows one to take a three-lap ride at high speed in one of the entered historic race cars in exchange for a tax-deductible donation. This is a great opportunity to experience the track and these special people in a classic race car.


John and now Steve's 912 race car
Steve Torp



Phil and his #152 Porsche 356C


The classic Porsche cornering stance by #152

914 Porsche