Kicera picked off one driverafter another in the shortrace, taking over the leadwith just minutes remainingto close the points gap onseason-long rival Josh Hurley.
The full replay can befound at Trans Am’s You Tubechannel, youtube.com/thetransamseries – and it’sgenuinely worth your time.
RUNNING TO THEHISTORY BOOKS
As important as the Esportsseries was, filling the three-month gap between real-world events, sim racesat long-lost Riverside andBridgehampton – two of themost challenging road coursesin North America – sent manyscrambling to You Tube anda variety of history booksfor fresh perspective on oneof the most heralded racingseasons ever: 1970 Trans Am.
The 1970 season is afeature of Trans Am lore as theonly one in racing history tofeature all four (then) majorU.S. automakers: Ford, GeneralMotors, American Motors, andChrysler. Fronting for thoseautomakers were a half-dozenpowerhouse teams and many ofAmerica’s most skilled drivers,among them Jones, Follmer,Mark Donohue, Peter Revson,Jim Hall, Dan Gurney, SwedeSavage, and Sam Posey, pluslesser well-known but supremelytalented Tony Adamowicz, EdLeslie, Milt Minter, and others.
(RIGHT) From brutal Barracudas tomean Mustangs, Camaros, Pontiacs, andbeyond, the 1970 Trans Am season wasiconic. Today’s TA2 class mirrors thisamazing heritage in all of the best ways.
Sadly, one “great driver”left off that list at seasonend was 1967 Trans Amchampion, ex-Shelby pilot andTitus/Godsall Racing principalJerry Titus, tragically killedin July at Road America.
This was only the fifthseason of SCCA’s sedan serieswhich had been launched in
1966, perfectly timed to catchthe ascendancy of the “ponycar” – Ford’s Mustang and theherd that followed: ChevroletCamaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMCJavelin, Dodge Challenger,and Plymouth Barracuda.
For the 1970 season, thefactory efforts had all beenparceled out to powerhouseteams, Ford continuing withSouth Carolina-based NASCARteam owner Walter “Bud” Moore;
Chevrolet’s back-door factory
effort with Texan Jim Hall; Pontiac
through the Canadian-funded
Titus/Godsall Racing; Dodge via
the Marblehead, Mass.-based
constructor Autodynamics; and
Plymouth jumping in with the
great SoCal All American Racers.
The shocker over the winterwas Team Penske parking itsall-conquering ’ 69 Camarosin favor of a lucrative deal torun American Motors’ Javelin,introduced to the series theyear before by Ron Kaplan.
Not unexpectedly, Penskestruggled at the start of theseason with its new cars,the well-dialed-in Bud MooreMustangs dominating the firstfour events at Laguna Seca,Lime Rock, Bryar, and Mid-Ohio.
At Bridgehampton in June,
though, it all came right for
Penske’s brilliant Mark Donohue
who gave the Javelin its first
win. The quiet New Jersey-born
driver then won again at Road
America and Mt. Tremblant, a
three-win streak interrupted by
Milt Minter’s surprise victory
(in an ex-Penske Roy Woods
Racing Camaro) in an incident-
plagued, appropriately named,
Donnybrooke (aka Brainerd).
Englishman Vic Elfordnotched a win at Watkins Glen,the Jim Hall Camaros well suitedto the upstate New York GPcircuit’s long straights. But thetide swung back to the Mustangsas the 11-race season wounddown, Jones winning handilyin Kent, Wash., and chargingspectacularly back to front inthe October Riverside finale.
Donohue’s red, white andblue Penske Javelin finishedthird at Riverside. It was bothappropriate and touching thatMark’s son David was invited toparticipate in the 2020 Esportsrace. An accomplished GT racerhimself, David Donohue nevergot to lap the real Riverside,