This is from Tom Schultz, our Historian.
About two weeks before the KIC I received a call from Johan Worheide. He
is a vintage race car collector and racer, as well as being the US
representative for Lola Heritage, which is the 'official' repository of
Lola information. He called me with some questions about the upcoming
KIC. In the course of the conversation he mentioned that he was coming
with a Lola T-70. I told him that I loved the look of the cars,
considering them perhaps the most beautiful rear engine sports racers.
To my surprise, Johan said that I should stop by and he would give me a
ride if I was interested. Guess how long it took me to make up my mind!
Saturday morning Jerry Entin (who was at our last dinner and who knows
everybody in the game) took me over to the car and said that Johan, who
was off at the driver's meeting, told Jerry to see if I could fit. Not
as funny as you may think. The car was a T-76 coupe, s/n 76-144. I
emptied my pockets and took the various pouches off my belt, stepped
over the threshold, stood on the seat, and then slowly
lowered myself into the cockpit, laboriously threading my legs under the
forward cockpit bulkhead, and slid down into the seat. I fit! Very
snugly, to be sure, but I was in. It would work, and I would get the
ride! Then I had to get out, which is another story, but with a lot of
grunting, bending, and pulling, managed to heave my way out of the car.
An hour later I went to Johan's transporter, the car was there, the door
was open, and Johan said, 'let's go!" I repeated my clown act from
earlier in the day, and got seated. Johan, with much pulling and
tugging, got the six point harness in place, and I was strapped in. The
door was then closed and I was surprised at the head room. But I should
not have been all that surprised, as my seating position was very
inclined, with my chin almost resting on my chest. Johan got in on his
side, belted up, and there we were, packed in rather tightly, but ready
Worheide flicked a few switches and pushed a button. BOOM!! the
engine roared to life just inches behind my head. Johan took both hands
and moved the gearshift into first gear, necessary because of a built-in
detent to prevent accidental use of the gear. He drove through the
paddock and out to pit exit. Then he floored it. The engine thundered
violently, the car shot forward as if out of a cannon, and my head
snapped back and hit the rear bulkhead each time he upshifted. Suddenly
turn one was here and he simultaneously braked and downshifted. Even
though I was securely strapped into place, my body strained against
the harness, then was thrust left as the Lola roared through turn one.
Up through the gears in a couple blasts, then heavy braking as the car
whipped through turn three. Down the Moraine Sweep in a crescendo of
noise as Worheide went up through the gears. In what seemed to be just
seconds we were hard on the brakes and leaning left through turn five.
Up the hill with an explosion of sound and then we were through six and
whipping along in Hurry Downs, braking for turn eight. A long, long turn
to the right took us through the Carousel and then the Kink was right in
front of us. Through that and we were roaring through the Kettle
Bottoms, which is anything but straight. We had to tip toe through
Canada Corner since there was a lot of oil on the track from a
blown engine in the previous session. Up through Thunder Valley, looking
straight ahead at turn 13. I noticed that from such a low seating
position that one cannot see over the rise at what is now called the
Billy Mitchell Bend and that one crests the rise quite blind. Into 14,
around the turn, and roar, wham, roar, wham, roar, wham, up through the
gears along the main straight, with turn one rapidly approaching.
We did three laps, all much as the first one. Finally, Johan pulled into
the paddock and I could not complain at all, as he had promised me but
one lap. Two more, what a bonus!
Worheide threaded his way through the paddock traffic to his stall,
blipping the throttle incessanlty, using the engine as a horn. The Lola
pulled up alongside his motor coach and he cut the power. Silence.
Sudden silence, only some ringing in my ears, even though I had earplugs
in place. A mechanic opened the door, and I very slowly levered myself
out of the cockpit. I felt as if I had just stepped from a small boat
onto a pier, as my legs were wobbly and I was a bit unsteady. Jerry
Entin handed me my wallet, cell phone, camera, etc., which I slowly put
in my pockets. He did not have to ask me if I enjoyed the ride. My ear
to ear smile told everything.
Thanks very much to Johan Worheide for the opportunity; a marvelous
thrill indeed, especially for me who never raced but has enjoyed in
vicariously for 54 years.
Notice Tom's N. Lake Drive 100MPH Club shirt!