Elkhart Lake Memories

David Hobbs in the Lola T310 passing under the old drive over bridge at the CanAm race in 1972.  [Photo by Jack Webster]


By Jack Webster

I have just arrived at Road America for the 2014 Tudor United Sports Car race this weekend, and on the way up here from Ohio I reflected on the many trips I have made to this very special place.

My first race here was in 1972 for the CanAm, where I got to see and photograph the incredible field of cars that assembled for that race – the Porsche 917/10, the McLaren M20, McLaren M8F, Shadow DN2 and many more. In addition to an outstanding field of cars, legendary drivers like George Follmer, Peter Revson, Denny Hulme, Peter Gregg, Francois Cevert, Jackie Oliver and others piloted those cars.

That was a long time ago – 42 years at this point – and yet the memories of that first trip to Road America and Elkhart Lake are as fresh as the memory of pulling into the track this afternoon. This is a very special place; a very special part of the country and it is a journey that every single motorsports fan must make at least once in their racing life. Road America is part Mid-Ohio, part Watkins Glen, part Le Mans. It is not just a racetrack in the Wisconsin countryside; it is a total experience, an immersion into the sports car racing history of the US. From driving the old street circuit, to having dinner and drinks at Siebkens to sitting on the hillside overlooking Turn 5 and watching the races – this place is very special.

I have returned many times over the years, as a spectator, photographer and even as a crewmember on IMSA race teams in the 1980’s. I have experienced sun and rain, heat and cold, ALMS and GrandAm, and everything in-between. What unites it all is the hallowed ground known as Road America.

Heck, nobody even calls it Road America. “See you at Elkhart” is the familiar phrase, and everyone in racing knows you are speaking of Road America.

If you have ever been to Elkhart, you will know exactly what I am talking about. If you have never been here, put it on your bucket list. It is a place that all racers and fans need to get to at least once before they die.

When you do make the trip, be sure to grab a Brat and a beer, sit on one of the hillsides and take in the atmosphere. Only then will you realize what a special place this truly is. Then, on Friday or Saturday night, go the bar at Siebkens and make a toast to all the racers that have come before and are yet to come.

Once you have been here, you will long to return again and again.

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