Running caution laps behind the pace car at Lanier can be pretty boring. Why doesn’t iRacing have ‘quickie yellows’, there’s no reason . . .
The radio cracks. “You know gents, this track reminds me of a little dirt bullring we used to race at when I was about 19 years old. That’s the first time I raced against Jack Brabham.”
That’s Monte Smith, so everyone listens for the rest of the story. Monte will make the time pass with a quick story about the old days. You see Monte is 83 years old, and has been racing in some form most of his life. Certainly the oldest active iRacing member, he is a long time sim-racer.
In the car just ahead of me is Paul Smith, Monte’s son. I know Paul must be smiling at hearing this story again, but I’m sure he treasures it, too.
Monte and Paul are now members of the Middle Aged Racers Association (MARA), an iRacing league with roots deep into the sim-soil. In 1998 MARA was founded as a GP Legends League and Monte was already a veteran of earlier sim leagues. He was first in Old ‘n Slo and then ADC (Average Drivers Club) for Grand Prix Legends. He ran well over 1,000 races in GPL. Fortunately, he was, and is, interested enough to be a founding member of the newest MARA incarnation here at iRacing.
“You know gents, this track reminds me of a little dirt bullring we used to race at when I was about 19 years old. That’s the first time I raced against Jack Brabham.” — Monte Smith
This coming Tuesday, June 14, Monte takes to the Skip Barber grid at the Brand Hatch Indy Circuit in what will be the Season 2 Finale of the MARA-FSR World Championship Series (MFWCS). After two previous road races and three oval races Monte sits ninth in points, with a good chance of moving up the list on Tuesday.
Oh yeah, Monte and Paul live in Brisbane, Australia, so while we here on the East Coast of the US of A are racing early evening, it is breakfast time in Monte’s pit stall.
The MFWCS is a joint venture between MARA and the Friendly Slow Racers League (FSR). It started with a short four race “let’s see if this works” tryout, and has quickly grown into a major part of each league’s event schedule. An individual champion is crowned each season (Paul was our first champion) and the winning club on points is presented a trophy to display on their web site.
It is a friendly rivalry for sure, and has been so well received that league members are welcomed at each other’s events outside the challenge series. Series rules require the sharing of race setups, and there are costly penalties for incidents. Currently we are in the planning stages of our next two seasons: a four week short season and an eight week Summer Fun Race season. In the Fall we will return to our normal MARA-FSR challenge race series.
But that is for the future. Right now we have to look to the next race and watch as Monte plunges down Paddock Hill Bend in search of those elusive championship points. And perhaps another great race memory to talk about during the next yellow flag laps.