The Gassers Pt. 3

        ROCKY'S ROAD         


That little blue Anglia was getting pretty popular in Eugene, Oregon at Balboa Drag Strip. Winning the 8-car funny car open had the locals cheering for this underdog. That event didn’t sit too well with the funny car guys. Winning over that group of funny cars again probably wouldn’t ever happen again.

But here I am again giving it a try. It was Friday night of Memorial Day weekend in 1971 and we had a race on the weekend at Port Orford so it was perfect to include this event in Eugene on the way to the Oregon Coast.


The racing surface there in Eugene was not the best but because it was eighth mile in length and not exactly the traction capital of race tracks. That slippery surface was what allowed me to beat the funny cars. My car would slip and slide all the way down the eighth was more like an alley way with bumps and was scary with every run.

I’m all strapped in, burnout completed and in the left lane. As I leave the starting line there would be the usual rev up and down of the motor as I would slip and slide down the track. I had to do a little driving as the slipping would allow the car to move back and forth.   


As I was heading towards the finish line all of a sudden the car turned completely right, I mean a hard right. I remember looking out the side window and it was all asphalt as the car rolled over on the left side. The speed was somewhere around 120 mph as I rolled over and over, then went across the track and right through the right lane. I can’t recall who was over in that lane but here I come, ready or not!

The best I remember was the continued rolling and the sound: It was like I was inside one of those clothes dryer full of coins, there was “stuff” rolling around with me. With the constant rolling, over and over, of the car was making lots of noise as parts and pieces broke loose. At that time, I wasn’t very alert with all the tumbling going on, it was pretty hard to know exactly what was happening.

The beautiful blue Anglia finally came to a halt resting upside down on the roof. The car rolled off track and into some parked spectator cars area. I remember opening my eyes and seeing the cross-hatch aluminum section of the roof, which told me that the car and I  were upside down. How fun was all of this.

At that point, I started doing an inventory of my limbs to see if everything was still hanging together…which, thankfully, they were. I had scuffed my hand, somewhat, as the car was rolling over and over. Nothing major, thank goodness.

To my amazement, there was a bright red liquid running across my face, out the helmet opening and dripping onto the aluminum roof surface. It was warm and red and was very startling to me as I continued to gather together my senses. Of course, all I could think of was I have some nasty gash somewhere (a foot long) and the blood is just gushing out like crazy. What a wonderful feeling that was.

The life of my beautiful blue Anglia finally came to an abrupt end at Balboa Drag Strip in Eugene, Oregon. Certainly this was a very sad time.