Page 20 - PCA Metro NY Region POST October 2018
P. 20

(Track Ramblings, from Page 16)
Pierre Levegh, whose Mercedes caused the Le Mans horror in 1955, shared the car with an American – John Fitch). It could have
been Fitch onboard instead of Levegh. Dur- ing World War II, he was a very successful fighter pilot, and on his return to the USA
after the war he took up car racing and was quite successful, even winning at Sebring in 1953 in a Chrysler-powered Cunningham. He became the manager of the new Lime Rock track when it opened in 1957. He developed a life-long interest in auto safety after the horror of the 1955 Le Mans race and invented nu- merous safety devices, the most significant of which is the Fitch Barrier, the sand-filled bar- rel we see often on roadsides. This invention is known to have saved thousands of lives.
John Fitch lived on the Lime Rock property and died there at the age of 95. I had been very privileged to have known him during the 1960s when I went to high school in that area and got interested in racing.
Obligatory Porsche Content
More on John Fitch – in 1952 and ‘53 he raced a 356 at the Nürburgring; in 1959 he drove a factory 718 RSK at Sebring for a 5th overall; he drove a 904 at Sebring in 1965 and ’66 and invited me to spend those races in the team pits. It is one of the highlights of my life.
Spare tires
My 1973 914 had a spare tire, as did my two 944s and ’84 911, but in more recent years Porsches have not been equipped with them for weight and packaging reasons. Rather they come with an air compressor and an aerosol can of goo which is supposed to plug a leak – emphasis on the ‘supposed to’. I was never very happy about this and I installed
a mini-doughnut type spare tire in my two
most recent Porsches. My shop had installed a bracket in the front trunk and it is securely mounted there. Today’s tires are so much less likely to get flats than in years past, but they do happen once in a while, and it was my turn last week when I was 70 miles from home after a business meeting. The tire was punc- tured far beyond the ability of the goo can to be effective, which meant that If I had not had the spare the car would have been towed to
a shop and I would surely have had to wait overnight (or longer) in a motel to get a re- placement tire. It was a rainy night and I was wearing a suit and in no mood to mount the spare tire myself. Instead I called AAA and 90 minutes later I was driving home, happy to have had the spare on board.
A few years ago I was getting ready to go to Summit Point for a DE event. Since I take eight track tires with me I didn’t feel that I needed the spare tire in the car – after all, it adds maybe 30 pounds of weight to the car, right? If anything happened, I would have a boatload of spares right on hand, right? When I got to the track the afternoon before the event I left all my stuff at the track and drove to the motel. Guess What? The next morning the car was leaning forlornly on a flat tire – and I had no spares at all. I did finally get to the track, several hours late.
I strongly recommend having a spare tire, and keeping it in the car at all times– a word to the wise is sufficient, as my grade school teach- ers often told me.
Keep the shiny side up!
You can always contact me at [email protected] com.

   18   19   20   21   22