A home track and early rains seemed to be the formula to render a veteran of the Mini of Charleston Racing Team utterly “impassable” last weekend.
Brad Davis competed Feb. 23-24 in his 2002 Mini Cooper in the modified H Production class at Roebling Road in Pooler Ga., outside Savannah. His son Rob Davis, a fellow Mini driver who typically races in the B Spec class, was away on business.
The event was part of the Sports Car Club of America Southeast Division National Championship racing series. Mini of Charleston considers the nine turn, two-mile road course a couple of hours to the south as its local layout.
According to Brad Davis, “Saturday started with torrential downpours making the morning session seem more like a boat race then a road race.”
By the afternoon, the downpour had subsided to “a steady light rain.” But he said it left a track “that would change from minute to minute.”
Davis went out and recorded the fastest lap time in his class. He decided to save the rain tires and sit out any more runs. But track conditions improved and Andrew Wright in a Triumph Spitfire ran a lap one second quicker than Davis.
When Mini of Charleston crew Chief Stuart Kestenbaum relayed the information to Davis in his racecar on pit road, the driver returned to the track to turn in a faster lap than Wright’s and secure the top qualifying position.
The course had dried by Sunday afternoon for a 24-car race that included the six H Production vehicles.
According to Davis, he took the class lead on the start, but things jumbled up as cars in faster classes that started near the back due to poor qualifying times moved up.
Wright, meanwhile, caught Davis by the third lap and broke inside the Mini on the front straightaway vying to pass into turn one. Davis said the Carbotech brakes on the Mini allowed him to out-brake the pursuer and stay in the lead. From there Davis got faster, setting his speediest time on lap 18, while the Triumph faded.
By the end, the Mini had lapped the entire H Production field except for Wright, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., “who,” Davis said, “was only seconds from getting lapped on the final lap.”
According to Davis, he has driven the Roebling Road course quite a few times but had only raced the 2002 Mini Cooper there once before — likewise on a stormy weekend.
The flag to flag victory gave Davis the H Production divisional points lead entering an SCCA Majors event this month at Road Atlanta.
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