If Nascar is the pinnacle of American Stock car racing then Legend and Bandolero racing is ground zero, a way in to the sport for youngsters and a very cheep way to race for middle aged men.
So after a quick trip along the ever decreasing unmade rural routes of backwood Florida to see ours hosts at KBL Villas we head off along the 417 towards Titusville on the coast to the oddly titled Orlando Speedworld. It is odd because it is miles from Orlando. The venue has a 1/3 mile concrete oval track, a drag strip and a scramble course.
We time our arrival to coincide with the start of racing at 1:00pm. Unfortunately the mop up of the aftermath of torrential overnight storms that swept through central Florida was only just being concluded so we waited 3 hours for qualifying to be completed before the racing commenced.
Legends are single seat cars silhouetted on 1930's American legend cars. They are powered by 1250cc Yamaha bike engines and gearboxes. Few if any of the participating youngsters will reach the top, but if they do they will have learned all their craft, skill and understanding at these meetings. The start and restart routines are drilled into them after each of the countless yellow flag incidents. Wandering around the pits seeing youngsters preparing their cars with their dads who have bank rolled the operation, some from the back of a van and some from the back of huge rigs, is good to see.
The first race is for Legend beginners. They behave well for the first 20 or so laps but with 5 laps to go they all start to press for a podium place. Some outsmart them selves with a spin, others try impossible moves to outsmart their competitors and some are just unlucky. It takes over 30 minutes to complete the last 5 laps and the field is diminished by half most ending up in the wall only to be taken off to the dads who will repair the vehicles overnight for a restart tomorrow.
The second race is for beginner Bandoleros. These are low powered Nascar type minatures for children. Even at this age it is easy to spot the talent. The driver of the Black 29 consistently drifted and over steared coming out the turns and was a delight to watch.
Race three was the race that we wanted to watch as we have followed a couple of youngsters for a while. When it became clear that this race was going to last a very long time the cold, which had now deeply set in after the sun had gone down, got the better of us and the final two of the party upped and left. These meetings regularly go on past midnight. It was a real pity that the drivers just went for it from the outset with all the yellow flag consequences.
The Peckman, was driving us home and chose to stop at Denny's for food. Not a good choice for which he apologised. Still the tea was warm and hot which brought some relief in the deep cold that had set in.
Tomorrow we set off for Daytona for the 500 qualifying. The races start at 7:00pm and the temperature are forecast to be a little above freezing. Sigh.
Author: Peter Morris