M & R Special 2014 West Coast Tour
by Roger Lee
3 California Hot Rod Reunions, each one is different, Each one a journey into the past. The world comes to one place, Famoso.
In front of me is a man who has more love for the sport of mechanical speed, Steve Gibbs. The crowded stands and the fence hangers are ready for the show, the Cacklefest. Steve Gibbs waves us off.
We are rolling, camera flashes ahead of me, oil pressure is at 70 psi, fuel on, 1-2-3 and flip the magneto switch on. The sound of history is alive and the reflections of the flames are getting bigger from those chrome valve cover surfaces.
All I can see from those Weedburners, are reflections of flashes of flames. It looks like Gun Flack ahead with camera flashes going off and those fence hangers wanting to get closer. A sea of Fans.
The transmission of each exploding cylinder of Nitro is running through my body. Man and machine is one. My Final Round of a 64 car field of once was.
I grab some brake, steer to make the turn and I catch a look at the oil gauge, 80 psi, As I come around, the army of photographers are catching a moment in time as I pass giving them a few blips of Nitro.
This pass down the 1320 at Famoso was lived 50 years ago to set Top Speed of the Meet by Donn Blount in the M & R Special at 195.64 mph. I am just doing it in slow motion and no smoking slicks.
Greg Sharp is ahead of me, to set me in the line of flaming monsters. The Dinosaurs that once ruled the 1320.
Clutch in, brakes on and 3 foot flames on both sides light up the night. The thunder of Nitro, like no other sound, pounding the air.
3 minutes, 3 gallons of Nitro are gone as I pull the fuel shutoff. The Fans in the stands, the fence hangers pressing against the each other for a closer look, and the men and women from 1320 heaven have their eyes upon us and in our hearts.
Roger with the Richter family
Dusty, Debbie, Roger, Steph and Bill
The West Coast Tour was concluded with the 23rd California Hot Rod Reunion. Each event was different and to present the M & R Special to Drag Racing Fans some Northern California Drag Racing history was a pure joy.
The memories from days gone by were relived by personal stories retold of sitting in the stands or hanging on the fence just to see this tire smoking monster. Then kids riding their bikes to the tracks with their money they saved, because Masters and Richter was coming to their Drag Strip.
A day that was the High Light of the year was Memorial Day. Mrs. Sid Masters, Edna was present to my recreation of the M & R Special and to meet her for the first time. This was a promise I made to her 4 years ago and now was the time to do this.
Edna Masters and Roger Lee; photo courtesy BellinghamHerald.com
Family and friends were there along with a reporter from the Bellingham, Washington Herald Newspaper. This grand event made the front page of the Sports section with a large color picture .
Edna's smile was one no one could take away. " I can see Sid and Rick standing right next to that Racecar " ! She blessed the M & R Special and with a pat on the Howard Twin Bears on the side of chute pack tail, " I love those two little Bears, but hate packing that parachute", pointing to it !
I want to thank you all for coming along on this ride, it has been great from leaving the line to hitting the chute.
Roger "Riceman" Lee
The M & R Special on display at St. Johns
Nostalgia Drag World - by Roger Lee; photos courtesy of Riceman
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