They’re not strangers to all this. Before they became Cumberland’s Murder’s Row – #18, #20, #22 and #28 – the Capital Area Cobra Club guys built cars with specific intent to compete at this airport.
In the early days of Cumberland autocrossing, they pitted their skills against the daunting tradition of the Steeltown Corvette Club and the swagger of the Chesapeake PCA. And won. They moved on to the SCCA. And they win there now.
On paper, it’s no surprise that Larry Casey, Wade Chamberlain and Tink Phillips rocked at the Harvest Moon Reunion Autocross. But they don’t run CBE on paper and this weekend was as epic as any in Cumberland Airport history. Mighty Casey and his V8 brethren put on a great show.
Saturday started rainy – very rainy. Mike Moran’s Solo Nationals trophy fresh Corvette C5 led after the aquatic first heat. Keystone state ace Matt Parson paced a drying second in an LS3 powered Miata and was the FTD leader at the lunch break. From then on, the day got drier and drier despite a forecast that said the opposite.
By the last heat, the tarmac was effectively a dry track. Tink Phillips caught fire and nosed his #18 Daytona to the top of the overall and the top of XP – albeit briefly – before Wade Chamberlain unleashed a trademark pass that left workers scrambling and mothers on Cabana Row grasping for their children. Wade was now in the low 47-second range. Just two cars later, Larry Casey, a wily veteran of many such CBE battles over the last decade, suddenly surfaced only a tenth behind.
As Group 2 reached the final frame, Chamberlain ripped off an ethereal 45-second run but couldn’t keep his tail under him and coned. With the assembled congregation focused on one car, Casey came to bat, nailed a walk-off 46.075 home run and fist-pumped down the grid with FTD secure. Chamberlain, slightly stunned, was second, Phillips a best-ever third, Parson a workmanlike fourth and Cumberland fixture Ken Bane continued his strong year, finishing fifth in a wicked Miata mod.
On Sunday, being Larry, Casey opted to go to Frostburg and drive with Andy Thomas in the gravel with the WDCR Rallycross clan. Being Wade, Chamberlain did not miss a beat and dominated the FTD spot all day under cool and dry conditions. Tink Phillip’s “Best.Weekend. Ever.” continued with a second place overall, some 1.7 seconds behind. After them, a rising tide of new front-runners showed the promise to lift all boats – with the Chris Fritz SM Subie, Bane’s SSM Miata and hired gun Paul Przyborski in the BDC rounding out the Top 5. Paul’s Reunion Sunday performance was his best at Cumberland since winning the CBE Pax Shootout many moons ago.
What a shock (said no one ever) that Larry Casey and Mike Moran, both recent trophy winners at the SCCA Pro Solo Nationals two weekends ago, split the weekend PAX honors. Two day winners in contested classes included Chamberlain in XP, Ken Bane in SSM, Gary Hughes in SS, Jim Harris in FS, Mike Moran in BS and Greg Keller in EP. The weekend’s events where enhanced by the participation of NCCC and Bel Air Corvette Club racers and an impressive garage tour of a local automotive enthusiast’s unique workshop.
Registration is now open at myautoevents.com for the October 17/18 Pumpkin Carve Reunion, the final weekend on the 2015 Cumberland Autocross Reunion Tour.