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2005 JCNA Challenge Championship, Sept 21st - 25th
- Day 2: Slalom, Tour of Milton Robson Collection & Antebelum Experience-
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Day two of the 2005 JCC marked the beginning of serious competition with the slalom and some 35 participants signed up to burn some rubber on a nearby parking lot.
The drive to the site was a treat by itself, giving us a taste of the nice North Georgia country road we'd tackle on Friday during the rally. It may not seem like much to those used to real Roads (with a capital R) but when all you have within 200 miles of your home are straight, flat roads you get to enjoy every corner and every hill!
While slaloming is meant to be fun, this slalom was also serious competition as most of JCNA serious contenders had showed up for the occasion. This included reigning champion Gary Hagopian with his Silver Hammer 1962 E-type Coupe, contender Dick Maury with his newly built Green Rocket E-type Coupe, Canadian Art Dickenson although driving Dick Maury's XJS and what is best qualified as the Silver Monster, Jim Roberge and his 1973 Silver Roadster. Built by V12 E-type expert Stew Jones, this purpose built roadster features a 7.3 litre 600hp V12, special engine frames and tires that are probably just as wide as those found on Trans Am XKRs... With so much power and being fairly recently built, it is not yet fully competitive on the slow and tight JCNA course even in the expert hands of Karen Jones and Jim Roberge; all eyes were focused on the battle between Dick and Gary.
This slalom included a number of rookies, trying it out for the first time in various cars ranging from E-types to XJS and even a 1.5 Litre SS saloon, known as Peaches and driven by North Carolina member Mike Fulton. This was Mike's second time on the slalom course and watching such an early saloon in action was a real treat...
Another first was the use of a new timing system built by New Jersey member Mike Eck. Those familiar with slalom know that the timing equipment is often a source of headaches; not this time though as it seems Mike's system worked well and the headache came because of the course layout. The cones had been setup the day before and Gary Hagopian quickly noticed something wasn't quite right with the placement of the center cones... The JCNA slalom course is set following precise measurements so that results can be compared across all clubs to determine North American standings. Indeed, after checking the spacing, it turned out the center cones were off by 10', invalidating the few runs already done (these entrants were given re runs).
Weather turned out to be ideal, with overcast skies providing participant and spectators some relief from the sun. When the dust settled, no records were broken maybe because of the slight slope of the lot but the competition between both top contenders was fierce. Gary and his Silver Hammer came out on top, barely (by just 3/10 of a second); which must have felt good having trailed Dick at the Carolina Club slalom in April by over a second...
Unfortunately, as it is often the case the schedule was tight for those who wanted to tour a nearby private collection and not everyone got their 5 runs in. Those familiar with Speedvision and the Barrett Jackson car search may have been heard of Milton Robson, a well known collector who assembled a collection of American cars in a big hangar on his ranch near Braselton. The long drive on the ranch private road among well maintained grounds and through a covered bridge gave an idea of the quality of the cars we were going to see...
Even hardcore British car nuts had to appreciate the quality of the muscle cars and other classic American iron presented in a large, well lit hangar with building facades on the perimeter. Rare Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers, Corvettes , pre wars, all restored to high standards (many with original markings and delivery tags). Eye candy...
Back to the Chateau and preparation for the Antebelum Experience, or a taste of Old Traditional Georgia in the nearby town of Madison. Bus transportation was provided and I must say that the only glitch of the 2005 JCC was that no directions were given for those, like me, who wanted to drive there instead of being bussed... Driving out of the Jaguar parking area on the hill between the Hotel and the Winery, I thought it was sad sight seeing all these beautiful Jaguars, modern and classic , ignored and abandoned by their "enthusiasts" owners taking the bus... Just as sad were the excuses I heard : reliability, dirt, "long"drive (50 miles), heat, no drinking, etc... At least one Jaguar made it there, (and back thank you).
First stop in Madison was the Heritage Hall, a nineteenth century home restored to give visitors a glimpse of rural Georgia life. After touring the home and enjoying fresh lemonade and cookie, the group went across town for an open air dinner at the Madison Oaks Inn . The setting was absolutely magnificent, in front of an old Georgia mansion, under the trees, with traditional southern food.. To add a "Gone with the Wind" touch to the event, organizers had hired a Scarlet O'Hara look alike who graciously posed for picture by a red XK120 roadster .
And yes, as expected it took twice as long for the busses to make it back to Chateau Elan than by Jaguar...