Weather this year was not a friend of the Festival. It was drizzly on Thursday, and Friday started with a good rain storm. By the time we were on the road in Chandler’s Bentley (twin-turbo W-12 power), the worst of the rain had stopped. The wipers were on a lot, but mostly just for drizzle and spray. There was one other good storm, but we were at the lunch stop and cozy inside the historic Tapoco Lodge. I got to drive much of the way back to Highlands, and I was impressed with the Bentley’s handling. Acceleration, with over 500 hp, was expected, but this big car, in Sport mode and with all-sheel-drive, was a joy to use to carve the mountain corners. It was as satisfying to drive in the mountains as my Focus ST (half the power but about half the weight of the Bentley). It was fun!
Saturday began with heavy rain early, but it turned to drizzle for much of the morning. Cars began entering Kelsey Hutchinson Park at 7:30, albeit quite slowly at first. As the weather turned into short periods of drizzle followed by drying, more and more of the entrants arrived. Certainly, some decided to pass, but most of the entrants showed up. Arrangements with the Entegra Bank allowed the 1990 Porsche Indycar to sit in one of the drive-through lanes – covered and mostly dry. Eventually, some of the open cars and racecars got covered, including the Bolus & Snopes GT 350, a 1954 Jag XK120 OTS, and the one Lotus 7, but others remained uncovered for the enjoyment of spectators. A 1930 Bugatti Type 35B stayed in its trailer, but the trailer had sides that raised so the car could be viewed. Two cars that remained uncovered, even when the rain got serious around noon, drew my attention. One didn’t look very special; just a red 1965 Mustang Fastback. By chance I sat beside the owner and learned that it was the first Mustang Fastback – serial number 1! Look for a profile of it in coming months. The other is another car with quite a story. David Sosebee brought a 1939 Ford Coupe. Sosebee runs the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, Georgia, and the Ford was his father’s. His father drove this car to victory at the first race on the beach at Daytona, and I believe he won in it twice more. That car deserves a profile as well, and Sosebee seems to be a good candidate for an interview.
The rain got progressively heavier during the early afternoon, and the show was effectively over by 3:00pm. This was the 12th Highlands Motoring Festival. It was unfortunate that the rain interfered. Still, it was impressive to see the number of spectators who just opened their umbrellas and wandered among the cars. Some spectators came from quite a distance, so they weren’t going to allow rain and fog to stop them from seeing the cars.
On Sunday, there was a cars and coffee type event, called “High Octane on Main.” Rain was again a problem, but still a number of cars turned out. After taking some photos, I left Highlands and enjoyed many of the three hours driving home. If you are a passenger, there’s a lot to see on that drive – drivers have to concentrate on the road. Still, I made a stop at Bridal Veil Falls on US-64/NC-28. The road used to go under the falls, but after a large rock fell, the road was rebuilt to bypass the falls. Beautiful drive, just beautiful.