Missouri Endurance Challenge -- 1997

From the MG List, 25 March 1997...

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I think Robin Weatherall is going to post the results. Since he has the official results, I don't want to scoop him, so will wait until tomorrow to relate finishing orders as best as I can recollect them.

My son Bill and I ran our MGA mkII roadster and had a fine time. We ended up logging 915 miles while I believe the winners came in with 865 miles. It was a grueling but rewarding experience. It was cold and overcast on Saturday, (the Illinois leg), but we ran with the top down anyway as did most of the competitors. We packed up with three other MGAs for much of Saturday's run, creating quite a stir when stopping for fuel together. The route followed the Mississippi River north to Keokuk, Iowa (almost) then a northeasterly sashay up to Kewanee, Illinois. From there we skimmed the prairie back to St. Louis by way of Jerseyville.

Back at the check-in about 8:30 p.m., we ran a timed regularity run, had a late dinner and then I vaguely remember tightening the valve cover bolts and repairing a broken spark plug lead by the lights of the motel parking lot.

Saturday pointed us west across more familiar environs (the sacred rock and sod of our beloved Ozarks). We got off early, but after the first check point (a hundred miles or so out), we bore witness to the now legendary dicing between the Hedrick BL Midget of Chicago, and the fierce flying brick TD of Bob Peterson (last year's victor).

As the Midget came up in our mirror, I found a straight stretch of road upon which to let it by. A few minutes later a small but ominous blip appeared in the mirror and we soon recognized the narrow, squared lines of the TD. It appeared a little tallish and was slightly enveloped in a blue haze as it loomed up in the mirror. Recalling the braking equipment normally found on TDs, I determined to get the hell out of the way as quickly as possible. As it came streaking around, it seemed to elongate itself and squatted toward the pavement. The blue haze transformed, or rather shifted to a red blur of ionized plasma as it simply fell away down range overtaking a string of pickup trucks in front of us. I glanced at my speedometer: 75 mph; how DOES he do that?

At Lake of the Ozarks we sneaked our roadster onto a ferry to make passage across that body of water. While the rest of them were hurtling down backroads and flying across single lane wooden bridges we were topping off our crankcase and saving about twenty miles of odometer space.

Two hours later though, disaster struck the Midget as it bent an exhaust valve on Highway 54 east of Warsaw. We stopped to help, Barney Gaylord stopped, and we were soon rolling the poor thing up the driveway of a friendly old retired couple. We managed to shoehorn an extra person into each MGA and then, dodging the horse drawn Amish conveyances in that compartment, proceeded to wend our way toward Jefferson City where a rental car was secured for the Midget team.

We fairly well blew our time allowance with our unscheduled stop, but won a far nobler prize by helping our fallen comrades. All told, a fine weekend. We found out a lot about ourselves, our machinery, and our fellow enthusiasts. Meeting six of you from this list in the flesh was really the high-water mark of the weekend for me and I will always remember your smiling faces.


David F. Darby
Interior Highlands, Missouri

MGA with a beatitude: "Blessed be the sleek, for they shall merit their worth."

On the run near Abingdon (Illinois, that is), 22 March 1997.

Access my guestbook from the garage or e-mail me direct.

Thanks for visiting. If you have a British sports car, get it out and drive it!

Back to the Garage

David F. Darby -- New Albion End -- White River Valley -- Missouri -- USA

(c) 1997-2018 ddarby@centurytel.net