Monaco’s ‘Portland International Raceway (PIR)’ 2007

MONACO NW PIR RALLY

(Portland International Raceway)

June 8-10, 07

This was an exciting event for FMCA member racecar enthusiasts. It was the fourth of the season’s 16 Grand Prix races worldwide, as well as competitions for Mazda Mx-5 & Atlantic cars.

Guaranty RV sponsored a courtesy tent at the rally and arranged for reserved grandstand seating and access to the pits during the action.  They also provided tickets to Waterfront Park during Portland s annual Rose Festival.

There was a lot to be learned from the pace car drivers during the pit tours! Ed and I were the only NWTFC couple present at the rally but there was plenty of camaraderie among the dozens of FMCA members attending. We all enjoyed the raceway activities, Monaco Corp-sponsored bakery/coffee breakfasts, nightly happy hour gatherings, a fine potluck and a delicious, catered, country-style chicken/BBQ rib dinner. The event was opened to all FMCA members too, and FMCA NW Vice President, Donzella Leahy & husband were among the rally-goers.

A racing event was a new experience for us and our parrot who fortunately (for us) didn’t learn to mimic the loud bee-swarm noise associated with racing . . .with 3 days of warm ups, practice, qualifying, & competitions.

The Drifting Team competition was especially entertaining as they skidded wildly through the turns! The Champ Cars qualifying races continued in spite of the rain-soaked track and rooster tails of heavy spray that were blinded drivers. Fortunately the track was dry for Sunday’s big race.

Those Grand Prix cars all have 750 hp and must weigh in at 1,565# (car w/o fuel AND driver)! Since we had a clear view of the raceway s huge screen showing all the race action, many of us happily watched the racecars navigating two tight curves from the windows of our coaches! Members preferring our west-end grandstand’s wide views wore sound muffling radio headsets & raingear just in case!

Even though cars sometimes misjudged the turns, all Sunday’s races were Green Flag all the way! Anticipating rain & a wet track, tread tires on some Grand Prix cars proved to be a disadvantage, but after 105 laps of the twisty, 61-second track, the champion driver from France, Sebastien Bourdais, predictably won the race (McDonalds team sponsored by (actor) Newman/Haas. Justin Wilson, an English driver on the RSPORTS team for pnsor CDW, had the lead for half the race, but finished in 2nd ahead of the Red Bull, driven by Robert Doornbos, a rookie from Holland on the Minardi Team USA.

Submitted by Jeanette Block