The USA Turner Reunion
Waterford Hills Raceway Michigan
The TURNER USA Reunion for 2014 is in the books and by all accounts it was a rewarding meet-up for those who attended, as it reunited buddies and cars at one venue, Waterford Hills Raceway in Clarkston, Michigan on July 25-26
Though we had smaller attendance for various reasons, this 2014 Reunion showcased some fine examples of the marque, representing models 950S and MkIII.
Lee Walsh came the furthest from New Hampshire with his MkIII racer S/N 64/616 (less its FORD 1500 pre-cross flow engine). Lee had an engine problem with his 1500 and swapped in a BMC A Series in place of the 1500 Ford, so he could attend the PVGP and our Reunion! Our other racer was Greg Kozuhowski with # 30/182, the 950S ex-Sebring race car, Greg has supported the last 3 consecutive Reunions, and all enjoy his company - many thanks for your dedication.
The racers had their share of challenges, though in true fashion had a stiff upper lip and fought on as best as possible. Waterford is a tough, technical circuit, and though both Lee and Greg were first timers here, they improved their knowledge of the driving line and did TURNERs proud. It was very clear that over the weekend, TURNER supporters and race fans loved the pair of race roadsters.
On the Friday, we all gathered in the race paddock and greeted one another, while Lee and Greg readied for the first practice session. As mentioned, both were new to the circuit, and took it easy as there was a lot of time throughout the day to gain added laps. It was unfortunate that Greg's 950S had issues with rear suspension bottoming out, and in an attempt to correct a broken shock bracket, the welder further messed it up! Lee chased a misfire, though this was eventually remedied. All the while those of us with road trimmed cars, chatted away and watched the various classes practice.
There were several sport cars that turned impressive times, most of all a pair of Ginetta G4s, who seemed to virtually hurtle through the chicane akin to a slot car! Great seeing historic cars pressing on hard.
On the road car side, were two MkIIIs (S/N 63/592 of John Ruth and Jay Doumaux with S/N 65/624) plus the extra treat of a MkIII running chassis of Alasdair Young and Matt McClurg had his well turned out 950S out for a 3rd Reunion in a row, this time with a fresh BMC 1098 engine.
Alasdair Young bought his MKIII S/N 66/660 in the UK in the late 60's from the original owner, though never drove it then brought it with him to the USA. Alasdair had #660 at the 2011 Mid-Ohio TURNER reunion, and he brought her out for the 2014 event, this time in running fashion. Alasdair had his MkIII running around the circuit grounds, allowing me to hop in a take her for a spin. MkIII's have plenty of power when in fully assembled form, but a running chassis less it body is lighter and feels like it has 4double the HP! Never-the-less, Alasdair told me that he never drove the MkIII as much as he did over first day of the Reunion, so well done. Now Alasdair will need to finish the car up and treat us to the completed version at a future TURNER meet.
I drove 63/592 from my home to the circuit on Friday morning (a 60 mile one-way trip), along with my dad, Ken. We had a fine ride, though with the factory hardtop fit, the noise became a bit too much and I also determined that the slave cylinder needs to be replaced! I was lucky to source a NOS cylinder, so all will be in order soon. Regardless, 63/592 was a joy to drive to the circuit and we had a great time showing her off throughout the day. With three MkIIIs out, we had an interesting time comparing the small differences from my 63 model to Jay's 65 to Alasdair's 66 model.
We were pleased to welcome both TURNER owners, Frank and his wife Helen, and Kevin Randich and his son Tom, all of which have TURNERS under restoration. Kevin came out to gather data on MkIII's for his refurbishment of his 65 MkIII and I think he gained some knowledge after seeing Alasdair's running chassis. Tom was very kind to be the Reunion photographer, given us less talented lens men time off!
All too soon the afternoon came to a close, and I had to call it a close to my personal attendance at the reunion due to work responsibilities. The rest of the gang had a nice meal at an Italian restaurant, and then retired for the night at the Cobblestone Manor.
I received reports throughout the Saturday and Sunday, and the Turners were a hit with the crowds, which is always good to spread the word about our fantastic cars.
The weather was on and off with bouts of sun and dreadful clouds, but all went well enough.
Saturday races were the most frustrating, as our TURNER team fought to get their cars onto the grid, with the 950's rear suspension ailments and MkIII's temporary A series engine troubles carrying over from Friday. On Sunday, the 950's suspension troubles were deemed unfixable at the circuit, though Greg did carry on, running his 950 as much as possible. The TURNER gang headed by Greg helped get the timing set properly on Lee's A series, with which he rewarded TURNERs with a class win. It was an interesting race that had him passing the two other cars in the class in the first 3 laps. All seemed desperate when the A series in the TURNER dropped a cylinder and was passed by a Bugeye towards the end, though the pesky Bugeye got its just deserts and spun, allowing Lee the winner on 3 cylinders and ensuring his name is added onto the Jack Turner Cup for 2014! Well Done Lee and hisMk III.
A most pleasant experience was all the attention our Turner gang received from the race spectators; they really asked the questions and gained an appreciation for the marque.
We had a makeshift TURNER HQ tent that allowed us to stay out of the summer sun, and formed a shelter for the TURNERs overnight.
I have let the Reunion gang know that I will need a bit of help with the 2015 Reunion as the 2015 event will be something special, one not to miss, I will coordinate overall and have a small team to divide up the work - undoubtedly the 2015 Reunion will only prosper due to this added help! We need more support from Turner road and race car owners, it is a truly fun and rewarding time spent with fellow enthusiasts. The more cars that come out, will mean better reunion activities and perks from race organizers. So please consider adding the Turner USA reunion to your 2015 race and motoring schedule - you will be very happy should you attend!
All the best,
Turner USA reunion Coordinator
The Turner Register would like to thank John on behalf of all who attended and enthusiasts worldwide for all his efforts co-ordinating the event.
Follow the link below to the photo gallery.