Watkins Glen Time Again - NAMGAR Returns After Ten Year Hiatus

Photo for Watkins Glen Time Again - NAMGAR Returns After Ten Year Hiatus

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since the NAMGAR Regional GT at the Glen in 2004. If you were not a member at that time, you unfortunately missed a fantastic event. Over one hundred forty racing MGs of all sorts from Pre-war to MGBs descended on the Glen in pursuit of the coveted Collier Cup.

Additionally, in 2004 NAMGAR instituted the Bucher/Decker Memorial Trophy awarded to the highest placing MGA in the Collier Cup race. A brief history about both will hopefully lay out the steeped history of both of these famed cups.

Gus EhrmanGus Ehrman - 1st Collier Cup race

The Collier Cup was instituted in 1954 in memory of Sam and Miles Collier. Sam and Miles were early pioneers in the sport of automobile racing and true enthusiasts of the MG. They raced both supercharged MG TCs and their famed MG PA/PB supercharged special “Leonidis.” The Collier Museum brought Leonidis to the Glen for the 50th anniversary celebration in 2004; we can only hope that they do so again in 2014. Sadly, Sam Collier was killed in the 1950 running of the Watkins Glen Gran Prix when the Ferrari he was driving for Briggs Cunningham went off course and he was thrown from the vehicle. Prior to the accident, Sam had been working with Alec Ulmann and others in planning the first Sebring race in Florida. To honor Sam and his contributions to motorsport, the first Sebring race was actually called the Sam Collier Memorial Gran Prix. Miles, who won the Watkins Glen Gran Prix in 1949, gave up racing after Sam’s death and unfortunately succumbed to polio in 1954. That same year, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Committee instituted the Collier Brothers Memorial Trophy in memory of Sam and Miles for an all MG class race. Gus Ehrman, who would later pilot many of the Sebring MGAs, won that first Collier Cup race.

Because the MGA came out so late in 1955, the first MGAs did not race in a Collier Cup race until 1956. The 1956 race included a field of 23 MGs, ten of which were MGAs and the remainder was MGT series cars. The race was won by Sherm-Decker with David Ash placing second in his ex-Sebring MGA.

Sherm DeckerSherm Decker - Another Collier Cup Win

For 1957, the tables had turned and the MGAs outnumbered the MGTs fifteen to eleven. Bob Bucher took the Collier Cup this year with the runner up being Gus Ehrman, the 1954 winner. The 1958 race was one for the books, Bob Bucher edged out Sherm Decker at the finish by just a foot or two to repeat his 1957 Cup victory. By 1959 the MGA Twin Cam was on the scene and they dominated the Collier Cup race. MGA Twin Cams took six of the top seven places. Sherm Decker took the overall win and Ross de St. Croix of Canada came in second.

Bob BucherBob Bucker's 1958 Collier Cup Car

Unfortunately, in 1960 the Collier Brothers Memorial race became the E-production class race rather than an all MG race. The MGA was not competitive against the V8 Daimlers that took first and second place. In 1985, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) helped re-establish the Collier Cup race as an all MG race. From that date it has continued to grow in popularity. In 2004, NAMGAR established the Bucher/Decker Trophy honoring Bob Bucher and Sherm Decker who between them won each of those all MG races in MGAs from 1956 to 1959. They were very much like the Collier brothers in the absolute love they both had for MGs. They were also brothers in racing in that they both raced for a famed local racing group called Jake’s Stable, which was named after Jacob Robert Bucher. A future article will expand on Jake’s Stable as it has a very rich history in MGA racing. For now, check your calendars, save the date, and get busy making arrangements for Watkins Glen in 2014!

Click here to download a copy of the NAMGAR at the Glen 2014 Registration Form.

Preliminary Schedule of Events

Host Hotel: Ramada Inn, 304 S. Hamilton Street, Painted Post, NY 14870

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3.00pm to 5.00pm - Registration at the host hotel
6.30pm to 10.00pm - Welcome Reception at the host hotel

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9.30am - Leave for Corning Glass Museum Tour
12 noon - Leave Glass Museum, drive to Heron Hill Winery
1.00pm - Lunch (no host) at the Heron Hill Winery
1.45pm - Wine tasting at the Winery
3.00pm - 5.00pm - Glenn H. Curtiss Museum Tour
6.30pm - Cocktails followed by dinner at the host hotel

Friday, September 5, 2014

On your Own Day - Watkins Glen Street Festival and Tour de Marque events

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Glenora Wine Cellars US Vintage Grand prix at Watkins Glen International Raceway
6.30pm - Cocktails and dinner at Gaffer's Grill & Tap Room, Corning, NY

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Glenora Wine Cellars US Vintage Grand prix at Watkins Glen International Raceway
12.30pm - Lunch at Seneca Harbor Station
2.00pm - Sightseeing Boat Tour on Lake Seneca

Monday, September 8, 2014

Farewells

Glen Track

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Last updated on June 10, 2014.

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