Journal: June 2001
Saturday 6/30/2001, Well it's the end of June and the car is still at the body shop. To be fair, Gary has been working on it but I have to tell you I was more than a little disappointed to be driving my minivan to the Double Venom Spring Fling in Columbus. I guess the good news is that Gary is moving to a bigger shop and will be painting the car in his new spray booth.
So now that I'm done whining I'll get into the Spring Fling. I honestly can't remember when I've had a better time. Karen and I left bright and early Saturday morning (June 23rd) and drove to the meeting point at a truckstop just on the west side of Columbus. We only saw one Cobra on the way which had me wondering if it was going to be a bust. I knew I was mistaken when we pulled into the truck stop and saw 130 Cobras lined up and ready to roll. What an awesome sight. The cops who directed us in to the place appeared to be having as much fun as the rest of us which was kind of neat considering the pandemonium that was about to be let loose. At about 9:30 the order to start your engines was given and man what a sweet sound. There were 289's, 302's, 427's , 460's, a few big block Chevys, a turbo charged Grand National V6 and of course Ed Comb's V10 Double Venom II.
The police officers escorted the Cobras, chase teams and wanabes on about a ten mile drive into downtown London Ohio. I was expecting a typical Columbus suburb with row after row of tract mansions but London is a quaint little town complete with a Courthouse square. They blocked off the street in front of the courthouse and had the Cobras lined up in five rows. When they ran out of room in front they pretty much filled up all the sidewalks around the courthouse. It was great! Everyone milling around checking out Cobras meeting old friends and making new ones. Beth Chamberlain had name tags for everyone so it was easy to identify the strangers who were really Internet buds. Suffice to say I met a bunch of folks that I had corresponded with but never met in person. I'm still smiling thinking about it. While we were wandering around a guy pulled in in an original 427 cobra that had been converted into an SC model. It was sweet! Blue with white stripes and the high compression 427 made it sound incredible. It sounded like my old 400 Maico 2 stoke dirtbike, times eight. Raspy, loud, uncivilized and just plain mean. It was honestly one of the rattier looking cars there but that's what made it so cool. It was driven, raced and generally treated like it was meant to be. I loved it, right down to the dings in the aluminum fenders from rocks flying off of the race slicks.
After a few hours Karen and I moved down the street and checked out London's strawberry festival. She found a couple of artsy crafty shops while I checked out the fair food. After that we headed back to Columbus to check in at the motel just in time to turn around and head back to London for the cruise to the dragstrip in Xenna. On the way back we had a bit of a run in with one of Ohio's finest. Something about 68 in a 55 zone but after some chit chat about the Cobras he decided that maybe it wasn't so bad after all and let me off with a warning.
We got back to London just in time to see the first Cobras pulling out for Xenna They had another police escort for the thirty mile trip to Kil-Kare drag strip. Unfortunately about half way there we started passing Cobras coming the other way, then the sky opened up. Only about half of the cars braved the weather but those that did gave us an opportunity to check out the soft and hard tops while we were waiting for the races to start.
The Factory Five crew showed up at Kil-Kare in their Daytona Coupe. Apparently they made a grand entrance in London when we were back at the motel. Wayne Presley has some great pictures of Jenny Smith in the Coupe here and a lot more of the Fling here. Jenny is the daughter of Dave Smith, one of the brothers who own FFR. She's a beautiful child afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis. All the proceeds raised at the Spring Fling which amounted to more than $30,000 were donated in her name to the Cystic Fibrosis Society.
We checked out all the cars at the dragstrip between the showers but after an hour or so it became obvious that no racing was going to take place. We headed back to Columbus for food and rest. By this time the parking lot of the motel was looking better than most car shows so we did more wandering and talking then turned in for the night.
Sunday started much the same as Saturday with everyone meeting at the truckstop. We took a short cruise to the Choctaw Lake community center where Ed had a days worth of activities waiting for us. There was swimming, boating, a portable dyno and 130 Cobras to keep us busy. The day at Choctaw started with speeches from Ed and the local director of the Cystic Fibrosis Society. She introduced a fellow Cobra builder who shared his story about his battle with a terminal lung disease similar to Cystic Fibrosis. Pretty heart wrenching stuff that puts it all into perspective.
Following the speeches we had a great catered chicken dinner that Karen and I were fortunate enough to share with Ed Combs and family and Bob Kallio and his wife from Midstates Cobras. What a great bunch of people. I can't thank Ed and his family enough for all the work and time they put into the Fling to make it a success. Bob and his wife were just plain nice. I can see why he is so well respected in the Cobra community. You have to remember that neither of these guys sell Factory Five cars. Hell, they are the competition and they treated me and all of the FFR guys great. This really was a Cobra event where everyone and all makes were welcome.
Through out the
day there were auctions of Cobra parts and raffles for door prizes that
were donated by manufactures, vendors and individuals in the business.
Lots of great stuff but the jewel was a Cobra kit donated by Classic Roadsters
complete with an engine that was donated by Wayne Presley. Luckily I didn't
win it or the house would be falling down around us while I spent another
two years in the garage.
We left after the Cobra raffle but the events continued and were culminated with a police escorted cruise through Columbus. I think you could safely say a good time was had by all. I know I'll be back next year.