Ken Miles and Lothar Motschenbacher -- Cobras

Ken Miles and Lothar Motschenbacher at Riverside in Cobras.  Does anyone know the event & year?

(7-28-11)   From Rich Blackmarr:

"After reviewing the June 5, 1965 edition of Competition Press & Autoweek, which has race reports on the USRRC events at Riverside on May 2 and Laguna Seca on May 9, I have the following information for you about the #98 and #2 Cobras driven by Ken Miles and Lothar Motschenbacher at Riverside in Martin Hill's photo (mid-1960s - 2).

The 6-05-65 CP&A cover photo of Jim Hall leading Don Wester at Laguna has headline "Hall Conquers West" as he and his Chaparral II won both Riverside and Laguna USRRC races.  Also interesting on Page 1 Late News highlights is "CSI accepted the 275 berlinetta Ferrari but did not homologate the Cobra 427 (not enough built), and the SCCA has had second thoughts about the 396 Sting Ray.  The Car Classification Committee has recommended its inclusion as a production car this year."  Not yet having A Production standing (?) apparently figured in the 427 Cobras running as modified in the Drivers Championship events at Riverside and Laguna instead of in the separate Manufacturer's GT events at both venues.  These were among the first events where Shelby ran the Cobra 427s.

The Martin Hill photo of two 427 Cobras shows Ken Miles in blue #98 and Lothar Motschenbacher in silver #2 at Riverside (maybe running together in practice).  One of the CP&A photos (by DH Ross) accompanying its race report shows first lap action in the esses with Charlie Hayes in Lang Cooper having jumped into the lead followed by Walt Hansgen in Mecom Scarab, Jim Hall, Miles running fourth, Wester in Genie Mk 10, Hap Sharp in second Chaparral, followed by George Follmer (Trans-Ocean Lotus 23-Porsche), and Paul Reinhart (Genie Mk 8).  Back in 12th position appears to be Lothar's silver Cobra.

The report goes on to say that as the Chaparrals were getting warmed up, Hayes and his Cooper lost front suspension on Lap 14 and "spun spectacularly off-course in turn two, nearly taking Wester with him."  It continues, "The two new 427 Cobras, driven by Miles and Motschenbacher, didn't last much longer, also succumbing to mechanical bothers.  Miles had been running in fifth place when he dropped out."  Hansgen managed to stay with the leaders until Lap 27 when his Scarab's rear suspension collapsed putting him into the turn 2 weeds.

The final race results show Hall, Sharp, and Wester finishing 70 laps in first, second, and third place.  Miles DNFed after 25 laps ("mechanical") and Motschenbacher DNFed after 21 laps ("bearings").  What is curious is that apparently Ed Leslie drove the #2 silver 427 Cobra in the earlier GT race for manufacturers won by Ken Miles in a "Shelby-American Cobra."  At the Laguna Seca USRRC a week later that I attended, Lothar Motschenbacher drove the #2 Cobra 427 to 7th place in the Driver's Championship event, while three blue and white FIA 289 Team Cobras driven by Ken Miles, Ed Leslie, and Bob Johnson dominated the separate GT race (won by Miles over Leslie, with Johnson DNF).  Two of the CP&A photos of the Riverside races on page 6 (by Fritz Taggart) show the #2 Cobra 427 having lost its left rear wheel in the GT race being passed by Dick Guldstrand's Stingray roadster as it plows through a turn and off-course.  They are captioned "Ed Leslie loses a wheel in gentlemanly fashion at Riverside..." 

The GT race report indicates that Ken Miles won the event in a Cobra (289?) after spinning twice on oil, ahead of Scooter Patrick in a Porsche 904, and Bob Johnson in another Cobra.  So my question is why was Leslie out in the GT event in the silver #2 Cobra 427 (instead of the #96 FIA Cobra he used at Laguna) that, apparently fitted with new halfshaft and wheel, was run shortly later in the Drivers race by Motschenbacher.

Anyhow, that's the story from my research and I'm stickin' with it.  I will post you info on Martin Hill's photo of the Lew Spencer white Cobra soon in another message.  I like your new format and have even found that I can still manage to get to your old driver by driver postings of old photos (with some effort)."
(5-4-12)   From Erik Zurbriggen:

"Ken Miles in the #98 USRRC 289 Cobra (2431) closely followed by Ed Leslie in the #2 USRRC 289 Cobra (2488)."

Next:   Lew Spencer -- Cobra  Riverside -- ???

Back to:   Davey Jordan -- Porsche 906  Riverside USRRC -- May '66

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