Bob Gett and KTR at The Monterey Historics

Bob Gett appears to be enjoying himself and his racing. His company, KTR has hauled seven race cars across the country from Ayer, Mass. to the Monterey Historics and now the drivers and support teams are preparing for their first practice session.

Bob Gett Chevron #24

Photo ©2009 Dennis Gray

Bob is one of a number of New England motorsports enthusiasts who make the trip to Monterey annually to race or display cars.

While racing was never considered a career choice for Bob Gett, he was none-the-less a committed motorsports enthusiast from an early age. His first racing experiences were not in cars. He was an avid motorcycle rider and and raced a Ducati 250 for three years. One day he realized that racing bikes had a downside risk he was no longer willing to take and decided to do something different. That's when his real adventure began.

KTR European Motorsports, then owned by founder J. Geils, of J. Geils Band fame, was a successful repair facility for foreign sports cars. In 1996 Bob, who was familiar with the business from having his car serviced there, bought the company as a hobby-business. He saw an opportunity in the growing vintage racing community and he and business manager Andy Funk changed the business model of KTR to accommodate vintage racers who needed trackside support. The vintage racing support portion is now about half of their overall business and they have added "tuner" services to their mix. Today KTR is a diversified service facility for serious enthusiasts.

Bob Gett Chevron #24

Photo ©2009 Dennis Gray

Bob's initial vintage race car was a 1959 Alfa Romeo Guilietta. His Alfa was a converted road car that was relatively easy to drive competitively and great fun in vintage racing. In 2002 he stepped up to the Chevron B-16 which is pictured here. This is an under two liter purpose built sports racing car which had been raced in England and completely restored. It is arguably the prettiest sports racer ever built and very fast. The other cars in Bob's race group this weekend include several Porsche 917's and many other over two liter cars that are exceptionally fast. Bob will have to drive looking both well ahead and in his mirrors.

A famous driver once wrote that "driving a good car on a track is very much like dancing with a strong woman. There is a rhythm and a flow to the track and you must firmly place your partner where she should be all the way around."

Bob Gett Chevron #24

Photo ©2009 Dennis Gray

Bob is a "tidy" driver, consistent and crisp. In the past, he has placed as high as fifth in this group. But placing well often contains an element of good fortune. For instance, theoretically, both over and under 2 liter cars can get through the corners at about the same speed. The bigger displacement cars go down the straights considerably more quickly. In reality, individual driver skills change these dynamics and often the drivers of faster cars can afford to go through the corners more slowly and then accelerate down the straights too quickly to be passed. This makes it impossible for lesser displacement cars to pass.

Bob Gett Chevron #24

Because so many of the cars in vintage racing are priceless, drivers are made fully aware that risk taking and causing an accident will result in severe penalties. These could include banishment from the event. Those behind simply stay there and hope for a mistake that will let them by. If you are catching up with fast cars in turns and unable to pass on the straights, it destroys your rhythm and pace and eventually your "dance". Bob and his Chevron started 13th and finished 13th. A long way to come for a frustrating race.

But Bob deals with it with equanimity. After all, any opportunity to drive a fast car around a fast track for three days, enjoy the camaraderie of the pits and a weekend of motorsports activities on the Monterey Peninsula is still a pretty fine time indeed. And there is always the next race.