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Story by James Heine • Photos as Credited

This MGA has seen the racing world from both sides now. Since purchasing it back in 1979, Kent Prather has driven it to eight SCCA Club Racing national championships. In 2010, however, he moved the car over to vintage racing.

We caught up with Kent shortly after The Hawk International Challenge with Brian Redman. We wanted to know about his connection to vintage motorsports as well as the differences he’s observed between SCCA Club Racing at its highest levels and vintage racing–whether at The Hawk, Monterey, Indianapolis, the Mitty or another venue.

“After the Runoffs left Heartland Park in 2010, I bought my Mazda Miata. Over the winter, I made the MGA a vintage [race] car,” Kent explains. “But we had an MGB [for vintage racing] before that, and we’ve been servicing vintage customers for 20–maybe 25–years.”

Prather’s introduction to vintage racing came by way of Vintage Racing Services in Stratford, Connecticut. In the 1980s, the shop tagged Kent for engine work and race support. He also supported their Carrera Panamerica effort, where he was partnered with a pair of Colgate Palmolive executives running the race in a Volvo P444. (His assessment of the great Mexican road race: “It’s grueling and expensive. But it’s something that you’ll never forget.”)

As for the differences–or similarities–between SCCA Club Racing and vintage racing, Kent offers these observations.

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johnstydo
johnstydo
3/6/19 10:05 a.m.

This MGA is nice but doesn't comply with vintage club rules for "period correct" production cars.  Would have to be in a "modified" class. 

Donatello
Donatello New Reader
3/6/19 11:02 a.m.

Perhaps more young people would be interested in vintage racing if it were clear that any car older than 25 years and generally period correct would be welcome. I am also interested in making the switch to vintage in my 30 year old car, but I am receiving mixed messages about how elligible a 1989 model would be. I think it's cool that people like Kent race the old stuff, but that is not where my interests are, and I know I am not alone in saying this.

russellsifers
russellsifers None
3/6/19 2:45 p.m.

I do not race but I do "run" my stock 1949 MG TC at the Lake Garnett Grand Prix Revival (www.LGGPR.org) every year in the Historic Group.  It is quite a thrill for a 71 year old guy to run a 70 year old MG and speeds up to 72 mph.  I do ponder who will maintain the breed after I am gone.

jwr914
jwr914 New Reader
3/6/19 7:51 p.m.

The first thing I look for when someone tells me their car is period correct is a working horn.  Never find one.

 

GregAmy
GregAmy New Reader
3/8/19 8:53 p.m.

Nice post, well done.

I'm making this transition now myself, from "srs bzns" (as-much-as 30 years or more SCCA Club Racing) to historic/vintage in a 914.

For me, the biggest part is mental, tightening that nnut behind the wheel; like Ken writes, managing the "intensity". My trick is to sit on the grid, under the five, and just look around me and tell myself, for example, "I am *not* going to be the guy that takes out that absolutely gorgeous E-type. He's buying the beer tonight, and I ain't'a gonna piss him off..."

wspohn
wspohn Dork
3/13/19 3:10 p.m.
jwr914 said:

The first thing I look for when someone tells me their car is period correct is a working horn.  Never find one.

 

My race car had one - hooked up to the brake light switch.  A tap on the horn as you are going into the tight hairpin turn with an adversary right on your ass seems to miraculously open up some space between you. Have to do it about where he'd expect you to start braking though......;-)

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