Calendar of Events
|2010 Hall of Fame|
|Written by Administrator|
San Francisco Region Hall of Fame 2010
Steve joined SCCA in 1984 and raced for 10 years. During that time, he raced in Showroom Stock, ITS, GTA and the Playboy Series, taking home 3 Regional Championships in GTA, 3 in ITS, SSB in 1995, and the ITS National in Topeka in 1993.
After he stopped racing, he got very involved in the Region activities. He was the GTA Advisor for 6 years, starting in 1995. In 1997, he became a member of the SFR Board of Directors, where he served for 4 years. In 1998 he was named Competition Director and he joined the Thunderhill Properties Board of Directors where he was named Treasurer the following year.
[1910 – 1980] - Bill Norwood Breeze was born in San Francisco four years after the great earthquake of 1906. He began his relationship with automobiles at the early age of fourteen when he purchased and old, open-top touring car with a friend. Breeze and his friend took many tours through the city streets without his parent’s knowledge. He went to high school in San Francisco then onto Stanford University to study business. In 1934, at twenty-four years old he bought a Ford Roadster and drove it to Los Angeles to have Edelbrock heads fitted to the car. Around this time he astounded his friends by driving to Salt Lake City in one day, a distance of about eight hundred miles which was quite a feat in those days considering the condition of the roads.
Breeze was initially employed by Crocker Bank in San Francisco but with his interest in all sorts of mechanical things, he decided to change careers and became a machinist, a job he kept through World War II. After the war, with his enthusiasm for cars undaunted, he became friends with Kjell Qvale who had set up a car dealership in Alameda and in 1948 would become the MG Distributor for Northern California. Naturally Breeze bought an MG-TC and no doubt joined the MG Car Club which subsequently led to his becoming one of the first members of the newly formed San Francisco Region of the SCCA in 1948. From this point forward, Breeze would become an active racer and club official whose guidance and influence would help spur the growth of sports car racing in the area.
In the spring of 1949, Bill Breeze won a car race in his MG-TC on the oval track at San Jose Speedway and while not a road race, it was the first organized race won by a sports car in the area. Breeze was actively involved in club planning and helped organize and participated in what is recognized as the first road race in the Western U.S. at Buchanan Field in November, 1949. There were twenty entries in the five lap race which was won by Bjarne Qvale, Kjell’s brother.
By May of 1950, membership had grown to seventy-five and the second race at Buchanan Field was held with thirty entries with Breeze finishing second to Sterling Edwards. He continued to participate in club races and rallies whenever possible and also was elected to the position of the Region’s Activities Chairman. With the success of the first two races at Buchanan Field, there was a desire to add more events to the schedule so Breeze and the SFR Board organized the first race held at Pebble Beach on November 5, 1950. The Pebble Beach races fueled interest in sports car racing and the SF Region in these early years. By the final race held at Pebble Beach, entries had grown from thirty-five in 1950 to one hundred and forty in the final year of 1956.
Breeze was elected to the position of Regional Executive in 1951 and 1952 and it was under his leadership, the region staged the most successful sports car event on the West Coast for years to come, the races in Golden Gate Park. While Pebble Beach was a great success, it was the races in Golden Gate Park that brought sports car racing to the average person and created more local and national publicity than any other sports car race during this period. Over 250,000 spectators attended the races during its run from 1952-54, exposing sports car racing to many who had never seen a race before. Considering the region had only staged a handful of races, the Golden Gate Park events exhibited a high level of organization for such a young club and generally, the races went off without a hitch and received nationwide praise. There was even some suggestion by the media that GGP should become a Grand Prix circuit.
Breeze had already opened The Sports Car Center (SCC) near the Richardson Bay Bridge in Sausalito. The SCC employed several talented individuals including Bob Winklemann, Mogen Skov, Jack Dalton and a very young Peter Brock. SCC also worked closely with master fabricator/car builder Nadeau Bourgeault who had a shop nearby. Along with Breeze, all these individuals would leave their mark on the local racing scene.
There is no question that Breeze’s Sports Car Center played a vital role in the growth of sports car racing in Northern California. It offered a professional, knowledgeable business where racers and would be racers could get advice, parts, service, race-preparation or even a race car. The Sports Car Center was the forerunner of the many, racer oriented specialty shops that would spring up around the San Francisco Bay Area in the years to come.
Dr. Peter S. Talbot
[1918-1999] - Dr. Talbot was active in racing in many capacities for over 40 years. His first SCCA race was in Reno in 1953 driving an MG TD MKII. Over the years he raced at courses throughout the United States; Pebble Beach, Cotati, Laguna Seca, Stockton, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Tracy, Vaca Valley, Palm Springs, Long Beach, Hawaii, Portland, Seattle, Maryhill, Colorado, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Elkhart Lake, and Mid-Ohio. He also raced at the Nurburgring in 1959 driving a Porsche Carrera and in New Zealand in 1992 in a 1967 Saab Sonnet. Other cars raced over the years included a VW Special, Chevy Corvette, Porsche 356, BMC Formula Jr. long wheelbase, and a Saab D/S Sedan.
Dr. Talbot was an SCCA member from 1955 -1994 and he is the inventor/innovator of the "Spherical Elastic Attenuators" -- tire wall safety system. They were first used at Laguna Seca in the late 60’s and early 70’s where there was not enough “runoff” areas to accommodate catch fencing which at that time were a safety requirement of the then C.S.I., a forerunner to the F.I.A. Since Laguna Seca was about to lose their International Safety License, Dr. Talbot devised the tire wall system, which worked extremely well.
Long Beach faced the same problem when they were designing their track – no real run-off areas to install catch fencing. Tom Binford, who was President of the A.C.C.U.S. (Automobile Competition Committee of the United States) was also Vice President of the C.S.I. (Committee Sportive International), mentioned to Chris Pook that he had heard of a tire barrier system that had been installed at Laguna Seca and was being reviewed by the C.S.I. as an alternative to catch fencing. They established contact with Dr. Talbot and he traveled to Long Beach and explained his system, and was requested to draw up the necessary drawings, detailing the number and depth of the tire barriers and the locations to be used. These were submitted to the C.S.I. – Safety & Circuits Committee and Chairman Dr. “Nino” Bacciagaluppi.
In October 1974, Dr. Bacciagaluppi went to Long Beach to inspect the tire barriers. Dr. Talbot supervised the construction of several types of tire walls and explained what and where they were to be used. In attendance that day were Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Ritchie Ginther, Denny Hulme and Tom Binford. All of them fully supported the concept and Dr. Bacciagaluppi immediately approved the system.
Before the first running of the Long Beach GP in Sept 1975, Dr. Bacciagaluppi, had already instructed international circuits to begin using tire barriers, and at Monaco in May 1975, the first “Peter Talbot Tire Walls” were used at St. Devote corner.
Chris Pook, the founder of the Long Beach GP, says that “as a result of Dr. Talbot’s innovation, the lives of literally hundreds of racing drivers around the world have been saved, not to mention the injuries that would have resulted had it not been for the tire barriers”.
Peter's contributions were always safety driven. His primary concern was to provide a safe environment for "civilian" drivers to run their cars in a race format. As Chief Steward he controlled the conduct on the track and made it clear to everyone that the events were for fun and lack of respect for fellow competitors, over aggressive driving, or bad judgment was not tolerated. He was strict but equally fair in the enforcement of those standards. The result was a safety record that allowed General Racing to grow and be an influence to others. The Monterey Historic was the first of this type of event and was meant to set the standard and lead the way for others. By demanding and maintaining appropriate conduct on track, Peter was instrumental in their success. He took notes, all through the years, on each event which were turned into suggestions that led to operational improvements. He truly loved the concept and was there for Steve Earle with help, suggestions or criticism when needed, from beginning to end.
Steve Earle and General Racing produced a number of other events at the Long Beach GP, where Peter was involved in the GP itself, Kansas City (2 years), Portland Historic (14 years), Riverside LA Times (4 years), and Sears Point (12 years) all with credit to his abilities as a steward and a person.
In recognition of his many years service as Chief Steward at the Monterey Historic, the steward’s room at the top floor tower at Laguna Seca was renamed in his honor.
Peter Talbot was an obstetrician/gynecologist. He graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and did his Fellowship at the University of San Francisco and practiced in Menlo Park/Stanford from 1948 until 1975.
Peter was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2012.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 July 2012 )|