Al James, G Production Roadster Racer
B Y R O B B E D D I N G T O N
H.A.(Al) James, from Portland, Oregon, started racing his Datsun 1600 Roadster in the 1970s. Al, alongside the likes of Roberto Lorenzutti, Sam Armour and others, had seen how competitive Joe Hauser and his 1600 were in G Production, against the Spitfires, Sprites and Midgets which normally dominated this class.
Al's engines were built by Vern Colvin, Jack Scoville's former engine man, who was also Al's sponsor. He campaigned in the SCCA's North Pacific division for a number of years with some success. Although he became champion at divisional level, Al was never a National Championship winner. He did however qualify for nine Runoff weekends, second only in roadster history to Joe Hauser. His competitors remember him as a strong contender whose yellow 1600 regularly filled their rear view mirrors.
Al's early success, alongside that of Joe Hauser, soon brought other roadster racers into GP. Joe Hebert, a former Datsun 2000 race driver, and Ernie de Jacomo were notable new names in GP in the early 1980s.
|Al James Roadster Gallery|
|1987 Valvoline Runoffs, Road Atlanta|
|Al and Joe Hauser battling at Road Atlanta|
The following table charts Al's numerous Runoff appearances in G Production, from his first apperance in 1979 to his last in 1989, including one podium position. In 1980, Al posted the fastest lap of the race on his way to his podium finish.
Al's car was sold to Dean Rees who owned the car for a number of years. In 2000 the car was owned by Joe Harlan in Seattle.
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