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>You might have come across the name Jeff O’Neill recently. He’s been popping up in the news as he’s been spearheading Velocity Invitational, one of the largest vintage racing events planned for 2021. Sports Car Digest photojournalist, Dennis Gray, had the pleasure to sit down with Jeff to discuss this exciting event.

For years the three of us, Bill Wagenblatt, Vic Varela, and I, shared accommodations during the Historics in Monterey. 

While sipping a good red as we looked out over the Pacific, we would start to reminisce about the past years of the Historics at Laguna Seca. 

What had happened to the manufacturers that once sponsored the Historics? Ford celebrating Shelby? Lauda piloting an F1 Ferrari while wearing a red baseball cap? Fangio in a Mercedes and, of course, Sir Stirling Moss in a Jaguar? Cars that we saw only at the Historics. 

For the past years, it seemed the Historics were no more than a big club event. There were some nice cars for sure, but cars we had seen at other tracks or another event earlier in the year. The paddock seemed like a CSRG or HMSA event, only more so.

Then early in 2019, I started to hear rumors about the Sonoma Speed Festival and Jeff O’Neill. O’Neill’s event was going to bring the Magic back to historic racing, and his 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival was held to rave reviews. 

2019 Sonoma Speed Festival Highlights

There were “new event” problems for sure, but we all felt O’Neill was on to something. Now two years later after a Covid 19 delay, O’Neill has moved his circus 152 miles south to Monterey’s WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway for the newly named Velocity Invitational at Laguna Seca on Nov 11-14, 2021. 

Sports Car Digest had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeff to discover more about the man and the inspiration behind the event.

Jeff O’Neil in the paddock. This guy and his team are going to change Historic Racing in the US.

Our Conversation with Jeff O’Neill:

Sports Car Digest (SCD): Let’s start with your college days.

Jeff: Well, let’s see. I’ve been drinking and smoking cigars all the way through college since turning 21, of course. I still drink and smoke cigars.

I got into the wine business around 1985, started with some private equity guys, built a small book wine business, and then developed it into a successful company that we took public in 1998. 

In 2004 we decided to take the company back to being privately held and ultimately sold the business to a large wine company. 

That’s when I started O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, which, since 2004, we’ve built a pretty sizable wine company. We are one of the fastest-growing wineries in California, selling about 1.8 million 9 liter cases of wine to consumers. We are also a top supplier for premium wine at scale for several wine companies in California.  

We currently have a little over 300 employees and continue to invest in both operational capabilities and the right talent to keep growing our business. So that’s the snapshot story. 

What lead you into vintage racing?

As a kid, I always loved race cars. My dad always talked about cars. Although he was into cars, he never really owned any, and I always loved racing. So, I followed the racing and historical cars. At a certain point, I said, “You’ve gotta either fish or cut bait and either get into it or not.” And so I had a target list of 5 cars that I said, “I’ve got to own one of them.”

The first car I bought 14 years ago was a 1957 Maserati 250F Formula One car. Everybody thought I was an idiot for starting with a Formula One car from 1957, but believe it or not, it’s actually an easy car to drive, and I still own it.

It stays in Europe because there are not too many of them left here in the United States. So I still race that occasionally. But that’s how I got in.

What about the other four of the five cars?

Ford GT40, C-Type Jag, D-Type Jag, and DB4 Zagato. 

 I wish I bought them 20 years ago when they were giving them away.

Why are you establishing your own speed event? It’s got to be more headaches than the wine business. 

That is true. Maybe half. No, I think all businesses have headaches. But that’s what business is, solving headaches.

I had been to these historic events, and you know we were seeing over the years the great cars disappear off the grids. And It’s largely because you know guys with collections like bringing their cars out. They like showing

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By: Dennis Gray
Title: Meet The Founder of Velocity Invitational: Jeff O’Neill
Sourced From: sportscardigest.com/velocity-invitational-jeff-oneill/
Published Date: Thu, 27 May 2021 12:27:58 +0000

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Here comes trouble: A Triumph TR6 with a Matchless frame

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custom triumph tr6 matchless frame 625x417 1

Kids are impressionable, especially when motorcycles are involved. That magical combination of sound, smell and danger has a way of imprinting itself on young minds. But Kyle Harvey didn’t just dream of bikes as a child—he practically grew up with them.

Kyle’s trade is tool and die making, but his passion is building bikes. His father, Garth Harvey, got Kyle and his brother into bikes at a young age; as soon as they could start their old man’s vintage motorcycles, they were riding them. Living in Edenvale in South Africa’s Gauteng province, the boys also had direct access to the local Classic Motorcycle Club.

 

The folks at the CMC made quite an impression on young Kyle—and taught him everything he knows about vintage bikes. After helping numerous friends work on their bikes, he went on to open his own shop, named simply ‘The Workshop.’ Kyle has been building and restoring classic motorcycles for over a decade now.

This cheeky bobber is his latest build, and it’s immensely fascinating. The engine’s from a Triumph TR6 Trophy, the frame is from a Matchless, and the quirky handmade details on it are endless.

Custom Triumph TR6 with Matchless frame

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: Here comes trouble: A Triumph TR6 with a Matchless frame
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-triumph-tr6-matchless-frame
Published Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2022 17:01:12 +0000

 

 

 

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The Swan Song of the V12

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The V12 engine holds a special place in the heart of many automotive and motorsports fans. For some, it’s the sound of Formula 1 through the years, especially during the 1990s. For others, it’s engines like the 6.1 L BMW S70/2 from the McLaren F1 or the 3.9L Lamborghini V12 that powered all their cars from the Miura through to the Diablo. No matter where it lies in your heart, it is the “proper” configuration for many: 6 cylinders per bank, put into a V, and firing in an odd sequence to give it that special roar under power.

Yet, as concerns over fuel efficiency, qualms about environmental impact, and high-powered turbocharged V8 or V6 engines are the norm now, the V12 is slowly, but surely, being put to rest. In fact, the only place that V12s are still hanging on by the last threads of their engine mounting bolts are in supercars, hypercars, and a few ultra-luxury cars. Even then, many exotic brands have announced that their next cars will either be V10s or turbo V8s and V6s.

Since it appears that the swan song of the V12 is reaching a crescendo, we thought it only appropriate to celebrate the few remaining cars out there that carry them. It may be the last time we see some of these brands, many of which are known for their V12s.

The Amazing Last V12 Production Versions from the Big Brands

Ferrari 812 Superfast

Ferrari 812 Superfast

Ferrari 812 Superfast. Image via Supercars.

The writing is on the wall for the prancing horse, as the new Ferrari 296 GTB is showing the direction that Maranello is headed. Yet, unless you were invited to snag one of the limited-edition Monza SP1 or SP2 cars, there is still one car you can buy from the legendary marque that has all 12 cylinders fully intact.

The 6.5L F140 GA V12

The 6.5L F140 GA V12
The 6.5L F140 GA V12. Image Via: Wikimedia Commons.

The 6.5L F140 GA 65-degree V12 in the front of the 812 is the last road-going version of the V12 that debuted in the Ferrari Enzo. Producing a monstrous 789 HP and 530 lbs-ft of torque, it is no slouch either, as when the 812 Superfast debuted, it was the most powerful naturally aspirated production car engine ever made.

It has the typical low-rev Ferrari roar that rises into a howl as the car revs up to nearly 9,000 RPM, and will catapult the 3,845 (1,744 kg) car to 60 MPH in 2.9 seconds. As far as a curtain call is concerned, that’s a great way to bow out and focus on hybrids and turbocharged engines.

Mercedes-Maybach S680 4MATIC

2022 Mercedes-Maybach S680 4MATIC

2022 Mercedes-Maybach S680 4MATIC
cedes-Maybach S680 4MATIC. Image via Supercars.

Mercedes-Benz used to be at the very top of the V12 pecking order when it came to luxury performance cars. Such classics as the S 65 AMG from the mid-2000s and the 500 TE AMG W123 Touring from the very end of the 1970s came with big V12s that sound astounding, but the biggest and baddest of the Mercedes V12s left on in a production car is the M279 E60 LA that hauled the S65 AMGs of 2014.

M279 E60 LA Twin Turbo V12

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By: Simon Bertram
Title: The Swan Song of the V12
Sourced From: sportscardigest.com/v12-swan-song/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 10:49:26 +0000

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Road Tested: Gear from Shoei, Akin Moto and Rev’It!

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In our continuing quest to source motorcycle gear that combines safety and style, we bring you our thoughts on Shoei’s new ECE 22.06-approved NXR2 helmet. Plus a stealthy riding parka from Akin Moto, and the perfect pair of urban riding gloves from Rev’It!.

Shoei NXR2 helmet It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Shoei’s helmets. Every Shoei I’ve owned has fit and felt right from the first wear, with no major deviations in their sizing or shape from model to model. So when I was looking for a do-it-all street helmet to replace my well-used Shoei RYD, the new NXR2 was a no-brainer… and it hasn’t disappointed.

I loved the RYD for its combination of neutral styling, comfort and ventilation. The NXR2 basically feels like a premium version of the RYD; it has the same clean aesthetic, but ramps up the performance. And it’s one of the few helmets that meet with Europe’s new, and more stringent, ECE 22.06 standard.

Shoei NXR2 helmet reviewRead More

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Road Tested: Gear from Shoei, Akin Moto and Rev’It!
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/shoei-akin-moto-revit-review-44
Published Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2022 17:01:31 +0000

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