Each year the SCCA North Carolina Region organizes an event known as the “Goblins Go”. The annual late-October event has carried the Goblin’s Go name since 1962, and the last race held at VIR before the track was shuttered in 1974 was a Goblin’s Go event. Since the track reopened in 2000, the tradition has resumed and is a favorite of SCCA NCR racers every autumn.
The inaugural Goblin’s Go featured a race that is remembered by veteran observers as one of the best in VIR’s long history. The contest featured a “David-vs.-Goliath” battle between the tiny Lola Mk 1 of Arthur Tweedale and the big, bellowing, Chevy-powered Lister of Graham Shaw, who carried the colorful nickname “Tombstone.”
Tweedale’s G Modified class Lola, powered by a four-cylinder engine, was very nimble in the many technical corners at VIR, while “Tombstone” Shaw’s D Modified Lister was a rocket down the long straights. During the course of the 60-minute timed race, the two went at it hammer-and-tongs, with Shaw blasting away down the straights, while Tweedale would catch him up in the twisty bits. By Lap 22 the pair had lapped the entire field, and Shaw’s brakes were fading as the pair entered the Roller Coaster, a corkscrew-like downhill section of the track at the end of the ¾-mile back straight. Shaw put a wheel off in the dirt, and that slowed him just enough to allow Tweedale to scoot past and take the lead.
On the next lap, Shaw gave chase for all he was worth, and was leading when the pair arrived at the same spot at the entrance to the Roller Coaster. This time he went completely off the track and into the nearby brush, making hard contact with a stump and ending his day in a cloud of steam. Meanwhile, Tweedale went on past the flagstand just seconds before the 60-minute time limit ran out.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough gas left to complete that last lap. He sputtered and coasted his way around the track, eventually making it back to pit lane, where his crew got enough fuel into the tank to get him past the starter’s stand in the pit lane. Tweedale won the race, but just barely ahead of the Lotus 11 of Guy Marvin, who had been a lap down.
“We always enjoy the Goblin’s Go weekend,” said VIR co-owner Connie Nyholm. “It’s such a long-standing tradition here at VIR, and with the event falling near Halloween every year, you can always count on some spooky things happening! The North Carolina Region SCCA folks are a lot of fun, and the racing will be spectacular as always. It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year at VIR, with the leaves turning color, and we hope everyone will come out to enjoy a great weekend with some of America’s best amateur sports car racing.”