First Austin Grand Prix?

Published August 20, 2023

Austin Aqua Race was held in conjunction with the Austin Aqua Festival. My Dad, Jim Kauffman, competed in the race held August 3, 1969. Dad drove a Merlyn Formula B from Colchester Racing Developments.

Dad in his Merlyn Formula B, Aqua Race, August 3, 1969, Austin, TX

You can see the race course online.

Unfortunately, my Dad experienced mechanical problems and did not finish the race. The race was won by Butch Harris in a Winkleman Formula B. You can read about the results in the Austin American Statesman from August 4, 1969. See page 25 under the heading “Russell Fish Takes Sports Car Feature.”

One note on the Formula Ford race. In the article above, the Statesman describes a crash:

“The most spectacular crash occurred just after the Formula Ford had taken the green flag to start their 30-minute battle. About 1,500 feet from the starting line something happened in the crowded 18-car pack and Bobby Guest’s Merlyn flipped end-over-end leaving the track. Guest, though his car appeared almost completely demolished, received only a slight cut on the forehead. He was admitted to Brackenridge Hospital where he was reported in fair condition Monday morning.”

Bobby Guest was a family friend. Bobby introduced me to a number of incredible cars over the years. My Mom, Dad and Bobby’s wife, Reeny, watched the crash in horror and expected the worst. Luckily, as the article states, Bobby walked away.