My good friend David Loring
Visits at Graycroft would always start with the lament: Well, it needs this and it needs that and this is broken and I can’t find any more of these… for me, going to David Loring’s house was always a grand adventure, and getting there on the dirt road was half the fun, particularly with my sweetheart Ron Hussey at the wheel.
No matter what vehicle we’d borrowed for the trip to Chocorua, NH, he’d drive it like a rally car once we hit the “driveway”.
Graycroft is primitive but in a wonderful way. Sure, it’s got running water – but heat is an anomaly and it’s a typically renovated summer home – always wants something and wants it now. Kind of like a kid.
To get the racing drift on David Loring, please be sure to reference this tribute by Gordon Kirby, a near and dear friend of his: http://www.gordonkirby.com/categories/columns/theway/2012/the_way_it_is_no353.html
David Loring’s racing exploits are widely chronicled, but his wonderful nature – his gift of being human – isn’t the kind of thing we can talk about in public. If I could make it to the Saturday memorial, my commentary might go something like this:
“I will never forget David – for his love of life, love of his friends and his absolute neglect of self. He was always ready to help someone else, but never himself. Always wanting a new adventure, but never with sufficient funding to enact it. Sure, travel to Alaska with a dog in tow in a VW was an option before Kathy, Evan and Alycks, but after that, it just wasn’t possible or feasible.
“Ron and DL had a bargain – Ron would send tequila to Denali and DL would capitulate with crabs legs – lots of crabs legs. David would take pictures of eagles while he was living there – instead of building Eagles, as he’d done in southern California.
“When David figured he wanted and needed to get back into the racing game, he came to Del Mar with us for the weekend. We decided, since the first day of practice and qualifying for IMSA hadn’t yet started, that we’d take a quick trip to Mexico for some tequila – and maybe even some dinner. We went to Ron’s favorite haunt south of Rosarita Beach, La Fonda restaurant and hotel – and watched the autumnal sunset.
“At one point DL asked about the floating barges out on the horizon – Ron grabbed his 400mm lens and the digital camera (quite new at the time) and announced they weren’t ships or barges, they were islands! That’s when we decided we’d easily had enough and ought to return stateside. As we approached the border, we tried to wake David up, but to no avail. The border guard asked, ‘Is he alive?” We responded that we thought so… we made the morning practice but Ron had to go pull David from the bed at midday and wrest him to the track.
“The following year, David and Bob Leitzinger won the GTU championship. See, he could survive anything – except death.
“DL loved anything spicy – I recall there was this one particular restaurant east of the Del Mar circuit that he always enjoyed because they had a great salsa. While everyone else at the table would gently dip a chip or two, David would engorge the entire bowl of salsa. He loved wasabi – would take a whole tube of the stuff to his mouth, no problem! Perhaps that’s the cause of some of his later stomach ailments?
“The first year that Honda came to CART racing certainly wasn’t their best. They had two cars, for Bobby Rahal and Mike Groff and made small models t hat were given away to media at the New Hampshire race. Ron and I grabbed piles of them and took them to Graycroft, our hotel for the weekend.
“DL proudly announced, ‘I’ve got a potato gun!’ We placed poor Bobby and Mike’s cars individually in the potato gun and fired them in the direction of Mt Washington. I wonder if they ever found them out there in the overgrown fields? One remains in my possession, gently tweaked by the years but another memory of Graycroft that lingers.
“The meals these two guys cooked were always the best and we women were allocated to clean – but not to bother them whilst in the kitchen. The result was always a fabulous meal – with every utensil known to mankind used and dirtied. It was always a pleasure to clean up – not really…
“Once Ron died in 2000, I didn’t get to see David, but we kept in touch by phone. He was always there for me in my moments of terror at being without his best friend – and like so many others, he became a “best friend” to me as he’d been to Ron Hussey. I always felt the bond was unbroken because I could reach out to DL and hear his high-pitched voice on the other end of the line.
We had plans to meet here and there – and had I known he’d be at the celebration of Dan Gurney’s life in Monterey, I’d have made the trip just to see him. Regrets, we all have them. But I know that as long as I remember David Loring and his fabulous exploits, he’s still alive in my mind’s eye.
A great racer, a true friend, a fabulous character unlike the cookie-cutter drivers we’ve got today – David Loring was amongst the last of a breed. He could do it all – design the car, build the car, maintain the car and drive the car to Victory Lane. I hope there’s a fabulous Winner’s Circle ready for David Loring in heaven.”
By Anne Proffit