BLOG: Rob Dyson Recalls Fond Memories with his Son Chris at Lime Rock Park ahead of Father’s Day
The Dyson family legacy has become part of Lime Rock Park history. For Father’s Day, Rob and Chris Dyson recall their family’s favorite memories through their years of competition at the Connecticut circuit.
My memories of Lime Rock Park go way back. And my very first one, long before I decided to go racing myself, is one that really stands out. I got my driver’s license on June 21, 1962, a week after my 16th birthday. The road test was in Millerton, NY, which is about 15 minutes from Lime Rock Park. Two weeks later, on the Fourth of July, there was an SCCA race at Lime Rock. So, with a couple of my pals, I drove over from my family’s farm in Millbrook, about 45 minutes from the track. We bought general admission tickets. We tried to get into the paddock to see the cars and drivers up close, but with our tickets, we couldn’t get in there. Still, we did see some great racing. So much for the good part of the day.
When I got home my parents were pretty angry. First, I had taken my mother’s station wagon without asking. Second, and unknown to me then, my brand new New York State driver’s license wouldn’t be valid out of state until I turned 18, two years later. Lime Rock Park was only a few miles past the New York border, but technically I was unlicensed once I crossed it!
I saw all of the big races over the years, and after I started racing myself, I drove in quite a few of them. But just like my first visit to Lime Rock as a spectator is a vivid memory for me, so is the first time I raced there, a dozen years later. It was in 1974, in an SCCA Regional and I was driving my Datsun 510. It was a career highlight. Lime Rock Park was always where everyone from the neighborhood, plus various suppliers like our UPS guy, cops we knew, paint and body shop guys, all came to cheer us on. Lime Rock Park is just a special place.
Rob Dyson’s Favorite Memories of Chris at Lime Rock:
I remember Chris’s first Lime Rock Park race, and only partly because I was his crew- HIS ENTIRE CREW!
It was in a Spec Racer Ford and he was immediately competitive. Chris finished fourth in a really competitive field. I’ve always been proud of Chris, and for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with racing. But there was something special about that first race; just the two of us there to prepare and run the car.In all of his appearances at Lime Rock Park I’ve been so impressed with Chris’s discipline and speed. He broke the all-time Lime Rock Park lap record in our Porsche RS Spyder on an American Le Mans Series race weekend. But it was in practice. And then unfortunately qualifying was rained out, so he didn’t have the chance set the record in an official session. Lime Rock Park is only a mile and a half long, but it’s actually one of the fastest tracks I’ve ever raced on, and that includes the old Le Mans course before they added chicanes to slow it down. Lime Rock is a track that demands a driver’s respect. Chris shows that respect that every lap. It’s hard to describe the pride I have in his success there and elsewhere. He’s a racer in every respect. Competition is where Chris thrives.
Thoughts from Chris Dyson:
It’s hard for me to express adequately how meaningful it is for me to carry on the family’s legacy of success at Lime Rock. From the earliest days of my childhood, Lime Rock and especially Lime Rock on Memorial Day was the greatest place to go. Dad and our team always did really well there and the whole environment at the track has always been so welcoming. Plus, it’s really one of the most exciting layouts in the world– super fast, demanding and every single corner demands your full attention as a driver. As soon as I roll out onto that track, it’s a good day as far as I’m concerned.
We’ve been coming out here for decades but I still get a buzz every time I come across the bridge by West Bend.
Chris Dyson’s Favorite Lime Rock Memory with His Dad, Rob:
It’s not really just a racing memory, per se, but just a “quality time with Dad” one. Dad wasn’t racing one weekend, so he decided to bring me out to the Trans Am race. I’m thinking it may have been 1982, so I was really young. But the whole time we were there was great and my snapshot is still very vivid. We sat on the hill, the crowd was amazing and Dad got me some great food and a Coke. That was back in the day of the manual scoreboard in the old pits and I remember thinking that was cool.
I spent the lunch break rolling rocks down the hill, but Dad made sure we were talking a lot and he was playing with me, too. The fact that there was an exciting race about to start took a back seat to our time together. I’ll never forget it. But I also remember once the race started, I could concentrate on nothing else but the colors and sounds on the track. I’m not sure if Dad realized it at the time, but that was the eureka moment for me when I connected what Dad went away to do every few weekends with something so amazing and it planted the idea that someday I’d love to do it, too.
Chris Dyson continued the winning-Dyson family legacy over Memorial Day weekend, capturing his third consecutive win with the Trans Am Series at Lime Rock Park. Watch the full race here: Trans Am Memorial Day Classic Free Race Replays – Lime Rock Park