KEN MILES, an appreciation
But that isn't the whole Ken Miles either. In all I've written so far, there isn't a hint that Ken wasn't loved by everyone that knew him---and the fact that he made enemies along the way and many of us can remember a time when hardly anyone could be found who had a good word to say about any Ken Miles except Ken Miles the driver.
When he ran the Cal Club, for instance, he ran it his way and without much consideration for the feelings or opinions of anyone else. He wanted things done his way and he didn't want to discuss his decisions with the non-racers, either.
At the peak of his strength in the Cal Club, he fought the local SCCA region right down to the ground. He led other drivers in refusing to race in Los Angeles SCCA races and for a good many years seemed to enjoy baiting SCCA officials. He rather enjoyed the fact that his application for membership was refused by SCCA even after he was no longer active in Cal Club affairs.
He was finally forced out of power in a palace revolution within the Cal Club and it was somehow ironically fitting and proper that years later he was again a member of the Cal Club board of governors when the Los Angeles SCCA was scuttled and Cal Club became an SCCA region.
Curiously, though, Ken was ruthlessly democratic in his own autocratic way of running the Cal Club. His leadership encouraged new drivers to race with the Cal Club when membership in most SCCA regions was still based on the old-boy system and if you weren't the right type you simply weren't put up for membership. Under Ken's leadership the Cal Club had 10 full-fledged race meets a year, real damned road racing that didn't let the socializing interfere with the club's proper purpose. This intense racing program, which was largely Ken's creation, created an atmosphere that encouraged young drivers and the outstanding crop of Southern California drivers who got their start in those days (the list starts with Dan Gurney) owe more to Ken Miles than they generally realize.
May I, through Road & Track .express my thanks to the hundreds of people who, form all over the world, sent flowers and messages. Nothing could ever replace what I have lost----but the love and kindness showered upon me has been unbelievable. I am trying to acknowledge all the messages, but inevitably there are a few addressed I do not have.
It has been a great life out here---sometimes controversial, sometimes turbulent, but we have been happy, and when I was asked if I planned to continue living here I was honestly dumbfounded. All I could think of to say was "Of course, this is our home." And it is. Thank you all for making it so.
A Personal Note From the Editor of TigersUnited.com.
Author: James T. Crow
Road & Track Magazine, November 1966