E Production, Eastern Conference
Regardless of how much racing seems to consume the life of any Club racer, there are times when real life gets in the way. Heading into 2013, racing was the last thing Donald Walsh, Orrtanna, Pa., had on his mind.
“One week after the Runoffs last year, I became really ill and was admitted to the hospital with a blockage in my liver duct,” Walsh said “All indications were that it was cancer, and there was an 85-percent chance it was inoperable. My research indicated there were no similar reported cases that were not cancer.
“After three months of stress and many tests, my Doctor told me he didn’t understand it and couldn’t explain it, but I was cancer free! I was able to go from no chance of racing this year to preparing for a full season. By April, after several months of working out, I was able to start my season at VIRginia International Raceway.”
Following the clear prognosis, Walsh did not miss an Eastern Conference Majors E Production race, post-VIR. He accumulated 106 points in eight races with a third at Summit Point; three fourth-place finishes, one each at VIR, Summit Point and New Jersey Motorsports Park; a fifth in his first race at VIR; and a pair of sevenths at Watkins Glen International Raceway to take the Championship in the Classic Auto Mazda RX-7.
Regardless of the offseason health scare, Walsh still had one notable racing gremlin to overcome.
“At Watkins Glen I only needed a finish to clinch [the championship],” Walsh said. “On the third lap, my shifter broke with the car stuck in neutral. As the car slowed, I saw my hopes sliding away. Somehow, I managed to use the stub that was left, and got the car into fourth gear, allowing me to continue and finish.”
Walsh made a special point of thanking his wife, Ann, who puts up with the hours of work and money spent on the car. He also thanked his engine builder, Jesse Prather.
The 2013 SCCA Championship Runoffs will be the 25th for Walsh, with more to come in the future.