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April 2008

April 20, 2008

Event 4 of 4 for the 2008 Spring Series

by Dave Lahey

"It's been a long long time"


How long had it been since our last event? SIX weeks? Holy smokes! A lot of rusty old hands on dusty steering wheels; tires hardened from sitting in the increasing heat; does anyone remember how to autocross any more? It seems that some folks were hitting other venues and keeping their skills sharp, while others simply have on-demand skills, no matter how much time elapses between events! Then again, there are those who ... well, never mind.

We got to use the Bondurant skidpad this month; a longer, though a bit narrower strip of asphalt, and course designer Doug Rowse came up with a jewel! There was some confusion among the newbies, and even some wiley veterans about where the course went at the south end, as there are painted lines there, but a few more pointer cones, and some in-grid schooling helped with that. Remember, folks, the painted lines mean nothing! Look for cones, not lines!

Making the most of the site and features, the course started out near the middle of the lot, and turned right, into a 5 cone slalom. Quite a few of those cones got wacked, but get through there clean, and into a lefthand sweeper, decreasing radius into a sharp left. This is where it was critical to ignore the painted line and look for the apex. As with most good courses, looking ahead, walking as much as possible, and planning a good approach made for smoother runs, better times, and less coneage.

The course then went to the right, into a faster section, and continued that arc until a series of tight offsets. Patience and entry speed were key here, as too much speed put you into a tank slapping waggle, but get it right, and you were clean and into a short stretch, then another 3 cone pivot, and into a long sweeper to the left. The exit to that sweeper was pinched and critical to getting to the final 4 cone slalom and to the finish, but get that right, and snake through those last few cones, and you were rewarded.

Tage Evanson, driving Alan Wagstaff's 2000 Legrand Dragon Sr1 BMod car, put down a SMOKIN' 30.881 second run to put almost a full second on any other competitor. Next best was Flyin' Freddie Zust in his XP FrankenLotus with a 31.785, followed by Dan Hawrylkiw in the FMod Zink at 31.982. Brian Peters was 4th fastest with a 32.251, and then Steve Eymann in the GT3 Porsche with a 33.153, Dougie Rowse in the 330i BMW at 33.271, Kevin Gleaton at 33.446 in his '99 CSP Miata, then Ted Lewis with a 33.555, and Dave Young in the '02 M3 BMW at 33.676. Bill Miskovic in his Evo was the first car in the 34 second range, followed by a string of the CSP competitors in 11th through 15th positions.

Once again, Brian Peters scored a perfect 1000 points in his CSP MX-5 Miata, making it a clean sweep for all 4 events in this series. Next best was Fred Zust with a 985, followed by Doug Rowse at 984. Clint Child got the better of co-driver and car owner Britt Dollmeyer, scoring a 972 to Britt's 969. Steve Eymann was next with a 966, then David Webb in the Min(d)i Cooper S at 965, Dan Hawrylkiw at 964 along with Kevin Gleaton, and Mindi Cross with a 955. Keep in mind that Clint and Britt are doing this in Britt's 1990 Honda Civic Si ON STREET TIRES! This proves the ever-increasing capability of street tires vs. R tires, and the ST tire war between manufacturers is on!

Speaking of street tires, George Sklyarevsky pretty much swept the series with wins in the ST1 class, while Chad Mizner gave it his best shot. George outran Chad by .08 and earns his first trophy beyond the Novice class. Waytago, George! In ST2, Mark Shaw drove Todd Houser's blue Mini Cooper to a .3 second win over Klayton Albers' BMW 330i. It looks like Shaw will take the series win with Mike Rogers second in the RSX and Kevin O'Neill in third in his Audi TT; a Team Blue Car sweep of the top 3 spots. Suzanne Lipke won ST Ladies with Mitzi Burrow improving and Ann Kemp giving chase, both in Miatas. In the other Ladies' class, Diane Deanovic smoked the field, with Teresa Clement and Kat Morrill doing their best.

In the Open classes, Bill Fisher came up from Tucson to do some comparison testing with Jeff Hancock with C Stock Miatas. Bill won the open class in his pretty red '03 Miata over visitor Dan Tait in his first time in a RWD car, taking the ultimate test drive in a '99 Sport Miata. In the SS class, Kim Kemper showed up with some real R tires to take the win over Jim Young. Sean Powers is still rompin' in ES, and Robert Smithson showed up in his Mitsu Evo 8 to take BSP. Likewise, Charles Carson drove his Mitsu Lancer to the FSP win.

Kirby Goodman took the XP Open win over son Van, and Alan Wagstaff won BMod. Perennial favorite Dave Young once again drove the M3 to the win over Dr. Evo, with Tim Bergstrom and Frank Adams giving chase. In STS, Clinton Campbell came "down off the mountain" from Flagstaff to work the "Precious" Mini Cooper to the win over Manfred Reysser's Celica GT. Jim Rohn put a tenth and a half on car owner and co-driver Kevin Venisnik, and may just take the battle of the "Rumpled Red Roadster" in STS2.

In the PRO class, David Webb finally climbed to the top and put 11 points on Ted Lewis' Lotus Elan and Steve Ryan in his '91 Vette. In SPM, Fred Zust took a 1 point win over Doug Rowse, and Doug claims that he "let off at the end." Something to do with a bet over some beer, and Doug was feeling thirsty? Hmmm. Clint Child was third, with Britt Dollmeyer and Steve Eymann giving chase.

In the CSP Open class, the aforementioned Brian Peters makes it a clean sweep with Kevin Gleaton in second, and the talented Derrick Disharoom showing that driving prowess can overcome horsepower and car prep, and not only beat one of the "fat tire" drivers, but put the rest of the 13" tire folks to shame. Imagine what might happen when he puts some power in that thing, gets a proper alignment, and steps up to the new Hoosier 255/40/13 tire that will soon be available. Think Peters and Gleaton are worried? They should be! We'll see ...

Justin Davenport once again put his Viper in the top spot in NV1, and the other competitors are going to be glad to see him move out with the series win. Dan Tracy, Chris Blair, and Chris Weger will all be chomping at the bit to get their chance next fall, and Justin will most likely move into the SS ranks to take on the wiley veterans in that Open class. Josh Szepe will also be leaving the Novice class NV2 with his win on Sunday, and folks like Rich Johnson, Anthony Vieweg and others will be ready next time. Not to be different in the NV3 class, Mark Osier will also become the NV3 class winner and be forced to take a different path. That will put a smile on the faces of the other NV3 folks like Chris Largent, Richard Damp, and Sergio Perez, whose best efforts on this day were not enough. Also not to be outdone, Vivian Schiliro took the NV Ladies' class win, while Elizabeth Crosdale, Niki Voyatzis, and Gwendolyn Hanigan-Baily will duke it out at a later date. Wait, do ladies duke it out? Ummm...

At the end of the day, Dan Hawrylkiw put down a super fast 30.570 run in the Zink to be the fastest guy in Time Only runs. Brian Peters equaled his 1000 point CSP score in Jay Balducci's Subie STU Sti, and Britt Dollmeyer's STS magic put him 3rd. Fred Zust got to 4th fastest, followed by Steve Eymann, David Webb and Mindi Cross sharing the Mini, and Derrick Disharoom leap-frogging Kevin Gleaton to finish 8th. In between those, Don Sattler took JUST ONE RUN in the C Stock '99 Miata and bumped Kevin to 10th place for the TO bragging rights. What? A C Stock Miata??? Looks like "Team Wrinkles" has found a new ride!

This interesting photo shows a certain Miata with a new license plate frame. The owner of the car was a bit surprised to find it there, as his co-driver had put it on without his knowledge, it seems. It could have been on any car, really, but with recent chatter in the Forums, this seemed quite a propos!

So, yet another great event, fine weather, and another challenging course. We all got the dust off, some more than others, and a lot of new folks got their first taste of "the sea of cones." There were a lot of tired sunburned folks at the end of the day, but mostly all smiles and plans to return. All in all, though, further proof that our group puts on some great events, and many thanks have to go out to those that put in the extra time and effort to make these happen. Kudos, cheers, and two thumbs up!

Thanks to Mark Osier, Dave Lahey, and Dan Hawrylkiw for the great photos featured here and on the Arizona Autocross Photos website.

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