The Season Opener or How We dusted the Competition and Ourselves

For one of the few times this writer can remember the Glen Region Solo II seasonal opener occurred under nearly perfect weather conditions. That’s right. No bitter cold, no snow flurries, and not even a hint of snow melt flowing across a freezingly cold track surface. Instead, bright sun, moderate temperatures, and constant breezes made Sunday, April 27th a great day to be outside doing Solo II stuff.

The 2003 Season Opener was held at Mills Pride, a cabinet making factory just outside of Sayre, Pennsylvania, a site new to all of us. Although small, the Course Design Committee did their best to construct a course which challenged us all but didn’t overtax our memories. In fact, I don’t think a single off-course was recorded for the entire event, despite the fact that the only straight this writer noticed was in staging. Normally, I’d insert a course description right about here, but let’s just say that it involved so much turning that some of wished for gears lower than first.

35 drivers showed up for the event including a large contingent from the Western New York-SCCA Region. Not many would travel two plus hours one way for six minutes of excitement, but perhaps a combination of adrenaline and carbon monoxide leaks in their exhaust systems pushed the intrepid western New Yorkers our way. Regardless, they were a great group of drivers. We were so delighted they came to our season opener that we let them win every single class in which they entered. There aren’t many regions besides the Glen Region who could offer such hospitality, but that’s the kind of folks we are. I’m proud of all of you.

Speaking of which, the biggest class of the day was the ever popular G-Stock. Tom Ernst of WNY-SCCA (’95 Dodge Neon) managed to take both class and PAX honors from second place Mike Tyburski (’94 Ford Probe) and third place Tim Andres (’99 Subaru Impreza), while the rest of group did their level best to play catch up. Rumor has it that this may have been the last Glen Region appearance for G-Stocker Mike Tyburski, as he graduates college and moves on to other venues. It won’t seem the same without at least one Tyburski in G-Stock. After all, Tyburskis, at least one of them, have been with us continuously since the Spring of 1998! It’s been great having all three of you, Jeff, Brian, and Mike, these past years and we hope you’ll return from time to time to your Glen Region home.

After G-Stock the next two most popular classes were B-Stock and STX with four entrants apiece. In B-Stock Stephen Yeoh (2000 Porsche Boxster) of WNY-SCCA took first place and even has inside-the-car video footage of the event to prove it (Check it out at ). Immediately behind Stephen was Skip Testut (2001 Honda S2000), Phil Cornell (1995 BMW M3), and Eric Navestad (2000 Honda S2000). Down in STX, the Pierce Clan (1987 BMW 325is) graciously allowed Anthony Cornish (’98 VW Passat) to come play with them, but in the end it was Ken Pierce who decisively took first place from brother John, Anthony, and son Greg. Greg, remember this when it comes time to pick a nursing home for your father.

STS, SM, and E-Stock each had three drivers. In STS it was Jeremy Washburn (’91 Nissan Sentra ER) who ran ahead of Steve Moshier (’96 Dodge Neon) and Stefan Preble (’92 Honda Prelude) for class honors. Marcus Hill (’93 Honda Civic) beat out Darren Jensen (’82 Mustang) and Daniel Keen (’97 Camaro Z-28) in SM class, while in E-Stock, the all MR-2 class, Michael Potocki edged out brother Dave in a ’91 Toyota MR-2. This was in spite of Rich Chernosky (’87 Toyota MR-2) running with his hood up just to put more downforce on the front tires. Great strategy, Rich, sorry it didn’t work out.

The only remaining multidriver classes were D-Stock and H-Stock. In D-Stock, Dale Kunze and Rodney Reisdorf shared the same ’98 Acura Integra-R, but it was Dale who triumphed. In H-Stock, novice driver Matt Cole (’01 Kia Sephia) did well at his debut event placing ahead of Jason Doughty (’89 Audi 90 Quattro) for the trophy.

It should be mentioned that there were lots of "new" cars among the Glen Regionaires at this event. While not exactly driving a new car, Nile Heermans decided that if he was going to be in a new class this year (G-Stock and not E-Stock) the least he could do was repaint his car. It looked great. On the other hand, Lin Hurd decided to substitute an ’87 Porsche 928 for her usual ’97 Mustang Cobra even though we all warned her that there were going to be corners at this event (the reader will note that this writer is typing his commentary well out of Lin’s reach). Hopefully, Lin will have the Cobra back for the next event. Casey Creamer in an effort never to run against anyone in the same class, ever again, opted for a Techno Cart this season. It should be pointed out that not only did the cart keep away the mosquitoes, but also enabled Casey to grab FTD honors at the same time. Finally, Aaron Boltman, may not have had a car, let alone a new car, but he showed up just to watch. It was all we could do to keep him from running out onto the track to kick over cones. Let’s just say it’s an obsession he has.

It takes a lot of effort to put on a successful Solo II event and no one knows that more than the Glen Region regulars. As such, the Glen Region — Solo II program thanks the good folks at Mills Pride for allowing us the use of their lot. It’s a great site and we had a good time. Again, we wish to thank the drivers from the Western New York — SCCA region for making the drive. You guys are the greatest, you added a lot of excitement to the event, and we hope you’ll be returning soon.

As always, a large number of Glen Region regulars were responsible for ensuring the success of the Mills Pride event. Many of these folks showed up just to work or to kibitz over whose BMW M3 had the nicer seat covers (You BMW M3 owners sure know how to live). Unfortunately, there are so many of you who volunteered that I’m afraid I might overlook someone or take too much space to list everyone incurring the wrath of The Sparkplug editor. Anyway, you know who you are; thanks for showing up and for all of your help. Finally, a really big thank you to Becky Pierce. Becky has put up with us for a few years now and is always there when we need the help or just need a nice place to get out of the sun. I know the Pierce Racing Team wouldn’t be the same without Becky, well, neither would we.

Speaking of being helpful, Mike Taves, the current Solo II chair, has made it official. He refused the "Chair-for-Life" crown we were willing to award him and let it be known that this is absolutely the last year that he will serve as our leader. This time he’s serious. If anyone would like to step forward and assume the mantle, now’s the time to study under the master. Mike has kindly offered to tutor and assist any volunteer on the nuances of Solo II leadership and Patrick Skinner might even buy you a beer. So, if you are at all interested PLEASE let us know. Those of you who were at the event will note that this writer is ignoring the report of the Glen Region Ad hoc Solo II Chair Search Committee. There isn’t that much Yuengling and wings at Alligers, if you catch my drift. Besides, it’s time for someone without gray in the beard and hair to step forward.

The next Solo II event is scheduled for Sunday, May 18th at the Arnot Mall in the Elmira-Fisherville-Big Flats area. I hope to see all of you there.