The Fast and the Furious comes to the Arnot Mall

May 18th was a gorgeous day for a Solo event. Traditionally one of our less well attended outings, this May event drew 50 drivers under sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. More importantly it attracted a large number of new cars and drivers who seemed like screen extras out of The Fast and the Furious. The largest classes of the day were in Street Touring where 16 drivers dwelled (roughly one third of the total registration). Don’t get me wrong, I’m tempted to be right out there with them, but it’s just amazing that it has taken this long for the ‘Rice Burner’ culture to come to the Glen Region in significant numbers. Our first, Kevin King, visited us in the Fall of 1999, and we had to put him in C-Street Prepared because we lacked the then very optional Street Touring Class so popular on the “Left Coast.” Kevin’s appearance, though, prompted the Solo Board to adopt the Street Touring classifications in anticipation of increasing popularity. The class remained relatively small during its first year, but the Pierce Racing Team and others kept the class going (based on what we saw of the Pierces many of us felt that STX meant “Soloing without a functioning coolant system”). Little did we know... Anyway, May 18th made up for lost time.

The course setup committee opted for a Jersey Barrier format, first used by us a few years ago at another Arnot Mall event. This particular setup allows plenty of driver freedom to select the most appropriate line with a minimum of cone penalties, but also requires a lot of driver restraint. In this writer’s opinion the Jersey Barrier format is especially challenging for the novice autocrosser, despite its deceptively simple layout. In fact, it is probably the configuration which best demonstrates the old autocrosser’s saw, “Sometimes you have to drive slow to drive fast” (sic). I won’t give away any secrets here (I’ll let Rob do that at the upcoming driver’s school on May 31st), but let’s just say that the Jersey Barrier format can be very frustrating, resulting in a lot of tire smoke and screeching and a large range of times.

The largest class,11 entrants, was Street Touring S, where Brett Bauer in a borrowed car, a ‘00 VW GTI, reigned supreme, followed by Todd Totman (‘96 PLYMOUTH Neon), and Geoff Peterson, owner and co-driver of Brett’s ride. In Street Touring X, the Pierces, after suffering some mechanical glitches early in the event, got it back together so that Ken could claim the Pierce IROC trophy followed by John and Greg in their 1987 BMW 325is. Meanwhile Mike Lee took class honors in Street Modified in a particularly sharp looking and sounding ‘98 Toyota Supra, while Matt Wexler ran runner-up in his ‘98 Honda CRX.

Following the Street Touring classes, the next larger classes were G- and H-Stock. G-Stock, always a Glen Region favorite, drew six entrants and saw Tim Andres (‘99 Subaru Impreza) beat out Anthony Cornish’s “borrowed ride,” a 2003 VW Passat and Nile Heermans in his ‘90 Nissan 240SX. H-Stock had five entrants and a lot of competition but in the end Andy “Where’s my Capri?” Sullivan (‘87 Pontiac Fiero) returned to his rightful place as H-Stock leader by barely squeaking by the April event’s H-Stock winner, Matt Cole (‘03 Kia Sephia). Less than 0.07 second separated Andy and Matt and less than 0.70 second separated first place from Jason Doughty in his ‘90 Audi 90 Quattro. H-Stock was definitely where the close competition was hanging out. I hate to tell you H-Stockers this, but Ed Hurd and I were pulling for the K-car, (although if I had a million dollars, I’m not sure that it’s a K-car I’d be considering).

Other popular classes at the event included D- and E-Street Prepared. George Dohanich in D-Street Prepared took the triple crown, Class, FTD, and PAX, with a blazingly fast 66.225, his final run of the day. Behind George was Jeremy Gooshaw (‘88 Isuzu I-Mark) and Jason Templar (‘95 Dodge Neon). Mark Lockhart (‘99 Mustang Cobra) beat Aaron Boltman (‘02 Camaro) and Adam Blokzyl (‘91 Mustang) for E-Street Prepared honors. I think it’s great that two past Kone-Killing champions, Mark and Aaron, have assigned themselves to the same class. It makes picking up the cones a lot easier.

In the remaining multiple driver classes, John Florence (‘67 Bobsey) managed to beat Mike “It’s only my wedding anniversary” Sullivan (‘00 Leprechaun) for the A-Modified title, while Skip Testut (‘01 Honda S2000) took the short route over Eric Navestad (‘00 Honda S2000) for B-Stock honors. In F-Stock it was a classic battle between the Blue Oval and the Bow Tie with Larry Rhode bringing honor to Fords everywhere (‘94 Mustang) by edging out Jeff Eames (‘99 Chevvy S-10 Xtreme). The rest of the event results may be viewed at the Glen Region web site: .

Sadly I note that yet another Solo runner, Shawn Koelemeyer (‘74 Porsche 914), made his final appearance at a Glen Region event. Shawn has been lured to Maryland by the prospect of greater $$$ or at least the chance to begin paying off student loans. Shawn, it’s been great having you at Glen Region events. Certainly, C-Stock was better because of your presence. We hope you’ll return to see us.

All you autocrossers take note. The next event is scheduled for Sunday, June 1st at Ithaca College. It’s your chance to Solo AND to get a bite of “tofurkey” at lunch time. See you there!