Flying Low: The Revenge of John Pierce
The 2004 Solo II season is in the bag and as itÕs late at night as I write this, so am I. ItÕs been a very different season, this season of Õ04, with lots of strange weather with which to contend. October 10 tried its best to continue the seasonÕs trend offering both rain and cool temperatures, but fortunately, the rain didnÕt last Ōthough the cold sure did linger. Of course, one shouldnÕt complain when one has the chance to remove what little remaining tread one has on the olÕ R-compounds. Besides, itÕs not as though this event was like the Austin Medical Technology-Montour Falls event, which opened our season, or the Ingersoll Rand-Athens event at the mid-point or even last seasonÕs finale, the ŅArk at the ARCÓ or whatever it was called. At those events a bass boat was the only reasonable ride. At this event all run groups had the opportunity to run on a dry track and all one needed to be comfortable was a working heater or NOMEX underwear. You canÕt ask for more than that at a Glen Region October event.
30 drivers braved the cold and damp and although turnouts at season ending events are inconsistent, attendance-wise, this event was about average for a season closer. On a positive note, it marked a 50 percent greater turnout than the season ending event of last year. Of course, the weather conditions at last yearÕs season closer dictated that only full-fledged, obsessive-compulsive autoXers would turn out, which, come to think of it, is exactly who showed up at this yearÕs event, too, but you get the point.
If you know anything about upstate New York, in general, and the Glen Region Solo II program, in particular, youÕve already guessed that the largest class of the event was G-Stock. As G-Stock type cars are about the perfect family or commuter car in these parts, itÕs not exactly surprising that the class is so popular, nor are there any surprises about the great driving which exists in the class. Sadly, in the end someone has to win and this time it was the return of The Brian, Brian Tyburski that is. BrianÕs time was sufficient to earn him the daily PAX championship, as well. It wasnÕt easy, though, as Brian (Õ93 Ford Probe GT) edged out Barry Butterfield (Õ03 BMW Mini Cooper S) by a mere 5/100 second. Now I canÕt say that I have a favorite in G-Stock. After all, every one of the drivers is highly competent, if not just plain great, and theyÕre all good people to boot, but Nile Heermans (Õ90 Nissan 240sx) was so hampered by a transmission with a first gear too low and a second gear too high that my heart went out to him. Different courses favor different cars, as any Honda S2000 driver can attest, but Nile has not had much luck this season finding courses sufficiently long and sweeping to give him the edge he needs. I know heÕs not asking for sympathy, but just know, Nile, that someone was watching and wondering how you did as well as you did running out of either gear or torque at the most inopportune times. Over the winter, I suggest you look around and see if Nissan offered a CVT in 1990.
After G-Stock the next largest class was D-Street Prepared with four entrants: three in an Õ87 BMW 325is, the Pierce-mobile, and the fourth, Ken Moyer, in a Õ97 Honda Prelude. In a reversal of his normal tactic of taking an early lead and then losing it, John Pierce cleverly faked slow times in his first heat to throw off the others then returned in his very last run to take the class trophy. The others never saw it coming. Pretty shrewd, John.
Over in B-Stock, Eric Navestad (Õ00 Honda S2000) got off to a significant first heat lead only to lose it to Skip Testut (Õ01 Honda S2000) in the last run of the day. Phil (any car BUT an S2000) Cornell ran a very close third, but was hoping that no one was noticing his attempt to cut out about 1/8 of the track in an effort to better his times. We noticed, Phil. In Street Modified, Dan Keen (Õ97 Camaro Z28) edged Traian Stanev (Õ01 VW Jetta) by less than 1/10 second as James Sherrick (Õ99 Audi Avant A4) tried to close the gap in third place, but without much success. IÕm sure Dan has noticed Traian gradually edging up on him all season long. Oh sure, there were the feints, like TraianÕs putting Armco-blue on his fenders for sympathy, but we all know that Traian has been gunning for Dan all season long and here Dan is about to leave the area just when Traian is on the verge of taking the checkered flag. Dan, if Brian Tyburski can return to the Glen Region from Boston, you can return to the Glen Region from California or wherever you get that job. Traian needs you.
As if there wasnÕt enough air pollution in the world, three F125 karts turned out. Well, make that two F125 karts and a third kart that makes me think that somewhere thereÕs a Maytag no longer washing clothes (Just kidding, Andy). IÕll bet Casey was delighted to have the company and all three karts treated us to some interesting driving styles. In the end, Casey Creamer (Õ90 Techno-Kart) won the class honors and took FTD (fastest time of the day) with a blistering 51.118 with Pat Scopelliti (Õ90 Techno-Kart) and Andy Sullivan just behind.
In C-Stock it was the battle of the red Miatas with Brian Bell (Õ95 Miata) making it through the timing lights ahead of fellow Miata driver Ryan Jones (Õ99 Miata), while H-Stock saw the appearance of two newcomers, Jeff and Andy Weaver in an Õ91 Toyota Corolla. Andy showed the greatest improvement during the course of the day, but it was Jeff who consistently drove well and, when the final run was completed, took the winnerÕs trophy. WeÕll be seeing the Weavers next season, IÕm sure.
In the end, October 10 was a chilly, damp fall day with some good driving that made a memorable event for the Glen Region 2004 Solo II finale. For a closer look, not to mention more cars and drivers, check out the results at http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/2004/results20041010.asp. YouÕll be glad you did.
On behalf of the Glen Region I extend a special thanks to the Wings of Eagles Museum in Big Flats for renting us their lot. Also, kudos to the course design committee, to Ken Pierce for chairing the event, to Ed Hurd for handling the Novice Walk and kicking in his $15, and to Becky Tinker for all that she has done not only at this event, but also during the entire season. Becky has shepherded the Glen Region Solo II program and kept it running smoothly. The chocolates werenÕt bad either. I also want to extend a thank you and a personal apology to Dan Hightower, who has not competed this season, but who has graciously assisted in the background, helping to set up the courses, getting the van and trailer to the sites and back again, and who also loaned me his Nomex collar, which worked well. I inadvertently omitted Dan in past articles and he deserves far better treatment, especially from one who considers Dan his friend. With the close of the 2004 Glen Region Solo II season all that remains is to plan on being at a couple of wintertime Solo II meetings to plan the 2005 season and, most importantly, to attend the upcoming Glen Region Awards Banquet at the Holiday Inn in Painted Post this December. In the meantime, IÕll keep the timing lights on for you.