Riding the Seneca Highway: A New Beginning


I’m back. Not only am I back, but Solo is back and we’re both the better for it. Or at least, I think we are. From an osprey nest to a burned-out clutch and everything inbetween, this was an event worth experiencing and 49 drivers apparently agreed as Sunday, May 4 saw the first Glen Region Solo event for the 2008 season at the acme of Upstate New York solo sites, the Seneca Army Depot. What was even better was that the weather cooperated. Oh, it could have been a few degrees warmer and there could have been a tad more sunshine than what we received and someone could have made a fortune if they’d opened up a sandwich stand on the tarmac, and I wouldn’t have minded the Dallas Cowgirls cheering us on, but I’m not complaining. This event was as good a start to a new solo season as one gets and I was glad I was there.


Bret Bauer designed the course layout and a good design it was. For one thing, it required little in the way of memorization and resulted in a minimum of cone killage. Oh, a few off-courses did occur (Right, Bruce... ?!?) and more than a few cars were rubbing off kone smudge after the event, but I suspect that the offending drivers were well aware that they were going off course when the infractions occurred and few complaints were given. The course, itself, opened with a leftward drift into a short slalom, before entering one of the Glen Region’s infamous “Pearly Gates.” For the uninitiated, in a “Pearly Gate” the course passes through a gate in one direction, reverses and passes back through the same gate but going in the opposite direction. The Pearly Gate led to a relatively high speed ess-turn which emptied to the right through some relatively high speed turns before ending into a decidedly slower, box - left, which itself emptied into another slalom. The slalom led to a hard left turn, followed by some criss-crossing that required drivers to hold back on the throttle to avoid overshooting the component gates. Cones were rarely in trouble at the criss-cross, but having spent a couple run groups watching this section I can tell you that many drivers never realized that better times would have resulted had they not come in quite so hot at these gates and spent valuable time flailing at the wheel. After the criss-crossing the course arced a gentle and fast 90 degrees into the “stop lights” and ended.


There were several large classes present at the event, including six in A-Stock and Street Modified, five in F125 Shifter Kart and Street Touring S, four in Street Modified 2, and the largest class of them all, H-Stock with seven entrants. In the aforementioned H-Stock, Mike Hargrave (2006 Mazda 3) jumped ahead in his first run and never looked back, leaving the big battle between Richard Ayers (2002 Honda Civic Si) and David Sky (2001 Honda Civic) for second place. The final result was Richard taking second place after David punted a kone that took away his chance for glory. Next time, David.


As mentioned, A-Stock had six entrants and only Ben Heater’s Subaru 2004 WRX STi kept it from being an all-S2000 day (Someone’s got to talk to that boy). Being the odd man out didn’t stop Ben from almost seizing class honors, but in the end Skip Testut (2001 Honda S2000) edged him out by 2/10 of a second. James Semper followed Ben and claimed third place honors in a lovely 2008 Honda S2000 Club Racer.


In Street Modified, six drivers in a variety of cars competed. Ben Gilmore (1996 Plymouth Breeze) got out in front in the first runs, but a fried clutch took away his opportunity to get even better times in the second group. It was enough for our illustrious solo board leader, Kyle Kubick (1994 VW Corrado SLC) to turn in some great times and win the class. Just behind Ben for third place with a very respectable time was Julius Carozza in his 1985 BMW 318.


In the chainsaw class, also known as F125 Shifter Kart, five drivers vied. Despite it being the day after Casey’s birthday, Rob Craig (1991 Techno Kart) showed no mercy to the group and took the checker for his efforts, not to mention earning FTD honors while doing it. Casey Creamer (MW Chassis 100cc HPV) did manage a respectable time and second place, and Pat Scopelliti (1991 Techno Kart) took third. Glen Region Regional Executive, Ed Zebrowski, had to be satisfied with his Coyote WB being voted ugliest in class.


Allan Kintz (2005 Scion tC) came out of the timing box running and never let up until the Street Touring S trophy was his. Of the remaining four drivers in the class, Erick Vanduyne (2001 BMW 330i) ran on fumes, but managed second place, while Bill Szozda (1992 Eagle Talon) came from behind Ryan Stout (1999 Subaru Impreza 2.5), who led in the first runs, to nip Ryan in the second group of runs and get third place.


Street Modified 2 had four entries, including a father-son battle. When the last timing light clicked off, though, it was David Savage (2006 Nissan 350Z) who cruised to victory leaving the Raymond family to fight it out for second place. Son Colin Raymond may be new to this sport, but his 1992 Mazda Miata carried him ahead of his very proud, but third place father, Dave Raymond, in the same car. I always thought that teenagers borrowed their father’s car?!?


I already mentioned that the best time of the day was Rob Craig (1991 Techno Kart), but there were other hot shoes in attendance, as well. The fastest stock car and PAX titles (which were incredibly fast) were earned by Bret Bauer (2000 Chevrolet Camaro). Bret also deserves a trophy for his good-natured handling of all the razzing he took for his success ON A COURSE HE DESIGNED! Other best times of the day included fastest in Street Prepared won by Ryan Jones (1999 Mazda Miata), fastest in the prepared classes won by Eric Ludewig (Pontiac Trans Am), fastest in the touring classes won by Allan Kintz (2005 Scion tC), and fastest in the Street Modified won by David Savage (2006 Nissan 350Z). There were several other single car and two car classes at the event and I highly recommend checking them out along with all of the official results online at http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/schedule.asp.


The Glen Region thanks all the people who helped organize and run the 2008 inaugural solo event. This includes Pat Scopelliti, who did an outstanding job as event chair, Richard Ayers and Kyle Lubick for working registration, Ken Moyer and Tom Deneka for being safety stewards, Casey Creamer for hauling the trailer to the event and Rob Craig for hauling it back home, again. Eric Navestad also helped getting supplies to and from the site and deserves mention, as well. Finally, a special Glen Region vote of appreciation to John Pierce, who did not enter the event, but who showed up just the same to work timing and scoring for us. John, for your dedication, I insist that you keep the coat-hanger wire I loaned you to repair the exhaust system on your BMW. It’s the least I can do. On a personal note, I want to thank Rob Craig for hauling my new tires to and from the event and Casey for warehousing them for me. The tires are a lot lighter now, you know. I figure that by the end of the season they will have shed enough rubber to be hauled and stored in the S2000. If I omitted anyone, I apologize. It was not intentional.


The next event is scheduled for Sunday, May 11 at The Shops at Ithaca Mall, formerly known as the Pyramid Mall off of Triphammer Road. Bring your Birkenstocks and your Kumhos, not to mention peanuts to feed the Ithakans. More information is available on our website at http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/.


We'll keep the timing lights on for you.