July 27 marked the Club’s 5th summer autocross and the competition heats up with the weather. Anyone who made it to four events has a new focus: Hold on to a class win, or improve on times and try to move higher in the trophy positions. Some classes are still anyone’s game with less than 50 season points separating the top standing driver from 2nd and even 3rd place in BMW D Street Tire, Ladies, Expert, Non-BMW Street classes, and even our top Novice drivers for 2013. Drivers will need to perform consistently well in the last two events this season to maintain their trophy spots!
Event #5 also saw some new members and renewals after years of lapsed memberships. Several RMSolo SCCA veterans came out to experience a different type of day and racing community. Their presence was appreciated and readily welcomed, especially as several regulars were not present due to Ofest preparations or simply due to the vacation-centric nature of summertime. A few new joiners came for extra seat time to prepare for the SCCA Solo National Championships, which are held in Lincoln over Labor Day weekend; others wanted more time to shake down new vehicle builds; and others simply wanted to see why those of us who run with BMWCCA have such a blast! BMW generally has smaller run groups, more runs, a laid-back atmosphere, and all of our events feature a terrific “Let’s do that again!” course designed by Chris Mayfield. PPIR’s size and surface variations allow for plenty of room to get up speed as well as hone technical skills such as entering a sharp sub-90-degree turn right after the starting lights and, after a quick initial slalom to get everyone in the rhythm, force us all to look ahead to determine how much braking is needed to prepare for a turnaround that crosses the slick “skid pad” material in the Northeast corner. There was another turnaround shortly before the finish which tested every driver’s inner discipline; it was tempting to get too spirited with the throttle and try to powerhouse through the last turns to the blue finish cones, but instead steady hands and patience were needed to effectively set up for the final gates.
Robert Thorne took the day’s 1000 point PAX win in the BigBadWolf S2000, this time with fresh rear tires. Chris Mayfield was hot on Robert’s heels in his E92 M3 coupe. Chris is currently third in X for the season, not surprising considering how many hours of seat time he has put into honing his driving skills. The BigBadWolf’s codriver Amanda Hahn came in #3 for the day. Amanda has held firm class places and wins this season, her gutsy style allowing her to hold her own amongst racing veterans.
Amanda and Jessica battled it out in Ladies Class with Amanda taking the win by 2.2 seconds, though Jessica does admittedly have a “passenger.” But in a Street Prepared vehicle, every ounce matters. The combination of a well prepared car and fearless driver can create a challenging new dimension to class competition.
Expert Class saw yet another interesting rank of drivers; the top contenders constantly shuffle back and forth as they gain hundredths and even thousandths of a second. David Jobusch was edged out by codriver Lee Michael by 0.001 seconds! Mark Smith moved into the trophy spots in his mother Connie’s Audi TT and Chris Mayfield, who had been car-hopping which likely kept him out of the trophy spots, pulled a solid 2nd place in his E92 M3.
Tad Kaminski proved himself once again in D Street Tire; after event #3 he apparently won’t let Robert Critchley eke by him again, and took the win by over half a second.
Both D Street Tire and BMW Race Tire classes proved to be a showcase of decades of BMW development: D Street featured everything from a 1972 2002, to a 2004 330Ci. Joe Lavonas was out in his yellow 1969 1600 in BMW Race Tire, the bright little car like an M&M sliding across the kitchen counter. He was matched against three E36 M3s and an E46 330i, with Brad Kettler taking that class’s win in his red 1998 M3.
Despite rain clouds rolling over Pikes Peak and heading east, the weather held in Fountain and the course stayed hot and dry until the 11:30th hour when it was time to quickly pack up.