1998 Peru Prosolo
Wow, what an absolutely incredible weekend.
Two weeks ago, I drove really well in a regional AutoX, and one of the pros in my region took notice and asked me to drive his car in the ProSolo2 event in Peru. (The idea is that the second driver heats up the tires for his, so he goes faster)
Despite the fact he drives a Mazda MX-6, I accepted, figuring that the experience would be worth it. Besides, it was a hell of a complement.
However, his car was in the shop, and the dealer dropped the ball, and the car was not ready by the time we had to leave.
So I suggested we take my car.
He was initially reluctant, but with little else in the way of options, he agreed. I drove my car into his enclosed trailer, hopped into the motorhome (we're running with the big dogs now Toto!) and off we went.
Once in Peru, he had to go look up someone who had been promised the use of his car in the Lady's Challenge, and let her know that the MX-6 was really a Talon. We found her having dinner with a bunch of other G Stock-ers. Yow! There was half the top National competitors sitting there!
The mission for the weekend abruptly became "don't embarrass yourself" not "win" :(
She was _not_ a happy camper, got mad at John for bringing an "uncompetitive" car, and said she'd find something else to drive. Everybody else (including everyone we met up to the start of the event) kept offering their sympathies to John, because his dealer had forced him into such a dog.
And I started getting really ticked. I mean really ticked. Really, really, really ticked. New mission: silence the naysayers!
The next day, we got our fist look at the track, and I almost had a heart attack. If you had given me a pile of cones and told me to build the best possible track for a Talon, that would be it: A long (1/8 mille) straight, feeding into a fast slalom, and from there into a series of big sweepers joined by short straights. Little or no bumps, and because this is ProSolo2, a side-by-side drag race start on a drag race tree.
This was going to be fun. :)
My first run, I was up against Jeff Fields in a V6 Firebird. This is the guy that took second or third at Nationals (I think) - an amazing driver in an amazing car. 6000 RPM, dump the clutch, and Zoom! I've got at least a car length on him by the end of the first straight. The announcer almost fell out of his chair! Pretty soon, there's a little crowd forming ever time I launched. (You get a LOT of runs in a Pro event)
By the end of my heats, I was solidly in 5th place, just out of the trophies.
The real story though, was John. He, being the pro, is a better driver than I am, and he was _stomping_ the class by half a second or so.
In fact, he was so far ahead that we got protested for illegal boost levels, illegal front suspension, and illegal cat converter by the guy in second place. No way could the car be _that_ fast. (Some weenies will do anything to win)
This was a bit of a heartstopper, because I, like a dope, had left my shop manuals at home - and shop manuals are how protests are resolved. We were facing disqualification until John got ahold of the janitor at a local Eagle dealer, who gave us the phone number of the service manager, who drove 20 miles from home to lend us the manual!
A few tests were done, and the car was declared... legal (duh). Yeehaah!
The next day went even better. I pulled a few more tenths out of my time, and at one point I did a run that would have put me in third - except that I clipped a cone. :(
The end result: I trophied, taking 4th. Even better, I won the Grassroots Motorsports Magazine Pro Rookie award - my name, along with my sponsor's name, is going to be in GM, Sportscar, NA Pylon, and a whole slew of other newsletters. What's more, there's a few people who are seriously considering buying a DSM on the strength of this weekend's performance. A whole lot of eyes were opened.
Incidentally, I was told that for a rookie to trophy in a class like GS is unheard of, that there hasn't been a protest in GS in 7 years, and that we were the "sentimental favourite" for bringing something different, triumphing over adversity, and finally cleaning house.
We got a _lot_ of attention.
John (who won) is so happy with the car that he wants to drive it in every event he can. That means I get trailered everywhere, get to stay in the motorhome, and he's buying me a set of new tires - I corded one (EGOD) this weekend. If you buy R1's SHAVE THEM! They last a lot longer.
I have to go apply for my Pro licence now. :)