2000 SCCA Meridian National Tour

(As originally posted to the Talon Digest)

We then drive the 1200km to Meridian, another uneventful drive in beautiful weather. On Friday, I do the Evolution Autocross school (well worth it - I pulled an average 1 second out of my times, and a peak of 1.6 seconds, compared to my baseline) Unfortunately, we didn't do much promotion for the Meridian event, and the class is slated to be only 2 cars. Then it turns out that the other car blew his motor a day before the race. Looks like I'm doing exhibition runs. But on the bright side, I won!

The first day, I'm driving like my old self, and there's this funny noise coming from the left front wheel that's bothering me. With no competitive pressure, and no desire to hurt the car, I kinda take it easy. I wind up about 2 seconds back (on raw time) from where I want to be. In Impound, the noise has gone away, and I pull the front brake caliper to check for rocks in the pad, and find nothing.

The next day, I decide to concentrate on applying the stuff I learned at the school. The first run is a spin (power-on oversteer through a wet patch) but the track is dry by the second runs, and my second run is just a little off pace with Super Stock (the 'vettes and RX7s) who are running with us. The track is fast fast FAST - rev limiter, in second, TWICE! - and I'm having a ball. The third run is just 3 tenths off the winning time in SS. Baby! However, it gets scored as a DNF, as I apparently miss a gate right at the finish. I know I didn't miss it, and my spotter (who was standing right there) didn't see it either, but with nobody else in class, it doesn't seem worth burning karma to argue it with T&S.

Back in the pits, I notice that the noise is back, and with lots of time, I check over the front suspension, and find that the wheel bearings in the left front have like 1/4" of play in them. I hit the shop manual to find out how to adjust/inspect them, and discover that "you can't". The hub bearing assembly is some sort of sealed unit that must be replaced in totum. *groan*

We load up the car, pick up my trophy, and head on home 1400km to Windsor. Once again, beautiful weather and no truck problems.

Overall, a smashing success. The car is working well, and most importantly, I'm driving better than I have my entire career. We're also attracting a LOT of attention these days too, as SM is getting lots of press, and we're the SM poster child. There's a few bugs to work out yet, but the rest of the season looks pretty good from where I sit now. And as the next big race isn't until May, I've got time to prepare and test.

Anybody got a spare hub?