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The season winds down… Part 1: The Subaru Challenge

Friday, November 21st, 2008

We were all very sad when it was announced that Subaru of America would not be backing any Subaru Challenge events in 2008. It had been a great event for the last five years, even though it always rained (Mother Nature’s way of reminding us why we have Subarus, I guess). After several sad and emo months weeping for the loss of the challenge, Folger Subaru in Charlotte stepped up to host one! The Central Carolina SCCA region handled the sanctioning and the autocross part. I can’t say that any of us were thinking rationally. Combining the Challenge with a Sunday event in Virginia Beach (hosted by the Tidewater Sports Car Club) it would mean driving about 1200 miles for something like ten minutes of seat time. But, well, the math for autocross has never been that great anyway…

Since you have to run a Subaru, Slava co-drove with John, and Ed co-drive with fellow MAIC’er Ian. Travis drove his “I hate this car” 2.5RS. We started down on Friday. After rendez-vousing at Sheetz, we headed down 81-S. Gas was down to 1.99 a gallon for 93 octane in the sticks – bonus. As we crossed the border to North Carolina, we were greeted with this:

Welcome to North… something.

We made it to the dealer in time to catch the social event at the dealership. At the raffle, Travis won $50 in Subaru parts, and Ed won $100 – good omen. After a last minute hotel change (“You’re going to the Comfort Inn, right?” “Yeah, the Comfort Suites.” “Comfort Inn?” “Comfort Suites.” “F***”) we had a Yuengling enhanced MAIC gathering and finally let road trip fatigue kick in.

We awoke to… rain.

All of ST* ran in the first heat, so John, Slava and Travis all got to dry the course for the folks with the hugest race tires. The course was a drift-fest with everyone fighting to find grip. After the dust had settled, John ended up winning STX by about a half second over last year’s South Central Subaru Challenge winner, Chris Harp. Slava was another four tenths back in 3rd place. Travis finished 3rd in STS, behind two well-prepped old-school 2.5RS’s.

In the afternoon, Ed ran with Ian (who gotanSTI) on Ed’s old 235 width RA1′s. They were a bit outgunned in a class won by a 2006 STi on remote-reservoir Ohlins with 315-width Hoosier A6′s. Ed ended up 5th in SM.

The Challenge round was next. Ed, in a fairly crappy PAX situation (Ian’s car is basically an STU car with more boost and the RA1s) did not make the challenge. Slava’s times qualified him, but he was ineligible because he did not own a Subaru. That left John and Travis reppin’ the BDR. In the dry, John got down to a 51.9, finishing 7th, a mere nineteen thousandths of a second behind Chris. Travis finished 10th, dropping 1.2 seconds off his wet time. The overall trophy went to fellow MAIC’er Karen Kraus in her “I actually own one now” 2006 “Cool, automatic” WRX.

In the end, project:BDR took home three trophies, and MAIC represented itself very well.

Time to get to work in the video lab…

June 1 @ Fedex

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Because of a BDR wedding, half of the team had to run in *SP instead of ST*.

235 width street tires vs ESP cars on wide-ass race tires? :unamused:

Parted-out, back-to-stock 05 STi vs BSP cars on wide-ass race tires? :unamused:

Despite the misclassings, good times were had. John finished 6th out of 8 in ESP (and beat FSP), a mere 3.5 seconds back from Brian Burdette. Kevin finished 7th/8 in STU. Ben isn’t in the results, and I am not sure why.

In STS2, Mei struck back in Spouse Battlestage 2008 (!!!!1), hanging half a second on Slava.

Finally, Travis took the first BDR class win of the year, finishing 1st in a 14-car STS field.

May recap

Monday, May 19th, 2008

NRAS @ Cumberland Airport, May 3

The Cumberland Airport autoxes held by National Road Autosports are always good times. The courses aren’t what one might call “technical” (i.e. painful for momentum cars) but they are well run and very relaxed. The sweet tea at the airport cafe is also rather awesome.

You don’t mess with the MR2 mafia.

Slava and Mei finished 1-2 in STS2 in their new-ish hardtop MR2.  Alski finished 2nd in STU, with his carefully prepped WRX against a pair of STi’s. John finished 1st in STX, PAX’d 6th out of 98 and had the fastest time on street tires.

WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex, May 4

With the first event having been tornadoed before STS, STX or STU could run, this was the first points event for most of BDR. Kevin would miss the event though, something about some massive party in Amsterdam. Some people think there’s more to life than autocross. Sad, but true :(

STS2 was deep as usual. Slava finished 7th and Mei finished 9th in a class won by kart junkie Brian Garfield. In the four-seater STS, Travis finished 2nd, only three tenths out of first. This was the first BDR trophy of the year.

As for the b00sted pig classes, Ben finished 8th in STU. John finished 3rd in STX, struggling to make his Subaru turn, at all. Apparently four degrees of negative camber in the front was not enough.

 I’ve got a fever and the only cure is… more front bar.

CDC @ Frederick, May 10

This event started out wet, but didn’t finish that way. Al and John ran early in the morning while the rain was coming down. Despite running respectable times for their heat, John and Al would only finish with 68 and 50 points respectively, being surpassed by many afternoon drivers on a dry course.

Travis had another strong event, finishing with 79 points. Ed, switching back to the Miata, finished with 56.

This would also be the last hurrah for John’s Cobb front swaybar. 23.5mm just isn’t getting it done. Kevin, parting out his oil-burning 05 STi to replace it with an oil-burning 08 STi, had some Whiteline 27mm mojo available. Oh yes.

That’s it for May. The yearly trip to the Outer Banks consumed the two following weekends.

April recap: showers bring cancelled events

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

CDC @ Bowie, March 30

The cherry blossoms (or something like them) were in full bloom for the season kickoff at Bowie Baysox Stadium.

Dan brought his brother Alex, who was fresh from Japan, and now sporting a new JDM haircut. Ben was ready for the season, but his wheel studs were not. John was not ready for the season either, so he chose to take out his frustration on Al’s clutch instead of his own. New project:BDR member Travis showed up to represent the plastic. Mei and Slava were in one of their newly-bred MR2′s after another offseason of breeding. The event went well, and the PAX results are were added to the project:BDR CDC PAX results page (it’s on your right).


WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex, April 6

The first Fedex event of the year brought rain – a sign of things to come. Travis finished 2nd in STS on his new Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1′s. Ben and Kevin matched their numbers, finishing #4 and #5 in STU. Mei narrowly defeated Slava in the completely insane STS2 class. Despite the beauty of all wheel drive, John only managed 4th in STX, finishing behind three front wheel drive cars. His hero run was not meant to be, ending in a spectacular spin. Hey, at least it’s not for points.

CDC @ Bowie, April 12

Cancelled. Rain. :(

WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex (TnT), April 13

Slava learned a valuable lesson: it’s much easier to autocross with a functional shifter. John also learned a valuable lesson: Civics should be banned from STX because they are too fast :(

WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex, April 20

This was the first points event. Or at least, it was for half of the competitors. A tornado (yes, really, a tornado) shut down the event shortly after the start of the 4th heat. Slava snagged the 4th place spot in STS2 before the mayhem, pulling ahead of Mei in Spouse War 2008. John, Kevin, Ben and Travis did not get to run, and with good cause. I would like to blame this all on Chike, for his purchase of an RX8 to replace his WRX. If you’re reading this Chike, it is all your fault.

CDC @ Bowie, April 26

Travis and John had pretty normal days, both finishing in the top 15. Ed did not have quite as good a day


“We can rebuild it… we have the technology”

That covers it for April!