Equipe Rapide 02 May 2004 Mineral Wells
Costas, Gary, Nick and Cody go play cone-dodgers under the beautiful Texas sky.
The ER event yesterday was freaking awesome. It flowed
wonderfully, had great rythm and was *extremely* challenging. I was trying to
think of a better autocross I had been to and I just couldn't. As Cody put it,
it was Costas-Cross on crack. If we could remove the "high 60's mph speed
for stock and SP cars" then I could do a course like this. Equipe Rapide
used the ENTIRE MW site. From top-of-second gear slaloms, to deep 3rd gear
offsets and chutes, to penalty/reward corners and thought-provoking optional
slaloms, this course was fantastic. I don't know if anyone got an exact mileage
on it, but it was AT LEAST 1.25 miles. Probably closer to 1.4+
Yes, there were some negative issues. They had a few timing issues that stopped running for at least a half-hour (total), and also some times got messed up. Big whoop. Happens to everyone.
But when the president of the club tells you that this course is fast and possibly dangerous and if you aren't confident about your abilities and the safety then they will GIVE YOU A REFUND after the drive-through, you KNOW it's gonna be fun! Cody and I had already walked the course twice and we KNEW this course was going to ROCK. Yes, it was uber-fast, and yes there was minimal runoff in SOME spots, but what a joy to drive!! Definitely not an OD101 or n00b course!!
Gary and I rolled out at 0415 on Sunday, Miss B4C and Knocker gliding thru the cold night making good time to Waco. Nick left San Antonio at who-knows-what-time but met us in Waco at 0545. We all rolled up to Ft. Worth and as hwy 30 met hwy 20, Cody was less than a mile behind us. We all joined up and pulled into MW at 0730. Nick and Cody and I had all swapped tires (Gary was on streets) and were ready to go by 0800! Registration opened at 0830 but we were in line at 0815 as Cody gave us the inside track on how ER does stuff. You register and pick when you work. They run 3 heats and you work one and run the other two. Obviously, 'work heat 1' fills up FAST. You get 4 runs and then two pax runs (for money!) if you sign up for it and pay the additional 10$ (the top ten or twelve paxers win money back, but we just wanted the additional runs). So Cody and I got to work the first heat (WHOOP, get it out of the way early), and Nick and Gary got to clean the course as thier work assignment. So, if you register last, you end up running the first (dirty course) and second heat and having to work the third...in the heat of the day. Yuck.
So Cody and I worked Heat1 while Nick and Gary went and got us all an early lunch. We gridded for Heat2 and prepped for our runs with air pressure and shock changes.
In-FREAKIN-credible. This is the FIRST time in YEARS I felt rushed on an autocross course. The speeds were so fast the corners were coming up much quicker than the loooong walkthrough suggested. I got behind in my visual scanning and felt like a n00b! My fastest time came in heat 3 on the last of my rapidpax runs. I pulled a 102.0. All my runs were clean (no cones) and no DNFs. Cody worked his way down to a 102.9 on his last run and Nick and Gary both ran bests of 106.x IIRC.
That is ONE HUNDRED AND TWO seconds. Not a minute and two (or 62) seconds. Yep, for my 25$ entry and 10$ rapid pax entry I got SIX runs at 100+ seconds each. That is over 10 minutes of autocross time! I was in third gear FOUR times each run (I think the LS1 boyees were only in third 2 or 3 times....my weaknut TPI just wont spin like an el-es-juan) which was plenty of time to get my old roadrace hoosiers good and hot. We packed and left after our last runs so we didn't get results. The timing guy thought I got third in rapidpax (overall), but he wasn't sure. I'll have to check the website.
Yes it was a long day, but the weather was awesome, the friendship made it more fun (Nick, what is that noise?) and the event/course was superb. Great times, great times!!