Tag Archives: SMA

Miata Optimizes Form & Function at Autocross

Seeing an older model car that has been well taken care of is always a pleasant experience & also an inspiration.  On top of that, if it is driven in occasional competition events, that’s even better!

Autocross events tend to feature many Miata models in varying states of performance & condition. At the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5, Chanh-Duy brought his well maintained 1994 B-package model Mazda Miata.  What I first noticed was the paint – it still had its showroom luster.  This car has 137K miles…

The next noticeable things were the real carbon fiber hood & trunk, along with the slick more modern looking low-profile, dual headlights (with integrated NACA ducts on the carbon fiber light covers).  Very striking and makes the car newer & more up to date looking.  I really DO like those headlights!

Chanh-Duy has added some aesthetic & functional enhancements that look & work well – they do not detract form the form or function of his Miata.  The Garage Vary Urethane Front Lip Spoiler & the rear trunk spoiler also make the car more distinct & aggressive looking.

I asked Chanh-Duy about the LEDs mounted to the rear of his Boss Frog roll bar.  Since the carbon fiber trunk lid does not have a third brake light (like the OEM lid), he positioned them to be easily visible out the back window when the top is up.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a shot of the engine bay.  I’m sure it would have been good, based on what I saw of this Miata’s outside condition.  Here’s what Chanh-Duy told me about his car’s upgrades & modifications:

  • Moss Motors MP62 supercharger
  • Jackson Racing headers
  • Racing Beat Power Pulse exhaust
  • Tein Flex coil overs (7kg/mm front, 6kg/mm rear)
  • Racing Beat 1-1/8″ front sway
  • No rear sway
  • TR Motorsports 15″x7.5″ ET42 wheels

In addition to all of this, Chanh-Duy is an active member of the Tejas Miata Club, based in Austin, TX.

This whole Miata package fit so well.  It was not at all over the top – very attractive.  I like!

Racing Ready likes well-integrated packages…my time will come!


Dragon Racer Lashes Out At Autocross

What takes 3 people to manage, is fluorescent orange/yellow in color, & is ferociously loud…?  Some very special “cars” show up at autocross events.  Here’s a case in point from the recent SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5.

It’s the Dragon! This unique racing vehicle has seen serious autocross & SCCA Solo II Nationals competition.   It’s not streetable, but a dedicated racing competition machine.  This purpose built race car sports a RX1100 Yamaha Super Bike engine putting out upwards of 175HP.  With such little weight, it sure scoots!

The Dragon is co-driven by Brianne Corn (featured here previously), Tommy Saunders (Tommy’s a 5 time National Champion) & Jason.  These guys are all serious, but it seems like they have time to make it fun, too.  Here’s a video of one of Jason’s runs.

Here’s a another video of the Dragon & Brianne’s current autocross ride, a 2005 Subaru WRX STi.  This sure shows how “on the edge” driving the Dragon can be.

As usual Brianne put in an awesome effort…here’s her video proof:

Here’s what she had to say about this run:

This is my second fastest run of the day. I DNFed the good one!  Driving this car is a really amazing experience.  I started wearing a neck collar because I am getting mild whiplash from driving it…

Toward the end of the day Brianne shared with me that her most recent run garnered top time of day & top PAX.  Then Tommy went out and just beat her time & announced that it was time to pack up the car & put it in the trailer.  She was upset, to say the least, as she had one more run to go!

Racing Ready is braced for future neck snapping updates!


SPOKES President Enjoys New 350Z Ride

The President of the SPOKES club (Rick) brought his new (to him) 2007 Nissan 350Z to the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5.

You may recall earlier this year, the elements conspired to dump some major hail on Rick’s previous autocross driver, a 1989 BMW M3.  He succeeded in selling his car & was able to shop around & find this car, which is his current pride & joy.

Rick stated that his Nissan is bone stock.  Knowing how he likes to tinker & tweak, I wonder how long before some items get upgraded…

When you are the President of an autocross club, you need to show up very early to get things set up.  Here’s a picture he took with the San Marcos sunrise as the background.  It’s a nice “dawning on autocross” shot from Rick’s Facebook page – sweet & sultry!

Later in the day, Rick’s throttling through a slalom on the way to completing a clean & fast run.

Racing Ready appreciates those who appreciate these rides for their performance value, as well as for their aesthetic value.


Triumph Autocrosser Debuts Other Spitfire

Robert, a big time vintage Triumph Spitfire autocrossing enthusiast, brought out another of his Triumph Spitfires to the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5.

This dark blue model is from 1978.  It’s a relatively stock 1500 model.  The exceptions to that configuration are as follows:

  • Wheels & tires
  • Dual SU carbs
  • headers
  • lowered springs

Autocross Videocam Footage

As usual, Robert had fun.  He was trying a variety of Motorsports HERO Wide placement options, even trying shooting video from his helmet.  The following video is from his “helmetcam” mounting:

Although the camera was at an odd angle, it really gives you a good illustration as to how you need to be looking toward the next set of cones that you’ll be going through.  Anticipation is one of the keys to successful autocrossing – our brains tend to to tell our arms to steer toward what we are looking at.  Thanks Robert!

Racing Ready offers these tidbits of competition advice.


H2R Crew Goes AutoXing, Plus – Part 2 (Miata)

Here’s just a little bit about the second car brought by the one of the members of the Harris Hill Road (H2R) crew. It had been at least a year since Eric Beverding, Operations Manager at Harris Hill Road, had autocrossed.

He brought along his dark grey 2008 Mazda MX-5 (Miata) with only 3k miles on it.  I did a ride-along with him on the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5 course.  It was the first time I had experienced the NC Miata chassis.  It was very tight, quiet & controlled, & even a little roomier.

Eric had a great time, followed by the H2R After Hours party…

All had a good time, as well as numerous lead & follow hot laps.

Racing Ready is hot on good laps, too


H2R Crew Goes AutoXing – Part 1 (Autobianchi)

I’ve written many posts here about Harris Hill Road (H2R) in conjunction with their road course track & related events.  At the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5, Bo Rivers & his crew came to autocross with 2 very different cars.

The first car is a fun little car I consider as a sort of the automotive equivalent of a mascot of H2R, the 1974 Autobianchi A112 Abarth.

This fun little car is always the center of attention, wherever it goes.  There was no exception of this at the SPOKES Autocross #5 event.  This Italian thoroughbred is all stock & very clean.

The only slight modification was cutting the front coil springs a bit to lower it.  Also, Bo described for me their solution to control the rear suspension travel.  They were not able to source a rear anti-sway bar that would work with the transverse-mounted single rear leaf spring.  Bo came up with the idea of a rear anti-sway strap, the $5.00 solution to cure the roll problem.  It looks just fine & works as intended.

I did a ride-along through the SPOKES SMA autocross course with Pierce.  It’s a fun handling car.  One secret is that you have to continually “row” through the gears to keep within the torque band (and also deal with FWD handling issues).

At the H2R track, they have an ongoing competition with the Autobianchi.  Members can compete for the Autobianchi record & bragging rights.  What is done is you take the car out on the course in one direction.  Then after completing 1 lap, you turn around & take the car around the track in the opposite direction.  The cumulative time is posted on the wall of the H2R Club House, for all the see & admire…

Racing Ready enjoys fun vintage competition cars – tomorrow will be the 2nd car…


Father/Son Vintage Camero In Autocross

There were other “vintage” cars besides Cliff’s 1976 Cosworth Vega at the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5.  There was a father/son team co-competing in a modified 1968 Chevrolet Camero.

By both the looks & sounds, you could definitely tell this car was no longer stock.

Neither Paul was very forthcoming about the mechanical mods to this aggressive sounding beast.  The engine was a 383 (cubic inches) fuel injected motor.  Also, the front end had some coilover shocks accompanied by a 3″ drop.  That more powerful than stock engine was accompanied by an open manual 5-speed transmission.

Up to date tires & wheels were a serious combination of Hoosiers mounted on Forgeline wheels.

It was good to see 2 different generations of family enjoying the unification of their ride, a good ole Chevy Camero…

Racing Ready has already been witness to the fun competition of parent/child racing rivalry:

It would be good to see more of this family sharing – as the family that races together, stays together!