Tag Archives: SMA

Regional Champion Enjoys SPOKES Autocross

Autocross events bring out all kinds of good talent.  I met Jeff, an enthusiastic autocrosser, an SCCA club member (is the Houston Miata Club President) & the 2008 CS Houston SCCA Region Champion.  As you can see, Jeff really believes in competition!

He brought his Titanium Grey 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata to the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5.  He calls his car “Kiryu” & is his second Miata.  He’s owned it since last July.

Jeff already had a great platform to start off with his 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata.  He simply went to the next level to continue to improve its already great performance.  Here’s what he’s been able to do, to bring his car to winning form:

  • Manual Boost controller (set at 10.5 pounds)
  • Corksport 3.1 catback exhaust (allows turbo to spool faster & smoother, with more top end power)
  • Spectre cone filter cold air intake

Running on the stock Miata wheels, utilizing a sticky set of Kuhmo MX tires, you can see how Jeff really enjoys handling his car in autocross.

The interior cockpit area is very clean & stock – actually, like the car, it’s stealthy (except for the distinctive red stitching…)!

Jeff has put together a nice website chronicling the ownership & modification upgrades of his 2 (!) Miatas. Check it out at: www.jeffgoji.org

Winning comes from not only from orchestrating quality parts to improve your car’s performance, but also from your ability to perform at your best, to take advantage of all that improved performance.  Jeff already knows that.  He learned the hard way by over-improving his 1991 Miata, a few years back.  He actually had to bring that Miata back to near stock configuration to learn to drive & compete better.  Jeff’s learning took place by participating in many local autocrosses he called practice events.

Racing Ready believes in the balanced approach to competition preparation; that is, prepare yourself (first) as well as your car.

In other words,

Improve the nut behind the wheel before you ever turn a wrench on the car…

Dan

1976 Cosworth Vega Does Autocross Debut

At this past Sunday’s SPOKES 2009 Autocross #5, there was a classic hot car from the 70’s – a 1976 Chevy Cosworth Vega.  Cliff, the owner, said he’s had this car new since he has in college.  Now that’s true car ownership dedication!

My brother had a standard issue Vega that he took cross-country, back in 1984.  It was an adequate, well-rusted (from the Northeast US) although unexciting little car form the 70’s.  But Cliff’s car model added excitement to the compact Chevrolet line at the time.

Cliff has done very few modifications in the car’s lifetime – it’s relatively stock.  The 4 cylinder engine is 122 cubic inches, AKA, 2 liters.  Most changes were to improve an issue that declining performance necessitated.  Here’s what few items are no longer stock or updated:

  • Dual Weber Carbs kit (instead of fuel injection) with 45mm venturis
  • A milled head
  • MSD ignition module
  • A more supportive, up-to-date driver’s seat

I never did find out how many miles have been clocked by Cliff.  It’s in relatively good original condition for its age.  These original wheels still look good & functional (tire size is 205/60 R13’s – much more aggressive rubber than existed in 1976!).

Cliff had a great time autocrossing his 33 year old ride – it’ll be good to see him back at future autocross events…

Racing Ready wonders how different life would be today with the possession of a car like this sweet little Vega, during college days.  Hmmm…hindsight is SO 20-20!

Dan

Last SMA Autocross For This Year, Well Done!

Yesterday, the fifth SPOKES autocross of the year took place at the San Marcos Municipal Airport (SMA).  It was noteworthy!  There were 138 entries – they ran 4 heats with 5 runs in each heat.  There were also 25 novices.   To top it off, there was a “web reporter” from the Austin-American Statesman newspaper.  And sadly, this was the last SMA -based event, for now.

It had been some time since I’d attended an autocross.  It was good to talk to familiar faces & see familiar competitive vehicles & note some changes since the last time.  I was able to visit with a number of the novices & document info & pictures of their rides for upcoming blog posts.

Here’s what Rick, SPOKES club president wrote about yesterday’s events – I can’t put it any better:

Wow.  All I can say is wow.  What a perfect “last” event at San Marcos Airport.  Where should I start?  How about the absolutely perfect mid-70 degree autocross weather?  Or the 138 entries?  Or the great course set out by Dan and Dani?  Or the excellent burgers that were consumed all day (all 150 of them!)  Or the awesome hospitality shown by the Harris Hill Road crew after the event.  I can honestly say this was the best single-day Spokes event that I’ve ever been a part of!

Thanks out to Dan and Dani (and helpers) for hustling on the course in the morning, thanks to our BOD for flawless execution, thanks out to those that were up for the challenge of learning the computer at a very important event, thanks to the cleanup crew for staying late and going the extra mile for the airport by sweeping up rocks and debris after the event, and extra thanks to Eric, Bo, Cameron, and everyone out at H2R for putting on a great after-party, that was one for the record books.  Good competition, good friends, good food…this is what Spokes is all about!

-Rick

For those that are interested, here are the event results, online:
https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SPOKES/e5_2009_fin.htm

Racing Ready is humbled to be a part of such great autocross camaraderie!

Dan

Hard Chargin’ SRT Dodge Charger

Daniel came all the way up from Corpus Christi, TX to compete at the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #4.  That was a 3+ hour drive for him!  What dedication to compete.

This 2006 SRT Dodge Charger has that big, honkin’ 6.1L Hemi engine.  Daniel has made it even more powerful by optimizing a special AIRAID cold air intake system.  In the photos below you’ll see the dyer vent hose duct entry by the front, left fog light.  This drives dense cool air to the airbox, allowing the engine to breathe more freely & make more power.

Daniel says his car generates a conservative 415WHP!

To gain more control of this better breathing power, Daniel has installed 2 HiFlow catalytic converters & 2 pairs of electric cutouts – 1 pair in front, 1 pair in back.

This car had more power than the tires could take, but you could tell Daniel was having fun.  He has so dedicated this car to compete, that all the seats (except the driver’s) have been removed!

This was an aggressive car.  Too bad there was no passenger seat, as it would have been fun to participate in this powerful thrill with a ride along…

Racing Ready is intrigued by observing car owners push their car’s performance limits.

Dan

Hot Running Mazdaspeed MX-5

Jake brought his 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 to the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #4.  It’s easy to understand why I use the term “hot running”.  Take a look at his car’s gearshift knob – that’s a hot water faucet handle…!

This performance version of the Miata model has only 30,350 miles!  His other car, a daily driver, is a 1992 Lexus SC 400 – also sweet!

Jake made it a special point to show & explain the installation of his Boss Frog Double Hoop Max roll bar.  These are 2 separate roll bar hoops solidly connected to the car’s floorpan & also attached at the center, between the seats – very solid!

The turbo charged engine is stock, with the addition of a Flyin’ Miata coupler Mazdaspeed kit, cold air intake, turbo back exhaust.  Jake is saving up for a special, upgraded management system he’ll be able to control from a laptop, to resolve the lean under boost situation he’s concerned about.

Jake’s car has been rated at 180HP measured at the wheel; this means that the under the hood power is probably closer to over 200HP.

Racing Ready documents these interesting modifications to share with this blog’s readership – I know you want more!

Dan

Never Quit – This Serious Competitor’s Motto

Brianne & her brother Kevin came to competitively autocross at the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #4.  Kevin came to get reacquainted with autocrossing – he’s been away from it for a couple of years.  On the other hand, anyone who knows a little bit about Brianne knows she was here to seriously compete!

Over the past year I have witnessed her in multiple venues: either in person, in Grassroots Motorsports Magazine or documented online.  Brianne has competed seriously in the 2009 Houston National Solo II Tour (see the video above – a nice run), she has autocrossed a 125cc shifter kart (see the video below)…

… and almost achieved membership in the 200MPH club.  Brianne tackled the Texas Mile on a high performance motorcycle (another video below)!

Earlier this year I witnessed Brianne autocrossing her previous white Subaru.  She had cleverly “written” her car’s class & number on the rocker panel mud overspray.

Before I knew that Brianne, Kevin & her car were at this event, I met her Dad.  Not knowing who he was, I started a general conversation with him.  As he started to proudly describe his daughter, I knew he was talking about Brianne.

At this event, Brianne was learning about the handling characteristics of her recently purchased 2005 Subaru WRX STi.  She was not at all happy with the manner in which the rear suspension maneuvered.  She even (at first) loosened, then later entirely removed her car’s rear anti-sway bar.

Brianne has no problem getting into working through a challenge.  She is a very serious competitor, but also has the time to talk with you, if you can get through to her while she is tweaking & adjusting…

From what I could tell, she’s going back to the drawing board as to what she needs to do with her Subaru, to get it to handle more cooperatively.

Racing Ready respects those individuals, like Brianne, who are serious competitors.  They drive and inspire the rest of us to try harder…

Dan

VW R32 – A Very Prepared Competitor

Upon arriving at the SPOKES 2009 Autocross #4, right away I noticed Shawn’s 2004 Volkswagen R32.  What drew my instant attention was the sound.  I heard this large bore, V8 mean muscle sound coming from the course.  As I looked across the arranged orange traffic cones, I incredulously focused on Shawn’s bright red car.  My first thought was, “Is all that powerful sound coming from that little VW hatchback?”

Later, I got to talking with Shawn about his beast of a little car…  Here’s a relatively un-detailed list of the modifications & upgrades Shawn has completed to make this a monster of a VW R32.  It pretty much looks stock under that hood – hmmm…

  • Trick cams
  • Cold air intake
  • Super Sprint headers
  • PS9 coilovers
  • 21mm rear anti-sway bar
  • EIP exhaust

  • It has been corner balanced
  • Tuned by Soul Speed
  • ECU tuning by AWE

  • All wheel drive controller
  • 17 x 8 SSR wheels with 235 tires

Also, the interior doesn’t really give away any hints.  This is a sleeper of a car until Shawn opens up the throttle!

This write up wouldn’t be complete without an on course shot of Shawn at speed…

Racing Ready wants a vehicle with this kind of head turning performance!

Dan