Saturday, May 27, 2017

...Gang aft agley!

The start of this season hasn't gone as I had envisioned it. The vision in my head mid February went something like this:

  • Head swap mid-March
  • Tuning late march/early April
  • Learn the changes to car at Event 1 and in the next Renegade event. 
  • Race #2 expect decent result
  • more practice events
  • Race #3 and onward... full speed ahead, chasing another top-10 & class wins to try try for a second season championship, with Leafy doing his best to make it tough (cue the stirring music, with videos of wobbling cones, and spin outs and times in red LED letters, people cheering, other people shaking their head or pounding the wheel... etc...).
It sounded like a nice plan, but like most plans, the intersection with reality was disruptive. Actual results were more like:
  • Mid-march - Mechanic no space to work on car, must wait.
  • Late march - Delivered car to mechanic
  • Early April - Headwork more involved than expected due to one unreachable bolt, timing chain cover comes off to detach timing chain guide from head.
  • Prep for race 1: Drove other folks cars at test and tune (thanks Bill, Thanks Jake!)
  • Race 1: Co-driver lends me his car (Honda s2000 in full STR prep) wind up in 4th place, Co-Driver takes 1st with a time that (if STR pax) would be 7th in pax.
  • Cancel reg for NCR Porsche, miss Renegade event
  • Mid-April Mechanic reports head on, difficulty shimming the valves, some are too tight for shims
  • Race 2: Co-driver again lends me his car, take 3rd place, with co-driver again taking 1st.
  • Late April - difficulty getting shims.
  • Early May - one valve so tight, even 00 shim won't work, contemplate head off and shave valve stem.
  • Mid May - Consultation with machinist leads to shaving the shims instead of the valves
  • Miss 2nd Renegade event...
  • Event #3 - Co-driver at wedding, Drive Matt's ASP prep STI - take second place
  • Late May - Car Runs! Get the car back, 
  • Tuners, no space for car, must wait.
  • Tuners schedule me for tuning in very early June.
  • Miss 3rd Renegade event, Cancel Track Club Event... 
  • new ECU installed and starting
So, If I'm very lucky I'll get two events worth of practice before the national tour, maybe 20 runs to settle into the new setup, and if any minor delays, only one event... if a major delay... I miss the tour, which counts as events #4 and #5.  Sadly (but lucky for me points-wise) Leafy also has had a slow start to the season and his car will also make it's first appearance in the tour. Where both of us will have to contend with Todd Kean (alien) in the #99 Nissan S240 "Panda" (space ship).

As for season points... well, the good news is Leafy mostly drove cars even less SSM than I did, and I'm well ahead of him. The bad news is Nick, my Co-driver is scaring the crap out of me by posting crazy good times in his car. I certainly expect a little bit of a break when we switch to my car, due to home-car advantage, but I'm thinking once he adjusts, he's going to be pushing me pretty hard (which is good!)... 

Nick's skill only adds to the fun of course. This year SSM seems to also have SML national champ in the Kuehl's SMF CRX... running in SSM for fun... sure it's SMF, but it's possibly the fastest SMF car in the nation, and she's a national champion. Next event, we get to see the long awaited result of Leafy's motor swap. He put a 2.5L engine in his NA Miata and turbo'd it... probably for 400+hp! This year, there is competition!  

On the plus side, I did get to drive some interesting cars. Many thanks to the owners. Here are some pictures of the cars (only the S2000 is a picture of me driving though with Nick passenger):

  • Tuner refuses car for Tailpipe smoke issue... ARGHHH!
  • Drive Derek's S2000 at BMW
  • Drive Nick's S2000 at Porsche Club and National Tour
  • Still waiting for the music...

Thanks Bill!

Thanks Jake!

 Thanks Nick!

 Thanks Matt!

PS. if you don't get the title of the post, it comes from a rather famous poem called "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns... the full line is:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men 
          Gang aft agley,