Baby’s First SCCA Solo Nationals

Originally posted on: 09-01-2013

All packed up and ready to head out to the big show in Lincoln, NE. SCCA Solo National Championships bound.

We drove the whole way on Sunday. Left at 3:30 am Central, arrived at 9:00 pm Central. 1000 miles is a LOOOONG way

Originally posted on 09-04-2013

Suffice it to say that Nationals was a freaking riot. Tuesday went so-so. It was my 1st runs ever at nationals and I was inside my own head, and stunk it up pretty badly. But even my co-driver, who held his own in the car couldn’t do much due to the point-and-shoot super high-speed into a pin cone nature of the East course. I was not a fan of the course, and it did not agree with my car.

We added 6 lb of weight in the morning, and rolled across the scales at 1700 lbs even on day 1. Min weight is 1695. *phew*

Peter was 12th and I was 14th of 16 after day 1.

We added another 9 lb of weight that evening for Wednesday’s west course, which walked fun, and drove REALLY fun. The car was well set up for it, we made a small tweak which made it even better, and just had an absolute blast… until my last run when we found out we apparently burned a LOT more fuel than expected. The thing is acting like it’s almost totally out of fuel. I’ve never fuel starved a miata before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. It happened to me about 4 times on my last run, but alas, live and learn. Even with that, that course was excellent. So much fun. Hang on as tight as you can and find out exactly how much you trust the car. Lots of sweepers and transitions.

Peter ended the day in 11th, and I was in 12th. After my utterly abysmal day 1 performance, I’m pretty pleased with that (1 of the places I gained was due to a Lotus with a dead throwout bearing).

All in all, a very successful 1st Solo Nationals for us. Lots of beer drank. Lots of 4 Square played in the Atlanta paddock.

Now, to trade my 4.3:1 diff for a 4.1:1… because damn do we need the gearing. It was better on the West course, but through the slaloms in the 1st couple sections I was just riding the limiter in 2nd.

And onward the project goes

I should probably get a little rest… we’re getting up at 3am to pick up the trailer (with the car already loaded) from the event site for the 17 hour trek home. Fingers crossed that it’ll be as uneventful as the tow up.

Originally posted on: 09-08-2013

Like I told my co-driver when we backed the trailer into my drive-way last night:
“This was a really, REALLY stupid idea. We should do that again sometime.”

Nationals was a great and eye opening experience, and sort of like the 12 Hours of Sebring or the 24 Hours of LeMans (ok, it’s nothing at all like those…), it revealed a few shortcomings and weaknesses in my car. 1st off was the diff. It’s way, way too short. The 4.3:1 just won’t cut it on short 13″ tires. A 4.1:1 is going in today. If that’s too short still, a 3.909:1 can be brought to bear, but I fear the gearing on that may be TOO long. A 4.1 will give us what we need for locals.

Unfortunately in pulling the diff, the end-caps on the axles (we’re using 94-95 axles with stub-shafts) popped off, so now I’ve got to pull those and re-pack the inner CVs. New axle nuts ordered from MMD.

We found a LOT of difficulty changing into 3rd gear, something we’d not had trouble with in the past. Looking at the video, we’re getting a lot of drivetrain movement. The shifter used to be pretty rock solid. It’s jumping all over the place now. After about 5 or 6 years of nothing but autocross use, it appears that my Mazdaspeed motor mounts are on the way out. I’ve got a set of Delrin bushings coming to replace those.

I also figured out why on my last run at Nationals I kept getting fuel starve…

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