The first difficulty was the course. The front section was very fun and fast. The back section was very low speed, and you were basically cornering from the half way point of the track until the end. You mess up one corner, and the rest of the series is blown, all the way to the finish, unless you have some real remedial skill.
The second difficulty was the lack of runs. We were cut down to 3 runs due to time constraints. That meant we have to adapt more quickly and be more precise. I think this put a lot of pressure on Scott, and he suffered a couple big mistakes that put him in 5th spot.
The third difficulty was the competition. I ended up losing 1st place to Maxim Lukichev in the novice class by just 2 tenths of a second after handicapping took place. Our cars were in separate categories, so even though his time was slower than mine (by just a couple hundredths), the field leveling system resulted in Max getting a faster "indexed" time. I got 2nd. I might have retaken the top spot if I hadn't blown the final corner of my final run. It was neither of our best races.
The fourth difficulty was the tires. The Subaru WRX has Dunlop SP Sport 01 performance tires, and, well, take a look at the front ones.
That's called tread separation. Now, normally tread separation occurs between the steel belts of the tire and the rubber carcass. But this is different. This is like the tire is shedding off a top layer of rubber, revealing another layer underneath. Back when I was road racing, we would do this intentionally to our tires by shaving the tread off with a machine, revealing juicy, slick and sticky rubber underneath. There is still plenty of rubber left on the tire in this case, probably a good 5 or 6 32nds.
Even so, I think a new set of tires is required. We might talk to the dealer about it because this is usually a defect. But it might not be, because both front tires are doing this. These are the tires that came on the car. I wonder if they will ask about it when they see the grains... (Those are the little ripples in the tires that result from rubber rolling across the surface as the car corners hard. It's actually a decent pattern on these Dunlops which shows they handle the heat of autocross pretty well, just not the shearing factor obviously.)
In any case, it's not good for the grip of the tire. It should be an even surface. Not all of the tire is in contact with the road in this condition.
So, those were the foibles. Here's the fun bit:
The next round on the schedule was sadly canceled. That means there is only one round left, at Marina Airport in the middle of next month.
While I didn't win last weekend, I still carry a perfect score as far as the points go, with 1600 points. With two current drop races and no more being added, that means I'll have to finish in first spot one more time to secure a perfect championship score which would be 1800 points.
No matter what happens, though, I will still be novice champion.
Dad is sitting in second spot in the points race, and Michael Bajer is in third. Scott is far enough ahead of Michael that as long as dad earns points in Marina, he will keep second place. It looks like I will finish 1-2 with my dad, which would be incredibly cool.