Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108
Mike Terhorst’s STR 2016 Maxda MX-5 (27th overall at 2016 Top Gun)
September 2016 Meeting
The monthly membership meeting of the Yellowstone Region SCCA was called to order by Regional Executive Dean W. Johnson on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, at 5:41 p.m., in the GH&R law firm conference room.
Minutes of Previous Meeting: A motion was MS&P to accept without addition or correction the minutes of the May 2016 meeting as published in the May 2016 issue of Fast Times. There were no membership meetings in June, July, or August. Regional issues were addressed during workers’ breakfasts prior to events during those months
Treasurer’s Report: Secretary/Treasurer J. Reuss reported the current checkbook balance and noted that all bills have been paid. A motion was MS&P to accept the Treasurer’s Report. It was noted that despite fewer events being held this year, increased attendance had pushed the Region’s bank account above last year’s level on the same date.
Old Business: The PA system in the timing trailer is in need of repair/replacement. Dean offered to donate an old CB radio he was not using.J. will be sourcing a new loudspeaker.
New Business/Announcements: Dean indicated an intention to become a Solo Safety Steward. A discussion was held regarding the loss of Reserve Center. A decision was made to contact Metra and Yellowstone Drag Strip to see if they could accommodate the Region on short notice to avoid cancelling the September 25th event. It was decided that if the Region could secure one additional site, 6 events would be held in 2017. If the Region could secure two additional sites, 7 or 8 events would be planned.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:20 p.m
Top Gun 2016
By the Competition Chair, Tucker Stewart
Top Gun has been historically the largest autocross in Montana, and this year was no exception. 2016 was the first year that other states were allowed to compete for the traveling trophy. The majority of the 115 competitors came from out of state. Very competitive drivers showed up from Idaho, Utah, Washington, and a handful of other states. Representing Yellowstone Region was Regional Executive, Dean Johnson, competing in E Modified, and yours truly in E Street.
The first day the course was set up for speed, with a few hard braking zones. Times were from 80-100 seconds, and many folks reporting they had to use 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears multiple times. On day 2, the course was much smoother, with more sweepers and wider exit cones. Those changes allowed the drivers with less powerful cars to catch up, while the times stayed about the same. By the end of the weekend, I ended up in 3rd in class–losing 2nd place by 0.180 seconds. Dean ended up 3rd in his class as well. The drivers from Spokane really brought their A-game and were able to snag the trophy and bring it out of Montana for the first time ever.
This event give drivers a chance to prove themselves in a very competitive environment. With people showing up in multiple classes with cars that are nationally competitive, everyone gets an opportunity to see where they can improve, while driving at one of the most unique locations in the state. The first year I joined SCCA, I was told if I wanted to learn how to go faster, go to Top Gun. That advice still holds true. To view the results from this year’s Top Gun, click here.
From the Regional Executive
The “official” reason(s) we received from the Army National Guard for being denied access to their lot were:”the wording of the [SCCA] insurance,” “that there was a fee to attend the event,” and “that the [Montana Army Reserve National Guard] is not able to support any event that could be considered a fund raiser.” Also, the [Guard] “could not create the appearance that it was supporting a private organization.” As indicated in an email to members after the cancellation, the local folks at the Reserve Center had been very supportive of our plans, but “higher-ups” in Helena thought the event would involve “too much liability.”
The Marine Reserve car show scheduled for the lot was ousted at 3:00 p.m. on Friday while they were setting up. However, an adjoining property owner allowed the event to be moved across the street. The car show was fairly well attended. Although yours truly did not win a trophy, Region members Jerod Staebler and James Reuss “took home the hardware” for wins in their respective classes.
Metra was unable to accommodate the Region for its last event of 2016 because Indian Relay and team roping events needed most of the carnival lot. However, Yellowstone Drag Strip was available, so the September 25th event will proceed as scheduled (as long as the weather holds).
From the Competition Chair
I have been following the testing of 200-treadwear tires in Grassroots Motorsports magazine. Of particular interest to me is that the tires were tested on a ST Mazda Miata driven by reigning Street Touring FWD champ David Whitener and autocross expert Andy Hollis. You can view the original articlehere, but the October issue tested the Kumho Ecsta V720 and compared it with the benchmark BF Goodrich g-Force Rival S. Long story short, the Rival S still posted faster times than the Kumhos, but at a price–$145 each for the BFGs and $115 for the Kumhos.
My overall takeaway? The current offerings of performance autocross tires are all great. Carefully-controlled testing produces results that are extremely close–typically with margins of less than a second. In the long run, tire “feel” and the “nut behind the steering wheel” more than make up the difference.
The Finish Line
From the Webmaster
When I listed prior editors of Fast Times, I was certain that I would leave someone out. Former Region member Jeff Womack sent an email indicating the he and Dennis McCollough edited and produced the newsletter in the mid-80s for a few years. Jeff indicated that they did interviews with locals who owned interesting cars. That would be a great feature to continue–any volunteers?
The second shipment of Region t-shirts has arrived. We now have shirts in all sizes–including tank tops in small for women and children.
The Region will be cooking Costco hot dogs at the Yellowstone Drag Strip event. The cost will be an extremely low $2 for a dog, chips, and a drink. However, folks buying a t-shirt at the event will get lunch for free!
Since we “lost” an event, trophies will be awarded to all class winners at YDS as determined by trophy allocations generated by the timing software.
Pray for good weather!
Competitors stage at the 2016 Top Gun event.
Next Monthly Meeting
October 4, 2016
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