Maui Musings: Newsletter Editor and Webmaster Journey on a Fact-Finding trip for SSCA

maui-fact-findingBy the YSCCA Webmaster J Reuss

After exchanging a few e-mails (and a few phone calls for lastminute directions), the Newsletter Editor, the Webmaster, and the “Team Owner,” arrived at the home of Maui SCCA member and club photographer, Scott Hughes, in Kihei, Maui. (Mark Richlen told me that being the Region’s Treasurer would reap huge rewards. Boy, he was right!). Scott graciously welcomed us into his home and we spent the next hour talking “shop.” Initially, I anticipated hearing how different the Maui SCCA was from the Yellowstone Region, but the more we talked, the more it became clear that other than the nearly 3,000 miles separating the Regions, we were pretty much the same.

Ironically, the “movers and shakers” in the Maui SCCA were fellows by the names of “Scott” and “Chris.” (We checked to make sure there were no “Jays” or “Jerods,” but learned that there were
not.) The Maui SCCA holds events on a monthly basis. (Their schedule may be found at ) While the club does not have a timing trailer, everything related to autocross
on Maui is kept within a van owned by “Chris.” All of the club’s events are held at the same location—a patch of asphalt about 10 minutes northwest of Scott’s house. Somewhat similar to Lewistown, the site is located on an abandoned airfield. Also located nearby is a NHRA sanctioned drag strip and a motocross course. To put it kindly, the site presents some huge challenges for event organizers and entrants. As attested to by the photographs on page 2, not only is the asphalt surface nearing the end of its useful life, being located in a windswept area of Maui requires that the area be swept clear of Maui “red dirt” on a regular basis. Unfortunately, since the surface is so deteriorated, only dedicated entrants return for the next month’s event. Scott explained that parking lot regulations on Maui make it nearly impossible to find lots that are not broken up with planters, light standards, and other obstructions. However, the club does have hopes of convincing a generous philanthropist to help them create a dedicated autocross site.

Notwithstanding the pavement problems, Scott reports that it is not unusual to see a Lamborghini or Cobra replica at an event. In fact, the owner of a Lamborghini Murcielago generously purchased a new timing system for the club! Average entry numbers are pretty much the same as the Yellowstone Region and maximizing the number of runs takes precedence over nitpicking over scrutineering and car classification. By trade, Scott is a “destination wedding photographer.” He also photographs all events and maintains the website. (There is also a website, but it hasn’t been updated on a regular basis.

Scott is originally from St. Louis, MO, but moved to Maui to “take his life in a new direction.” (If you would like to touch base with Scott, check out his FaceBook page.) Similar to “Scott” in the Yellowstone Region, Scott Hughes maintains the FaceBook page for MAUISCCA. (Check out the page and become a “fan.”) As we left Scott’s house, he gave us a tour of his garage and showed us his “stable” of BMWs. Scott has two M3s in the garage and he volunteered that his next vehicle would also be an M3. (Kait and I were more than relieved that he did not have a garage full of Mustangs like the Yellowstone Region’s “Scott.” I bought a MAUI SCCA t-shirt from Scott and assured him I would wear it proudly at future Region events. If you ever find yourself in Maui towards the end of the month, make sure to stop by Maui Raceway Park on Sunday and put your rental car “through the paces” at one of Maui SCCA’s events. If Scott is any indication, the Maui SCCA “ohana” (family) is as welcoming and friendly as the Yellowstone Region. Thanks, Scott, for letting us “pick your brain.” If you are ever “offisland” and find yourself in the area, I hope you will stop in. J.

Jackie nips at the heels of the big dogs in Lewistown

By good friend of the Region and local radio personality, Jackie Bell

For my birthday, my husband paid for me to attend the Porsche Club driving school in Lewistown.  I have autocrossed with the Yellowstone Region for about 5 years, but this was my first opportunity to attend the event and I was excited. I decided to participate on both Saturday and Sunday.

I arrived in Lewistown on Friday afternoon, checked into my motel, and set out to locate the Lewistown D.R.I.V.E. facility to the west of the airport.  (I had downloaded a great map from Porsche website.)  After I found the course, I came across David Cooley, event coordinator, who was out on the track pulling a trailer full of cones.  I introduced myself and he put me to work.  I was glad to help.  Dave drove the truck and I rode on the trailer setting out cones at designated spots. 

When we were done, Dave told me to get in my car.  (When I autocrossed in the past, it was always in my 1972 Ford Gran Torino.  However, I recently purchased a ’99 Mitsubishi Eclipse and autocrossed it just once prior to Lewistown.)  Dave got behind the wheel of my car, I took the passenger seat, and he proceeded to gently take me through the course explaining the philosophy behind braking, turning, finding the “line”, etc.  We did three laps with Dave driving and then I drove.  I was not nearly as smooth!  However, I went back to the motel elated and couldn’t wait to get started on Saturday morning. 

I arrived about 7:30 and got to meet some great people with some cool cars!  The drivers’ meeting was around 9:30.  There were 12 new drivers and about 20 drivers who had taken the course before.  All new drivers were required to ride with an instructor until they were certified to run “solo.”  Instructions were given, group assignments made, and we were ready to roll.  The experienced racers ran in two groups with the rookies ran in two other groups.  Fred was my instructor.  On the first few laps, Fred drove my car and I rode.  Fred provided instruction as he drove.  I tried to listen, but I was so amazed at what he had my car doing that I had a hard time concentrating!  

Then it was my turn to drive.  I drove with Fred instructing me all day Saturday and on Sunday morning.  I was having some trouble with the “okay, you’re coming into a corner at high speed so you need to brake, clutch, downshift, turn, set yourself up for the next turn, watch the guy in front of you and behind you, be in the right gear and position as you exit the turn for maximum acceleration”……learning curve. 

Late Saturday afternoon, Fred decided that maybe I should ride with him while he drove his Porsche so I could watch his braking and shifting technique.  That was a good idea in theory, but while I watching his feet instead of the track, I started getting car sick.  I asked Fred (politely) to take me to the pits and let me out (although inside I’m screaming, “I’M GONNA PUKE!”).  He graciously complied.  I made it to grass adjacent to the pits and promptly “tossed my cookies.” So ended Saturday’s racing. 

On Sunday, I finally got the technique down pretty good and had some high-speed (110 mph) runs.  Fred was just about to let me go “solo,” when the clutch in my car quit clutching!  Bummer!  I had to pull off the track and be towed back to the pits.  It was the PITS!  Luckily, Scott Cranston and Jarod Staebler were at the event with Scott’s trailer. Scott graciously agree to drive his “Stang” back to Billings and put my car on his trailer for the return trip. 

“J-Rod” and I were tooling down the road when Scott’s pick-up started running rough.  Just outside of Lavina we decided to find a place to pull over.  As we rolled to a stop, the truck died.  It was not the best area for cellphone reception and we were forced to stand on the roof of the truck to make calls. 

We finally got through to my husband and he brought out another pick-up to retrieve the trailer.  In the meantime, J-Rod got the pickup started and he was able to drive it home. So after an extra couple hours on the side of the road, we all arrived home safe and sound! 

Oh yeah, I’m getting a new clutch put in my Mitsu…. and it’s not gonna be stock!  The weekend turned out to be a bit more expensive than Jeff originally intended!  Amazing fun though–and well worth it.  As Arnold says, “I’ll be back.”