Posts tagged HD170

HADA CASC Regional – That seat!

HADA doesn’t run to many autoslalom events anymore. They do generally host a CASC-OR Regional event every year though. So even though the HADA series isn’t running anymore (insert sadface here) they did still host a Regional. And since I often think about doing an entire Regional season, I usually try to enter at least one Regional a year to see how I stack up.

A little but of wheel spin off the start line!

A little but of wheel spin off the start line!

Due to the way the Regional series spans events across Ontario, you will generally see people from farther away. Less local racers. This contrasts with club events, which are at the same lot all season, and seem to bring competitors more local to the venue. So it’s also a great way to see some new faces and unfamiliar machines.

A little bit of oversteer.

A little bit of oversteer.

I noticed last year that a friend of mine’s buddy bought a Speedster Miata identical to mine. Well, almost. It already had a lowered suspension and roll bar installed. It looked great! And this year it was competing in the Regional series. So I was excited to see what my car would look like with some light mods.

It turned up looking mighty stout. It had some more work done since purchase. Some 6UL wheels in matte black set the car off real nice. As they do on any Miata. The increased offset along with the lowered stance and rollbar made the car look much more serious.

A little bit of air under that rear wheel!

A little bit of air under that rear wheel!

“That rollbar,” I thought, “doesn’t look like a common HardDog… Hmm.” After introducing myself and chatting for a good while (we were side by side in the paddock) I asked if I could sit in his car to check my head clearance on his roll bar. A revelation!! You see, the owner had done what is called a foamectomy. And as with all -ectomies, the first part of that word is often what is removed. Removing the foam from the back and bottom of the seat massively transforms it. You end up sitting much lower down and by sitting further back into the seat, your body is better supported by the seat. Almost feels like a true bucket seat. Wonderful! And since there was some foam removed from under my butt, lowering my seating position, my head even clears the rollbar. It also helps that the CSC rollbar main hoop is more forward and higher.┬áHaving your noggin hovering an inch or two in front of a thick steel bar is not good for day to day driving. So getting under it is a must for street safety.

A little of lockup on the stop box.

A little of lockup on the stop box.

After that revelation, it was time to get driving. Regional events always bring out the serious folk. It also brings different classing. Classes that I’m not terribly optimized for. This explains why I don’t commit to the entire season. But that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. The course, while short, was definitely challenging. Courses on this lot always look simple, but every once and a while you’ll get a course that looks as simple, but keeps you hunting for time you know is out there. Slaloms with decreasing cone spaces are always a fun challenge. As is a 180 degree hairpin with complete freedom of line. You get to try to find the balance between speed and distance.

I had fun. (Surprise!)


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day, head over here.

Boy Clive takes some good shots huh?

PITL #5 – Getting wet.

I decided to do two events in one weekend. Mother nature decided that she was going to see if she could dissuade me with bad weather reports. I was not dissuaded. Mother nature was not bluffing.

Boy Clive takes some good shots huh?

Boy Clive takes some good shots huh?

Days like these throw strategy out the window. Course conditions are ever changing. Your first run may be your driest. You may master one section, but have to relearn another due to standing water or a mix of wet/dry patches. It’s one thing when you get to a wet course, but when it rains in the middle of the day only, you never really have time to get comfortable with the course. You may know where your going, but the braking points and cornering speeds you used last lap won’t be suitable for the next run.

OK, I'll admit I got a little too close to that one.

OK, I’ll admit I got a little too close to that one.

Annoyingly I only got two completely dry runs. One that was slow due to it being my first run, the other unfortunately carried a pylon penalty. Then it started to bucket with rain.

Don’t get me wrong, I love racing in the wet. I just don’t like when it’s actually raining during my run. I barely fit in my car with a helmet on. And my car rolls a lot. I need more space than you might think to counteract all the leaning that my car does. This means if I leave the roof up, I’m bashing my helmet into all of the convertible top supports. The easy solution is to of course, just drop the top. Which works great. Crappy part is getting wet. You don’t get very wet in the short time it takes to do a run, but there’s enough water to make everything a bit damp, which makes fogging an issue later. Though I usually just leave the car running the vents and fans for a few minutes without anyone in it to make sure the next run would be fog free.

Kid wanted to go sideways. So we went sideways.

Kid wanted to go sideways. So we went sideways.

Since it was raining, I couldn’t bring my DSLR out to play movie-man with. Worst still, while I was marshaling, the wind and rain really picked up, properly soaking my pants and feet. But mother nature can’t stop me.

A ton of water came down. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

A ton of water came down. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

Fellow competitor slinging some water. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

Fellow competitor slinging some water. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

I’m going to blame this one on the conditions and having to marshal last, which meant I was picking up cones when the course was at it’s best. I didn’t do as well as I’d hopped, getting nudged out of the top 5 for another top 10.

But hey, I had had fun slithering around in the rain. Going sideways is never not fun, you know?


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day, head over here.

A little too fast into the stop box.

PITL #4 – Getting Dizzy.

Getting into the swing of things now!

Who wanted the veggie burger again?

Who wanted the veggie burger again?

No surprises on this one. No missing the event cause the car is in the shop, no new tires, no new car test-drive, no TV-crew watching. Just straight PITL action. Woo!

Ryan decided to hop in the car for the first run. Those runs are always the slowest and most awkward. Especially when you have ‘The Great Gazoo’ in your passenger seat. (No, I don’t know why he has that nickname.)

Ryan loves sliding.

Ryan loves sliding.

A little too fast into the stop box.

A little too fast into the stop box.

I found it quite interesting to watch cars (and their drivers) try to deal with a single cone which we had to do one full 360 around near the end. Some cars suffered (most often the open differential cars) and some drivers remained puzzled through most of the day. It’s very rare to see people re-walking the course on a lunch break. But during this event, I saw more than a few people (myself included) studying the 360 and attempting to formulate a line.

The infamous 360 cone.

The infamous 360 cone.

Typically you want to apex late for important corners. But given the odd layout (how many 360 degree corners do YOU encounter?) and tight confines of the surrounding cone walls, it wasn’t immediately apparent what the best approach was. Talking it out with some fellow competitors helped me decide to hug the outside going in, stay wide, and tighten up about three quarters of the way through. When your eager to get out of the element, being patient and keeping the line tight is harder than you think. It was also difficult waiting much longer than usual to see your next gate. In the end I don’t think I went as wide as I could have allowing me to carry more speed longer, but I was happy with how tight the car was able to get just by moving some weight forward by lifting the throttle.

Good fast sweeper!

Good fast sweeper!

Good fun filled day. I even had some time to shoot some b-roll. Awesome.

Another top 10 finish! I think if I’m lucky, I’ll get a top 5 finish this year.


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day, head over here.

My main competition for the day.

PITL #3 – Staying honest

I’ll tell you a secret. I haven’t modified my car in over 4 years. I’ve only maintained it. Because of this, I’ve had 4 years to learn how to get every bit of performance out of it. I like to think I’m consistently close to getting every bit of what it has. It’s no secret that a Miata is a great base for autoslalom. It has taught me a lot and has allowed me to do a great deal of skill growth.

Showing Dad the course.

Showing Dad the course.

At the local autoslalom series, I’ve pretty much had it my own way in the relatively small low HP RWD class called A-Stock. Today was going to be different. A long time PITL veteran would also be driving a stock Miata as a second driver. He’s no stranger to Miatas either. He has a very long and successful history with Miatas. Besting him was not going to be easy. The car he would be driving would also have about 10ish more horsepower, a more usable torque curve, (thanks to variable valve timing) an extra gear, and a stiffer chassis. He said one of the reasons he registered was, “To keep me honest.”

My main competition for the day.

My main competition for the day.

I don’t blame him. I haven’t been bested in my class in a long while. And usually spend entire events giving spectators and other competitors passenger laps at the expense of performance due to the extra weight. Thus going a bit slower all day.

Did I mention this entire time there was a Rogers TV crew filming at the event? And my parents were in attendance? And even some friends came to watch? No pressure!

I told you a TV crew was there!

I told you a TV crew was there!

As expected, he and I traded blows as the day went on. I spent the morning hitting cones. So I was trailing on the time sheets. However, if you ignore the cone penalties, our times were very close. Often back and forth. The fight really hotted up after lunch. Both of us had agreed while discussing the course that a 49 second run was likely possible in our cars and we’d both be happy to achieve that. Going into the last run I was ahead by 0.2 of a second. Not much. My competition threw down the gauntlet on his last run. Knocking 1.1 seconds off his best, he posted a 49.2 second run. Nearly a second faster than me. That was a big blow. I did notice him make an interesting decision with regards to where he shifted. I reckoned by slightly changing where that shift happened I could make it work better.

This was it. One more run. Had to make it count…


Link to video
To see all the runs I recorded that day, head over here.