Mazda Racers Break Records & Claim Wins

Mazda racers broke more track records on their way to compiling even more wins during rounds three and four of the SCCA Western Conference U.S. Majors Tour at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA.

Three Mazda racers broke track records during Saturday’s races. Formula Mazda competitor Austen Charles, Touring 3 and Touring 4 (2009 RX-8) competitor Tom Wickersham, and Spec Miata racer Clement Lee all set track records.

In addition to breaking records, there was plenty of racing action throughout Saturday’s seven races.  In Group 3, which consisted of seven different car classes, Joe Huffaker in his F Production MG Midget and Brian Linn in a GT-Lite MG Midget ran one and two early on.  But before the race’s halfway point, Wayne Graham in an E Production Mazda RX3 got a fantastic run out of Turn 9 and blew by Huffaker and Linn.  Soon after, Andrie Hortanto’s Super Touring Lite Acura Integra and Oscar Jackson’s Super Touring Lite Honda CRX Si were in hot pursuit.  Graham, Hortanto and Jackson put on a great show the last half of the race.  With Graham emerging as the overall Group 3 victor, all three drivers slid from their cars with giant smiles.
“I got a good holeshot coming out of Turn 9 and just blew by people,” Graham said after the race.  “But then they came after me in the corners.”

As predicted, the Spec Miata class put on a pretty great show, too.  Dean Busk, Steven Powers and Clement Lee put a gap on the rest of the field early on.  And then the three swapped positions for a dozen laps.  It was Powers that came through a cloud of dust in Turn 9, resulting for another competitor’s off-course excursion, to cross the finish line first.

“This feels great.  It’s incredible,” Powers said.  “Eighth to third on the first lap made me real happy.”

Saturday, four Mazda competitors took class wins, but all put on a great show:
E Production: Wayne Graham, Santa Barbara, Calif., Mazda RX3
Formula Mazda: Austen Charles, Newhall, Calif., Formula Mazda
Spec Miata: Steven Powers, Mesa, Ariz., Mazda Miata
Touring 4: Tom Wickersham, Piedmont, Calif., Mazda RX-8

A blazingly bright sun clawed its way free of the Mojave Desert early Sunday morning and climbed above snow-capped mountains southeast of Rosamond, California, to begin day two, round four at the 9-turn, 2.5-mile Willow Springs International Raceway.

Other than the sun, something else hot all weekend was driver Tom Wickersham, of Piedmont, California. The Touring 3 and Touring 4 driver earned victories in both classes on Saturday during Round Three and Sunday during Round Four of the SCCA Western Conference U.S. Majors Tour.  And if that wasn’t enough, Wickersham set track records for Touring 3 in his Ford Mustang and Touring 4 in a Mazda RX-8 on Saturday, and then bested his own track record Sunday in Touring 3.  The secret to his success?  A little bit of tape.

“Right there on the dashboard, I have a blue piece of tape with the current track record,” Wickersham pointed out.  “I put that there so I keep pushing myself to be better. I like challenging myself.”

Sunday’s race winners:
Formula Mazda: Austen Charles, Newhall, Calif., Formula Mazda
Spec Miata: Dakota Dickerson, San Diego, Calif., Mazda Miata
Touring 4: Tom Wickersham, Piedmont, Calif., Mazda RX-8

Next, the Western Conference series heads north for an April 8-April 10 event at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, Calif.; followed by racing April 29-May 1 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, Calif. More information can be found at Clement Lee (#33), Dean Busk (#7) and Steven Powers (#145) fought hard for the Spec Miata win Saturday during Round Three of the SCCA Western Conference U.S. Majors Tour taking place at Willow Springs International Raceway.  Powers emerged the victor.

Photo Credit: Dennis Baer