Following the SCCA Championship Tour at the beautiful Hampton Mills in Packwood, WA, SCCA returned for the 9th round of the 2017 ProSolo schedule. With just the Oscoda Pro to go before the Finale in September, many drivers would be hoping to gain necessary points to qualify and put themselves in a position to take the overall win for the season.
As with the Tour weekend, the weather was sunny both days allowing everyone to really enjoy the raw beauty of this area with all the wilderness, mountains, and wildlife.
In all, 149 competitors made the trek to compete in 19 separate classes once bumping was factored in. As ProSolo requires there to be a minimum of five drivers in a class to run independently, there were several “classes” unable to meet this requirement; thus, two “Bump” classes were formed, where a total of 19 drivers competed.
After a Friday night party featuring burgers and chips, Saturday morning dawned to relatively warm temperatures.
L2 and L3 (Ladies classes) would start the competition off. L3 had 12 drivers from the Street Touring and Prepared classes, while L2 had drivers from the Street classes. Both groups featured Mazdas, but Catherine Tran would be the only driver to trophy. Cat was in the Steve O’Blenes STX 2005 Mazda RX-8, and found herself in the 3rd trophy spot in L3 when all the dust settled.
In CS, it was once again all 2016 MX-5 Miatas with many familiar names. Once again, Brian Coulson started out fast and stayed that way all weekend to take the win. Second place was a father/son battle, as Sean Velandia ended Saturday morning in 2nd, but his dad Maurice would move up in the afternoon and finish the weekend there.
ES brought 12 drivers competing for four trophies. As with the Tour the previous weekend, this was a battle between NB Miatas and MR2 Spyders. Joining the fray was perennial favorite Paul Brown in his MR2. Cones effected several drivers on Saturday morning, leaving last weekend’s winner Tony Rodriguez in his MR1 in the lead with Paul Brown in second. Afternoon runs allowed many to clean up. Paul Brown took over the lead with Jack Yeung in his 1999 Miata up to second. Come Sunday morning, Paul Brown was unable to speed up, while Yeung took off, taking the win by over 0.4 seconds. Yeung’s co-driver Matt Waldbaum put down just his second clean left side run to move up into 3rd, while Charles Mathews in an MR2 took the final trophy.
STR featured many of the same drivers as the Tour, but also brought up Ken Motonishi in the newly prepared 949 Racing 2016 Miata. Kevin Dietz in his Honda S2000 started fast and ended Saturday morning with a lead of just 0.035 seconds over Mazda Motorsports’ driver Ron Bauer in his 2016 Miata. Jerry Jenkins ended the morning in 3rd in a 2006 MX-5. The afternoon had Dietz picking up time on both courses, while Bauer only found a minor amount. Ken Motonishi found time on both courses, but ended the day in 3rd. Sunday morning brought cooler weather, and most drivers were unable to find grip until their final runs. Dietz was able to hold onto the top spot, followed by Bauer, and Motonishi. The final two trophy spots were up for grabs, and Bauer’s co-driver Jay Balducci nabbed the 4th place trophy, while Deitz’ co-driver Piotr Szarkowicz improved to take 5th.
STX again featured VW, Subaru, Scion, and Mazda. Chris Thorpe took advantage of the drag race launches and his AWD Golf R to take the lead from the start and hold onto it all weekend. Mazda RX-8 driver Steve O’Blenes finished with the fastest right side time, but cones hampered all of his runs on Saturday. Although he was able to clean up his first left side run on Sunday morning, his final run was no help, leaving him in the 3rd spot. Subaru drivers Karl Coleman and Alex Paraskevas jumped up to 2nd and 4th, respectively, on their final runs.
STS only had six drivers, but it turned into quite the battle between Tour winner Eric Stoltz in his ‘92 Miata, and Shane Jensen in an ’88 Honda CRX Si. Stoltz was the early leader, but Jensen took the lead on afternoon runs by 0.028 seconds. The cooler Sunday morning weather left no improvements for Jensen, while Stoltz was able to get his tires warm enough on his fourth run to shave off over 0.2 seconds to pull out the win!
CSP brought five drivers competing for two trophies. Co-drivers Matt Zyskowki and Bob Bundy were back in Zyskowsi’s ’92 Miata to do battle again. After Bundy pulled out the win at the Tour on his final run, Zyskowski wanted revenge. He started out with the fast right side, while Bundy took the fast left side time. While both drivers took off time over the course of the weekend, it would end the same way, with Zyskowsi’s right side advantage being more than Bundy’s left side, leaving Zyskowksi with the win.
One of the final classes of the weekend was R2, which consisted of race tired cars from DP, EP, FP, and XP. This indexed class featured Mazda drivers Jim Daniels in his DP Miata and Andy McKee in his XP RX-7. Daniels started well, putting himself in the trophies right off the bat. McKee, however, fought red light and cone problems on the right course. Co-drivers Zach Morgan and Josh McCall in an FP Mitsubishi Evo were the stars this weekend, with Josh pulling out the win over Zach. Fred Zust in an XP Lotus Elise put down a final run on Sunday that moved him up to 3rd, edging out Daniels by 0.061 seconds and McKee another 0.024 back.
The final highlight of the weekend was the eight driver Ladies Challenge. Cat Tran, who finished 3rd in the RX-8 in class competition, worked through the first two rounds to face off in the final against L3 winner Mina Ingraham. Mina took the lead on the first side, but coned away the second side leaving Tran with the Ladies Challenge win!
Oscoda, MI will be the final round of the ProSolo series. After that, the best of the best will compete in Lincoln, NE at the Finale in September.