ND2 Miata wins on C Street debut in Georgia, and Mazda drivers dominate Street Touring
The National Solo season opened with a pair of Tire Rack SCCA Championship Tours in the South, first with the Dixie Champ Tour at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, and then one week later with the Charlotte Champ Tour at ZMAX Dragway in Concord. SCCA Championship Tours are run much like the Solo National Championships, with drivers competing on two courses over two days, with their best cumulative time used to determine their finishing positions.
With the two events being only a week apart and in reasonably close proximity, it was expected that many drivers would participate in both. Indeed, many did; but no Mazda driver pulled off a double victory. The closest was Randall Wilcox, who scored victories in two different classes – Super Street Modified at the Dixie event, and X Prepared in North Carolina – in co-driver Eric Anderson’s 1996 Miata.
Much attention was given to C Street at these events, for they marked the national autocross competition debut of the ND2 Miata, and there were many of them – 18 entries across CS and CSL in the two events. In Georgia, ND2 Miatas took the top seven positions in C Street, with Rick Cone coming out on top by only 0.007sec over Darren DiSimo. Robert Palmblad, Dat Nguyen and Tara Johns rounded out the trophy winners.
The ND2 interest carried over to Charlotte, but there was the added element of a couple of pros competing in an RX-8. Kenton Koch and Tom O’Gorman had been busy the previous weekend competing during the 12 Hours of Sebring, but they co-drove Koch’s 2004 RX-8 to good effect. O’Gorman quickly took the lead on the second runs of the first day, but not before Darrin DiSimo took a 0.2sec lead on his final run in the ND2. DiSimo and O’Gorman would continue their close battle going into Sunday’s competition with Ken Houseal and Koch fighting for the last spot on the podium. O’Gorman took the lead once more on his final run, but had to wait for the rest of the frontrunners to take their last runs before he could celebrate the victory.
O’Gorman ended up on top in the borrowed ride, with Koch in fourth about one-and-a-quarter seconds behind. DiSimo set his fastest time of the day on his third run, but ultimately fell 0.128sec behind O’Gorman to take second place for the second weekend in a row. ND2 Miatas filled out the rest of the trophy positions with Houseal ending up third, Cone in fifth and Jon Caserta sixth. O’Gorman followed up the C Street win by taking first place in the Champ Tour Drivers Challenge.
Mazda drivers dominated the usual Street Touring classes. In Street Touring Roadster, Steven Hughes took the win in Georgia, followed by Josh Luster and Mark Shrivastava, but ended up second behind Brian Karwan at Charlotte. MX-5s swept the trophies at Charlotte, but they weren’t all NDs; Trevor Blackwell finished sixth in STR with his 2010 NC MX-5. Jason Stroud and Dennis Barrett won Street Touring Xtreme in Georgia and North Carolina, respectively, both in RX-8s. Nick Pasternack won Street Touring Sport at the Dixie Champ Tour in a Miata co-driving with Jacob Ronald, who finished second. In a different car at Charlotte, he finished fourth, behind winner A.J. Snyder, Lenworth Woolcock and Patrick Mayne.
Mazda drivers did well in the Street Prepared classes in Charlotte, and it was no surprise that Mike Kuhn won D Street Prepared in an RX-8, although he was second in Georgia. Jeff Schmidt came out on top of an all-Miata CSP class at ZMAX, beating co-driver Adrian Willis.
The next event for the SCCA Solo Championship Tour is this weekend at Mineral Wells in Texas. The ProSolo season also begins this weekend at Crows Landing in Northern California. ProSolo features exciting side-by-side format on mirror-image courses and starts with a drag-racing-style light tree. The fastest drivers then go head-to-head in a bracket-racing-style shootout.
SCCA Tire Rack Championship Tour
Dixie Champ Tour
South Georgia Motorsports Park, Adel, Ga.
March 16-17, 2019
C Street: Rick Cone; Lawrenceville, Ga.; 2019 Miata
Street Touring Roadster: Steven Hughes; Apopka, Fla.; 2016 Miata
Street Touring Xtreme: Jason Stroud; Kennesaw, Ga.; 2007 RX-8
Street Touring Sport: Nick Pasternack; 1990 Miata
Super Street Modified: Randall Wilcox; Nashville, Tenn.; 1996 Miata
SCCA Tire Rack Champ Tour
Charlotte Champ Tour
ZMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.
March 23-24, 2019
C Street; Tom O’Gorman; Mason, Ohio; 2004 RX-8
Street Touring Roadster: Brian Karwan; Frederick, Md.; 2016 Miata
Street Touring Xtreme: Dennis Barrett; Columbia Station, Ohio; 2004 RX-8
STX Ladies: Susan Banks; Mattaponi, Va.; 2006 RX-8
Street Touring Sport: AJ Snyder; Gastonia, N.C.; 1996 Miata
C Street Prepared: Jeff Schmidt; Chesapeake, Va.; 2002 Miata
D Street prepared: Mike Kuhn, Charlotte, N.C.; 2004 RX-8
Super Street Modified: Kate Claffie; Waldorf, Md.; 2010 MX-5
X Prepared: Randall Wilcox; Nashville, Tenn.; 1996 Miata