In early June I journeyed southeast to Terre Haute, Indiana, to compete in the “Champaign/Indy Challenge” Solo event. With the Evolution Driving School phase 2 course under my belt, and a brand new set of Dunlop Dirreza Sport Z1 Star Spec tires mounted up, I had high hopes for a good showing.
A late scratch by another competitor left me uncontested in the RTA class so I scored a class victory by default. My overall performance, however, was less than satisfying. After struggling with oversteer early in the season, I was surprised with the amount of understeer that accompanied the switch to fresh tires. I also was also surprised by a lack of braking performance in the first hard braking zone on my first run. Were my tires still slightly slick with mold release agent, or were the brakes below their optimal working temperature? The first suggestion seemed improbable, given the 100 miles I’d put on the tires already, but the brakes had shown no sign of needed heat at the either Evolution school or the recent rallycross. Either way, the brake issue went away in later runs. Mild understeer and brake issues aside, I really didn’t drive particularly well. After applying the official class handicap factor and the unofficial street tire factor, I calculated my overall performance as 32nd out of 97 drivers.
To say I was discouraged was an understatement. Mid-pack at a regional event is far from where I expected to be at this point. I was showing no signs of being able to compete for a trophy at the National level in either Solo or Rallycross. At this time my commitment to the 34Three Challenge wavered. I was seriously contemplating giving the Solo and Rallycross championships up to pursue another RoadRally National season points Championship. I neglected this blog for a while and considered my options. After some soul-searching and recalibrating of expectations, I’m mentally back on track and ready to continue. Going forward, I intend to focus more on the journey and less on the results. That doesn’t mean I won’t put forth my best effort, but I’ll put more weight in the experience than my finish positions when evaluating the final worth of this adventure. That was really the intent all along, I just needed some time to remind myself.
I have a couple more event reports in the queue as well as some equipment updates so check back soon. This blog is “hot” once again.