The 3-4-Three Challenge
-One Man, One Car, Three Motorsport Disciplines
The “3-4-Three Challenge” was originally conceived as a quest by the blog author, Gary Patrick, to compete in the premier event of three different Sports Car Club of America motorsport disciplines; Solo, RoadRally, and Rallycross. The idea began to brew in his mind sometime late in 2010. Fresh off back-to-back trophy-position finishes in SCCA RoadRally National Tour Championships, Gary began contemplating a re-balancing of his competitive efforts. Despite the success he had recently experienced while dedicating himself to RoadRally, he was missing the adrenalin rush of Solo competition. He had also been watching with interest as SCCA Rallycross matured into a true National program complete with its own National Championship. As a fan of all three disciplines, Gary began to imagine competing for the National Championship in all three in a single season. He thought it would be particularly challenging to do so in a single car. As the manager of a Subaru store, Subaru of Champaign County, and the owner of a Subaru WRX, Gary thought this endeavor would not only be personally fulfilling but also a good demonstration of the versatility of his product.
Unfortunately the SCCA RoadRally National Championship alone would would consume all the financial and time commitment he could muster since it is a season-long points chase. The most prestigious RoadRally event of the SCCA season, the United States RoadRally Challenge (USRRC), became the surrogate for the RoadRally National Championship in the dream. Even with the paring back of the RoadRally component, it was clear that 2011 would not be the year the dream would be pursued. The USRRC, which tends to be run in a different part of the country every year, was scheduled for Southern California. The 4000 mile round trip from Gary’s home in Central Illinois was not an insurmountable obstacle in and of itself, but it would have left no time or money to attend either of the other two events. Gary competed in just a handful of local Road Rallies and Solo events in 2011, conserving his financial and marital capital for what he hoped would be a shot at the dream in 2012.
Late in 2011 the prevailing rumor was that the 2012 USRRC would be hosted by the Detroit Region. Early indications were that the Rallycross National Championship would run for a second consecutive year in Tulsa, OK. With the Solo National Championships locked into a semi-permanent home in Lincoln, NE, it appeared all three events were going to be within 550 miles of Gary’s home. If the rumored locations were correct, the logistics would be as manageable as they were ever likely to be. As confidence was climbing that the rumors of the locations of the RoadRally and Rallycross events were correct, an unexpected announcement came from the SCCA Solo department. A new supplemental “Road Tire” category would be in effect for National Solo events in 2012. This new category promised to be more cost-effective than the Stock category Gary was contemplating, obviating the need to buy expensive, dedicated racing tires. That announcement sparked Gary into action. Dreaming turned to scheming as he started putting together a plan. By the time the event locations were officially confirmed, Gary had already put that plan in motion.
The “3-4-Three Challenge” blog was launched on March 2, 2012, as a way for Gary to chronicle his experiences. The blog title came from the name of a customer appreciation program at the dealership he managed. Customers who purchase a vehicle there receive 3 years or 36000 miles of complimentary oil changes, tire rotations, and roadside assistance. The program is widely marketed by the dealership as “3-4-Three.” As Gary was considering labels for his triple faceted adventure, the idea of cross-promoting his hobby and his business sprung to mind. The 3-4-Three logo would go on his car and he would co-opt the locally known term as the title for the blog.
From March through October, 2012, Gary posted 21 blog entries and dozens of pictures detailing his pursuit of “the Challenge.” While he didn’t achieve everything he hoped to, he took great satisfaction in the effort he put forth. While it seems unlikely that he will ever make a repeat attempt to attend all the Championship events in a single season, he remains committed to all three disciplines and hopes to alternately attend the different events in future years. Instead of retiring the blog at the close of the Challenge, Gary has kept it active and continues to share his various motorsports experiences as well as his musings on other interesting automotive-related topics.