One of the series I race in, TABS 2.5 West, has a great sponsor in ANPlumbing.com. Not only do they race with us, they supply the parts I need in a fairly priced and quickly shipped manner. Lots of good race car plumbing advice is just a call or an email away. I got a deal on a new set of AN wrenches from them, nice product at a great price.
VARA and SVRA co-hosted a great event at Willow Spring Raceway this weekend. We had 150 vintage car entries running in 7 Groups, and the Trans-Am West pro series ran with us as well. Good fun to see the giant tractor-trailers and pit carts these pro teams use. The weather cooperated with sunny skies, temps in the 50s-60s, and the usual spring winds.
I’m glad to report that my RF93 ran well and finished every session! After its frustrating start and a winter teardown, I was sure hoping for a good outing. I had the wrong gearing for Willow, I didn’t expect to run the speeds I was getting, so I was out of gear by T7 on the back straight and Start/Finish on the front straight, but she sure hauled the mail in the corners 😉 Since we basically just had to add fuel all weekend, we had time to enjoy doing the little things on the car. So now I’ve got some good data for gearing, ride height, tire pressures, etc.
This weekend was VARA’s 2017 season opener at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, NV. Wonderful facility, but we had lousy weather. Friday’s test day and Saturday’s practice/qualifiers saw lots of rain, wind, and even snow in the local foothills. Luckily Sunday’s races were dry and everyone finally got the chance to enjoy the 3.4 mile Mansell course. Our Club’s usual Pace Car driver is taking a temporary medical leave of absence (we wish him well), so I was drafted into service since my car is still in winter rehab. Driving the Pace/Safety Car was a busy task this weekend, and it was a tougher job to do well than I anticipated. I really appreciate all the help I received from my fellow club members during my rookie pacing weekend. Since I wasn’t wrenching and racing this weekend, I had some time to shoot a few pictures of Racing in the Rain.
In recognition of Formula Ford’s 50th Anniversary, VARA hosted a special FF race with more than twenty competitors. Watching these guys race in the rain sure made you realize how spirited this group really is.
For the 2017 season, all clubs have ended their temporary extension that allowed SA2005 helmets due to the lack of supply of SA2015 helmets. So now SA2010 or SA2015 helmets are required for competition. I’ve been shopping, and started out at my local retail shop, Wine Country Motorsports at Sonoma Raceway. They’re a great source for safety gear, i.e. helmets, seats, fire suits, gloves, as well as lots of other race merchandise, and a knowledgeable staff. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a helmet that fit my oval shaped head very well. I tried on everything from budget to high-end helmets – Racequip, Zamp, OMP, Sparco, Bell, Arai, even Stilo. The Arai and Stilo were the closest fit but still not quite right. So I contacted my favorite online retailer, Racer Parts Wholesale, and they recommended the Simpson and Impact helmet lines for an oval fit. I ordered a Simpson Speedway Shark and an Impact Vapor, both about $800. They both are geared towards open-wheel racing with a duckbill chin spoiler, lift-reducing ripples over the top, a narrow eye port, and various small air vents. They both fit very comfortably, no hot spots on my forehead and a supportive fit from my ears to my jawline. Visors were of excellent quality on both, with the Simpson having a better seal with the visor closed. The Simpson also had a slightly higher quality soft foam and liner material in it. The Impact definitely used a smaller and narrower shell for their Large helmet, it made it seem like the Simpson just used an XL shell and used more inner material to make it fit. The Impact came with a simple cloth drawstring bag while the Simpson came with a heavy-duty denier travel bag. And for the win, both the Impact and Simpson helmets are made in the USA.
The Impact Vapor fit me just a bit better, and I preferred the narrower shell for better ease of use within the driver compartment, so I ended up keeping the Impact. I’ll update after I have a chance to try it on the track. (Ed. update – great helmet.)
Hopefully 2017 brings me some better luck as I’m ending 2016 with two broken race cars. The “deal” I got buying my Van Diemen Formula Continental this summer ended up not being quite the deal. Quite a few more issues than expected, but hey, that’s racing. And today at the New Year’s Eve SFR SCCA member’s free test day at Thunderhill, I grenaded another diff in my Datsun. Sometimes racing old cars gets a bit frustrating, so I guess we’ve just got to remember the fun times 😉
Last weekend I had a few buddies racing at Sonoma Raceway with 24 Hour of LeMons, what a scene! 182 cars took the green flag on Saturday morning, and an incredible number were still running come Sunday at sunset, one fifty plus. Team Geritol (aka Team Blue Light Special) had a few issues, but still had the old Rabbit running at the end. A seized right rear wheel bearing caused an extended pit stop on Saturday that took them out of their Class title hopes, but they fought back for a top 120 finish 😉 An amazing Honda 600 and a couple of Vanagons were also pitted nearby.