THROWBACK WEEKEND – It felt like the old days at Cumberland Airport’s 2017 Harvest Moon Autocross. Packed into two big run groups, doing morning and afternoon sessions, the weekend played to a familiar tune – back and forth battles for FTD and PAX. Both days were capped by definitive, drop the mic, hero laps that sealed the outcome.
Unseasonably warm weather placed a premium on making the most of early runs and, on Saturday, Matt Felten’s BMod Reynard FC did just that in the morning, laying down a 39.819 pass that would turn out to be the day’s only sub-40 second run. Bill Staley, Jr’s muscled-up SMF Civic and Martin Valent’s Whiskey Rebellion champ SSM MR2 mustered runs of 40.504 and 40.556 respectively for second and third overall. Bruce Wesley in a Z51 Vette and Ben Bane in his SSM unnaturally aspirated Miata stole spots in the Top Five Overall from the usual suspects with a pair of late day banzai runs in the 41 second range.
Wesley’s mad lap was also just fast enough to nip Staley’s Civic for the PAX win by .154 seconds.
Rules for the Street Tire Challenge oddly accomplished their goal of shaking things up, but had an unexpected effect. Who knew that so many people would be on 200 tread wear gummies? The competition was nonetheless spirited, with some of top eight running as slow as 40th overall. Jonathan Leyh, Smooth Jim Harris, Steve Catlin and Robbie Wilson made the semis. Leyh’s Focus RS and Catlin’s ZO6 raced into the finals, with the Ford taking home a rare and collectible National Road Autosport mug for the win. Virginian Catlin proved himself again to be a strong match racer, making the finals now in all three of his CBE shootouts.
Sunday was more of the same, but different, if that is grammar-possible. Martin Valent silenced all in attendance with a morning session pass of 37.095 (not a typo). Dogged pursuit for the rest of the day netted a “second second-overall” for Bill Staley Jr., a podium for Matt Parson’s Spongebob XP Miata, and Top Five finishes for Karl Loper’s GTM and Robbie Wilson in the Gyger Porsche 997 GT3.
Sunday PAX, however, was the different story, as Valent’s daunting 2-second gap over the field in raw time was whittled down into tenths of the second by Wesley, Eric Coffman in the Kilmer Caymen and Staley Jr. Finally, at the very, very end of the day (like the next to last pass in the last run group) Pittsburgh’s Alan Eisenreich willed his conservative looking BS Audi S3 past Valent, capturing Sunday PAX by a mere .038 seconds.
Pete Harrison in STX, Lloyd Willis in HS, Mark Sanner in GS, Bruce Wesley in AS and Matt Parson in XP had strong weekends, scoring double wins in hotly contested classes.