Saturday morning was spent preparing the car for the track. Changing wheels and tires, installing the Hot Lap timer, removing all loose items including the spare tire. Picked up the truck at 2:00 pm, and was on the road by 4 PM. It took me a total of 4 1/2 freaking hours to get to Holtville, as I couldn’t travel more than 55 mph. It was *very* windy for most of the trip, and the minute I go faster than 55, the truck and trailer would swing left to right like a pendulum. It was very scary and aggravating. It was the worst and most boring trip I have ever made.
Sunday started really early, as we met at the parking lot at 5:45 in the morning. We were the first bunch to get to the track at around 6:20 AM. The weather was very nice and comfortable, but we know it will only get warmer as the day progresses. We set up the EZ-ups, and unloaded our cars and all the coolers and other equipment, and pretty soon we are ready for the driver’s meeting and the first run session.
We had 13 brave cars signed up for this event, including George and Rick Wynne who caught up mid morning.
Holtville is an airport track, therefore it is flat and the surface is concrete. The area is wide open, and there is absolutely NOTHING to hit. The SCCA-approved layout was demarkated by cones, and metal concave discs on the pavement called "Clangers," as it makes a clanging sound when you run over it. The track was also unused for several months prior, due to El Nino. Hence the track surface was full of debris and rocks. There were also areas where the track was patched up so the surface was quite rough.
At first, I was apprehensive about the track conditions, how rough the surface is and the presence of so much debris. But as we ran, the track cleared and the rough surface wasn’t too much of an issue anymore, and we actually started to have fun. John Williamson and his buddy (I forget his name) provided great instruction, though being a Porshe racer himself, I suspect he was enjoying rides and driving a much better car in the NSX <g>.
John pushed my car to an unofficial 1’07.5" which I think was the fastest time of the day. Personally I managed a 1’08.9", and Doug did a 1’07.8" while Wayne was a 1’08" in his 944. After several laps, the cars were getting hot, though none overheated. Raymond started to leak coolant, but he thinks it is due to a bad radiator cap. The weather was getting really hot by now. Tire temperatures were on the rise, and people were spinning out. So we had to constantly adjust the tire pressures to compensate and restore some of the lost grip. Fatigue was starting to set in, and gallons of liquid were already consumed. And it was only 9:30 am.
We decide that we were bored with driving around the track, so we started to do some quarter mile acceleration tests. Doug had a radar gun set up that is hooked up to his laptop, and neat little graphs were produced as each car took their turn on the quarter mile. Stock NSXs were in the 14 second range. I did a 13.5 second 113 mph trap speed run, NOS activated, in 110 degree weather and a lot of wheelspin for the entire first gear. Raymond, I believe had the best quarter mile at 13.4 sec and 113 mph trap speed. I’ll leave it up to Doug to verify my figures. I also had the G-tech PRO in my car, and found it to be dead accurate. Pretty amazing device.
We resume driving around the track, but as the track temperature crept up, we were getting slower and slower, until I finally blew a rear tire. What an exciting moment that was, as I was braking for a corner after a long back straight. I had to park the car, so as to prevent damage to my rim. I hitched a ride back to the pits with Doug, and actually got to use the emergency vehicle, the truck, to drive back and change my wheel. Had to borrow Doug’s spare as I left mine home. Who’d expect to get a tire to blowout like that, never happened before.
So I had to retire. They kept going a little bit more, but the heat was getting unbearable by around 1:00 pm, so we decide to quit. As we were packing up, Doug discovers that he also has a flat, and was bummed out that he had to change his tire in the 115 degree heat. I was exhausted, and was barely able to load the car up the trailer, and get everything packed up.
It was quite an experience, but was FUN nevertheless. Holtville is actually a fun track, and may go back when the weather is a bit more comfortable.
My many thanks to everyone who were there, for showing your support. Thanks for the help all of you provided in setting up and tearing down the place. And many, many thanks to Brad Smith, for providing us the EZ-ups, an absolute Godsend, without which we would have died.
'till next time,
You must log in to post a comment.