Triangle Chapter Report – June 2015

A hardy bunch of stalwarts braved the dreary weather to attend the June meeting of the Triangle Chapter. But it was bright inside the El Rodeo restaurant and the bench racing was going on so enthusiastically I had to ask for quiet three times before we could get the business portion underway. Mark Senior brought us in-car video, but after viewing it at the bar on his computer, he deemed it “too boring” to share. Apparently the view through the windshield was just the rear of the same car he was chasing lap after lap. Thanks anyway, Mark! It’s the thought that counts.

James Etchells brought us video of his April outing at Savannah, his first time there. The footage was courtesy of his wife June who bought him that GoPro camera for Christmas. Thanks, June! And then James bought a new DVD player so he could share it with us. Hey, thanks, James! The video was nice and sunny, belying the awful weather from the day before, when they had to red-flag a qualifying session due to rain and standing water. James was on his way to a podium finish 3rd when a last-lap spin relegated him to fourth. Ouch! Better luck next time!

The business meeting was short. The numbers are in for the March race, but incomplete for the Majors in April and the more recent SARRC/MARRS. The bad news is that we lost about $4300 on the March race, largely due to last minute cancellations because of the weather, but the good news was that the loss was about 50 per cent smaller than it had been in the past. We are hoping to make that up with the other races, and hopefully find a formula that make the March event break even in the future. There was more good news in that the lunch-time drive arounds in May raised just under $500 for Angels Among Us, the fund-raising arm of the Brain Cancer Center at Duke.

The Solo guys are doing great. They’ve made money on their events, more than expected, and the turnout just keeps going up. They had about 90 cars at their last two-day novice school and points event at Cherry Point, including 29 novices! I guess word is spreading among those young Marines just what a good time autocrossing can be. Mark Senior and Roland Hill were at our meeting and they both agreed that the event was a really good time and that the venue was awesome. Why not make plans to try out the next one? They have another novice school on June 13th and a points event June 20th at the Blackwater Campus of Cape Fear Community College.

Expense-wise it was noted that we are looking at purchasing another decoder for use with the timing system at VIR. These are expensive little devices (about $3K each) which interface our computers with the timing loops buried under the asphalt that register when a car’s transponder passes over them. No decoder, no lap times. We are looking at getting an additional one because we had a problem with power supply unit to the one we have at the last race and T&S Chief Anna Crissman had to drive a good distance to borrow one from the NASA guys so we could race that weekend. Yikes! Thanks, Anna, and thank you to the kind soul at NASA who helped us out.

Member-at-Large Sam Fouse and everybody’s favorite fabricator Dan Robson took a break from working on getting a new motor in Sam’s GT Lite Mazda MX-3 to join us. The new power plant is a 1.8 liter Miata engine, replacing the aging GLC unit of the same displacement. And speaking of Mazda race car development, it was noted that our former RE Glenn Long was now featured in a series of ten short videos, produced by Mazdaspeed, highlighting features of the 2016 MX-5 Cup car, that Long Road Racing is developing for Mazda. I’ve see a few and they are fascinating, especially if you are a gearhead. The one on the roll cage development was particularly enlightening, as Glenn explained all the different bars and cross-braces they were using so that the new race car will meet FIA, SCCA, and NASA regs and can be raced anywhere, both in the professional series and amateur ones. Pretty cool. Check ‘em out on the Mazdaspeed website, under the “2016 MX-5 Cup” banner.

And while you are at it, check out the NCR web site from time to time too. This is our 60th anniversary and we are actively promoting our history by adding profiles of our long-time members. There will be a new one every couple weeks. It’s fascinating to learn how these folks got started and all the things they have done. So, check those out under the “NCR Region” banner when you have some free time.

And speaking of free time, don’t forget to save the date for the Region picnic, Saturday August 8th. There will be more on that as it draws closer. And save some time too, to join us for the July meeting of the Triangle Chapter, Wednesday, July 1st. Kick off that Independence Day weekend with some Mexican food and bench racing. I’ll see you there…or at the races!

James Shanks
Triangle Chapter Coordinator


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