This past weekend, I attended the Lone Pine Time Trials for the first time. Headed up Friday night w/ the lady & stayed at the Dow Villa Motel, which is pretty decent for a motel.
The 5 hour drive up (through 7pm LA traffic with a pit stop for Dinner @ Willow Springs) wasn’t too shabby at all. Of course, it probably helped that I had a passenger.
Early Saturday morning, I bought some mini breakfast: trail mix bar & Rock Star energy drink, hee hee. While the car was being fueld, a CHP officer rolled into the gas station near me.
Officer: “Is that an Acura or something?”
Me: “No, It’s a Nissan” *smiles*
Officer: “So, it’s just got a body kit?”
Me: “Yes sir, just a body kit.” *wipes windows*
Me: “Have a good day officer!”
Officer: “Okay, bye”
He was actually decently nice, probably more curious than anything, considering there was a parking lot full of real race cars where I was staying, haha.
view to the west:
view to the east:
Anyway, the view is AMAZING. I’ve never travelled this far up the 14/395 Death Valley side. The Sierra Nevadas looked absolutely gorgeous, and despite the heat, the breeze kept things bareable.
Once I arrived, I met some regulars, a few “kids” from Santa Barbara who were camping at Lone Pine coming back for their 10th Lone Pine event, a few familiar faces from Solo 2 (Renee, Craig, Jayson, Ken, and Mike, to name a few), and a variety of other people. For such a big course, it was a relatively small turn out – probably 40-50 drivers total. I really hope more people make it out next year; the more the merrier.
I had thought it would be mostly autocross people, but it turned out to be mostly road racing guys coming out for this event.
The track looked like it was going to destroy my Hankook RS-2′s & Federal 595RS. However, at the end of the day, the wear was no worse than a practice day @ El Toro.
It was pretty entertaining to see cows early in the morning grazing by the track. They left me some presents near my work area, eewww, .
Being an autocross guy (and barely one at that), the course was very intimidating, 2.5 minutes of almost flat out fun. The parade laps we had in the morning helped us familiarize ourselves with the course & “sweep” the course of grass, weeds, and gravel.
In my lil automatic 240sx convertible, Kandi, I was able to hit around 75-80mph on the straights going into the decreasing slaloms. I believe the faster cars/guys/girls were getting into the 90-95+ mph range.
I dubbed the back offset gates coming out of the first sweeper after the first slalom the “scary ass gates.” My very first run, I spun out at one of the gates because I wasn’t paying attention to how close this particular one was offset – I’d like to blame the gravelly ground, haha – too bad, I didn’t have a video of it because it was right near a huge ass tree which was all I could see when drifting toward the gate – “Oh my god, please don’t hit that, Quoc-Viet, please don’t hit that.” I spun out just fine – however, one of the Santa Barbara kids did hit that tree head on in their beater BMW about an hour later. Apparently, the poor guy hit that tree 2 years ago spinning backward into it. His friends think he’s just trying to knock that tree down now, haha.
The course was open enough that you can set up many different ways for each turn, but you had to stay within the “grippy” area that everyone else was driving in, otherwise you’d face the wrath of the gravel – while driving, you can actually see the area everyone is driving: absent of gravel & grass, pretty neat.
Total track time breaks down as follows for Saturday:
- parade laps: 15-20 minutes
- timed laps: 5 laps official (I received another 2 for re-runs) of about 2.5 minutes per lap, more or less
Working wasn’t so bad since there was a breeze. I was stuck in one of the worse sections – the 2nd set of slaloms. However, I had a tree for shade, so it balanced out. I strongly recommend bringing tons of bug spray – I sprayed myself, but the section I missed (my neck) had crazy bite marks on it when I returned home, damn those hungry pests.
After the day was finished, we returned to our rooms to shower and get ready for the traditional buffet at Bonanza Mexican Restaurant in “down town” Lone Pine. Modelo’s & XX’s never tasted so delicious. Christian, the road racer in the white Integra sedan w/ modified GSR engine & “nothing too crazy” suspension & azenis 615′s, won Prep/Mod class with a time of 134.xxx (fastest unindexed time of the day). I recorded one of his “slower” runs below.
My fastest run was a 151.xxx, which was also my last run of the day. I’m pretty happy with that, and especially happy that my tires were still good (even though I ran a few laps w/ them underinflated) & that I survived.
Unfortunately, I had to leave Sunday morning to attend my sister’s graduation party, so I could only run the course one way. Everyone else got to run the course backwards (w/ some modifications of course) Sunday.
Your Favorite Resident Orange Tigger Helmet Wearing Automatic Driving Slow Convertible Guy:
End of the Day Tire Wear (Sidewall markings are from me not checking my tire pressures & running really low)
Tires survived pretty decently, no chunking that I could detect.
No official measuring or anything, but much better wear than I had originally thought.
I can’t wait til next year!