2009 39th Lone Pine Time Trials / Autocross; 1st Craig Angel Memorial Time Trials

Crazy weekend!

First off, I was amazed that I got all the crap I did into my car (remember, this is a vert w/ a roll bar):
- 2 x 18×9 Fabulous rims w/ 265/35R18 tires for spares
- 1 x Harbor Freight aluminum racing jack
- 1 x tool box
- 1 x 13″ Craftsman bag to hold engine fluids & miscellaneous car repair stuff
- 1 x Kelsyus chair w/ canopy
- 2 x helmets
- 1 x case of Aquafina
- 2 x bags of snacks & drinks
- 1 x gym bag of my clothes
- 2 x large purses of my girlfriend’s stuff
- 2 x laptops
- a bunch of other random miscellaneous things

We left early in the afternoon on Friday. I headed up the 405 -> 5 -> 14 and stopped at Rosamond first. Refilled the gas tank, and calculated my miles per gallon: 25-26 MPG!!! I don’t think I ever had this much n/a or in the stock 240sx convertible I got as a DD (with all that equipment & passenger in the car no less). And this isn’t the “inflated” mpg’s that most 240 owners claim since their speedometers are usually off, which affects the odometer; this is GPS verified mileage + Google maps mileage averaged. Top was up, windows slightly down, approximately 14.7-14.9 afr cruising, and turbo required almost no heavy throttle action. MPG’s stayed constant for the rest of the trip (not taking into account the autox time).

It was never so easy going up 4000 ft elevation passing SUV’s & random riff raff. We arrived in time for Friday tech & the welcome party. Ran into a few autocross friends & met some old & new people who were @ the Lone Pine Time Trials last year.

Morning Drivers' Meeting @ Lone Pine Time Trials

On Saturday, I arrived early & unpacked everything. I was very eager to see how the Lone Pine Staff tweaked the course to make it an autocross this year; they introduced a couple chicago boxes & rearranged the offset gates on the back straight to keep speeds down. During the parade laps, I followed Mike Nakata, who took his daily driver Lexus IS 300 this year. We gave ourselves enough distance to test a few of the turns. I spun out coming out of the “North Burrows” corner just trying to keep up with him, OOPS!

The morning work group was a little long because we had to have a pot hole patched up. However, the weather was nice (even had a little sprinkle action going on), the cars were well spaced out, and everything else ran relatively smooth. The fastest lap times were in the 135 seconds or so – held by the GS Acura & AS Evo VIII, followed closely by a very skilled Mercedes CLK500 driver Carl V. (left his Porsche Boxster @ home, haha). I believe the rest of the pack was running everything from mid 140′s all the way up to 180′s, with the majority in the 160′s.

Lone Pine Time Trials afternoon run group

The afternoon run group (us) was an entirely different story. Things went smoothly until I hit the course, or rather hit a sage bush going off the course. I totally screwed up coming in & out of the first chicago box, the same corner I worked all morning. I really should have known better & taken it easier my first lap – there wasn’t too much room for error if you exited too quick going the wrong way losing traction.

Luckily for me, I hit a very large sage bush – if it wasn’t there, another 4-5 feet & I would have hit the ditch behind it & possibly flipped the convertible. Other than damaging my front half bumper, fenders, and ego, everything was okay. Pat (better known as Irish) & the crew pulled me out of the ditch – fyi, the FRSport / DavisFab 240sx s13 convertible roll bar also works as a great emergency tow hook! Tom P., our safety steward for the weekend, made sure I was okay, checked out the car, and lent me his air tank to blow out the dust.

I must have started a chain reaction, just a few runs after me, David B. rolled his BMW 2002 around the same area I spun out. The car flipped 4 times & the passenger side a-pillar looked completely destroyed. David seemed to make it out okay. A Dodge Viper also spun out before the chicago box on the first sweeper. The Santa Barbara crew (the City College one – there was also UCSB alumni there representing) lost their poor Acura on one of the runs blowing a hole their engine in the afternoon. My apologies to the afternoon work group for having to work a 3.5 – 4 hour work assignment!

I finished my final 2 runs, 158.xx seconds & 154.xx seconds, both with a cone. Of course, I was more focused on just completing the course during these 2 runs rather than completing them as fast as I could. This is poor Kandi AFTER I cleaned her up later on in the day:

Kandi broken bumper @ Lone Pine Time Trials

Kandi, the orange 240sx convertible, broken bumper @ Lone Pine Time Trials - fender side

Overall, the course was still TOTALLY fun. Despite being an autocross, it was still VERY high relative speed maintenance. I really wish we could have more than 3 runs, though; well, we were suppose to have fun runs, but the afternoon run group was… a little shenanigan-happy.

Afterward, Renee led a final parade lap with Craig’s old 07 orange & black mustang. We ended @ the middle area for Renee & family to spread the remains of Craig’s ashes.

Final Parade Lap - getting ready to spread Craig's ashes @ Lone Pine Time Trials

Final Parade Lap - getting ready to spread Craig's ashes @ Lone Pine Time Trials - Renee & Mustang

Final Parade Lap - getting ready to spread Craig's ashes @ Lone Pine Time Trials - Craig's #07 Mustang

I have the bigger version of the panorama & more pics in the gallery.

More info the Lone Pine Time Trials (known as an Autocross this year), can be found on the solo2 forums Lone Pine Time Trial Event Thread.

I decided to not compete on Sunday since I know I wasn’t going to push the car as hard as I wanted & still wanted to drive home w/ the car in one relative piece. I’ll get to practice my braking point & getting used to the car all over again at the next autox practice.

Time for a new body kit…

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