24 JANUARY 2020 scca.com
Prepared Rear Wheel Drive
The challenging conditions were a huge factor for all
classes, but arguably all rear-drive competitors had
to dig deepest for traction in order to maintain any
semblance of momentum. And, on that front, in Prepared
Rear, it all came down to prep – those equipped with
mud tires were rewarded with tripping the finish timer
in short order, while those who didn’t, suffered.
Gonzalo San Miguel hit the course in his 1997 Mazda
Miata with a vengeance and took a commanding lead from
his first run. He widened the gap with every run, with the
first run on Sunday morning being the only exception.
But when the mud settled, he claimed the National
Championship with a 22.092sec margin of victory.
Behind, Shawn Roberts, piloting his unicorn-themed 2002
Mazda Miata, and Myles Goertz, at the wheel of a 1999 Miata,
battled it out for second place. There, Roberts fired first, besting
Goertz in the first run by 5.6sec. Goertz shot back, besting the
duo’s next two runs on Saturday morning’s course, although
he did claim a cone penalty on both runs. The two continued
to swap times, with Goertz more often laying down quicker raw
times – he just couldn’t seem to stay off of the cones. With two
more cones and one 10-second gate penalty, Goertz wrapped
the event in third place, trailing Roberts by 12.426sec.
Eileen Bollig and Eric Adams co-drove a 2013 Scion FR-S,
with the pair battling it out for the final two trophy positions
of fourth and fifth place. Adams drove clean all weekend,
not taking a single penalty, while Bollig pushed harder, let it
hang out – and paid the price with multiple cone penalties.
Ultimately, however, her strategy paid
off, and she bested Adams by
4.311sec. — Geoff Thomas
Prepared Front Wheel Drive
Some say it’s better to be lucky than good – but if you can
be both, you might find yourself crowned an SCCA National
Champion. To wit, as Prepared Front made its way from
the grid to the starting line and rain began to fall, Jim
Rowland was handed an incredible opportunity as one of
the first to run on the “less wet” course. There, he took full
advantage of the situation, posting an impressive 47.2sec
run, some three seconds clear of the next competitor.
Second runs saw Jake Bucknam put down a flier,
actually besting his first run, but with it came a cone.
Nevertheless, Bucknam had served notice, and he seemed
intent on keeping the pressure on Rowland. A slower, but
clean, 58.6sec lap closed out morning runs for Bucknam,
which was two seconds better than Rowland’s third run.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a race on our hands!
Saturday afternoon runs saw Bucknam closing the then
9sec gap to Rowland in short order, posting the quickest pair
of clean runs, moving himself within two seconds of the lead
by the end of the day. Robert Seeling, Jon Seaton, Edwin
Cunill, and Max Johnson also made the most of their afternoon
runs, keeping themselves in the hunt for trophy finishes.
Faced with only two runs on Sunday, Bucknam would need to
quickly chip away at Rowland’s lead. Unfortunately, for Bucknam,
Rowland wasn’t going down without a fight, as he opened with
a 41.7sec run, setting fast time for the class in the process.
On the final runs, Bucknam dropped into the 42s, but it would
not be enough, and he was forced to settle for second place.
Farther back, a pair of 44.9sec runs on Sunday secured third
place for Seeling, while Seaton drove to a fourth-place finish. Cunill
closed out the trophies in fifth.
Truly, moments of
brilliance – paired with clean,
consistent runs – aided
Rowland as he piloted through
the mud to claim his first
title. —Jason Isley
Gonzalo San Miguel