The 2016 Kansas City Region SCCA RallyCross Championship season began this past Sunday at the Thunder Valley Sand Drags in Grain Valley, MO. Twenty-two competitors, including many first-time rallycrossers, converged on the five-acre facility and threw their vehicles through the flowing and challenging courses designed by Event Chair Mark Macoubrie. The racers were treated to a total of nine runs through the 50-second courses over two sessions with four runs in the morning and five runs after the lunch break.
There were many great class battles throughout the day. One of the most fun cars to come join the dirt-flinging action was the 1985 Camaro whose officially listed color was “A Couple Shades of Grey”. Dave Kennon and Michael Lasater took turns taking the 30-year old muscle car through the sweeping corners and exchanging fast times. Consistency is always the key in RallyCross as every run’s time counts toward the total time. Kennon lost ten seconds to Lasater in the first two runs as he struggled to find the right technique to handle the rear-wheel drive monster. Throughout the remainder of the day, Kennon would slice away at Lasater’s lead, but was only able to make up two seconds still leaving him eight seconds adrift of Lasater.
In Stock AWD, Nefty Bloom lead the way after the four runs in the morning session with his closest rival being Lawrence Duty. Lawrence returns to the AWD realm for the 2016 season with a 2002 Subaru Outback Sport after running a Ford P71 Crown Victoria in Stock RWD last season. Bloom went into the lunch break with a six second lead over Duty, but everything changed during the afternoon session. In the first run of the afternoon, Bloom took a very unorthodox and very slow route through the middle section of the course, a route that looked to include a couple figure eights. With a raw time that was twenty seconds slower than Duty and the additional handicap of two missed gates relegated Bloom to the back of the standings for the remainder of the day and allowed Duty to cruise to an easy first-event victory. Don’t think this battle is over, though. There are five more events in the 2016 season, and I’m sure we’ll see these two duking it out all season long.
In Prepared AWD, Marc Macoubrie ran to a easy victory this event, but Mike Coons was closing in on Macoubrie’s times during the afternoon session. You can expect the Prepared AWD battle in the coming events to be tight and hotly contested. The day wasn’t completely without drama, and things could have gone very differently for Macoubrie. During the afternoon runs, he suffered a debeaded tire while on course. As per the regulations, he had ten minutes to fix the tire and take a rerun without penalty. Although he had not fixed and mounted the original tire in time, he was able to get a street tire bolted on quickly enough to take his rerun. In the next round of runs, his co-driver, Mark Covey stopped on course for a mechanical issue with the steering. Macoubrie took a mechanical allowance to resolve the issue while in grid. The issue was resolved within the ten-minute time limit and he was able to complete the rest of his runs in competitive fashion. This just goes to show that no matter how far ahead you are, it can all go pear-shaped in a heartbeat.
The closest battle of the day was between the two Prepared FWD Ford Fiesta STs of Doug Patterson and Greg Cheney. In 2015, Patterson won the Kansas City Region Prepared FWD title and Cheney took the National RallyCross Prepared FWD title. The two hot-hatches threw down fast time after fast time, with Patterson getting the best of it during the morning session. A two-second cone penalty incurred by Cheney pushed Patterson’s lead at the lunch break to 3.6 seconds. The afternoon session opened with Cheney gaining back six tenths on the first run. Patterson tried a bit too hard in his second run, collecting a cone penalty and recording a raw time that was two seconds off the pace. That mistake handed Cheney the lead for the rest of the event. The gap between the two was a mere 1.5 seconds at the end of the day, which corresponds to 0.17 seconds per run. This really is a sport of inches.
The rest of the 2016 season schedule and the full results from RallyCross Event 1 are on our RallyCross Schedule and Results page. Thanks again to all who came out and made our first event of 2016 a fun and successful day.
(Photos courtesy of Patterson Prints, LLP)