2017 CincySCCA PDX / Todd Cholmondeley IT Spec*tacular

Cincinnati Region SCCA held 2017 PDX / Todd Cholmondeley IT Spec*tacular. This is our region’s 3 day race event weekend, at Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course.

I was participated in PDX on Friday, in my Autocross prepped 99′ Miata, and then worked at Starter on Saturday and Sunday Race.


The Friday weather was’t the best, but at least we had one dry run in the morning, and regardless of the weather being at track is always fun! Special Thanks to Bill for coaching me and kept me calm while I was learning how to drive in rain. I really appreciate that you were there! like you said, I still need a lot of time behind the wheel there to learn the track!

Session One; I was with my instructor, trying to learn the “Rain Line”, which essentially somewhere not the Dry Line. The course had sections where newly sealed, and those areas were very slick. My autocross focused setup on Miata probably did not help much neither. As my instructor pointed out, rear biased brake pads are not helping at all especially at the end of back straight full braking. I had full 360 degree spin while I was braking… I think I won the style points for that day, but wasn’t that fun being in the car while happening… Soon after that, when we tried to get closer to the dry line at corner 1, I had another spin… strike two… Also since it was a first heat and was wet, I decided not to bother taking video… really should have…

Session Two; The course was start drying up, but there were some wet spot here and there, so I was driving between dry and wet line… some areas are still very wet, and some were very dry… felt like wearing out my nerve…

Session Three; The course was completely dried, and I felt pretty good with the car, but either because of the fear of spin from the first session, or because of uncomfortable braking, I have noticed that I couldn’t push my brake point beyond 500 feet marker. I remember last year, with Watermelon, I was at 400 feet mark when I start braking, and trying to push toward 300… this year, I just couldn’t. Also, I didn’t quite sure if and where I should be shifting to 5th… on back straight, I was running out of 4th very close to 600 or 700 feet mark, and that wasn’t enough to shift up and then back down… after thought, I probably should have short shifted a little… also I was running out of third at the front straight, and probably should have done the same, short shift to 4th… but when I was behind the wheel, was too busy worrying about corner workers and other cars, I couldn’t think of trying something new…

Session Four; We had rain and tornado warning during lunch, and the course went back to full wet. Worried about less tread on my RE71R, I switched over to BFG Rival-s 1.5, which is pretty much brand new. Still was very slick, and made me almost certain, the problem is not the tires, but more of the car setup. It’s autocross car and setup is more toward turning… The sad thing is, while the lunch break, everything sunk in from the morning session, and during this and the 5th session, I was genuinely scared. My body refused to step on gas. At back straight, I couldn’t help lifting, and brake way too easy for each corners. It was a weird feeling that even though my head said go faster, but my body couldn’t. I’ve never had something like this at autocross even after spinning. hopefully I’d be okay next time when I run at Mid-Ohio.

Session Five; The course was start drying up. Long story short, “I don’t like the Rival” probably due to both extra width (225 wide tires on 6″ rims, instead of 205 unlike RE71r), and also the characteristic of BFG compound, I had hard time “feeling” the tires. the BFG definitely has a little “Give” after suspension settles, and make it very numb to feel the tires at the limit. RE71 is one year old, but it has very consistent feel from when car settled on turn, to the right before tires start losing grip. I could predict the behavior of the tires, so felt more comfortable pushing. BFG on the other hand, after car settles, there is a cushy feel where tires probably rolling over, and that numbing the feel of the grip. With extra patch of rubber, it may have a little more grip, but if you can’t feel it, you can’t use the extra grip…

Anyhow, here’s the video of my 3rd session. The fastest time was 2’03” according to the GPS.

00’09” Green Flag Lap 1
00’25” Hello Blue BMW
00’56” Miata passing Ferarri?
02’16” Lap 2 (Fastest Lap)
03’11” Marked 105mph
03’51” Hello Black Porsche #17
04’20” Lap 3
05’02” Hello Black Eclipse #08
05’08” Hello Pat!
06’01” Hello Silver Porsche
06’28” Lap 4
08’02” Hello Aaron!
08’32” Hello Eric!
08’32” Lap 5
10’38” Lap 6
12’14” Hello Black Integra
12’15” Hello Joe
12’20” Hi Pat, are you okay?
12’45” Lap 7
13’29” Hello White Mustang #77
14’52” Checker Flag!

On Saturday and Sunday, I was with Starter Crews. Using their word, it is the second best place to be during race weekends just after being in the car driving. This is the second time being with starter crew, and I really like it there. So busy with all the info coming in from the radio, lap count, charting orders, etc, but you get to see the start and finish just above them. I also did pit out (part of starters duties) and thats also the fun. I happened to be there when they had some crush right at the start, and how grid and start crews worked together to get racers re-ready, while emergency crews run to help affected racers and race cars was very amazing. Thanks so much to let me be with you this weekends, and I probably should start showing up on my free weekends as well 🙂

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