Time Trials at Willow

By: Ray Tsui

Like many of the twenty-or-so other members of the Southwest Region living in Arizona, I do not get to participate very often in the Region?s events due to the distance between Phoenix and southern California. So on finding out that I had to be in Santa Barbara for business at the end of June just prior to a weekend track event at Willow Springs, I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Furthermore, after a steady diet of local open-track events at Phoenix International Raceway and Firebird International Raceway, I felt it would also be a good change of scenery.

The event was sponsored by the Alfa Romeo Owners of Southern California, and those AROSC folks run a well-organized show. Despite the heat, there was a good turn-out of cars for the various race, time-trial, and lunch-time touring sessions. I was hoping to see more Ferraris, but perhaps the hot weather was too much of a deterrent. I did get to meet Tom Brockmiller and Marv Landon, two of the regulars based on the reports in previous newsletters, as well as other "trackies" from the Region. [Jeff, please help me out with the names here as you see fit.]

It had been a few years since I last drove my 328 at Willow Springs, and many of the landmarks I recalled using for reference points on the track seemed to have disappeared. (Or perhaps it was just a case of my memory not being what it used to be!!) So I spent most of Saturday?s sessions learning the track and developing a rhythm. Since it was my first attempt at a time-trial, the AROSC folks provided drivers like myself with quite a bit of classroom help. Paul [Jeff, I don?t remember his last name; he drives the famous "Dunestang"] has the reputation of a fine racer and did a very good job as an instructor as well.

The time-trials were held on Sunday afternoon, at which time the temperature was definitely on the warm side (even for somebody from Phoenix). Drivers with similar projected lap times were grouped together and sent out onto the track at 10-15 seconds intervals. Each driver was given 5 timed laps as well as a warm-up and a cool-down lap. In class, we learned to maintain a good gap between cars during the warm-up lap so that one has a better chance of getting 5 clean laps. Strategies were also discussed on how to minimize losing more than 1 clean lap in case one catches the car in front or is being caught from behind. Time-trialing is definitely more involved than the simple open-track events that I?m used to, and it was a lot of fun.

The 5 laps came and went quickly for me. I think I messed up only one of the laps; it?ll be interesting to look at the times to see if that?s the case. Unfortunately, with a long drive back to Phoenix waiting for me, I did not stay for the post-event "do-dah" during which the times were posted and awards handed out. So I?ll have to wait like the rest of you. Still, it was a fun-filled weekend and I look forward to my next opportunity in time-trialing.

Class NF - Ferrari

Pos#DriverMakeLap 1Lap 2Lap 3Lap 4Lap 5
40Maddocks308GT41:53.7751:52.6261:52.549 1:52.4471:54.606
28Tsui328GTS1:55.6381:55.5701:57.828 1:58.1461:56.596
87Maddocks512BBi 2:01.3072:00.2111:59.015 1:59.594 1:59.102