I trailered Silver Ghost down to Moultrie, GA, for Axis vs. Allies,, the final National Tour event of 2022. No co-driver. B-Street ran first group in the cool, dry morning of Day One.
With first runs complete I found myself with a scratch time leading the overwhelming favorites DiSimo and Ruggles, co-driving an M2, by over 2 seconds. Had I turned into Verstappen since the last event? Nope.
The M2 had split the turbo charge pipe. Second time I’ve seen that happen at a Tour event.
With their M2 out of the competition, I invited Ruggles to switch into Silver Ghost. DiSimo went into Ryan’s Supra. The officials were able to get it done so fast that neither lost a run. We didn’t even have to call for mechanical delays. Ruggles has lots of time in Corvettes and DiSimo has recent time in the Supra. They were both rude enough to beat their new co-drivers. Ryan and I were happy to get a data comparison to such good autocrossers.
I drove only OK the first day. Ruggles was getting used to the car; even so he was faster and was thrilled at how good the car was. I was not too far back in third place. DiSimo checked out with a first run in the Supra good enough to beat everyone. His second run in the Supra only got faster.
It was 76F and sunny in the afternoon when I worked course with a guy who’d come all the way from New York. He looked up at the sky and said, “I’m definitely coming back next year!” The event had 30 more entrants than last year and I bet it will be bigger yet in 2023.
Day Two was wet, but the rain stopped about the time I got to the site and the surface began gradually drying. I had studied data and seen my mistakes on Day One. My second run was maybe the best single run I’ve ever driven. Too bad it was still wet with the Falken 660’s on the front sliding around badly while the Yoks on the rear stuck like glue.
By third runs the sun had come out and the course was now dry. Pushing hard, absolutely drunk on the grip afforded by dry concrete, I lost control of Silver Ghost and tank-slapped in the biggest high-speed turn-around (entered at 72mph!) I’ve ever seen at an autocross. Then I topped it off by hitting the last cone on course at the finish. That ended any hope of overtaking Ruggles for second and a trophy. Data says I had a shot to at least match Ruggles on Day Two and he even beat DiSimo that day. In fairness to DiSimo, he had coned his 2nd run, so was probably being a little conservative on his third to secure the win since he had a good-sized lead from Day One.
If you didn’t have a good third run in the first group you had no chance to PAX well overall because it was warmer and dry the rest of the day for everyone else. Despite running in the first run group, DiSimo and Ruggles paxed 6th and 12th, respectively, of 148 drivers in our B-Street cars, which I think shows that both Silver Ghost and Ryan’s Supra are very capable, not only of winning their class but indexing at the top overall. (No one from BS has been particularly close to top PAX at a Tour event since Tony Chow did it in Chicago last year in an M2.) They each had fast and clean third runs. In spite of the botched third run on Day Two I placed 2nd of 33 on the Masters list. (I’ve yet to finish on the top of that list!)1
My second run on Day Two was just fast enough to allow me to retain third place over Ryan, which gave me three wins vs. two losses to him in national competition this year. We ran against each other in several regionals as well and it’s been great competition. For some reason he usually beats me in those events. I think maybe it’s because I tend to get faster in just three runs, but it takes him a little longer. With the extra runs at regional events he catches up and tends to win.
It’s been a great year running Silver Ghost.
- A friend pointed out that my memory was wrong. Turns out that I did top that list once: at Peru in 2021 while co-driving his FS Camaro.