by Scruffy


The 2012 Zone 1 Autocross Region Challenge was on the weekend of August 25 & 26, and North Country hosted the event. NCR won this event for the first time ever back in 2010 and we were ready to defend our title in 2011. The weather did not cooperate and Hurricane Irene "won" the 2011 event. This year the weather was just about perfect with plenty of sunshine both days. It is a bit of an understatement to say that our 10 member team did very well. We dominated from day one and by the time the tire dust cleared NCR emerged with 98 out of a possible 100 points. We competed in 9 classes and took 9 first place finishes and 1 second place finish, having 2 drivers in the same class. Our sister region NER was tied with Metro NY with 79 points each. NER took the second place under tie breaker rules and Metro was third.

Our own Lisa Roche took Ladies Top Time Of Day and Jack "hot shoe" Saunders walked away with a first place finish in S2. As I was walking away from the awards Jack said “Scruffy, I was the only one in my class”. “Does not say that on the trophy, Jack”, I replied.

Missing from the competition this year were Mark and Sigrid Schnoerr along with Gerard Mauvis. They are now on the other side of the country and were missed. We’ll never know if we could have had a 10 for 10.

Team Captain was Ollie Lucier, assisted by myself, and all under the watchful eye of Joe K. Joe applied his "Minnesota approach" more than once to keep us on track. Emails and phone calls really began to fly in the weeks and days before the event and Capt'n Ollie finalized the team just hours after registration closed. We knew who was coming and we knew what we had to do.

Our Zone 1 team did much more than compete that weekend; the team also hosted the event with all members doing whatever it took to get the job done. The result was nothing less than professional and both days finished with hardly a glitch. I arrived at 5:45 AM on Saturday to set the course for day one. I was about half way around the course when Chris Darminio arrived and we finished course setup with plenty of time to spare. We also had a large scale course map posted next to the time postings. The course for day 2 was set by Rich Wayne from Metro NY. Both days were fun and challenging for all.

   Showroom Stock 1 team driver was Mark Dudek in a 1994 968 co driven by NER member Adam Blauer (thanks Adam). It was also Mark's first time driving this car. In the days before the event Ollie and I saw a 1999 Boxster move into the class. A superior car and driven by a seasoned driver. Mark had his work cut out for him but we were confident he could handle it. His first run saw him just .65 behind the leader, 2nd run he closed the gap to .02 behind. By the end of the first day Mark had the lead by .7 seconds. Day 2 came and Mark was now one with the car. Mark finished the event with a spanking of 2.6 seconds ahead of second place. 10 points for NCR.

   Showroom Stock 3 was defended by Andrew Kessel in his 2006 Cayman S. We did not know the other drivers he was to compete with but Andrew ended up dominating his class with almost a full 6 second lead over second place. Well done! Andrew also took Top Time in Showroom Stock class. 10 points.

   Showroom Stock 4 had Ed Moschella driving his Cayman R for the team. Ed's competition was putting up a good fight with a much more powerful 2009 Carrera S and day 1 ended up with Ed having a lead of about .6 seconds. Another battle followed on day 2 and Ed again prevailed. Another 10 points please.

   Production 1 was defended by Chris Darminio driving his 1976 914. Chris put down some stinking fast times and walked away with a first place. His times were actually faster than P2, P3, and P6. Not so bad for a 36 year old Porsche. 10 more.

   Production 4 was Captain Ollie’s class driving a 1998 Boxster. There were good drivers in P4 but we were very confident of a first place finish. It was not as easy as it looked at the end of day 1. Ollie bested Don Coburn from Metro by well over 13 seconds in 2010. On day 1 Don pulled a 68.981 from the blue and Ollie finished the day just .857 seconds ahead?? Wakeup call as Don had learned to go fast since 2010. Ollie was not shaken and finished the event with a 2.93 second lead. Another 10 please.

   Production 5 was defended by Jeremy Mazzariello driving his 2007 Cayman. Jeremy only had competition on day one as the other driver did not compete on day 2. No matter as Jeremy had him by almost 11 seconds. He was also faster than some of the classes above his. Easy 10 more points.

   Production 7 was my class with Susan and me driving our 2007 Carrera S. It looked to be just the two of us in P7 but on Day 1 we found a P8 car in our class. I had not planned on bringing Hoosiers to the Zone but Capt'n Ollie strongly suggested that I bring them. Glad I did because they saved my butt against a more powerful car. I opened up a 1.5 second lead during the AM runs on Day 1. Unfortunately the super stickies were about to cord and I had to go back to slower 888s. AM of Day 2 saw my lead vanish and I was now in second place. Joe K walked over to me and very calmly told me to pick up another half second. I needed to find the right tire pressure fast. I did and dropped almost a full second. Enough for 10 more.

   Improved 1. Joe K and Lisa Roche were our team members defending I1. Either one of them could take a first and neither one would agree not to beat the other so this really made sense. Joe and Lisa usually compete in P2 locally but the more stringent Parade Rules have the "My dog ate my rear carpet" clause. Other teams could not protest this. How would they know Joe and Lisa do not have a dog? A Joe and Lisa one-two punch here. 18 for the team.

   Modified 2 had team member Jake Moreau driving a 2010 GT3RS with Hoosier road course tires. Jake wanted more than just a class win, he also wanted FTD for the event. He had that at the end of day 1 by a scant .043. It almost happened. Still, Jake finished the event with a 3.8 second lead in class. Final 10 points here.

This is a Zone 1 Autocross we will all remember for a long time. We the North Country drivers won the event with our diversity. We did much more than cover 9 classes. We also won with our competitive driving skills because most of our drivers posted times faster then classes above them. Thanks team, ya done good.