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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Pepper's original adventures, before STH upgrades, are in Plenty of runs - G Street | Ford Focus ST Forum

Pepper's Totals
16 runs in STH trim
$4.25 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
25613 miles on odometer (~2200 miles are not related to autocrosses)
25.1 mpg for 2021 season

Some trepidation about how Pepper would perform in the new config as she wasn't ready for this weekend until Thursday and it was raining, so I held back. Then it rained more on Friday. Bridge City Autosports held a school on Saturday at PIR and, as an instructor, I got some play time at the end of the day. Called it quits after 9 runs as I was becoming fatigued, yet learned enough that I was pleased with Pepper's conversion to STH.

Saturday

I rushed into my first run and didn't check rear tire pressures. Drag race to the first turn and spun 270 degrees! Okay, tiptoed to the finish and dropped rear tire pressures... subsequent runs were not so dramatic and I settled on 33F/31R. As I got used to the changes and optimized the tire pressures, my times were settling into what felt like a competitive range. Cold rear tire syndrome did not appear and the temp was about 50F.

Quaiffe differential doesn't seem to provide all the traction, but the brakes are much cooler than without the Quaiffe. Apart from launching, I did not encounter any wheelspin. Zip, zilch, none!

Sunday

Nice warm day at the end of February, 57F-59F! I set a solid pace from the first run to the fifth run and then fell slightly off the pace for runs 6 & 7 (Bridge City counts all runs and usually offers at least 7). My best clean run left me 0.001 PAX seconds behind my arch rival in a DS FoRS; as we often had pitched battles when we were in the same superclass, he makes for a good benchmark. Another benchmark was national champion Ryan Otis in his Camaro; I was my usual 4-5% behind in PAX, so even without a tune, I am proving to be as competitive in STH Pepper as I was in GS Pepper.


Official results

Sunday
1st of 11 in NS4 superclass (STH, STS, & STR)
5th of 85 in PAX
5th of 85 in raw time

388510
 

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Glad to hear it's working out for you so far. The car is definitely capable in STH trim, and once you start adding power, that's when you'll really appreciate the Quaife unit instead of trying to play nice/patient with the go pedal.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Giving serious consideration to attending the Apr 9-11 Las Vegas Championship Tour. Will make final decision after this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm officially registered for the Las Vegas Tour!

Still waiting on official results from this weekend.
 

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Andrew and his SI should be good competition. I know he's improved since our last outing, but I think your consistency will persevere. Bring one home for team STH FoST!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My usual codriver, Thomas Bennett, will be joining me this weekend at Bremerton (yay! I get to see what Pepper looks like from the outside after all the changes). Now that he is working instead of going to school, he's getting harder to schedule. Not to mention he's living a 2-2.5 hr drive north of Bremerton which limits which events he's willing to attend.

Still waiting for official Sunday results (boo). Scorekeeper software on the timing laptop (PNW homebrew for many clubs) is apparently not playing nice with the latest Windows update right after Scorekeeper was updated, so they're having trouble getting the results uploaded to the webserver. The developer is in the loop, so hoping for a swift resolution. Trivia: the timing gear which goes along with Scorekeeper is developed by Farmtek, who originally produced the gear for equestrian events.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OMG! They're hand-transcribing the results to the web page. I don't know if the laptop got totally wiped or not. Well, 2 weeks until Oregon SCCA has another event... maybe we'll see the official results before then...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Pepper's Totals
28 runs in STH trim
$4.93 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
26076 miles on odometer (~2200 miles are not related to autocrosses)
25.3 mpg for 2021 season

Oregon SCCA at PIR on Mar 6-7. Intermittent showers, 45-50F, meant tire selection was everything. The Bridgestone RE-71R were worthless on Saturday competition runs, so picking the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S for Sunday was crucial. Basically, if it is under 50F and/or damp, the Michelins are the tires to have on Pepper. I did get grip during bonus runs 4, 5, & 6 and narrowed the gap.

Saturday
First run had three cones, second run had two cones, so final competition run was a do-or-die situation. I didn't die. Our runs were significantly damper than the other run group, so PAX comparison between the groups is useless. Not my most shining example of driving.


Sunday
After first two runs, I was sitting in third again. Had to buckle down and do everything right, which resulted in me leapfrogging into first.


Official results

Saturday
3rd of 17 in NS4 superclass (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
26th of 77 PAX
27th of 77 raw

Sunday
1st of 12 in NS4 superclass (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
[when Sunday's results are posted, I'll update this post]
Aaargh! Due to problems with updates for the timing software, Sunday's results have been thrown out. That's a slightly bitter pill to swallow for season points, but not insurmountable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pepper's Totals
54 runs in STH trim
$4.04 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
26817 miles on odometer (~2200 miles are not related to autocrosses)
23.5 mpg for 2021 season

Northwest Region SCCA at Bremerton. Had my codriver, Thomas Bennett along for the weekend to get his opinion. Naturally he loves Pepper in STH trim, but it was funny to watch him mow down cones on his first run as he adapted to the responsiveness. The weekend's courses were ideal for my testing purposes, including a long fast slalom.

Saturday
Gorgeous 61F weather. Used the Yokohama A052s that went to the wear bars in 15 runs. With 16 runs between us, pleasantly surprised to see very little wear. And no black dust cloud following Pepper, which I credit to the Quaife differential. We felt like we got close to utilizing all of Pepper's STH capabilities. There was a little bit of cold tire syndrome on my first run which is mostly due to the Bremerton surface, but I'll be adding a bit more rear toe-in to see if it helps get a touch more heat in the rear tire sooner.


Sunday
Rainy 48-50F, so back to the Michelins. Northwest Region has all runs count for competition, so this was a 5-run competition. The course was Saturday's reversed, with a few changes. That long fast slalom was still there. Solostorm says we peaked at 60 mph in the wet slalom, but only 58 mph in the dry... yeah, guess we are still getting used to the capability!

Several people went for wild rides into the grass/mud (Joe Goeke for one) and one driver's V8 Porsche went through the airport's chainlink fence. That fence is hundreds of feet away from the track, but there was even less grip on the grass/mud than the puddles on track. Nobody hurt, but the Porsche fiberglass has some rather large holes in it.


Official results

Sunday
1st of 10 in NSPAX (all non-stock PAX) with my codriver scooping up 2nd place!
389167


6th of 65 in PAX
7th of 65 in raw time

Bill Zerr in the Tesla showed us how well those monsters work in the rain, with Dan Podhola being his codriver. Brandon Elin & Chris Miller were driving a VW R32. Jeremy Villalva was in an STS Miata, so he was the only leader without awd.

389166
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pepper's Totals
60 runs in STH trim, 804 runs lifetime
$4.10 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
27386 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
25.0 mpg for 2021 season

Bridge City Autosports at PIR. Forecast called for cold daytime showers after raining most of the night, so left the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S street tires on. With all the rainy events, I've had as many runs on them so far this season as I have on the Bridgestones!

Saturday
Started with a rainy 45F that paused and ultimately became an overcast 48F with drying conditions. I dominated the first run group and dropped nearly 4 seconds by our 5th run due to the drying conditions, but lacked the intensity to drop further on the 6th run and ended up substantially slowing down.

The second run group had a dry track by the end of their runs, so my domination in the wet conditions got buried in the overall results. Third run group had showers begin after their second run. Their third runs were 3 seconds slower and fourth runs even worse.

There was a mixup in the timing, where my fastest time was assigned to another competitor, but that got cleared up. Still, I see errors in the timing records for my run group which I hope my competitors will seek to correct as it puts the wrong person in second place. Timing problems seem to be a theme lately, shared with Oregon SCCA and the Charlotte ProSolo, who have both thrown out results.


Official results (unaudited)

Saturday
1st of 12 in NS4 superclass (STH, STS, & STR)
16th of 82 in PAX (other run groups had dry track)
17th of 82 in raw time (other run groups had dry track)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pepper's Totals
71 runs in STH trim, 815 runs lifetime
$4.10 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
27930 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
24.7 mpg for 2021 season

Oregon Region SCCA went far north to Shelton, Washington for this weekend. Despite the distance and weather forecast, attendance was decent. We were augmented by Northwest Region on Saturday, where their choice was to run with us at Shelton on Saturday or the Northwest Porsche Club at Bremerton. As a result, we had an extra helping of the best drivers in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday.

Saturday
Started with an overcast 45F that didn't break until 2nd runs for the second run group when they got some sunshine, so the two groups had different conditions. Knowing that eventually my rear tires would gain some heat, I used the 265 Bridgestone RE71R tires. I forgot to turn off the nannies on the first run and Pepper was wicked-terrible to race. Without heat in the rear tires, Pepper was loose as expected for both first and second runs, so I went into my third run trailing by a bit due to a cone on the second run. Third run was "do or die", so I did and won.

Sunday
45F again, but rainy all day, no sun breaks and no track drying. Pepper has proven very capable under these conditions on the 245 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and today was no exception. I mainly had to stay away from the cones (oops) and ended up winning despite having a cone on my fastest run. As one of my competitors said, it is nice to have a 2 second cushion!

With 2 wins and a third place, I have a 7 point lead in the NS4 championship.


Official results

Saturday
1st of 16 in NS4 superclass (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
11th of 66 in PAX
12th of 66 in raw time

Sunday
1st of 12 in NS4 superclass (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
8th of 44 in PAX (without the cone, I was 3rd)
9th of 44 in PAX (without the cone, I was 4th)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There's only 2 of us competing in STH at the Las Vegas Tour this weekend. However, win or lose STH, my one goal is to not get raw-timed by Michael Yanase in his G Street Civic Si. Michael is the overdog in GS, with 2 FoST, 5 GTI, & 1 more Si driver all scrambling to nail the other trophy positions. H Street has a good FiST battle going on, too.

Weather forecast says it's going to be 10-25F degrees warmer than anything I've yet run in this year. I think that will only play into my favor, allowing me to attack the course from the first run rather than hold back due to cold rear tires.

If you have time/interest in following the event, a link for a live audio stream and live scoring will appear at 9a PDT Saturday & 8a PDT Sunday at
2021 Tire Rack Las Vegas Champ Tour @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Sports Car Club of America (scca.com)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pepper's Totals
77 runs in STH trim, 821 runs lifetime
$5.79 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
30709 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
26.8 mpg for this trip

Las Vegas Championship Tour. 2 days travel to get there and 2 days to get back home, roughly 2700 miles. Total thermal shock to this web-footed Oregonian's body as Las Vegas low temps were 10F higher than the high temps here at home.

Saturday
First run group and temps were 72F at the beginning, rising to 81F by the end. Rear tires actually gained heat during the first run and Pepper handled a bit tight. Course had 4 slaloms with total of 17 points. With so much slalom, I was no match for Michael Yanase in raw time, but kept the rest of GS behind me. Barely. Overbraking on the third run kept me from improving by about 0.5 sec.

Sunday
Increased rear tire pressure to get rid of the tightness. Good first run, then got slower each subsequent run. Solostorm confirmed that slalom fatigue set in despite doing the non-slalom elements better. I definitely need to practice slaloms more; I was pathetically pulling 0.3-0.4G less than normal in the slaloms those final two runs. A little setup magic might help, too.


Official results

Saturday
1st of 2 in STH
97th of 190 in PAX

Sunday
2nd of 2 in STH
104th of 190 in PAX

Overall
1st of 2 in STH (yay, I get the trophy!)
95th of 190 in PAX
 

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Pepper's Totals
77 runs in STH trim, 821 runs lifetime
$5.79 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
30709 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
26.8 mpg for this trip

Las Vegas Championship Tour. 2 days travel to get there and 2 days to get back home, roughly 2700 miles. Total thermal shock to this web-footed Oregonian's body as Las Vegas low temps were 10F higher than the high temps here at home.

Saturday
First run group and temps were 72F at the beginning, rising to 81F by the end. Rear tires actually gained heat during the first run and Pepper handled a bit tight. Course had 4 slaloms with total of 17 points. With so much slalom, I was no match for Michael Yanase in raw time, but kept the rest of GS behind me. Barely. Overbraking on the third run kept me from improving by about 0.5 sec.

Sunday
Increased rear tire pressure to get rid of the tightness. Good first run, then got slower each subsequent run. Solostorm confirmed that slalom fatigue set in despite doing the non-slalom elements better. I definitely need to practice slaloms more; I was pathetically pulling 0.3-0.4G less than normal in the slaloms those final two runs. A little setup magic might help, too.


Official results

Saturday
1st of 2 in STH
97th of 190 in PAX

Sunday
2nd of 2 in STH
104th of 190 in PAX

Overall
1st of 2 in STH (yay, I get the trophy!)
95th of 190 in PAX
Congrats! You and Andrew did well this weekend. I wouldn't use Yanase as a bench mark. Its almost unfair, that guy has legitimate racecar driver skills and combine that in a slow car, to him, it probably looks like a brisk course walk at speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pepper's Totals
87 runs in STH trim, 831 runs lifetime
$5.93 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
31177 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
26.9 mpg

Oregon Region SCCA at PIR, so small short courses in very warm April weather hitting 85F for high temps (ugh, I melt over 80F). Armed with the Las Vegas experience, I stiffened the rear swaybar and added another 1/4 turn of rebound to the front.

Saturday
Huge turnout due to warm sunny weather and PIR being in Portland. I figured I'd try to wear out the Yokohamas A052 tires or at least get the tire wear even front-to-back. Having a real differential in Pepper now has reduced tire wear, so wearing out the Yokohamas has taken longer than originally expected. However, I found Pepper's mods have finally revealed the flaws that are in the A052 design and they're coming off the rims ASAP to let someone else get a taste of them.

So I was fighting how the A052s won't turn while under power or braking. In slaloms, where there is very little going on except turning, they worked fine. Results were poor, but I gained info. These flaws were hidden by stock suspension and then shock development once in STH. Get the suspension right and the flaws are glaringly obvious.

Points battle in the NS4 supergroup was upset as the usual #4 driver bested his codriver and won. With Yokohamas on an STX BRZ.

Sunday
Bridgestone RE-71R went back on the car. Sooo much better! Got a good first run despite charging too hard because I kept hoping to power my way to a good finish, but this course required precision and more power didn't help at all. Pepper was handling great today, but the driver was an idiot, LOL. The combined swaybar and shock change was just what she needed.

Have dropped to 2nd in the points battle. The top 3 of us are all solidly in the running as potential season winners, but man, I need to win a couple more events soon! Hopefully the mid-May weekend at Packwood will give me a course where I can power my way to greatness.


Official results

Saturday
4th of 22 in NS4 supergroup (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
14th of 102 in PAX
17th of 102 in raw time

Sunday
5th of 19 in NS4 supergroup (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
17th of 84 in PAX
23rd of 84 in raw time
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sunday's Bridge City Autosports event will be at Oregon Raceway Park (ORP). Thanks to rFactor 2 and the Oregon Raceway Park mod, I'm getting familiar with both clockwise & counterclockwise layouts using the Clio Cup. The autocross adds slaloms, chicago boxes, offset gates, & coned off apexes to keep speeds under 90 mph (I hit 80 mph twice per run last year). The runs are on the long side at 2 minutes or so and quite thrilling with the vertical terrain. Last year we used clockwise; don't yet know which we'll be using for the base on Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Pepper's Totals
101 runs in STH trim, 845 runs lifetime
$5.93 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
31679 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
26.7 mpg

Oregon Raceway Park (Track Info & Map | Oregon Raceway Park) is 2.3 miles long, 40' wide, and has 140' of elevation change with multiple uphill/downhill sections. For "trackcross", the pit straight is not used, so track length is roughly 1.9 miles. Willamette Motor Club hosted Saturday's event in clockwise direction and Bridge City Autosports hosted Sunday's event in the rarely used counterclockwise direction. To keep costs down, I ran only on Sunday. As I don't care about WMC season points, but am running for BCA season points, Sunday was the day for me.

"Trackcross" is not your average autocross. The course is longer (over 2 minutes) and riskier (don't slide off the pavement sideways!). No course walks, but you get one parade lap at 25 mph. Only one corner was as slow as 30 mph and top speed for me was 82 mph. Additionally, Oregon Raceway Park has many blind corners, so you can be surprised by what's around the next bend or over the hill.

Sunday

Two run groups each getting 4 runs in the morning and 3 runs in the afternoon. Knowing that temps would be cool, I used my Michelin Pilot Sport 4S street tires with tire pressure 34F/34R. I was in the first run group and had top PAX time when temps were 48F-53F. One person in the second run group leaped ahead of me in PAX in the morning. As people got more used to the track and afternoon temps rose to 57F so their tires worked better, a couple more talented drivers slipped ahead of me in PAX. My first afternoon run was on pace with my best morning run, but then I dropped two wheels off the pavement and missed a gate or two towards the end of the run. Never could get back on that pace and Solostorm showed I was missing it at the very beginning of the run rather than towards the end... probably should have been spraying the front tires, but I skipped bringing the sprayer with me.


Official results

Sunday
1st of 5 in NS4 supergroup (STH, STS, & STR)
5th of 64 in PAX
17th of 64 in raw time
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Pepper's Totals
112 runs in STH trim, 856 runs lifetime
$6.35 per run in entry & membership fees for 2021 season
32045 miles on odometer (~2500 miles are not related to autocrosses)
25.4 mpg since switching to Fortune Auto 510 struts

Oregon Region SCCA returned to Packwood for the first time this year. Someone cleaned the gravel and moss off the lot, so grip was quite decent. The Fortune Auto 510 struts & shocks made the 3 hr drive on 10k front & 14k rear springs quite comfy. With participation from Northwest Region SCCA, a glut of national champs showed up, at least 9 of 'em.

Saturday

First run on Saturday saw me suddenly get sideways in a long slalom when I picked up my pace after realizing I had more grip. 63F definitely needs low tire pressures in the rear and the rear swaybar on soft rather than stiff! Fortunately it rapidly warmed to 70F for my second run and 73F for my third run, so settled on 33-34 psi front & 31 psi rear.

Sunday

A warmer (80F-83F) afternoon session for my run group meant the rear tires worked from the get-go and possibly could have stood a bump in tire pressure. First run, however, I was a bit wide on a corner entry and slid into the gravel build up. Then on the second run, I overcooked an offset gate and chose to take a gate penalty instead of abusing my tires to hit the cone. Think I was sitting back in 11th, so the pressure was on to post a good clean time for my last competition run! Pedal to the metal (again) and it all came together to put me in second place.

Overall, I like how Pepper is handling now, just need to fine-tune the balance for cold and warm and hot weather... or switch to Yokohama tires like my competitors. Or get a codriver so the rear tires heat up. My competitors all have codrivers (most of the time) in addition to the Yokohamas.

This weekend's NS4 winner was on fire both days! These were his first wins for the season and the points leader was 4th both days, so the order for season points has shuffled around yet again. Here is the tight points battle, showing that any of the top 4 have a shot at winning the title:
391767



Official Results

Saturday
3rd of 19 in NS4 supergroup (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
17th of 105 in PAX
20th of 105 in raw time

Sunday
2nd of 17 in NS4 supergroup (STH, STS, STX, STR, STU, & SSC)
17th of 98 in PAX
24th of 98 in raw time
 

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Dude! That's the competition level I'm missing! Last time I went to a race, all the ,uhem 'good driver's' had moved to different classes due to the 1st official race of the season, so I was left a 'write your own check' type win... Personally I was very disappointed with my times, but a 1st place vs anything else wins (I guess... IDFK, LOL).

Thanks for taking the time to explain the details. It helps me sort things out a great deal! Hopefully I can pay you back, should you ever decide that you need advice from someone less experienced than you are 🤦‍♂️ 😋
 
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