Race day can be a little hectic. First, you must prepare for the race and pack the car - tires, tools, tire pressure gauge, tire jack, racing exhaust, helmets, sunscreen, snacks, water, gatorade, GoPros, etc. Then, you have to drive to the event site, go through registration, and prep the car for tech. Tires need changed, the exhaust swapped out, harnesses strapped in, racing numbers placed on the car, cameras set up, and helmets set out before it can go to tech. After you're clear to race, there is a course walk and a driver's meeting. Finally, it's time to race! Like I said, race day can be a little hectic. Throw in the complicaton that we were prepping 2 different cars in 2 different ways due to the differences between Rally Cross and Auto Cross, and add in the fact that we haven't performed this routine for over 4 months; it is our own version of March madness!
Saturday, March 21 began with a bang – maybe more like a clunk. Not only were our Dare2Dream drivers, Jeremy Salenius and Doug Patterson, prepared to race that day, they were also helping get the event rolling. Patterson was the event chair and had already put in a long morning of site preparation when the computers decided they didn’t want to work. Salenius stepped in to help, hoping it was a simple fix. Technology is a finicky thing – sometimes it takes a simple reboot to get it fixed, sometimes you want to give it a real boot because nothing seems to work. For Patterson and Salenius, it was the latter. After a frenzy of troubleshooting and an hour of "percussive maintenance", they got it to where they could race with the timing lights.
The fervor of the first event and the warm weather brought out 22 competitors and many spectators to watch the mud fly. The rain from the previous week made the ground soft, and the cars on course had fun flinging mud as they sped through the corners. Of the 22 competitors, 5 were in the PF class. Patterson and Salenius literally drove the mud flaps off of Patterson's Ford Fiesta ST as they zigged, zagged and zoomed through the course. Keeping it clean on course was Patterson’s strategy to edge out Rowland and take the overall win. While Rowland may have had a faster raw time here and there, the cones he accrued from pushing the lines would cost him in the long run. Salenius and Cheney also had clean runs all day and made the race for 3rd place as exciting as the race for 1st place.
||J Douglas Patterson
Sunday, March 22 started off with a road trip to the first auto cross event of the Salina Region in Salina, KS. Another warm day brought out 51 competitors for the narrow concrete course that challenged drivers through the slaloms, pinch cones, tight turns, and Chicago boxes. Patterson and Salenius knew the tight handling and quick response of Salenius’ Mini Cooper could handle the narrow course, but the tight slaloms at the end proved to be a challenge even for the Mini. The STF class had 3 competitors all driving a Mini Cooper. Reno modified his Mini from HS to STF over the winter and was testing out the different set up. Salenius was eager to see how his modifications would affect the handling too. Each of the drivers hit cones on the first runs as they tested how tight of a line they could drive. Salenius held the lead after Run 2, but Reno cleaned up his 3rd run and took it back. Both Salenius and Patterson put down their fastest run on the final run, but it wasn't enough to catch Reno.
||J Douglas Patterson
Team Dare 2 Dream kicked off the season with a double header and brought home 1 trophy thanks to Patterson in Rally Cross PF! Amidst the hustle and bustle of the race days, I realized I missed this crazy thing called racing and am glad the season started. Let the madness begin.