The gory details, most recent first...
What's Next? - I'm planning to do the mechanicals necessary to run Spec RX-7 class. This would include replacing springs and shocks with spec units, returning to stock carb, intake and exhaust, replacing the missing interior pieces. I would really like to get the suspension work done by next spring, so I can get some experience with the new setup. I would then do the intake and exhaust during the year as I can to be ready for a comp class first thing the following year, or maybe even at the end of 2000. I think I'll stay Midwest Council in 2000, still doing the Time Trials, then go SCCA the following for the full comp stuff. I'll have to see what MC does for the class. It sure would be great to try out another track or two somewhere along the line too.
November 1999 - The year was a success: came in way under an already tight budget, didn't spend a lot of time wrenching and had a BLAST! A lot of good experience, new knowledge, fears conquered (like not lifting in 2) and questions answered. Finding a place to store it for the winter. Would be nice to find a concrete floor where I could at least do some suspension or brake work to get ready for the Spec setup.
September 1999 - I'm best man in my best friend's wedding, which is a good reason for an off-season conclave of the Elkhart Lake Racing & Sipping Society. We all have too much fun, and even rumors of Society sponsorship of the first racing endeavor from this group of car nuts. As long as it's work, sweat, and hauling stuff, I'll take it, I'd probably even pay to see that from this group! It's great to have support from as many people as possible, especially when they're fellow racing enthusiats. There will sure be the logo emblazoned on the car next year. MrKoffee offers to spray the car all one color (a major improvement).
October 2 1999 - Final Trials of the year. This time another friend (friend of the guy I bought the car from, and local RX-7 expert) shows up in his '89 RX. I'm back in class! Want to learn as much as I can from him. The plan: follow him around the track for a couple laps, then he'll follow and critique me. It works great. I'm the kind who likes to watch, watch, watch, and watch some more, then go nuts. He gives me some pointers on shift points, getting into 2nd gear at some corners and staying on the line. I tend to get sloppy. So I tighten it up a bit and get a best time of 1:36! All other times (5 runs today) between 1:38:3 and 1:38:7. Real consistent. I'm happy with the times, my performance and improvement. I still feel like most every run had it's sloppy points, so room for a lot more improvement. I review the in-car tape and it is confirmed. I can be really bad. Maybe 1:32 is attainable.
July 17, 1999 - First Time Trial weekend. Stayed over about 20 miles outside of Beloit. (state soccer championships in Madison, tough to get a room) At the track and ready to register at 7:00am. Raining and chilly, and don't really have rain tires, just some well worn Yokos that prove slicker than the R1 slicks. A great way to learn car control and patience, and get pointers on the rain line. Definitely a different experience than the class day, so sometimes hard to relate this day with the classroom pointers of a month ago. 4 or 5 practice sessions and I'm feeling ok, but still tentative. There is generally an instructor (and certainly competitors) willing to give mini-classes all the time, of which I took full advantage. Great support for new guys coming in. Buddy Jim shows up for moral, tire changing and leaf cleaning out support. It clears up later in the afternoon, and I'm able to get some good runs in after some off-track investigation of local foliage surrounding corner 5. Best time 1:40 and inconsistent, 2 out of three runs I'm off course. Just can't seem to get any faster. I wonder if this is the limit of the current car setup, or me. I'm thinking 80% me, 20% car. I'll work on the 80%, it's a lot cheaper and more beneficial.
Mid-July 1999 - My five year old, Emily, decides that since the car is a couple different colors, we should call our outfit 'Rainbow Racing'. Can't argue with that. After explaining what a logo is, I give her the task of coming up with some logo ideas She comes up with four, and we pick her first design; the outline of her hand, with tracings progressively bigger, in different colors and RR in the palm. We do it up in water color on the door post. Good thing we took some pictures as it rains for the next race weekend.
June 26, 1999 - Took a Midwest Council of Sports Car Clubs high speed autocross class at Blackhawk Farms Raceway. This class shows you the basics of Grand Prix style driving, car control and getting around Blackhawk. Both classroom sessions and LOTS of on-track time with a dedicated instructor in your car teaches a lot, quickly. A lot of new info coming your way, tough to just try to remember what corner is coming up next. I'm going as fast as I want, with only my own lack of skill to hold me back. What a great feeling though, your senses are at capacity and you're wired. Great incentive to get better. After a morning of instruction, there's an afternoon of timed runs: one lap around the track against the clock. Times from 1:44 to a best time of 1:42, and fairly consistent. One off-track excursion at corner 3, the carousel. I think I have learned how to get around it and the rest of the track a little more comfortably now. Thanks to Don D. and Randy who loaned a helmet to me so I could take the school. I had ordered and received mine, but got sent the wrong model which was not Snell SA approved, and not enough time to get a replacement.
May 1999 - Found an '84 Mazda RX-7 from a friend of friend that had been modified and used to run autocrosses. Roll bar, springs, big carb, header, racing seat and harness, some gauges and rear compartment gutting, spare engine and lots of other "stuff". Runs great, needs new ball joints and an alignment. Get it sorted out and back together the Friday before class, actually I leave from the shop for Beloit. (Thanks to Jack and the boys at Klamm's Alignment).
Jan-March 1999 - After discussion with the other 2/3 of the family, it was grudgingly (not on my part!) agreed that I could give the Midwest Council's Autocross program at Blackhawk Farms a try. A budget was set and the search for wheels began.