This past weekend, Willow Springs International Raceway once again played host to the annual, all-Honda, VTEC Club event; Autumn Speed Festival. Since the inaugural event last year, it’s one of the only events I look forward to attending here in the US (actually in the past two years it’s the only event I’ve attended). While VTEC Club usually runs alongside another facilitating vendor to host their normal events, Autumn Speed Festival’s attendance, and management are proof that, time forbidding, the organization can survive on it’s own. With over 80 registered drivers, the pits were packed with Honda driver’s both veteran and new, ready to take on the ‘fastest road in the West’; Big Willow.
It’s no easy task to run a seamless track event, and in most cases a lot of the work that goes on behind the scenes goes without recognition. I noticed that after the fact, however, many of the contenders had posted messages of thanks and appreciation in coordination of the event. It’s a testament to the caliber of people involved that really goes a long way to distinguish VTEC Club from other sanctioned organizations. The comradery displayed and willingness to help one another, both new and old, influences others to follow suit and creates a very positive sense around the paddock. This year I was fortunate enough to both drive my car, and have a little booth set up, during the event. While my drive didn’t last very long, I was granted more time to be able to chat with people who came up to the booth, and also as I walked around the pits taking pictures. This was my first time driving at Big Willow, and while I was only out for 3 test laps, I got a feel for how fast the track can be. That being said, I was blown away with the times of some of the drivers. Maybe because I haven’t driven for years, or haven’t kept up with the class times, but seeing how close together some of the times were really surprised me. No doubt there are some very capable drivers in this group.
I’d like to both thank and congratulate Duane and everyone else behind this event for another successful year, and I’m already looking forward to the next ASF. I didn’t get a chance to take too many shots, because after the car was decommissioned I had the chance to walk around and talk to people at the booth, but please enjoy. There were also a handful of photographers there that were taking much better photos than I had, so be sure to check out their blogs as well.
The car wasn’t completely how I had hoped it would be visually; the fenders that were supposed to be on it weren’t finished on time, so I had to make these 20mm J’s Racing ones fit the 255’s which turned out to be more difficult than expected. I was concerned with rubbing issues on both the fender and frame rail, but it seems to have been just fine. Also, the Truth bumper that was supposed to be on the car is still on a container from Japan. I hope to have that for December.
Yuta came to drop off some Ez-Up’s for Battlecraft, and then promptly left to go sleep. He had been up all night working on a customer car. His sedan is looking great despite losing his Wings West lip on the way to the track.
Two S2000’s, belonging to Oscar and James respectively, that had full livery and some good looking modifications. Kristian and I agreed that we’d both like to see a different variation of rear diffuser on the white one.
Phil’s S2000 is proof that simple is usually best. The deep blue Advan’s pair with the rich black paint perfectly. Moderate aero upgrades, and a carbon fiber hard top help in tying the whole package together. I think this was Phil’s first time driving Big Willow and the car looked fast out there. He also took home Battlecraft’s Cool Car Award.
A couple Type-R’s were also in attendance; both on new Titan 7 forged wheels. I had the opportunity to chat with the owners for a bit, they’re just starting to track them so I hope to see them out more often.
Crazy to think Honda is going to offer these as a crate motor. Only a matter of time until we see this going into an older chassis. It does, however, look very tight to work on with the motor inside the car.
The suede Mugen wheel wth the blue hardware matched everything so well. The center console modification for the new shifter was also done very well.