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VTEC Club 2018 Rd. 1 - Back In The Saddle

The U.S.'s premier Honda-only time-attack series hosts its biggest-ever event to kickstart the season

Luke Munnell
Mar 14, 2018

Celebrating the start of their latest and greatest year, VTEC Club USA welcomed the 2018 competition season in traditional spring-in-SoCal fashion — with a cold, windy, rainy track day!

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 del Sol Photo 2/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Del Sol
VTEC club 2018 rd 1 S2000 Photo 3/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 S2000

The first event of just six for 2018, this was Honda time-attackers sole opportunity to battle for points (and bragging rights) on the Streets of Willow clockwise configuration, and drivers seized the opportunity to do just that, embracing the bit of wet-weather training that came with it.

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 Civic Si Photo 4/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Civic Si
VTEC club 2018 rd 1 S2000 hardtop Photo 5/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 S2000 Hardtop

In terms of participating drivers, the event was one of VTEC Club's largest to date. Where previous VTEC Club events filled only a few run groups on one day of eXtreme SPEED's open-to-all, track-day weekends, this one took over Saturday completely. A full 120 drivers of Honda-powered vehicles filled seven run groups from beginner to advanced drivers, in slow to sometimes very fast vehicles — selling out the day within the first 48 hours of registration opening!

Classing remained much the same as last year, with vehicles slotting into five classes from very mildly modified, sometimes non-VTEC cars in Group N2, all the way to highly modified performance machines in Group A. To participate, drivers had to bring along the necessary safety equipment and entrance fee, self-tech their cars per VTEC Club's safety and classification rules (posted on the VTEC Club website given at the end of this article), and must have at one time or another proven themselves an experienced and knowledgeable track driver.

Are you not yet an experienced and knowledgeable track driver, but still want to participate? Fear not! As with all rounds, there were also several lead-follow run groups, as well as classroom instruction given throughout the day to get everyone going in the right direction. Or at least attempt to.

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 Civic hatch Photo 12/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Civic Hatch
VTEC club 2018 rd 1 straight away Photo 13/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Straight Away

Rain varied from heavy to non-existent, with periods of sun late in the day drying up the track enough to let just about everyone get a session in on dry pavement. At the end of the day, the fastest run of the event was logged by VTEC Club all-star Matt Rojana from behind the wheel of a borrowed Ballade Sports Honda S2000, clocking a 1:25.115 to take the Group A and overall win.

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 Group A Ballade Sports S2000 Photo 14/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Group A Ballade Sports S2000

John Cruz, manning the helm of the mildly modified "Goldie" EG Honda Civic hatch, took the Group A2 win with a 1:26.527, while Group N was topped off by Martin Le clocking a 1:25.680 in his silver Honda S2000.

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 EG Civic Photo 15/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 EG Civic
VTEC club 2018 rd 1 Martin Le S2000 Photo 16/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Martin Le S2000

Robert Blanton's 1:29.195 from his venerable EF Honda Civic hatch was good enough for the Group N1 class win, and taking the N2 title was S2000 vet Alan "AJ" Jaquias, only from behind the wheel of a borrowed, non-VTEC DC2 (technically a DC4) Acura Integra, with a 1:29.332.

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 Robert Blanton EF Civic Photo 17/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Robert Blanton EF Civic
VTEC club 2018 rd 1 Integra Photo 18/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Integra

VTEC Club's five remaining competition rounds will each be held on different California tracks or configurations throughout the remainder of the year, and include a "Southwest summit" event at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway on the CA/AZ border, NorCal vs SoCal throwdown at Buttonwillow (counter-clockwise), twilight race back at Streets of Willow (counter-clockwise), the annual Autumn Speed Festival at Big Willow, and the grand finale at Buttonwillow in the traditional CW13 configuration.

And yes, some "Touge Stage" antics will likely be thrown in that mix again, somewhere. For more, and to get involved, proceed directly to the VTEC Club website: www.vtecclub-usa.com

VTEC club 2018 rd 1 TE37 Photo 40/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 TE37
VTEC club 2018 rd 1 ticket lady Photo 62/86   |   Vtec Club 2018 Rd 1 Ticket Lady
By Luke Munnell
282 Articles

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