Returning to venerable SoCal driving mecca Willow Springs, VTEC Club USA kick-started its second of two competition seasons for 2016 (its fourth season since its official inception) with a night event, running the Streets of Willow circuit counterclockwise. The unconventional configuration and time of day might lead one to assume performance and lap times were down overall, compared to past events. In that case, one would be wrong.
The start of the second season saw many of the names we’re used to seeing once again place high on the leaderboard, some setting new track records in the process. Even more impressive were the new names joining competition for the first time and finishing just as strong.
Group A is VTEC Club USA’s unlimited class, and for all intents was one dominated last season by Nik Romano and his S2000-powered Mazda Miata. Don’t let the Miata fool you – Nik’s a good guy. And a fast driver. But Honda reclaimed the class this round when newcomer Ryan Cubidez and his badass no. 205 S2000-powered S2000 earned the win with the fastest lap of the event – a 1:24.178 to Nik’s (landing second in class) 1:24.184. It’s going to be awesome seeing these guys battle for Group A wins all season.
Matt Rojana may be the most familiar name to VTEC Club followers, after dominating the Group A2 class and winning last season’s championship points chase in either his fast, red, Ballade Sports S2000, or in a nearly as quick blue roadster also under the shop’s tent. He returned this time around and defended his title (in the blue car, no. 141) with a 1:24.948 best time and new class/track record, ahead of Brandon Camacho in the no. 07 S2000, and new Redline Time Attack coordinator Amir Bentatou in the black NSX.
VTEC Club USA’s biggest class this time at Willow was Group N, and in it seems to be brewing a good FWD/RWD Honda rivalry, with plenty of fast street-prepped Civics and Integras going head-up against a slew of S2000s. At least this time around the S2000s asserted their dominance, claiming the five fastest finishing spots led by VTEC Club vets Clement Kwong (no. 28) and Sean Mulyanto (no. 73), and newcomer Alan Jaquias (no. 53), all crossing the line within about one second from each other. This will be another fun class to watch, especially if (when) the FWDs start coming into their own.
Finally, VTEC Club’s arguably most fun, laid-back, yet fiercely competitive class – Group N2 – saw organization co-founder and SP Engineering tuner Kristian Wong take the win and reset the class/track record in his built-for-the-class, SOHC-swapped DC2 Integra, churning out a quick 1:29.772. Two more familiar names picked up the second- and third-place spots: Scott Dukeshire, in the no. 142 Civic with a 1:30.160, and Robert Choo, wringing a 1:30.430 from his no. 44 Civic on a dying engine.
So, take away from the above info what’s apparent: that VTEC Club USA is becoming increasingly competitive as drivers get more seat time and build/modify vehicles specifically for the boundaries of class rules, which will keep competition growing and becoming more exciting to follow and be a part of. But don’t forget to also glean what’s not reflected in the numbers: that VTEC Club drivers’ first priority is to keep fun competition among friends their inspiration for it all.
Season 4 competition continues with round 2 at Fontana, Calif.’s Auto Club Speedway. Stay with us for more, and to get involved, visit: www.vtecclubusa.com