Spoiler: I didn’t actually hit a single cone.
A rare in-town autocross happened the other weekend and I managed to tear myself away from making gauges long enough to attend. This was maybe my first in five years and I had a still-stock ND in the garage. I was super curious to find out how she was to race.
A quick recap of Ramona’s current state:
-Stock wheels and tires
-Under 2000 on the clock
-On her 36th gauge set
Why not take Sharka? Sure he’s more fun. He MIGHT be faster. I stress the might. Mona has a ton of grip for a stock car. But how often am I gonna have a stock Miata to race? Probably not again for many years. I plan to swap out the suspension and wheels/tires and other goodies. A stock Miata is a rarity to me and I wanted to see what it was like to kill cones in one.
The day was like most autocross days – get up early, drive out, stand around for a few hours, finally get some cars out. But it was fantastic to see old friends again. Really fun to think my way around a course again. And taking a few hours off work? Wonderful!
Yeah… I work a lot. Probably too much. But at least I enjoy what I do. (I make Miata gauges for a living for those who aren’t aware.)
These are, unfortunately, the only pix I have of Mona and me in action. Though, I’m very happy to have these. Shot by my lovely wife.
Thank you for taking pix, wife.
So, how was Ramona to race with? The stock ND is amazingly composed and easy to drive. And the grip is incredible considering how stock she is. Not race tire levels of grip but… a lot. On crappy OEM tires!
You really have to push and overdrive the ND to get it to misbehave. We got six runs at the course and I managed to overdrive on runs 5 and 6. And you know… it was a ton of fun. It might not be the fastest way around, but hanging the ass out in every corner is the most fun.
I did one run with traction control on by mistake. And it was amazingly not bad. I only noticed the TC step in on one tight corner. It let me slide a bit, then corrected, then it gave me full power again all in under a second in one fluid motion.
One not-impressive thing is the total lack of head room in the ND RF. The seat sits you up pretty high and the roof is just right there. I *can* fit under the roof with my helmet on, but it makes hard contact the whole time and I have to somehow remove it before climbing out the door and ducking my head under the window. I had the top folded back the whole day.
The one thing that totally grew on me were these roundels. After 5+ years of not racing, needless to say my magnetic numbers and letters were nowhere to be found. If I still have them after moving, they’re probably terrible, wrinkled, and hideous.
But I do own large format vinyl printers. I could have printed a 54″ roundel if I’d had the door space for it…
I threw in some white vinyl material, found the number artwork I used for the last Laguna Seca trip, and hit print. A few minutes later, I was sitting in the garage applying the vinyl. Roundels go on easy too. I think sticking these on and smoothing out the air pockets was all of 30 minutes work.
And, I donno… I think the numbers really work on Ramona. I had the numbers on for a full week after the race just because I liked them so much. And she got a TON of complements with them. I was amazed.
Maybe Mona needs some livery…