VTEC Club 2016, Rd 4: Better, Faster, Closer
Having raced their first three competition rounds at Streets of Willow, Big Willow and Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, Honda-powered time-attackers of VTEC Club USA returned to “Streets” for their fourth of five competition rounds for the first half of 2016.
Their missions: 1) better establish the championship points race, and 2) break some records in the process, with the benefit of experience from their first three rounds.
Both missions: accomplished.
A quick refresher: VTEC Club competition occurs within Extreme Speed Track Events, and is open to Honda-powered vehicles in four classes, or “groups” (A, A2, N, and N2) accommodating modification from stock to unlimited. Competition is open to any qualified driver and vehicle meeting the appropriate tech requirements, and details of all that can be found on www.vtecclubusa.com.
The title of this article perfectly describes what went down in Round 4 of VTEC Club. Top-flight Group A competition saw the party-crashing Mazda Miata (calm down… it’s F22C-powered) of Nik Romano take the win, running not only the fastest lap of the day, but resetting the class/track record – also Nik’s personal best time: one minute, 23.200 seconds.
Not far behind (but still more than a second off Nik’s time) was Alex Zhao and his Kraftwerks-supercharged S2000 with a 1:24.487, also a new personal best for Alex despite overheating issues he hopes to sort out before the final round.
Claiming the final podium spot was Craig Utter and his previously turbocharged (now N/A) B-series Civic, with a 1:32.889.
Group A2 saw repeat class winner Matt Rojana earn the win with a 1:24.510—an impressive feat for his red Ballade Sports S2000, only Matt set that time in a blue S2000 lent to him by another member of the Ballade family. With his win, Matt has locked up the championship points win in A2, and has painted a giant target on his back for anyone hoping to take top honors next season.
Jose Mejia and his S2000-slaying K-powered EM Civic earned the Second spot with a 1:25.813 clocked early on, before a mishap kept him from closing in further on a win.
Taking Third: Ronnie Vajdak and his crowd-favorite DC2 Integra, with a 1:26.303.
Group N saw last year’s class championship Sean Mulyanto earn a new personal-best time, reset the class/track record, earn the class win, and ultimately lock up season championship standings in class with a 1:24.812.
The battle for Second and Third were maybe as close as they’ve ever been in VTEC Club history, with only .039 seconds separating Second-Place winner Clement Kwong and his S2000 (1:27.138) from Martin Le and his S2000 in Third (1:27.177).
Even more exciting: Second through Sixth Places were separated by only a few tenths of a second—that’s what we all like to see!
Group N2 – the “hey, I got a great deal on it” class – also had an extremely close race, in more ways than one. Not only did the top three fastest drivers finish close to each other (Duane “Baby D” Bada in First with a 1:30.130, Ryan “Steadily Improving” Constantino in Second with a 1:31.692, and Steven “Pretty Much a Normal Guy” Chavez in Third with a 1:33.361), but the top five fastest finishers all drove EF Civics...
...and probably hung out after the event together, talking about how cool EFs are.
Better, Faster, Closer
So, yeah. The racing was better, the lap times faster and everything was conducted in a safe and constructive manner. But what the numbers don’t reflect is that the camaraderie, tomfoolery and otherwise friendship prevalent in the VTEC Club is something to be enjoyed by all, no matter what Honda-powered vehicle they drive.
Even if it is an EF.