After over-sleeping for the second event I decided to make a run to Packwood, WA for event #3. Chris had out of town plans so I convinced a friend/local Mazda geek to come with me the night before. Thanks Kyle. The drive was relaxing at about 2 hours and I could scarcely have gotten lost if I tried, take I-5 north to Highway 12 East and continue on to Packwood. I forget the name of the place we ate breakfast at (1 of 2 places in town I believe) but the portions where huge nap inducing offerings and the view was magnificent.
Weather was perfect on that Sunday and the course size was significantly larger than PIR events allow for. Indoor parking was a huge plus but the birds coming through caused me some concern. Sure enough a bird marked the top of my car during its wait for what I hoped would not be a laughable assault on innocent cones. Kyle and I walked the course several times but there was no map available so I kept a good eye out trying to keep the course in my head. Also, I got a ride-a-long in an FC with a V8 swap during the morning session to help get a feel for things, fun!
The 3 is equipped with MS coil-overs set on full dampening and rebound in front with full dampening and 2 clicks short of full rebound in the rear. I set tire pressure, marked the side walls, applied numbers and class magnets, loaded my lower boost MAP into the ECU then proceeded to my work assignment. After working first group my farmers tan was complete and it was time to run. I used an instructor, the same guy that set the course, to help me get through the problem areas I was fighting with. Smooth runs, looking ahead and course knowledge paid off……….. after the first three “official” runs, which sucked as I managed a 55 second run to demolish my previous 1 minute plus runs while coming out of 2nd gear twice. The car comes out of 2nd gear in the same areas on every run I made, which is the same thing that happened at PIR during the first event. I am looking at competition style engine mounts for the weekends to see if they will help. Most of the guys out there use R compound or competition tires and wheels, me, I am sticking with the street tires. After comparing my last lap time to others I found the MS3 to be more than capable of competing in this venue despite my lack of traction and experience. At the end of the day I was glad I came out and I am anxiously looking forward to the next Packwood event. I’ll be working on a little more throttle control and left foot braking in the mean time.
Somewhat surprising to me is the number of families that come out to these events, some times as support for a driver yet often enough couples or parents and kids (18+) are driving the car. Two drivers per car is a regular thing.
Here’s a quick video of part of one of my runs: