By on May 7, 2011

When I agreed to drive a Honda S2000 in Atlanta’s SCCA National Tour event, I didn’t realize that, not only would this close a three-year-long gap in my autocross career, that I would be competing at the site of the last autocross I ran, back in 2008. (My review of the F-250 PowerStroke six-speed manual I used to tow a car there and back can be found here, by the way.)

Well, I sucked back then and I sucked today. Until the very last runs of the day, I was actually DFL in a ten-car field, although I feel compelled to note that two of the other nine drivers were 2010 SCCA National Champions and all of them had a few years’ experiencing autocrossing S2000s. With my third and final attempt at the course, I managed to incompetently bounce my way up to eighth place.

Unfortunately, that places me in the Jorts Zone.

What you see above is a thoroughly modified S2000 competing in the “X Production” class. It completed today’s course in 37.1 seconds, whipping back and forth through the seventy-foot-gap slalom course immediately prior to the finish line with well over 1G of cornering force and accelerating at a rate that would humiliate a “supercar” on the street. It wasn’t the most extreme Honda in attendance, however. That honor would go to a Honda Z600, re-bodied completely in carbon fiber, loaded with a 165-horsepower Suzuki Hayabusa engine, and fitted with monster (and very functional) wings front and rear.

39.578 seconds was the best this Honda could do, although there’s certainly more time to be had as the owner continues to develop the vehicle. SCCA’s Modified classes are the last bastion of shade-tree car-builders, really; while plenty of people build oddball cars for the 24 Hours of Lemons, and those cars need to run for more than forty seconds at a time, they don’t see anything like the kind of cornering and braking forces applied to the Modified autocrossers.

Our four-man team at Changed Mon Motorsports expected good things to come out of Day One at the Atlanta Solo Tour. Our “A” car featured National Champion Marc Pfannenschmidt and the equally talented Jadrice Toussaint; the “B” car was occupied by Mark Baruth and Jack Baruth, your humble (and increasingly humbled) author. Jadrice’s first run was a 39.143, good enough to win for the day. Pfannenschmidt hit cones in his first two runs, but put it together in the third to take second place with 39.218, a whopping 0.075 seconds back.

All ten entrants in our class run the Honda S2000. Some prefer the 9000-rpm “AP1” variant, others like the AP2 “CR” model. The plain AP2 doesn’t get as much love for some reason, but the rules now allow the plain AP2 to receive CR-style upgrades. Neither of them drive anything like a Boxster S, which was my old autocross ride. Getting used to a car in forty-second increments isn’t easy. The first run, I hit a cone with my door, underestimating the car’s width. The second run, I got lost in the final slalom and went the wrong way. Only in the third and final chance did I manage to figure out anything about the steering, turning in a dismal 41.398, just 0.015 ahead of the ninth-place driver.

My brother was struggling with some personal demons. He, Marc, and Jadrice are all disciples of “P90X”, which as far as I can tell is some sort of cult which enforces the religious consumption of salmon and regular prayers to someone named “Dreya”. They are all so into P90X that they insisted on doing it last night instead of going with me to “The Cheetah”. During the exercise, my brother did something to aggravate a pre-existing ankle injury. The ankle got into his head, so to speak, and he muddled along in quite the distracted fashion, finally knocking out a 41.051 in his third run. He’s 0.24 seconds behind the fourth-place driver, which is the last “trophy” position.

So I’m in eighth, but more importantly I’m the slowest driver in our team. Different teams motivate their low performers differently. I don’t know what Red Bull is doing to Mark Webber, or what Andretti does when Danica Patrick is too busy thinking about GoDaddy bucks to bother driving at a professional level of competence, but I know what Changed Mon does to its losers. Drivers outside the trophy positions are required to show up the next day in “jorts”. Jorts are the preferred attire for many SCCA competitiors, but among the four peacocks of Changed Mon such attire is considered sufficient motivation to improve.

Therefore, tonight I’ll be going to Wal-Mart to select some jorts and possibly an Affliction-style T-shirt to go with them. This is a harsh welcome back to the sport, I must say!

On Monday, I will post final results along with a brief introduction to National Solo-style driving featuring back-to-back videos of Toussaint and myself so you can all see where the time is gained and/or lost.

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21 Comments on “Trackday Diaries: SCCA’s Wild World Of Jorts...”


  • avatar
    WRohrl

    Will the humble author submit to a further humbling by posting a follow up picture featuring said author sporting the jorts for the world to see?

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    How well do you think a more-or-less stock S2000 would hold up to that kind of abuse?

    And a big +1 for the Jort pix, your legions of loyal fans deserve nothing less.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Well, our “B” car blew its diff last week, and that’s not the first (or last) time for that particular, rather expensive failure. The engine is reliable, but the running gear is not so much. Brakes cause trouble, the electronics get upset a lot. Although the S2000 weighs a ton (and three-tenths more) it’s built in fragile fashion with a lot of components that don’t seem to have extra “room” built in.

      For recreational autocrossing the S2k is just fine. Better than fine. Great, really.

    • 0 avatar

      At least nobody asks about Saturn Sky. It, too, was supposed to dethrone, or perhaps compete with, MX-5. Both Sky and S2k are gone, MX-5 remains.

  • avatar
    Travis

    I’m not sure I like Mr.Baruth so much when he’s talking about being a failure as apposed to being A Total Badass.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Mr. Baruth forces me to Google the oddest things (P90X), but does inform me where jean shorts are bought. Sorry that Zanella and Kiton could not accommodate this punishment.

    Note that the third picture shows cargo jorts, apparently a DFL punishment?

  • avatar
    Byron Hurd

    He appears to be a voluntary jort-sporter.

  • avatar
    multicam

    P90X sucks. Workouts should be done in the least comfortable situation possible: outside in the rain and dirt, never in front of a TV; and they should end with collapsing in a puddle of your own sweat and vomit with bloody hands. (CrossFit)

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    Perhaps some details of “The Cheetah” run would help boost Jack’s confidence. We can only hope he didn’t get lost in the final slalom off the downtown connector to Spring Street.

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    Jack “Jorts” Baruth, does have a certain ring to it.

  • avatar

    re:P90x

    A Very Small note from someone who knows how to lose fat.

    Exercise isn’t SH** without perfect nutrition.

    Go ahead and bust your balls at the gym 3x/wk. for the next 10 months and come out just as fugly as the day you set foot there; then spend your time wondering what you f***ed up.

    Nutrition is So Important, it may as well be the ENTIRE ball of wax.

    Exercise is ONLY for health, strength, and endurance. Period.

  • avatar
    flatout05

    Baruth can’t fool us: Clearly, he was sandbagging yesterday so he could go shopping for a stylish pair of jorts. Two words, Jack: acid washed.

  • avatar

    I’ll just be getting the “What’s Wrong With This Picture” tag warmed up…

  • avatar

    Please post a pic of you in the Jorts. Sexy denims. Was looking a tite pair of Stonewashed the other day.

    Don’t know if Walmart has too many sick dips on the rack. I’m a 3-1 weave man myself. Still looking for a wallet chain…

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    Jorts Racing coming soon to a LeMons near you.

    My buddy does the P90X stuff. You gotta be one motivated M’r F’r to stick with that routine.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    May I humbly suggest overall-jorts, one shoulder strap left hanging of course.

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