Event Report: AHRA :: Omni Aviation Complex
Sunday, 18 March 2001 08:00
Event Report: AHRA
Omni Aviation Complex
03/18/2001
The Angeles Hotrodding Association (AHRA) can really put on a show. Their home track is located on the runway at Omni Aviation Complex, in Clark.

First of all, the place is perfect (well, almost) for this type of event. There's an open field with lots of parking for spectators and participants alike. Despite the heat during the day, a breeze was always present to cool things off.

The track is located down the main runway in the facility. Unfortunately, its a tad short. The braking area right after the finish line runs out VERY quickly! Faster cars (ie; 12 seconds or quicker) tend to run off in to the grass in their efforts to slow their machines. As a matter of fact, even the local hero, Ken Kepner, whose Camaro SS can easily run in the lower range of 11 seconds, has to back off so much just to slow his car down enough to avoid running out of the track!

March 18 was a day that other organizers can learn from. AHRA was prepared to run up to 60 cars that day, with the knowledge that P.A.D. encouraged its membership to attend. Unfortunately, the turn out wasn't as expected. Only 23 non-member cars raced along side 10 member cars.

Time trials were held on a "run as much as you want or can" basis. Yours truly got to run 16 times!

During the driver's meeting, we were informed about some rule changes. AHRA no longer requires scatter shields for modern cars. Another change was that you no longer had to submit a "dial-in" form. Just like it is done in other countries, all you needed to do was to write the number on your side windows, using white shoe polish. This enabled the participants to change their dial-in times when ever they pleased with ease. Plus, the officials could easily input the proper times in to the timing system.

Elliminations ran pretty smoothly. So smoothly in fact that the whole event ended in 2 hours and 27 minutes! Talk about efficiency! Now that's how a drag race is supposed to be run.

In the PRO Class, Mato Tan of Matonetics (yes, he did it again!) garnered the top position. Jesse Go of Racing Zone/Start Motorsports, was at the top Sportsman Class. Dondi Montecillo of Redlight... I mean, Redline Racing took 1st runner up in the same class.

After the race, an "Exhibition" grudge match was run between Mato Tan and his turbocharged Honda Civic, versus John Rizya and his trusty steed, "Thunder" (a 350+ cubic inch Camaro).

In the first round, due to excitable nerves, Mato inadvertently let off his "two-step" switch, allowing the revs to climb too high at take off. This left the door open for Mr. Rizya to take the win.

After a short cool off session, they went at it again. This time Mato was more focused at the job at hand, not only got the hole shot, but also went on to win the second leg.That run may have also hurt Thunder. Midway through the run, it sounded like John let off the throttle. After the session, John approached Mato to concede on the third round. Oh well, the two drivers and cars were very well matched. It would have been nice to see what would've happened if they got to run one more time.

It turns out that Omni is a regular hang out for "street racers". AHRA made arrangements with the management of Omni to allow the boulevard pugilists to take their Sunday night activities to the runway. It was very refreshing seeing these people in a "safer" environment, where there are no stray pedestrians or parked cars to hit when things go wrong. Unfortunately, participation in the "after hours" are STILL greater than the organized day time events. At least in Clark, street racing is held in a more comfortable and safe environment.

All in all, I think that we "city folks" can learn a lesson or two from our counterparts up North. They seem to have a handle on how to do things. If you ever have the time, it's worth the hour and a half drive to Clark. The competition is fierce, the track is nicely located and easy to get to, plus, the AHRA really knows how to run an event.

 
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