The Trek 2 Sonoma was a tapestry weaved with inspiring sights, the thrill of motorsports and a road trip in hopped-up imports. The previous two Treks, both to Texas, called for 2,000 arduous miles of driving over five days. The 2003 version was 800 miles in four days. Factor in the seascape sights of Pacific Coast Highway and factor out the prairie-like flat lands of New Mexico and Texas and the 2003 edition had a much freer vibe.
The Trek 2 Sonoma, sponsored by Mazda and presented by Toyo Tires, started with surfing at the Huntington Beach, Calif., pier, and ended with racing at Laguna Seca (ALMS endurance/ Speed Touring Car) and Infineon (NHRA Sport Compact drags), with a whole lot of shenanigans in between. Turbo was represented by our Mazdaspeed Protege and Scion xB project cars.
After shaking the sand out in H.B., the convoy of 20 cars headed north to Oxnard for some hot laps at the Jim Hall Kart Racing School. Drag racer Stephan Papadakis spent the afternoon with us putting in some hot laps at the school before returning to the AEM race shop to prep his Pro RWD Civic for the impending Sonoma event.
Our next stops were Santa Maria Mazda and Pismo Beach, where we stayed overnight in sight of the pier. After a long night with a full cooler, our intrepid event organizer, Eric Williams, staggered into the Pacific for a midnight splash. Bullocks the fact that a fatal great white shark attack had occurred yards from his spot days earlier. Luckily, Grey Goose vodka is a known shark repellent.
As the second day dawned, the Trek continued north. We stopped at a public park in San Luis Obispo that had a skate park. Since the skaters and surfers we were expecting on the Trek cancelled due to a big event, our skate team consisted of "Honda Tuning" freelancer Greg Leone and "Import Tuner's" Gary Castillo. No limbs were broken.
Our afternoon stop was in Cal State University, Monterey for an impromptu car show. There was a mobile dyno on hand for those brave souls wanting the answer to the "how much power?" question. There was a portable half-pipe, a DJ and plenty of ambiance.
The motorsports kicked off on Day Three. We drove 20 minutes from Monterey to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in nearby Salinas for a LeMans-series race and the accompanying Speed World Challenge Touring Car race. This was major racing; the food was even more expensive than NHRA track food. The day went very well for Trek sponsor Mazda as Jeff Altenburg of Ellicott, Md., took the win in a Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda Protege.
The highlight of the day, and of the Trek for many, was a two-lap blast around the Laguna Seca circuit. They were only pace laps, but we did 80 mph at some points and tires were squealing in the corners; it was a good, hard drive. We spent the night in San Francisco and sponsored a party at ChiChi Club on Broadway. After a lot of bass and Bass (the beat and the beer), the last day loomed.
The blast up Highway 101 to Infineon Raceway was an hour and a half. We arrived in time for our biggest Turbo magazine/NHRA Track Conduct Seminar, consisting of 59 guests. Drag racer Kenny Tran helped out as we talked tech, technique and delved into the intricacies of bracket racing. Soon the action moved to the 1320 and it was hot and heavy. In the final rounds, save for Nelson Hoyos' victory over a broken Lisa Kubo, the money races were too tight to call from the starting line.
The winners collected their Wallys and the Trek was officially over. We scattered so we could get back to Southern California at a decent hour. We drove the equivalent of the Trek in about seven hours. The low-intensity driving format worked well. We had 28 cars on our lag and more than 30 cars on the Seattle-to-Sonoma lag. Next year will be bigger and better.
|NHRA Tuned By Matrix GR Motorsports Nationals|
|Honda Tuning All-Motor|
|(W)||Scott Kelly ('69 Fastback)||0.406||10.657 ||122.88|
|(L)||Leslie Durst ('89 Horizon MS CRX)||0.594||10.600 ||127.34|
|Turbo Magazine Hot Rod|
|(W)||J.J. Olson ('95 Civic)||0.627||9.129||158.28|
|(L)||Bruce Mortensen (Venom Civic)||0.556||9.374 ||167.78|
|(W)||Cesar Febus ('86 300ZX)||0.487||8.441 ||125.75|
|(L)||Jimmy O'Connor (Venom Supra||0.580||8.389 ||157.85|
|(W)||Nelson Hoyos (Bothwell MS Cavalier)||0.560||8.60||183.12|
|(L)||Lisa Kubo (APC Saturn MS Ion)|| ||0.529||NT-Broke|
|(W)||Matt Hartford (Summit Cavalier)||0.418||7.222 ||187.13|
Southerly view in Big Sur...
Southerly view in Big Sur area.
San Francisco's Golden Gate...
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was a lot easy to cross than it was to get to. We had to snake through the seedy side of San Fran to gain access to the red giant.
Cambria offered yet another...
Cambria offered yet another scenic outlook along Pacific Coast Highway.
The Trek 2 Sonoma flexed some...
The Trek 2 Sonoma flexed some nice rides. The four-day odyssey took us from Huntington Beach to Sonoma. We stopped in Pismo Beach, San Francisco, and Monterey and checked out road racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and NHRA Sport Compact drag racing at Infineon Raceway Sears Point.
At Cal State University, Monterey,...
At Cal State University, Monterey, the Trek was met with a car show extravaganza. Dyno-Tek was on hand with its portable Dynojet and John from Ballistic Motorsports had his Protege 5 wagon/pickup conversion strapped to the dyno. The Protosport turbo'd engine laid down 160 whp.
hings went very well for Trek...
hings went very well for Trek sponsor Mazda as Jeff Altenburg of Ellicott, Md., took the Speed World Challenge Touring win in a Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda Protege. The highlight of the day, and of the Trek for many, was a two-lap blast around the Laguna Seca circuit.
Bob Endicott of San Pedro,...
Bob Endicott of San Pedro, Calif., hot-shoed the King Motorsports/Mugen Power RSX to a fourth place finish in the Speed World Challenge Touring race. Endicott received the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing the most places during the race. The King Motorsports/Mugen Power Acura motored past 12 competitors at Laguna Seca.
J.J. Olson was the surprise...
J.J. Olson was the surprise winner in Turbo Magazine Hot Rod at the Tuned By Matrix GR Motorsports Nationals held at our final destination, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. Olson has cashed in on a productive season that has seen his Colorado-based Honda break into the coveted 8-second club.
Christian Rado got everyone's...
Christian Rado got everyone's attention, tearing off an 8.32 in qualifications. Nelson Hoyos, who has already sealed the class title, won the event. Now the race is for the FWD 7-second barrier.
Cesar Febus seems to be the...
Cesar Febus seems to be the next in line to clinch an NHRA title. He tangled with Venom Racing's Jimmy O'Connor and won a barn-burner of a final
Leslie had her string of victories...
Leslie had her string of victories snapped by Scott Kelly. Kelly's holeshot at the line was enough to get his VW to the traps first, despite his slower 10.67-second e.t. compared to her 10.60
We were short on Pro skaters...
We were short on Pro skaters due to a scheduling conflict. Honda Tuning magazine freelancer Greg Leone took full advantage bustin moves at our stop at a public park in San Luis Obispo.
The first stop on the Trek...
The first stop on the Trek was the Jim Hall Kart racing School. Sport Compact drag racer Stephan Papadakis took a break from wrenching on the AEM/Driver FX Civic and stopped by for some hot laps.
George Ioannou's Street Glow...
George Ioannou's Street Glow Solara served a wake-up call of its own, blasting a 6.84 at 203 mph in the first round of eliminations. The Pro RWD winner was Matt Hartford piloting the only four-cylinder in the field.