The fifth and final round of the ’11-’12 Super-Am season can only be summed up in one word: awesome. The first four rounds were single-run competitions and the top four unseeded drivers from each round were seeded for this final tandem round. The winner of Round 5 would win the entire series, with the grand prize of a free entry to the 2012 TD ProAm season. Because of what was at stake, there was more excitement in this round than in the first four rounds combined.
It was super crowded in the paddock with a nearly full field in attendance. With Doug English and top qualifier Travis Bouchard absent, it looked like it would be smooth sailing for Dustin Jenks, who had two wins under his belt going into the final round.
Gabe gave a good drivers meeting, making sure everyone knew the tandem rules and procedures. In Super-Am, most of the drivers have never tandemed competitively, so nothing can be assumed.
Cuteness Alert: Joe brought Yoshi to check out the drifting. Isn’t he the cutest dog ever? He’s named after photographer Yoshi Shindo.
His middle name is Bohan.
He likes to chew on rubber stuff. Balls, hoses, and even window trim.
Joe’s nose isn’t rubber, but Yoshi likes to bite that too.
Geoff wants to make gloves out of Yoshi.
Back on the skidpad, a few guys came for the practice sessions who weren’t in the competition.
A cool old Z came by to get dynoed at MCE. Ry stole my camera and took a photo so I stole it back and took the same photo.
Since Travis didn’t show up, Ian Bowers got a bye run. Ian was in the 16th qualifying spot, but he actually didn’t get a seed. There were only 14 seeds, so the highest unseeded drivers, Ian and Jovanni Gamero, were added on in the last two spots.
Next up were Keith Gevas and Sean Hoover. They were ranked 8th and 9th so we expected this to be a pretty even match.
Sean stuck to Keith when following, and pulled away when leading, earning him the win.
Brian Ramos moved on after Corey Lent went off into the dirt just before the finish line.
The most anticipated battle was between Luke Wright and Rob Sherod. They put on some pretty good shows in the practice sessions after the other Super-Am rounds, sometimes making contact several times per run.
What we expected and what we got were quite different. They didn’t drive any worse than the other drivers, but the hype leading up to this pair made it the most disappointing battle of the day.
To top it off, we had to watch this disappointment through two One More Times. Luke eventually won.
Dustin’s first battle was with Jovanni. Jovanni’s first battle was with the tire wall, and the tires won. So did Dustin.
Nick Bayati and Alveen Gideon’s battle was too close to call so they went One More Time and Nick spun in the bottom sweeper.
Alveen was pretty stoked to move on.
In the Battle of the S14s, Ty Milner spun and handed the win to Danny Collins.
Memo Carillo took his bye run since Doug wasn’t there.
In the Top 8, Sean followed Ian closely but with too much understeer, so Ian moved on again.
Next, Brian spun and Luke almost crashed into him but was able to stop just in time.
But then Luke’s car broke and they went One More Time. Luke borrowed Rob’s car but even with a practice run he was too unfamiliar with it to beat Brian.
In the second Battle of the S14’s Danny’s diff was failing and he struggled to keep the car drifting. Memo moved on.
In the Battle of the Hachis, Dustin passed Alveen just before the finish line, but the judges deemed it illegal and they went One More Time. Dustin spun and Alveen moved on to the Top 4.
In the Battle of the E30s, Brian put up a good fight against Ian, taking the battle to a One More Time, but fell way back on his second follow run. Ian was guaranteed a podium finish at this point.
Alveen’s luck ran out as Memo was able to keep it together with two clean runs.
But that wasn’t the end for Alveen, as he was still in the Consolation Round.
He faced off against Brian and they both laid down clean runs.
They went One More Time and they both had to stay focused. The next two runs would determine who got to stand on the podium and who had to stand next to it. I’m kidding, that’s just a figure of speech. There’s no podium in Super-Am.
There was finally a winner after the second One More Time. Brian had wrenched third place out of Alveen’s hands.
And with that, we move on to the final battle between Ian Bowers and Memo Carillo. Ian left Memo in the dust on the first run.
And Memo spun at the top of the pad on the second run, allowing Ian to pass him, victorious.
Ian even took a victory lap.
And stood on his car like a boss.
He even collected a few hugs from friends and other drivers.
Memo was ready though. His Silly String had only one target: Ian’s face.
Brian had the same idea, and Ian really got what was coming to him.
I’m surprised he could still see anything.
It was a good laugh for everyone who was watching.
Look at that, Ian must have had 10 pounds of Silly String on him.
Eventually they ran out and the show was over.
Ian had a lot of cleaning up to do, but I don’t think he minded. He didn’t do too bad for a driver who wasn’t even seeded.
Rob still doesn’t know how many things he’s crashed into.
He and Luke did some tandem practice since there was still an hour left before everyone had to leave. Why couldn’t they do it like this during the competition?
Gabe and Alveen did some trandem practice as well, and Gabe went a little too hard into the wall, moving it about a foot out. He also broke his rear axle and both right tires. His helmet hit his cage halo and the steering wheel but he was given a clean bill of health by the track medical staff. Whew!
What better way to end an exciting day than with dinner at Black Bear? Geoff sure was tired!