SOLO: ProSolo Atlanta DoubleCross Challenge preview

Moment of Truth: SCCA ProSolo Meets the DoubleCross Challenge Atlanta, Ga. (July 5, 2007) -- Adventurous SCCA Solo competitors headed to the Tire Rack® SCCA Atlanta ProSolo, June 30 -- July 1, where the Atlanta Region hosted a innovative...

Moment of Truth: SCCA ProSolo Meets the DoubleCross Challenge

Atlanta, Ga. (July 5, 2007) -- Adventurous SCCA Solo competitors headed to the Tire Rack® SCCA Atlanta ProSolo, June 30 -- July 1, where the Atlanta Region hosted a innovative event on the Solo calendar dubbed the DoubleCross Challenge.

At the heart of the DoubleCross challenge is a course designed in the Mirrorkhana-style of autocross, where two competitors enter and finish a single course at different points. Using the traditional ProSolo Christmas tree start, competitors essentially followed the same route half a lap behind each other.

Saturday was composed entirely of class competition. Each driver received three runs from each entry point on the course. To ensure legitimate dial-ins for Sunday's elimination rounds, times were not posted for any of the Saturday runs. The main purpose of Saturday's class heats was to build a master index and divide the 155 entrants into five equally distributed brackets for Sunday's elimination rounds.

A Stock and Street Touring Sport 2 were the largest fully subscribed classes at 12 each. While AS had a lot of car diversity, STS-2 was populated by the usual Miatas and CRX's. STS-2 competitors continue to make a strong case for advancement to full National status in 2008 with another strong showing in Atlanta.

The novelties continued on Sunday as drivers had to lose twice to be eliminated from one of the brackets. Additionally, two line judges were used at the finish line to determine the winner of each heat. The top six finishers in each bracket plus the two highest overall seeds to be eliminated were sent on to the Hawk Super Challenge, run in traditional single-elimination format. It all made for a long day indeed, but Soloists benefited in the end with more runs than a traditional ProSolo event.

The five bracket winners were Michael Johnson in an A Stock Prepared Chevrolet Corvette, Steve Waters driving a Super Stock Chevrolet Corvette, Mike King driving a Street Touring S2 Mazda Miata and both Robert Carpenter and Mark Mccrary in a shared E Stock Toyota MR2.

The final match up of the Hawk Super Challenge was quite suspenseful. The skies began to darken considerably and rain seemed imminent as Johnathan Roberts' A Stock Subaru STi and Robert Carpenter's Miata approached the start lines. The finish proved too close to call when the two finish-line judges disagreed on a winner, thus the cars were sent back to the starting boxes for another run. The second time around, Carpenter came out the clear winner, taking his first-ever Hawk Super Challenge win.

Of the 32 drivers in the Hawk Super Challenge, 12 were in Hondas for the largest contingent of entries into the concurrently run Honda Tuner Challenge during the 2007 season. The battle to determine the Honda Tuner Challenge Hot Shoe of the event pitted Solo veteran Mike King in a Honda CRX Si against high school senior Danny Carroll in an Acura Integra R. Call it wisdom, experience, or just plain skill, King took the win and the extra $250 prize.

Like Sunday's prequalification brackets, the Ladies Challenge was run in a double elimination format and saw Ladies 1 class victor Karen Kraus in a Subaru Impreza versus Ladies 2 runner-up Tara Knoll in a Honda CRX Si. Kraus' Subie hit the finished line with half a car length on Knoll, who had ironically been strictly a Subaru competitor until this season. It was the second ProSolo win in a row for Kraus who also claimed victory a week earlier in Washington D.C.

While the overall length of the event provided some challenges and the format left several Soloists scratching their heads, the Atlanta Region's DoubleCross Challenge was a compelling event for all involved and appears to have a future in SCCA ProSolo.

"The Atlanta Region Solo Committee is to be commended for taking the original Rocky Entriken and Salina Region Mirrorkhana to the next level and creating an entertaining experience for the competitors," SCCA Vice President of Solo and Rally Howard Duncan said. "We were pleased to make it part of the 2007 Tire Rack ProSolo season in this year of experimentation and program development as it gave us a lot to think about for 2008. The format presents difficulties for handling large turnouts, but there is no doubt that it is intriguing and that at least elements of what we saw will make it into our future plans."

For full results from Atlanta, visit the Atlanta ProSolo event page at www.scca.com.

The Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo returns to action July 21st at Seneca Army Depot for the Finger Lakes ProSolo in Romulus, N.Y.

-credit: scca

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Series SCCA
Drivers Michael Johnson