2019 SCCA San Francisco Region Championship
December 14th, 2019 by James Chartres
Written by Blake Tatum
The 2019 San Francisco Region Championship is over. After a brutal 15 race schedule we have crowned the champions. Lets look back at the winners, losers, and could have beens for the past season.
We have 57 different classes on the books in our region. Some of the classes evolved from the very beginning of SCCA and others have evolved due a particular niche we were trying to satisfy. Classes like EP, FP, and HP have evolved from the very early roots of the club when a bunch of wealthy aristocrats wanted to play with their sports cars together. Other classes have been around for a long time but have had their name changed. Back in the sixties SCCA had several sports racing classes – it went from ASR (Can Am Cars) to ESR which was a full bodied purpose built Sportscar with a small engine. Now these cars are called prototypes and we have two classes of Prototypes P1 and P2.
The problem with offering 57 different classes is not all of them have people that participate in them and some of the classes only have people that run one of two races during the season. The other conundrum is how do you eliminate a class? Because the class was created for a reason and there could be a very good reason for no participation in a particular year but you never know what will happen the following season.
In order to be classified as a regional champion a driver has to run at least 51% of the races. If a driver finished in second place in the points, but ran the minimum number of races whereas the first place points getter did not run the minimum number of races, the guy with the lesser points but the minimum participation record won the championship.
Lets look at each group and see who won , who did not win, and who could have won if they participated in enough races.
Congratulations to the 2019 SCCA San Francisco Region Road Racing Champions.
AS – American Sedan
AS in my opinion is the class closest to the original Tran Am cars of the early sixties. As a little boy the Trans Am cars were my favorite. They were the Mustangs, Camaros, and Firebirds, that were being offered in the showrooms of the American Car manufactures. The factories all had teams and the drivers were a virtual who’s who of American Road Racing. With names like Donahue, Follmer, Revson, Posey, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney. They all raced the Trans Am Series. The racing was intense and the stakes were high. AS in our region is a pretty popular class with 13 entrants during the year. The problem is most of the 13 were partial participants. With some of the heavy hitters like Roger Eagleton, Clark Nunes, and Beau Borders spending the majority of the year competing in the West Coast Trans-Am series. Igor Gandzjuk took on anyone that showed up and never finished lower then third place. Race ten of the regional championship series he made up five positions over where he qualified to beat Bonino, Nortwick and Nunes.
AS Champion – Igor Gandzjuk
ASR – A Sports Racer
ASR which is a regional only class is the catch all class for Sports Racers that are over prepared for the P1 rules. If you had an old Can Am car and you wanted to race it with SCCA this is where you would bring it. This year’s champion was Vasili Stratton. Vasili ran 12 races this year and won all but 2 of the races he competed in. ASR had three other drivers enter during the year with Jim Devenport as the only other driver taking victories in the class at the final two races of the year.
ASR Champion – Vasili Stratton
DSR – D Sports Racer
DSR saw Andy Juner driving his AMAC AM6 to the championship. Andy ran 10 races during the year and won all except one when Hall Of Fame Driver Robert Fox took regional #6.
DSR Champion – Andy Juner
FA – Formula Atlantic
FA was taken by Jim Mali in his 2006 Pro Mazda Formula Atlantic car. Mali had a good season and competed jointly in the Formula Car Challenge and the FA Regional Championship. A Pro Mazda car is slightly slower then a state of the art Swift Formula Atlantic car which Graham Rankin campaigns. Rankin competed in four races during the year and won three of them. The lone non-winner was due to a DNF. Had Rankin raced the entire year he would have given Mali a run for his money. Troy Tinsley won the first two races of the year in FA but when Mali and Tinsley were on the track at the same time Maili had the upper hand. FA had eight people compete at various levels during the season.
FA Champion – Jim Mali
FC – Formula Continental
FC is the fastest class in this group 4. A FC car is the sixth fastest class offered in SCCA racing, FA, FB, P1, P2, and ASR are faster. FC enjoys a pretty good level of popularity mainly because of PeterWest’s Paci c F2000 Racing Series. The series splits it’s time between Northern and Southern California. FC had ten people earn points in the class but that does not represent the entire story because a lot of the drivers that ran with us during the year are not region members and therefore do not get regional points. Paul Rodler had a 20-point lead going into the triple header double point season nale at Thunderhill. He won allthree races that weekend and ended up beating out Lynn Greenhill.
FC Champion – Paul Rodler
FE2 – Formula Enterprise 2
FE2 is a spec class created by the SCCA. The original version of the carwas simply called FE (Formula Enterprise), but due to several issues the car was updated at great expense ($21,000) which has hurt the popularity of the class. Jim Devenport spent his regional racing efforts in his FE2 car and won 11 out of 12 races entered. His lone second place was when Tom Burt from the Northwest Region beat him in the second race of the season. John Yeatman came in second in FE2 competing in six races which was not quite enough to earn a second place trophy in FE2.
FE2 Champion – Jim Devenport
FF – Formula F
FF is in the middle of a major overhaul. The class was originally designed for the 1600 cc Ford Cortina engine. As time has past the need for a different engine has emerged and several of the participants have converted their cars over to a Honda Fit powerplant. The problem is the conversion is costly and several of the people who have run the class for so long have not converted their cars over. But the people who do show up put on a great show and are always entertaining to watch. Chuck Horn ran 13 races this year and won 11 of them. The guy filling up his mirrors most of the time was Denny Renfrow. Denny won the first two races of the year and race ten at Sonoma Raceway. The Chuck and Denny show is very entertaining and worth taking time out of your weekend for.
FF Champion – Chuck Horn
FM- Formula Mazda
FM is also a spec class and is based on the original Jim Russell School Cars. They are powered by Mazda Rotary Engines. Bill Weaver took the championship and won every race he entered. He was a perfect eight for eight. Derry O Donovan came in second place with two victories in the class.
FM Champion – Bill Weaver
FV – Formula Vee
FV was won by Ron Wake. Ron ran nine races during the year and won all but one of them. Blake Tatum won the lone race Wake did not win.
FV Champion – Ron Wake
GT1 – Grand Touring 1
GT1 had only two people enter the class this year. Michael Fine and Michelle Nagai. Fine ran seven races with the San Francisco Region and also ran five races with the professional West Coast TransAm series. Nagai concentrated on the TransAm series also. Fine was the regional champion with wins in all seven races.
GT1 Champion – Michael Fine
GT2 – Grand Touring 2
GT2 had 12 drivers compete in the class this year. Last years GT2 champion Lars Mapstead ran only two races with us this year, but he made the most of them with two victories. Mustang Driver Byran MacMillan entered 10 races but did not start in four of them thereby making him ineligible for the regional championship. David Jansen ran nine races with us this year and was a regular visitor to the podium. His Porsche 911 RSR proved to be very reliable finishing in all nine races.
GT2 Champion – David Jansen
ITA – Improved Touring A
ITA is a very competitive group. Basically take half of the Spec Miata field and insert them into ITA. ITA is where a majority of the Spec Miata racers go to double up on their racing fun for the weekend. 41 different racers tried their hand at ITA during the 2019 season. ITA had three competitors race all 15 races. Even though the competition was fierce Bob Bradfield won 10 of the 15 races entered and finished second four times. Joseph Kou came in second in ITA winning race eight at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Lawrence Murdter finished third in the class and won the first two races of the year.
ITA Champion – Bob Bradfield
ITE – Improved Touring E
ITE is a very diverse group of cars. In this class we have Corvettes, Shelby Mustangs, Honda S2000s, Mazda Miatas, and BMWs. ITE Rules were originally designed for cars that ran the World Challenge series. However the rules are pretty liberal, therefore you get lots of different ideas on the best package. For the purpose of this year the Shelby Mustang of Kevin Patten proved to be the most successful.
This is a class that would be really interesting to follow if the whole group showed up on a consistent basis. Sean Wheeler entered only the Sonoma races and won both of those. Randall Mackintosh ran two races with a win and a second place. Even the Honda S2000 of Rylan Hazelton took a victory. Kevin Patten proved to have the upper hand more times them anyone else with six victories out of 12 races.
ITE Champion – Kevin Patten
ITR – Improved Touring R
ITR was won by Wilson Powell in his highly modified Mazda Miata. Tim Weaver and Ken Pederson each took a turn at ITR this year.
ITR Champion – Wilson Powell
ITX – Improved Touring X
ITX is also a class that sees a lot of the Spec Miata guys dual enter. With 19 entries during the year ITX can be a pretty competitive class. There were two drivers in ITX who started all 15 races, Ross Lindell and Rob Fuller. Going into the season finale Ross Lindell held a 238 to 225 advantage over Rob Fuller before the drops were gured into theequation. Lindell was able to secure the victory by winning two of thenal three double points races.
ITX Champion – Ross Lindell
P1 – Prototype 1
P1 cars are the most exotic and fastest cars in SCCA Racing. They feature carbon Fiber every where. They exploit the wind going under the car and going over the car. They can be powered by almost any type of motor. This is a class for the adventurous, the innovative, and the talented. In recent years Jim Devenport has dominated this class but this year he did not enter his P1 car at any of the regional races. Bruce Brown was there to take over the crown in the P1 class. Bruce has a 2007 Stohr WF-1.
P1 Champion – Bruce Brown
P2 – Prototype 2
P2 is the baby brother to the P1 cars, but at times the baby brother is actually faster. It really depends on several factors, but the point is the P2 cars can be really fast. This year P2 suffered from a lack of consistent competition. Three different drivers took turns at the front. Chuck Bona ran only three races. He won two and finished second in the third race. Eric O’Brien entered six races winning four and finishing third in the other two. Eric actually had more points then the regional champion Paul Decker but he did not enter enough races. He did compete in the season finale but for some reason he did not enter race #15, which would have given him the championship. Paul Decker entered seven races, won four of them and finished second in the other two. The reason O’Brien had more points was because the seasonnale was worth double points for all three races.
P2 Champion – Paul Decker
SM – Spec Miata
SM was a dog fight between the well rounded Tommy McCarthy and the always tough Cole Gibson. Gibson took the first race of the year only to see McCarthy take the next three. McCarthy went on to win six races out of the 15 which turned out to be the difference. Gibson never finished out of the top four but the lack of wins hurt his bid for the regional championship.
SM Champion – Tommy McCarthy
SMG – Spec Mustang
SMG had 12 competitors enter during the season. Igor Gandzjuk ended up taking the championship over Michael Lowe. Lowe was always in the top five in the class with several second place finishes. At the end it was the overall top line performance by Gandzjuk that propelled him to the class championship. Gandzjuk won four races and came in second four times. Other people winning the big trophy included David Ray, Clark Nunes, Beau Borders, Ken Pederson and Roger Eagleton.
SMG Champion – Igor Gandzjuk
SMT – Spec Miata Tire
SMT was dominated by Bob Bradfield who never finished lower than third. He won 11 times, finished second 3 times, and third 1 time. The next closest competitor was Joseph Kou who was 132 points behind Bradfield. This was the second championship for Bradfield both in highly competitive classes.
SMT Champion – Bob Bradfield
SP – Super Production
SP Joe Montana ran 13 races in Super Production and won all but two of them. Darrel Anderson won one and Bruce Trenery won the other. Trenery won when Montana was penalized for passing under a yellow flag during race ten at Sonoma Raceway. Anderson also won at Sonoma when he brought out his ultra cool 1970 Ford Mustang rocket ship.
SP Champion – Joe Montana
SRF – Spec Racer Ford
In SRF three people from the Woolley family competed in all 15 races. Michael Woolley beat out Kevin O’Connor for the regional Championship. Michael Woolley won six times and O’Connor won three times. Thirteen different drivers took the green flag over the course of the 2019 season in SRF.
SRF Champion – Michael Woolley
SRF3 – Spec Racer Ford Gen3
SRF3 is now a pretty fast racecar. With 135 horsepower, a lighter engine, and real race tires the cars have gained speed. With all of these changes, the one thing that has not changed is the intensity of the competition. With Alex Kwan, Bill Booth, Brandon Lewis, Frank Valente, James Chartres, Joe Briggs, Joe Viso, John MacIntyre, Robert Breton, Robert Sachs, and Yehia Eissa running all 15 races the championship was going to be decided by whoever could keep their nose clean for the entire season. Bill Booth was just that guy with one victory to his credit and a lot of top five finishes he was ableto hold off Alex Kwan by 21 points. Kwan had four victories during theyear, but had too many finishes out of the top five.
SRF3 Champion – Bill Booth
SS – American V-8 SuperCar
SS used to be the AV8SS class, which stood for American V8 Supercars. I think this class has seen a decline in the number of competitors due the advent of the Spec Mustang Class. This year we had three people sign up for the class. Charles Laster is the 2019 Champion for SS with five victories out of seven attempts. Richard Pryor competed in four events all at Laguna Seca and he won all four events that he entered.
SS Champion – Charles Laster
SSC5 – Sealed Spec C5 Corvette
SSC5 had six people compete in the class this year. SSC5 stands for Sealed Spec C5 (which was a model of the Corvette). Ten competitors turned out for races 11 and 12 at Laguna Seca. It was exciting to see all of these SSC5 Corvettes run around the track. Hopefully this class gets some traction and we continue to see good size fields in 2020. Tim Sullivan was the SSC5 champion for 2019 in addition to the T1 Champion.
SSC5 Champion – Tim Sullivan
SSM – Sealed Spec Miata
SSM saw a familiar battle. Ross Lindell and Rob Fuller took their title fight in ITX and continued it in SSM. Lindell ended up on top again but with a little more cushion in SSM (38 points compared to 21 points). Lindell too won championships in two highly competitive classes.
SSM Champion – Ross Lindell
STL – Super Touring Light
STL was won by Tim Auger. Tim ran eight races and won six of them. Nathan Pope was able to beat Tim during the season finale weekend for three victories.
STL Champion – Tim Auger
STU – Super Touring Under
STU was Burce Trenery’s personal playground having won the class the last three years. Bruce has a 2002 Acura RSX that just keeps on going. Bruce has raced this car for the past several years and at the conclusion of this racing season he has decided he has had enough of car racing and has retired. Bruce will be missed. Without a doubt he was a friend to everybody in the paddock.
STU Champion – Bruce Trenary
T1 – Touring 1
T1 was won by Tim Sullivan. Tim ran 12 of the 15 races this year in his T1/SSC5 Corvette. T1 had seven competitors with some significant performances by Darrell Anderson who won three out of four races entered, Clark Nunes who won both races he started, and Don VanNortwick who finished either first or second in the six races he entered.
T1 Champion – Tim Sullivan
For full listing of the championship results check: Results/Points page
Read more about the 2019 Road Racing – Rookie of the Year
Read more about the 2019 Road Racing – Driver of the Year
If you see any problems with the points calculations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by RC Photography, Dick Gordon and Blake Tatum.