St. George, Utah (Oct. 29, 2013) – Robert Thorne, of Littleton, Colo., was the last driver standing after winning Sunday’s Evolution Super Shootout at the Ridge Top Airport in St. George, Utah. The event put a period on the 2013 Tire Rack® SCCA Solo Match Tour season.
The Evolution Super Shootout presented by BFGoodrich Tires used class runs from Saturday to identify the first 32 qualifiers in the brackets. The fastest and second fastest times were awarded the top seed in Brackets A and B. Following a rule change for the last event, the remaining top-30 drivers were entered into a drawing which set the first round matchups those brackets. A 16-driver Last Chance Qualifier bracket was set based on indexed times from an additional four runs, determining Bracket C. Finally, the last 16 positions were filled with the top eight Ladies Class finishers, plus an additional eight drivers pulled from a random drawing – the one remaining opportunity to get into the field.
Favorable weather conditions, including temperatures in the mid-70s with sunny skies, made the final SCCA National Solo event of the year enjoyable for the 100 entrants in attendance. Nine drivers had entered for their final opportunity to secure a Solo Triad Award in 2013, with eight getting the job done by being the quickest driver in their class during Saturday’s competition including Thorne, Jeff Kiesel, David Whitener, Kim Whitener, Brian Peters, Geoff Clark, Aaron Miller and Fred Zust. This year, the award was given to those drivers who took home wins at an SCCA Solo Championship Tour event, an SCCA Solo Match Tour event and finished in the top spot in their class at the SCCA Solo National Championships.
Aside from good weather, the Ridge Top Airport site provided some breathtaking views rivaling those Hampton Mills in Packwood, Wash., and Pikes Peak International Raceway, in Fountain, Colo. The course itself was fast with a few corners that required patience and others that demanded bravery in order to record a fast time. Clean runs were at a premium as many drivers hit at least one cone while trying to put down a quick time.
Thorne (B Street Prepared, 3RAuto.com/CorsportUSA.com Honda S2000) became the first Match Tour winner to come from a starting position lower than the top seed in the knockout-style bracket competition, as he was the fourth seed coming from the Bracket B. More importantly, Thorn secured the Solo Triad Award following his SCCA Championship Tour title and SCCA Solo National Championship earlier in the year.
While the eventual winner did not come from the top bracket, Kiesel (E Modified, Avon Tire/Roger Kraus Racing KFR Turbo Sprite) defeated Eric Stoltz (Street Touring Sport, Advanced Suspension Design Mazda Miata) in the Bracket A semifinal. Zust (X Prepared, Blackwatch Racing Lotus Elise) was the winner from the other side of the bracket after he defeated Aaron Miller (A Street Prepared, Mitsubishi Evo 8). Kiesel downed Zust in the final, earning a spot in the final four.
Thorne, the eventual winner, took out Craig Naylor (Road Tire RWD, QUICKdocs Mobile Notary Mazda Miata) and Alexandra Zust (X Prepared, Blackwatch Racing Lotus Elise) en route to the final four. Before her defeat at the hands of Thorne, Zust reached the Bracket B finals after defeating Ryan Johnson (Road Tire RWD, Ryno Management Inc./Blackwatch Racing Mazda Miata) in the semis.
In the LCQ bracket, Max Hayter (Street Touring Xtreme, Whiteline/Vorshlag/Moto-East Subaru BRZ) beat Barbara Leroy-Boehme (Road Tire FWD, C2 Motorsports Mini Cooper) in the semis, as he advanced to the bracket’s final paring. Michael Carpent (Street Touring R, BC RACING/Lateral G Racing Nissan 370Z) got to the bracket final after he took down George Curtis (Street Touring Xtreme, CTR BMW 325IS) in the semis. In the bracket’s final pairing Hayter emerged victorious, earning his spot in the final four.
In Bracket D, 2013 Solo Triad Award Winner Shelly Monfort (Ladies 2, RIP: Sergeant Ferranti, N Chevrolet Corvette) was the eventual finalist after she beat out Kim Whitener (Ladies 3, Texas Track Works/Motion Control Honda CRX) in the semis and Stephen Curtis (Street Touring Xtreme, CTR BMW 325IS) in the bracket final. To get to the finals, Curtis took out Matthew Villescas (Road Tire RWD, Cadillac CTS-V).
In the final four bracket, Thorne beat Monfort while Kiesel scored a win over Hayter. Thorne then dispatched with Kiesel by a 1.6-second margin, taking the win. Hayter took home third-place honors after winning the consolation battle with Monfort.
More information on The Tire Rack SCCA St. George Solo Match Tour, including results, can be found at http://www.scca.com/events/index.cfm?eid=6550. General information on the SCCA Solo program can be found at www.scca.com.
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Image: From left to right, Shelly Monfort, Jeff Kiesel, Robert Thorne and Max Hayter were the four finalists at St. George.