Photo: Peng Du

First rallycross done! The Neon survived, and I didn’t get last place. Both goals achieved. The event was held at Spirit Peaks raceway and organized by the NW Rally Association. They did a great job and everyone there was very welcoming. The drive from Kent, WA to Toutle, WA during rush hour with no A/C was unpleasant, but worth it for the resulting awesome weekend.

Photo: Peng Du

The course was very fast, and it caught me up several times. I hit a cone on the first 4 runs, but had a clean and fast final run. Unlike autocross, rallycross uses the total time of all runs so all of your mistakes stay with you. I improved a lot from the first to the last run for a final position of 5th out of 7. I’m happy with that result, especially as it was my first time out in that car and only my second rallycross of my life.

I’ve been asked several times if the Neon is lifted. Its wheel gap is insane, but from what I can tell in photos, that’s just how they are. Part of the “lifted” look comes from the missing front lip and side skirts on the ACR trim. I witnessed several side skirts and front lips break off throughout the day, so I’m better off without them.

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The light weight of the car is also an asset and makes it incredibly fun to toss around on the dirt. Dollar-per-smile is much higher with the Neon than the STI. I think this car will be competitive in the stock FWD class, as long as my driving continues to improve. There’s not much else I’m allowed to change on the car in stock class other than possibly an alignment, so it’s all on me to improve my skills.

The whole event was fun. Watching crazy stuff like an old Saab or Datsun fly around on the dirt is fantastic.

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