Pony Express
1990 928 S4 

July 26-28, 2002

Open Road Rally
Battle Mountain to Austin, Nevada

The Pony Express was run from Battle Mountain, Nevada on highway 305 to the Austin, Nevada on Highway 50. It's a 83.55 mile course that ends at the old Pony Express route. This was the second open road rally put on by MKM Racing Promotions, which bought out Roger Ward's Classic Automobile Racing Society. They kept the same web address of www.openroadracing.com.

I again chose to enter the Grand Sport Division, but in the 145 mph class. This Division has a tech speed limit of 165 mph, and requires the car to be equiped with rollbar, racing harnesses, fire extinguisher, and Z rated or better tires. The driver and navigator are required to wear a full racing suit, SA95 Helmet, fire resistant boots and gloves. Since the last rally, I only changed the four v-belts. The car had run so well at Wendover, that I decided to everything else alone.

Thursday morning I drove out to Bill Ball's house to help him finish his pre-rally preparations. He had just finished a timing belt and water pump change and still needed to fill his cooling system, mount his racing harnesses and fire extinguisher. After loading the car we headed out to Battle Mountain, about 460 miles east the SF Bay Area. The trip use uneventful except one stop on Interstate 80 when Bill's coolant light went on, and we stopped to add some water.

During practice I was able to check out how the car was running. The car was still very stable at high speeds and I was able to reach and maintain the 165 tech limit. This was at 4,500 feet on a level road with a pretty much stock S4 (Nology, RMB, Konis). Bill road with me during some of the testing, and he was very impressed with the suspension set up on my car. He called Susan (DEVEK) and ordered the Koni shocks, and plans on having Marc set up the suspension similiar to mine.

The Porsches

Roland Roth/Mike Metcalfe
2000 Ruf Ctr
Super Sport 170 class

George A Suennen
1990 928 S4
Grand Sport 145 class

Roger and Bill Greene
1999 Carrera
Grand Sport 130 class

Time Ryan/Gary Becton
2001 911 Coupe
Grand Touring 125 class

Fred Wagner
1996 993 Turbo
Grand Touring 115 class

William Ball
1989 928 S4
Touring 110 class

Sunday was race day. I was able to average a little over 155 mph on the first 47 miles of the course. My average dropped to 149 mph after the "Gap", a twisty section of road through the mountains. I then drop my speed to 135 mph to try and hit my 145 mph avg. on the last 20+ miles, but lost a little to much time and ended up with a 143.947 mph avg. at the end. Next race I'll use a navigator and/or a GPS to try and get closer to the target. Trying to work the stop watches, look for mile markers, and drive 145+ at the same time was a little too much.

Bill Ball had trouble getting teched for the 125 class, because his helmet was a SA90 instead of a SA95 rated one. He ended up in the 110 class with a 124 max tech speed. He used this as an oppurtunity to see how his car would run. He was able to get to 146.1 on the GPS while we were sorting out his car. During the race he had to maintain a 124 mph tech limit, so he wasn't able to open it up. He did try to get close to a 120 mph avg (max avg. before being disqualified) to get a feel of what the 125 class would have been like. In the process he managed to pass 2 cars, a rarity in open road racing (unless you're Don H). He ended up with a 117.505 mph avg. speed.

928 Results
Division Target Number Driver/Navigator Model Finish Times/Avg Speed
145 mph
George A Suennen 90 928 S4
34:39.521 (+0:15.176)
143.947 mph (-1.053)
Touring 110 mph
Bill Ball 89 928 S4
42:39.725 (-2:54.639)
117.505 mph (+7.505)

Radar Speeds
Driver/Navigator Target Radar #1 Radar #2 Radar #3 Radar #4 Radar #5 Radar #6
George A Suennen 145 mph
163 mph
161 mph
151 mph
125 mph
156 mph
139 mph
Bill Ball 110 mph
123 mph
123 mph
123 mph
120 mph
123 mph
122 mph

All in all the cars ran beautifully. Thanks to MKM for hosting the event and DEVEK for all their help getting my car ready. I look forward to doing it again next year.

Photo Gallery
Complete Results

In car Video
1 1/2 Minute Clip from the Start

25 Mb
The Gap in 4 Parts

14 Mb

14 Mb

14 Mb

11 Mb

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Copyright 2002, George A Suennen
written: 07/31/02
rev: 09/18/07