Pony Express II
1990 928 S4 

September 7-10, 2000

Open Road Race
Austin to Battle MT, Nevada
The Pony Express II is an open road race put on by Roger Ward's Classic Auto Racing Society. It's run on Nevada Highway 305 between Austin and Battle Mountain. The total course length is 84.15 miles, starting at 6000 feet elevation, going down to 4000 feet at the end. Most of the curves and elevation drop are during the first 40 miles. 
There are 5 Divisions; Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Sport, Super Sport, and Unlimited. Each division has specific safety equipment requirements and target speeds. Touring is a basically stock vehicle with a fire extinguisher and S or better tires, targeting 95 - 110 mph, with a maximum speed of 117 mph. Grand Touring vehicles adds a racing harness and V or better rated tires, targeting 115 - 125 mph, with a maximum speed of 130 mph. Grand Sport adds a roll bar and Z or better tires, targets 130 - 150 with a maximum speed of 160 mph. Super Sport requires a roll cage and fuel cell, targets 155 - 170 mph, and a maximum speed of 180 mph. Unlimited is for full race cars with the works, they have no speed target or speed limit. There are also requirements for drivers safety equipment (helmets, gloves, boots, driving suit) depending on division. The driver closest to the target speed wins the race. There are also prizes for the best hand timers and solo drivers. This is just a short summary, for full rules and regulations go to the CARS Rule book

I chose the Grand Touring class for my first open road race. I installed a fire extinguisher and a racing harness. I also had Marc Thomas help me with my pre race inspection. All cars are required to pass a Tech Inspection before the race to help ensure a safe vehicle. I also had my timing belt adjusted before leaving the Bay Area (I had a new timing belt put in last month).

The Trip

I loaded the car Thursday morning and drove to DEVEK. There I met up with Marc, Susan, Brad, and Carla (Rich was there also, but left early). After finishing last minute checks and repairs we left at 2 PM. Brad, Marc, and I convoyed out of Belmont to Truckee. There we waited for Susan, then proceed on through the mountains to Nevada. 


We arrived in Battle Mountain at 10:30 that night and checked into to the Best Inn. The next morning I met Rich at Registration in the Super 8 Motel. There we signed in and got our stickers, shirts, hats, etc. I then drove to the Civic Center for the tech inspection. There I met up with Don who helped me put on my numbers (103) and other decals. After passing tech I attended the first timers class


Then it was off to practice. They had closed off a 5 mile section of Highway 305, about 40 miles from Battle Mountain on Friday (9-noon and 1-4 PM). I followed Jim (Emmett Connely) out most of the way out. 

Once I got there, I met up with Marc and Susan, Don and Marc, Brad and Carla, Rod and Stacy, and Rich. They were all out there to test their cars and experience the road at speed. For some of us it was the first time to get our cars above 120 mph. The section of road selected for the practice started with a straight section about 2 1/2 miles long, a 30 degree sweeping right, then another 2 1/2 mile straight up hill into a 20 - 30 mph wind. All first time drivers were to have an instructor ride with them at least once, to see if they (and/or the car) were able to handle the speed. I had Susan ride with me on my first run, and every thing seem to go well. The car had a little trouble accelerating over 120 mph going up hill and against the wind. But on the way back, I was able to exceed 140 without any problem. We were told not to exceed our tech speed by too much, or risk disqualification, so I didn't push it. I was able to make 3 runs in each direction. On the first run, I took the turn at 110 mph without any difficulty, so on the return trip I took it at 120 mph. I found that the car was able to handle the turn so well, that I didn't have to slow down on the rest of the runs and took the turn at 130-140 mph. This was when I realize that this part of the race would be a piece of cake in the 928 with only a 130 mph tech limit. The road out to the practice had straights and turns about the same as this stretch of road so I would be able to take the last 44 miles at full speed without slowing down for the turns.

Parade and Car Show

On Saturday, we were to meet at the Colonial Inn for a Parade and Car Show. So at 10 AM I drove down there and parked in the lot. While there Cheryl showed up with her 94 GTS. She had driven up on Friday night, so was pretty tired. The parade started about 10:30, we lined up behind a row of police on horseback, drove through town to the school yard. Jim was behind me during the parade, and we meet Chris when we got to the school. Rod was also there so we took some pictures.

Jim - George (me) - Rod - Rich

The Test Drive

After lunch I drove the entire course. I took several runs through the Gap, a 6 mile stretch about 27 miles from the start that contains the most difficult turns. I compared the course to the course notes provide by CARS and wrote down estimated speeds (I was not able to take the course at "speed", so I had to guess). I was able to drive the whole course at the a little over posted speed limit (75) without slowing down on any of the corners and could have gone 30 mph more. This is important, as the minimum speed for all but the Touring class is 90 mph. On the drive back to town, I met up with Rich, who followed me the last few miles.

Driver's Meeting and Pizza

Saturday night was the driver's meeting. This was a mandatory meeting. all drivers were called, and anyone not present was disqualified. There were several announcements, rules discussed, and introductions made. After the meeting several of the 928 owners met for pizza at Mom's Pizza. We talked able the cars, prior races, and in general got to know each other better.

The Race

All drivers were to meet at 6 AM on Sunday, in the high school parking lot. We were given our grid positions, and were told to park in our assigned spaces. At 6:45 we left the lot and drove to Austin. We were lead by a sheriff's car, and told to stay in our assigned positions (no passing). When we arrived in Austin were we given parking spots in the high school lot. The unlimited cars were lined up on the highway behind the driveway into the high school (they were allow to be trailed in and parked before the caravan arrived). We waited in the lot for several hours. 


Cheryl and Leilani

Brad and Carla


Marc and Susan

The first unlimited car started at around 10 AM. The other unlimited car followed, about 1 every 3 minutes. A group of us gathered around the starting line to watch the DEVEK White Car. After the last unlimited car left we had to wait until they had all reached the finish line, or were accounted for (on the side of the road). Only 5 of the 12 unlimited cars finished the race. After 11:30 they finally started the race again. The 170 class went first, then the 160 class. They allowed about 2 minutes between cars. When they started the Grand Sport Division, they were allowing only 45 seconds between cars. For the Grand Touring Division, they had us go out in pairs and started us 30 seconds apart.

I got up to the line and reset my odometer trip meter, I also set the in dash computer timer to zero. When I got the starting flag/green light, started the in dash timer and my stop watch, hit the accelerator, and drove down the highway. I accelerated up to 130 mph and kept it there until 4 miles out. I used the course notes and found I was able to go through the turns at 10-15 miles faster then I had estimated. I was able to get through the first 40 miles at a 120 mph average. Once out of the Gap, I set the cruise control at 120, and proceeded to the finishing line. My odometer was off by .6 miles. When I had driven the course before, it had been more accurate. As a result I got to the finish line too soon (21.364 sec). I had a list of mile markers to odometer readings, but I couldn't reach it while strapped into the seat (with the racing harness). Next time I'll tape that to the steering wheel hub, or bring a navigator. 

Awards Banquet

The awards banquet was held at 6 PM, at the Civic Center. Dinner was buffet style, with a cash bar. At 8 PM the results were announced. Two of the 928s got awards, Jim a 1st in 115 mph class, and Brad got a 2nd in 145. Marc and Susan were also given an award for joining the 200 MPH Club. They were clocked at 209+ mph on 2 separate radar traps. They were only the 4th team to get this award. So congratulations to them, and the other winners. Also congratulation to all the 928s (9 total), we all finished safely.


This race was definitely a blast. I was able to drive the car 130 + mph on the highway without worrying about getting a ticket. I found that this race didn't come close to the limits of the car (or my driving abilities). So I'll install a roll bar and buy a racing suit this winter, and try it again in the Grand Sport class. The 160 mph tech speed should be closer to the top end of the car, and a target speed of 135-150 would be more challenging.

928 Race Results

Division Target Number Driver/Navigator Model Finish Times/Avg Speed
Unlimited N/A
Marc Thomas
Susan Thomas
88 928 S4
165.265 mph
150 mph
Don Hanson
Marc White
90 928GT
33:41.454 (+0:01.854)
149.862 mph (-0.138)
145 mph
Brad Breehl
Carla Westmoreland
83 928 S
34:48.105 (+0:01.136)
145.079 mph (+0.079)
140 mph
Cheryl Lawton
Leilani Bobrick
94 928 GTS
35:14.782 (-0:49.075)
143.249 mph (+3.249)
135 mph
Richard Crisp 86 928 S
37:26.318 (+0:02.318)
134.861 mph (-0.139)
135 mph
Dave Ohlemacher
Scott McDaniel
86 928 S
37:28.847 (+0:04.847)
134.709 mph (-0.291)
120 mph
George A Suennen 90 928 S4
41:43.136 (-0:21.364)
121.024 mph (+1.024)
115 mph
Emmett (Jim) Connely 89 928 S4
44:05.100 (+0:10.839)
114.529 mph (-0.471)
Touring 110 mph
Rod Brandt
Stacy Brandt
82 928
No times posted

Radar Speeds

Target Driver/Navigator Radar #1
~9 Miles
Radar #2
Fish Creek
Speed Trap
Pay Phone
Radar #3
~72 Miles
Radar #4
120 mph George A Suennen
129.4 mph
121.0 mph
122.059 mph
123.0 mph
120.0 mph

Complete Results

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Copyright 2000, George A Suennen
written: 09/14/00
rev: 04/25/02