Mazda autocross champion: Tara Johns
The torrential downpours on the first day of the 2018 SCCA Tire Rack Solo National Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska, will become the stuff of legend. Standing water made conditions tricky if not downright treacherous on that Sept. 4, and if a driver didn’t have experience in that kind of environment, there was little hope for doing well. Tara Johns was in that situation, and she found herself in fourth place in C Street Ladies after day one of driving her 2016 MX-5 on the West Course. She essentially gave up any hope of coming back to the East Course the following day and going fast enough to overcome her first-day deficit.
“It rained a lot,” says Johns, who is also heavily involved with the Women on Track initiative. “Normally it might rain for part of a heat, but this time it rained for entire heats. I did not have rain tires coming into the event, but I had struck a deal with a close friend driving a Miata in C Street. I have never driven on rain tires in my life, and certainly not on that car – and not in standing water like there was at Nationals.
“I was in fourth place after day one, which was disheartening because I had my sights set quite high,” she continues. “After day one, I thought, ‘That was probably it. You’re probably not going to get it.’ So my goal for day two was to simply go have top time of the day.”