A group of crows is called a “murder”. Pretty metal. A flock of E30-racing autcrossers is called a “dufus.” Membership in this elite organization is limited to the ranks of those who are most willing to sacrifice their precious time, effort, and dedication to safeguarding the sanctity of the bottom of the timing sheet. Please enjoy these interviews with the three co-conspirators of RYE30 Racing. Michael first answers what the meaning of life is, Andy tells us about being asked to leave, and Duncan almost cries at the thought of friendship.
Michael Shadle – Weaboo, STI Enthusiast (the car), Lover
Michael and I went to high school together. Our time there was almost identical in experience to that of High School Musical. I was Corbin Blue and he was Zach Efron. He drove a 2nd generation Mazda RX-7 and I have struggled to ever since, be as cool. We’ve recently rekindled our automobile romance and teamed up to build and race the E30. Hopefully you’ve got a dry pair of panties to slip into after you read this; he’s in a band. He daily drives a 540 bhp Subaru Impreza STI and his spirit animal is Keiichi Tsuchiya.
RYE30 Racing: Are you an assman?
RYE30 Racing: What’s your dream car?
Michael: Caterham Super 7.
RYE30 Racing: In what ways do you think you became a better driver last season?
Michael: Getting more comfortable with the car.
RYE30 Racing: What’s your favorite motorsports movie?
RYE30 Racing: Who did 9/11?
Michael: Terrorists (domestic or foreign).
RYE30 Racing: Where can we follow you and the STI?
Michael: @shadldrifter on Instagram.
Andy Mullins (“A.M.” for short) – Scientist, Rust Connoisseur, Flat Cap Kind-of-Guy
A.M. and I have a memory of our first meeting not unlike the kind of story you would tell your grandchildren. There was coincidence. we’d both driven our Miatas to the same autocross. Despair! My co-driving sister and I pointed out to him that his rim was bent. Awkwardness. He became angry, and then disparately nonchalant. That emotional roller coaster never ended, and 10 years later we’re still best friends. A.M. is a biologist by trade, has the most impressive motorsports resume out of the three of us, and his project-car Alfa Spider is coming along just nicely. Thanks for asking.
RYE30 Racing: Tell me about your time in pit crews?
A.M.: Too many individual stories for a short Q&A. We raced SCCA Spec Miata, STL, some endurance racing, and finally GT racing. Won the June Sprints once or twice, don’t remember. Won the Cat Nationals a few times, Blackhawk was easy for us. I have fond memories! Those were some super long weekends, a lot of time spent away from home. The work was physically exhausting but (although the pay was just alright) very rewarding. I used to come home from Road America after a 3+ hour drive a sweaty, tired, dirty mess, but sporting a huge smile on my face. Then I would pass out on the couch and be sore for a week.
Working as a young race mechanic taught me the importance of hard work, commitment, loyalty, and discipline. Those are values that propelled my professional life outside of motorsports in a way I couldn’t even imagine when I first turned a wrench. I am forever grateful to my team.
RYE30 Racing: What was your first automotive event?
A.M.: As a participant, or as a viewer? My earliest memory of an automotive/motorsport event as a viewer was in Brazil. We used to have a vacation home in the mountains where they held a yearly hill climb event, they had some Subarus and Indy Cars (it was a Penske, I remember the day-glo orange of the Marlboro hurting in the eyes when hit with the sunlight) parked in the central square. Those are some good memories.
As a participant I’ve first tried karting early on, it was an indoor track with silly little gas powered karts (EV karts weren’t a thing) but structured like K1 speed for corporate events and parties and such. Lost steering coming out of the straight and crashed my kart hard on a column, so hard that I cracked the kart’s frame in half.
They kicked me out for the rest of the day, which was probably the smart thing to do.
RYE30 Racing: If I say you name three times in a mirror, what will I see?
RYE30 Racing: Which do you like better? Karts or cars?
A.M.: Karting is the king of motorsports, home of killer machines and athletes. It is an incredibly demanding activity, requiring you to be in top physical shape. Shifters are just impossibly quick, requiring superhuman coordination and brute strength. Laydown karts and superkarts murder people at 110+ MPH in full car tracks.
Unfortunately Karting in America is a terminally-ill sport battling a few issues:
First: Image. Despite the extreme nature of the sport, most American enthusiasts don’t perceive karting positively. The enthusiasts’ exposure is on indoor tracks, low performance yard karts, or casual video games.
Second: Accessibility and culture. There are not many outdoor kart tracks left with an open-model of arrive-and-drive, it’s getting harder and more expensive to find places to race. Most people you race with are hyper competitive, in it to win it no matter the cost. Those are some terrible people to hang out with (rare exception: Some grassroots-level racers and families, vintage karting. Love you, VKA crew) so the all important cultural aspect of any sport is just… Not there.
Third: Retention: Karting has a weak foodhold in the USA as a long-term sport. It’s always been framed as an entry level thing you graduate from, but that spot is now filled by racing sims and autocrossing – both having much, MUCH higher adoption rate, ease of access, and lower entry level/maintenance costs. So people do karting for a little while, then leave to do something else.
Cars are stupid, but at least I can race in more places and drive them on the street, without having to trailer a kart to a track hours away (the nearest autocross lot is less than 10 minutes from my house.) Started on vintage Italian/Swiss karts, [then] got really into vintage Italian cars. When the right opportunity came to own something special, I bailed. You don’t have to look too close to find residues of my past karting life on my current build.
RYE30 Racing: Spell “ICUP”.
Duncan Millar – Aspiring Cult Leader, Vegetarian, Identifies as an M42
Knowyourmeme.com knows it simply as the “Spider-Man Pointing at Spider-Man” meme. Imagine a gaggle of Spider dudes pointing at each other and you’ll have the following interview with RYE30’s author, editor, photographer, publicist, fluffer, and sous chef, Duncan Millar.
RYE30 Racing: How long have you been involved in motorsports?
Duncan: If I were to put an official date on it, I’d say summer 2009. That was the first time I autocrossed with my ’90 black-and-red rattle-canned Mazda Miata. I was only 20-ish by then but I remember regretting wasting as much time as I had, not racing. It was as inexpensive and accessible at the time as it is now and I wish more people would consider doing it!
RYE30 Racing: Would you consider yourself closer in comparison to Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling?
Duncan: I think that’s an easier question to answer than you think. If I were to answer it respective to his looks and his capabilities, I would tell you to consider Ryan Gosling’s filmography. His brooding, like mine, is integral to his method. Blade Runner 2049. Drive. I often find myself staring out a window, reminiscing motionlessly, and let me tell you; I get chills. And not just because it’s February and I have that window open.
RYE30 Racing: Realistically, what would you be racing now if you didn’t have the E30? Unrealistically?
Duncan: I think realistically, if I were better with money, we’d be in a Lotus 7 kit car. A LoCost or something similar with a Miata drivetrain. Or we’d be in some sort of spec series like Spec Miata, or taking a more serious dive at LeMons racing. Unrealistically? Pod-racing.
RYE30 Racing: What is your mission with the RYE30 Racing brand?
Duncan: Each one of us would love more than anything for this hobby to turn into a career. Procrastination had gotten the better of me in particular and I finally convinced myself that too late was going to be when I took a dirt nap, so I got together with my guys and asked if they wanted to be a part of making RYE30 into something that could hopefully one day become bigger than us, and they were more than willing.
To say tangibly what we want to do with the brand is to say that we want to race. We have the skill base between the three of us to get out on the track and ideally become a traditional race team; drivers, a pit crew, rubber, development, and wins. If we can mold ourselves into something that companies want to throw sponsorship dollars at, that would be the ultimate goal. In the meantime, we want it to be a source of giving back to the community what all three of us have been given from it. Knowledge and bad jokes.
RYE30 Racing: Is that you in the Weinermobile?
Duncan: Why, yes it is. A friend of mine’s brother drove it for a year on contract. The experience was the closest to a religious one as I believe I’ll ever get. Fun facts about it: it’s built on a gas-powered GM 6500 series frame, it’s automatic, and it’s loaded with the little weiner-whistles.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, and on Instagram @rye30racing. We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting like that of a new romantic relationship so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.