In 2019, we proudly welcomed a stripped-down Fiesta ST into our ranks, not knowing that fate had something extraordinary in store. As the world faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 due to a pandemic, Ford announced the discontinuation of the beloved Fiesta ST. Undeterred by these circumstances, we embraced the spirit of adventure and set forth on an unforgettable journey known as The Way of the FiST.
From the very beginning, the Fiesta ST proved its mettle, pushing boundaries on various surfaces. We put it through its paces in drag racing, autocross events, and rallycross races. Constantly fine-tuning and optimizing the car, we experimented with different tires, dyno tuning, and made adjustments to the suspension and brakes. The pinnacle of our journey was participating in the prestigious Brock Yates’ 2021 One Lap of America, where the Fiesta ST emerged victorious in the Economy Car class, solidifying its place as a trophy magnet.
Perfecting The Fiesta
With victories and accolades under our belt, we wondered, “What’s next?” The Fiesta ST had showcased its prowess, but we knew there was room for improvement. Running within the SCCA H-Street rule set posed a challenge, as stock springs caused excessive leaning during sharp cornering, leading to understeering and back tire lift. Engaging in insightful conversations with fellow competitors, we uncovered a potential solution – replacing the front sway bar with a thicker one.
Eager to enhance the Fiesta’s handling, we opted for the Eibach 25mm replacement front sway bar. Installing the new sway bar required dropping the lower subframe, a task made easier with the aid of a lift and a telescoping jack stand. We skillfully connected the sway bar to the shocks using OEM end links, but we didn’t stop there. To counteract the soft springs and maintain the sway bar’s neutral position, we fitted adjustable length end links from Godspeed, ensuring optimal performance.
Every aspect of the Fiesta’s setup was crucial, and we meticulously aligned the car using advanced tools like Smart Camber and Smart Strings. Maximized camber and perfect toe settings ensured unparalleled handling on any terrain. To facilitate toe-in or toe-out adjustments on the inner tie rod, we ingeniously crafted a handy magnet, making the process seamless.
Showing Up And Showing Out
Armed with our upgraded Fiesta ST and a fresh yellow livery, we set our sights on the 2022 autocross season, ready to embrace a new challenge. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) introduced a groundbreaking championship points season, connecting multiple National Tour events nationwide. Undeterred, we aimed to make the Fiesta ST the first car to secure victory in the H-Street class, and we christened it with the hashtag #racethefourdoor.’
In the fiercely competitive 200-treadwear tire market, we tested top contenders: Yokohama ADVAN A052, Falken Azenis RT660, and Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R. The Yokohama tire emerged as the swiftest, and driven by our determination to win, we invested in the high-performance Yokohama tires. Our trusted partners at Sanger Tire expertly mounted and balanced the tires, ensuring peak performance on the track.
When you test a lot of tires, you have to mount a lot of tires. Luckily for Double Nickel Nine Motorsports we are partnered with Sanger Tire who does all of our mounting and balancing. We are very particular about how we want our tires balanced and Terry Large and his crew do outstanding work getting our tires mounted.
With our new livery we created a hashtag for the FiST, #racethefourdoor. We tried to stick with using the hashtag each time we ran photos of the car on the Krider Racing Instagram account. For fun we had a flag made and flew it at all the events we attended with the FiST. It was dumb and we loved it.
During a lot of our tests with the Fiesta ST we found the engine did like to get hot. We resolved this by spraying the intercooler and radiator with ice water between runs and then using a leaf blower to run air through the front of the car. This kept things nice and chill and made the turbo very happy. A happy turbo in the FiST makes for good racing results.
A Journey To Remember
The Fiesta ST, often underestimated, demonstrated its prowess on the track, earning top PAX standings, surpassing Porsches in autocross events, and dominating its class. Triumphantly, we secured victories at major races, including Nevada, California, and Texas National Tours, amassing valuable points for the championship.
Our first big race for the 2022 SCCA National Tour season was in Las Vegas, Nevada. And we ran the table in Vegas, earning top times in H-Street on both days of competition and took home a nice big first place plaque from the SCCA and more importantly 100 championship points for the nationwide championship series.
With a win in Vegas we decided not to mess with the setup anymore. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is a motto commonly ignored by racers. We decided to heed the advice and just concentrate on getting the car safely to the next venue.
Our next stop on the National Tour was in California, so it was easy for us as a California team to tackle the event. We had lots of laps on the grippy surface of Crows Landing. And with lots of laps means lots of success. We won the second Tour we attended, picked up another plaque from the SCCA and those very important 100 points.
The next event was a long road trip to South Texas for another National Tour. We crammed all of our tools and tires in the back of the FiST and road tripped 1,600 miles to Beeville where the Fiesta earned another podium finish in the series giving it the National points lead in H-Street.
I still needed one more win to clinch the championship (300 points was the maximum you could earn in the series). That meant another long road trip this time from California through Oregon into Washington for the scenic National Tour race at Packwood. The road trip was awesome, saw some snow, some beautiful trees, and won the race too. Admittedly, I ate more Taco Bell on the road trip than I would like to admit, but we won’t tell Mrs. Krider about that.
For all the miles, all the tires, and all the hard work, SCCA mailed me a beautiful acrylic trophy for winning the 2022 Tire Rack SCCA National Tour Championship in the H-Street class. I’ve earned a fair amount of trophies over the years, but this one is certainly one of my favorites. It may not look like much, but I know how much went into getting it.
The Fiesta turned out to be a great autocross car and earned me multiple victories and numerous championships. Depending on the club you race with some handout trophies at the end of the year, while others distribute championship jackets. I was really honored to earn two different jackets from two separate sanctioning bodies while driving the FiST.
Heading Off The Pavement
As the autocross journey concluded, we embraced new challenges in the world of rallycross. We reverted the Fiesta to its stock parts and took to the dirt. The car effortlessly maneuvered through dusty corners and thrilling car slides, proving its adaptability and versatility.
We found that even with the stock front sway bar back in place, the car still needed less front sway bar for off-road conditions. Simply removing one end link from the bar frees the bar up and allows the car to maneuver dirt corners better when the surface is extremely bumpy. The trick worked and the FiST went faster.
We ran races in the 2023 season of the California Rally Series and picked up podium finishes at each event we attended. Rallycross is really fun and the Fiesta was a natural at it. Reading the ever-changing conditions of the dirt is an art I haven’t quite perfected but I enjoyed every dusty drifting moment of rallycross.
Besides all out rallycross, we also entered the Fiesta in some Gimmick Rallye events with The Rallye Club. And once again, the FiST brought us home more trophies. Our biggest Gimmick Rallye victory came in Santa Rosa, CA, at the Empire Sports Car Association April Fools Rallye, where we won the Senior class.
The Legacy Has Been Left
The Fiesta ST accumulated an astonishing 31 racing victories, from autocross to the renowned One Lap of America. The car’s consistent excellence earned four consecutive autocross championships in different series. Despite its modest price tag of $19,000, the Fiesta ST showcased boundless fun and unforgettable experiences.
As the Fiesta ST’s journey draws to a close, we reflect on the legacy it leaves behind. The car’s indomitable spirit and unwavering performance endeared it to our hearts and the racing community. As we bid farewell, we express immense gratitude and look forward to new adventures on the horizon.
Adios, Fiesta ST, and thank you for the extraordinary journey!