Sunday, September 18, 2016

Virginia Autocross Report

Three wheeling. Photo by Monica Moore

The Tidewater Sports Car Club held their September autocross today at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story, and with about 87 drivers it was another good day to be auto-crossing! The drivers were divided into three run groups, and those of us in the first driving group were lucky enough to be dry, because mid way through the 2nd run group there was some heavy rain for about 15 minutes that slowed the lap times. Overall my PAX time ended up being good for 20th place out of 87 drivers, so not too bad for the little scorpion!

I had a lot of fun, mostly because in addition to trying to drive as fast as possible, my ride-along partners Silas Huff and Rob Claggett got their first experience with autocross too. If you can believe what they told me (and you can), then they had a lot of fun too. Also attending and watching the action were Michael and Monica Moore, so thanks for coming out, and a big thanks to Monica for the many great photos like the two on this page.

Part Time Blogger. Photo by Monica Moore

For my five runs today, it played out like this:

Run 1 time 40.224   On this run I managed to stay on course and not hit any cones, but that's just the first part of a good auto-cross run. On at least two corners I knew that I went into them too fast because my tires were complaining and I was braking way later than I should have. Good news, I knew I could go faster!

Run 2 time 39.587   Hey, just as predicted, faster than the first run by 0.637 seconds, so pretty good. The timer guy handed me the little slip of paper with my time, and it also told me that I was now in 1st place out of 2 cars in my class, ahead by 1.4 seconds. Believe it or not I was more focused on just driving faster and improving my driving line on course than finishing 1st or 2nd. Thinking through things so far, I knew I cold go faster, so for the next run I planned to push faster in the slalom section.

Run 3 time 38.766   This one surprised me how fast it was, BUT, unfortunately I missed one cone and cut the course a bit short, so this time didn't count. However,  I felt like I could still get under 39 seconds, and we still had two more runs to go.

Run 4 time  38.910   That time felt pretty good! With my fastest time so far and not missing any part of the course, the timing slip said I was now in 1st place by half a second, and there was still one more run to go. For the final run all I could do is push it and try to go even faster, plus this time I thought I'd go for 3rd gear near the end because it was a long full throttle section. Worth a shot anyway.

Run 5 time 39.346  Well rats! slower than the previous run, so my best run of the day was 38.910. Going to third gear at the end didn't help any, and I lost a few tenths earlier on course anyway. Final result, 1st place in GS class by just 0.187 seconds, and fastest Italian Car of the Day. Also, "Only" Italian Car of the Day!

Here's a roof top video of my 4th run:

1 Robert Nixon 2013 Fiat Abarth 40.224 39.587 38.766+dnf 38.91 39.346 38.91
2 John Henderson 2014 VW GTI 41.045 40.096+dnf 39.41 39.097 39.171 39.097

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