Posts tagged Solo2

We had a helicopter! It parked at the Walmart!

ASN Autoslalom Nationals – Day 2

Getting back to autocross is way easier when your 5 minutes from the event. Cheers to the fellow competitors who let me sleep on the pull out couch in their hotel.

The day went much like the last. I did overhear some people talking about what was and was not legal for certain classes and that a car may not be legal his/her class. Not long after hearing these discussions it was announced that at the end of our last run, we were to drive our cars straight from the course to impound where our class competitors would check each others cars for legality. I’m glad I bolted a mis-colored mirror to my car to make it 100% ES legal.

Ready and waiting. Happy marshal.

Ready and waiting. Happy marshal.

It was rumored that the day 2 course would be a reverse of day one. Far from it! It shared some elements of the test day, but felt largely different. Very flowing. Much faster too. It was hard to keep the front of my car from understeering in the fast sweepers. Keeping my car neutral (where it is neither understeering or oversteering) can be hard. Knowing how deep to trail brake, how much to trail brake, and when to get that throttle on isn’t easy. Without mega power, throttling on at the wrong time can cause you to just lift weight off the front tires increasing understeer. Get the brake and throttle timing just right and you can ride the slip angle through the corner maximizing your speed. Nailing a corner like that feels fantastic. And it’s always neat to see the car rotate it’s way around the corner without actually steering into the corner very much.

We had a helicopter! It parked at the Walmart!

We had a helicopter! It parked at the Walmart!

On the last run, I was nailing every turn. Getting the slip angles just right, until the last tight section, when I lost my line a bit due to oversteer, and jabbed the brake mid corner. This lifted my rear wheel up enough to cause my Torsen LSD to stop being an LSD. (Which happens when one wheel has zero traction) The wheel spun up, touched down and threw the car sideways. I’m not quite sure why, but I decided to keep the drift going into the next turn, go for broke, keep it floored, and powerside it all the way to the finish line. I sacrificed some time, but got a good rise out of the crowd. If it wasn’t for that powerside I most definitely would have gone faster. The powerslide run was only .1 second slower.

Do you like sliding? I like sliding!

Do you like sliding? I like sliding!

It seems my car wasn’t expecting the lary finish. It had been overfilled by the dealer during the last oil change. Extra oil isn’t always bad, but it seemed that there was a bit too much this time. Enough that when I threw it down the off camber corner, the rather large amount of right side body roll coupled with the downhill camber to the right, and the fact that the oil breather is on the right side of the engine, meant that my engine ended up ingesting some oil and blowing a good cloud of white/blue smoke out of the tail pipe. Enough to freak me the heck out and cause a bunch of fellow competitors to see me in the paddock to express concern.

All was well though. My little machine survived 3 pretty gnarly days of travel and competition. Didn’t complain one bit. It even won me a trophy.

Trophy!

Trophy!

National Champion! Result!


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that event, head over here.

Visor down. In the zone.

ASN Autoslalom Nationals – Day 1

And we’re back! First day of timed competition. It’s weird waking up still tired from the last day of autocross and remembering that you are about to do it again… Two more times.

The day started out with some special words from a few veteran autocrossers who met and raced in Nationals many decades ago. Forming a lifelong bond through motorsport. They were proud to see the traditions continuing in all of us. The slaloming spirit is alive and well. It was great to see those veterans tear up the track along side us.

Veteran racer in veteran machine.

Veteran racer in veteran machine.

The next surprise was Joe. We had an announcer! With music! I’ve seen him work his hostly magic before at a ATTS Gymkhana event. He’s always great. Always makes events feel like more of an actual event if you know what I mean. He played Lady Gaga at one point. But even that won’t make me hate him. Joe is the best.

The course was the best too. Fast smooth and fairly open. I had lots of fun just keeping my foot to the floor and threading through the cones. What was previously a run downhill to the finish, was now a horseshoe type corner where the apex was at the bottom of the hill. Keeping your speed up was crucial for that momentum was going to carry you up the steep hill. This weekend was all about the faster stuff. Faster slaloms, faster sweepers, faster chicanes, downshifting was never really an option (unless you messed up) and spending this much time in the upper regions of second gear was awesome.

Visor down. In the zone.

Visor down. In the zone.

I managed to keep ahead of my class competitors. But scores are accumulated over two days. So this wasn’t over yet.

But now it was time to go to the mid weekend banquet and go partying!


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that event, head over here.

Cheers to the random photographer on Flickr

ASN Autoslalom Nationals – Day 0

I’ve been autocrossing for some time now. I’m pretty sure this makes year seven. My fifth full season at PITL. (Probably my fith year as A class PITL champion with a little bit of luck as well)

Turns out, the Canadian Autoslalom nationals was going to be pretty close by this year. And since it isn’t in the same place every year, a lot of my fellow local racers were going out. Encouragement to go was all over. I shrugged it off for a while, but eventually came around to the idea. Took care of some maintenance on the car, booked the time off work (it is a three day race weekend after all) and headed out.

Cheers to the random photographer on Flickr

Cheers to the random photographer on Flickr

Nationals this year was hosted by the TLMC, who run their events out of the Molsen Centre in Barrie. It was a fantastic venue for autocross. Unbroken grippy asphalt that is wide open for us to play with. Some slight elevation changes keep things interesting. A small piece of new asphalt to keep things fun. Seriously! Going from weathered grippy asphalt to not so grippy new asphalt is a lot of fun. The instant change in grip is always a neat feeling. Especially when you are already at the limit of grip for the grippy stuff.

I classed myself into E stock. My car was legal for two classes;

Race in STR (Street tire class where a lot of faster/modded cars play like new Miatas and S2000s)

Race in ES (Stock class where modifications are not allowed, but race compound tires are)

Both classes have a close PAX (or handicap) factor since the ES cars can almost go as fast as the STR cars with some really sticky race only rubber. ES generally is a pretty small class, and I since didn’t see any other ES cars on race compounds and didn’t feel like getting murdered by S2000s, so I hopped into ES. Either way I wouldn’t PAX very well as I had neither the modifications, or race tires. Meaning I wasn’t fully optimized for either class. At least with ES, I had a chance at a class win.

Cheers to the random photographer on Flickr

Cheers to the random photographer on Flickr

Day 0 was test day. A day specifically for people who haven’t been to the Molsen Centre before. Like me. It allows us to get accustomed to the way the lot works. Runs were timed and unlimited too. I think I did like 12 of them. 12 was entirely too many runs, but it is pretty rare you are allowed so many runs in quick succession. So I used that to my advantage and played around. Any seat time is good seat time. It did teach me that tire heat (even on street tires) can boost times fairly significantly. When the staging line got shorter, I was able to get back out on course with tires that still had good heat in them. Beating a personal best is much easier when your tires are hot. And boy did they get hot.


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that event, head over here.

HADA CASC Regional – That seat!

HADA doesn’t run to many autoslalom events anymore. They do generally host a CASC-OR Regional event every year though. So even though the HADA series isn’t running anymore (insert sadface here) they did still host a Regional. And since I often think about doing an entire Regional season, I usually try to enter at least one Regional a year to see how I stack up.

A little but of wheel spin off the start line!

A little but of wheel spin off the start line!

Due to the way the Regional series spans events across Ontario, you will generally see people from farther away. Less local racers. This contrasts with club events, which are at the same lot all season, and seem to bring competitors more local to the venue. So it’s also a great way to see some new faces and unfamiliar machines.

A little bit of oversteer.

A little bit of oversteer.

I noticed last year that a friend of mine’s buddy bought a Speedster Miata identical to mine. Well, almost. It already had a lowered suspension and roll bar installed. It looked great! And this year it was competing in the Regional series. So I was excited to see what my car would look like with some light mods.

It turned up looking mighty stout. It had some more work done since purchase. Some 6UL wheels in matte black set the car off real nice. As they do on any Miata. The increased offset along with the lowered stance and rollbar made the car look much more serious.

A little bit of air under that rear wheel!

A little bit of air under that rear wheel!

“That rollbar,” I thought, “doesn’t look like a common HardDog… Hmm.” After introducing myself and chatting for a good while (we were side by side in the paddock) I asked if I could sit in his car to check my head clearance on his roll bar. A revelation!! You see, the owner had done what is called a foamectomy. And as with all -ectomies, the first part of that word is often what is removed. Removing the foam from the back and bottom of the seat massively transforms it. You end up sitting much lower down and by sitting further back into the seat, your body is better supported by the seat. Almost feels like a true bucket seat. Wonderful! And since there was some foam removed from under my butt, lowering my seating position, my head even clears the rollbar. It also helps that the CSC rollbar main hoop is more forward and higher.┬áHaving your noggin hovering an inch or two in front of a thick steel bar is not good for day to day driving. So getting under it is a must for street safety.

A little of lockup on the stop box.

A little of lockup on the stop box.

After that revelation, it was time to get driving. Regional events always bring out the serious folk. It also brings different classing. Classes that I’m not terribly optimized for. This explains why I don’t commit to the entire season. But that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. The course, while short, was definitely challenging. Courses on this lot always look simple, but every once and a while you’ll get a course that looks as simple, but keeps you hunting for time you know is out there. Slaloms with decreasing cone spaces are always a fun challenge. As is a 180 degree hairpin with complete freedom of line. You get to try to find the balance between speed and distance.

I had fun. (Surprise!)


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day, head over here.