SCCA – First Experiences and Experienced Insights at a Solo Event

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While I’ve been to the SCCA RunOffs before, I had never attended a solo event until this past Sunday. Wow! Simply, wow! I’m not sure exactly what I had expected from my first solo event (aka autocross), but I wasn’t expecting something as interesting, fun, and exciting as what I saw this past Sunday. In many respects, it reminded me of the vibe and feel of a rally. There was a mix of highly-prepped, purpose-built racing machines brought on trailers with support vehicles, parts, and personnel, and machines that were obviously daily-drivers or shade tree specials. It was fantastic seeing the diversity of machines and drivers out having fun taking their cars and karts as close to the limit as they dared, and sometimes a little past.

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I was drawn to the event because of a couple of friends of mine, Tim and David, who told me about the solo event and invited me out to check out the action. I thought it would be a nice thing to cover for OpenPaddock, getting closer to the real grassroots of motorsport, and I was not disappointed. I think the local club scene is something I’m going to try and make more of a prominent feature here in the future. This weekend’s event was Tim’s first experience in competitive motorsport outside of the local indoor kart racing track, Sadler’s. He wrote a nice summary of his experiences during the event featured in our previous article, My First Day as a Racecar Driver. David, aka the enabler and instigator, is an experienced autocrosser with the trophies to prove his skill and prowess. Here’s David’s thoughts on the weekend.

After racing for several seasons, words fail to capture the experience of autocrossing. There’s the nervous build up of energy lining up at the starting line, the adrenaline rush rocketing through the corners of the last run trying to pick up that elusive tenth of a second, and the dance on the edge of the perfect lap or loss of control. Nothing can quite explain the lapse in time as truly being in that moment behind the wheel and feeling the limits of the car.

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This leads me to the race on April 15th with KCRSCCA: great atmosphere, exceptional driving on display and a fast course. The people who participate with KCRSCCA are welcoming, share their driving tips and are extremely encouraging. I’ve yet to have found anywhere in Kansas City such warm, friendly people eager to share their love of cars and racing. The field of drivers on display the 15th ranged from the novice, first time racers breaking into the scene, weekend warriors (such as myself) codriving to hone one’s skill, and seasoned national-level drivers who push their cars to the absolute limits. The course on that Sunday, as always, was a mix of long sweepers, optional slaloms, and 90-degree turns that beg to be taken faster each run. Following last weekends race, I’m officially hooked for the season.” — David Hagen, experienced autocrosser and engineer.

Obviously, I like to drive fast, but I have to be honest with myself. I’m not the greatest racer. As Shaun will attest, I’m a pedal masher. No finesse. :S Understanding that, I went to the autocross completely content to watch other race and enjoy my passion of photography, imaging the cars and happenings. Almost immediately, however, I got the itch to be behind the wheel and try my hand at what was a really well thought out course. I had poised myself outside of a very tight hairpin where I thought for sure some would try and execute a classic Scandinavian Flick rally-type maneuver. Sadly, none did, which only strengthened my desire to get out there and show these “pavement pounders” how they do things in rally racing. 😛 I’m sure that had I tried, I would have completely sucked, but the fun I would have had would’ve easily compensated. Now I’m searching for a good (and cheap) car that I can autocross. Know anyone with an AE86 they want to get rid of cheaply?

Photos from KCRSCCA Solo Event #2

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One Thought to “SCCA – First Experiences and Experienced Insights at a Solo Event

  1. @BrianMcKayUSA

    WOW! Those are mighty-fine photos of cone killers! Whew! Beautiful, diffused sunlight on interesting cars in sharp focus, and pleasantly out-of-focus foregrounds & backgrounds. Ver-ry nice… making me feel inadequate.
    Looking forward to seeing your photography skills applied to more exotic cars and to motorcycles!

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