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|Your First Autocross|
|Written by San Francisco Region Web Team|
Survival Guide for the New Autocrosser - Or what to do at your first autocross
Tonight, or sometime before your first event, you should read the Autocross Novice Handbook by Kate Hughes. It's all available online and it has everything you'll need to know for your first year or two autocrossing. If you have absorbed this book, you'll start out way ahead of other new autocrossers, and ahead of some old-timers, too.
Check the Car Classification Rules and figure out what SCCA class your car belongs in. You will probably want to run in one of SFR's Novice Classes -- check out the rules. It will help a lot to know your class before you arrive.
Read the complete rules for the SFR Solo Novice Class at http://www.sfr-solo.org/solo2/novicerules.html.
If you have time, peruse the other autocross-related links on our site. You can find out a lot of additional information, including other places to autocross in the Bay Area.
Review the general procedures for one of our autocrosses so you will know better what to expect.
For SCCA events,
you must be a member of SCCA, able to present official documentation (like
a membership card). Most other clubs don't require
membership, so check with your club to see their requirements. Join
SCCA by clicking here for the SCCA home page, then the "JOIN NOW!"
button on the top of the page.
For SFR Solo and many other clubs an online registration website is available to pre-register yourself and your car online. Some clubs (but not SFR) require pre-registration and payment online before any event. SFR provides online pre-registration as a way to get your own name and address and car information entered correctly for quick registration at the events. Update Your Solo Registration Data will bring up the SFR Pre-registration page. After you pre-register print the web page with your car information and barcodes and bring them to the registration table. With this printout you can go to the front of the registration line.
For SFR events, you may only have to spend a morning or afternoon to compete. Check out the Event Schedule and see when you will compete. Arrive by 8:00 AM for morning runs, by 11:30 or earlier for afternoon runs. That way you will be able to walk the course before you run.
Sign the release waiver at the gate, if one is offered there, and put on a security wristband.
Please obey site speed restrictions -- 10 MPH. Higher speeds, tire warming, burnouts or drifting practice on site will get you removed and banned, and may lose the site for autocrossing permanently. Please help us out here!
These procedures are the ones we use in San Francisco Region, and others may vary but they will generally be similar.
Tell the folks at the desk that you're a new autocrosser. They can answer your questions and may be able to point you to someone who will help you through your first event.
The course is open for walks before the first run group, and during lunch break between groups 4 and 5. There will generally be an organized Novice course walk led by an experienced driver at most events. Otherwise just tag along with someone who looks as if they have done this before.
Announcement are often made over the Public Address system. At some events no PA is allowed, and you must get information from different sources. The latest rig transmits a weak FM signal which can be picked up by your nearby car radio or other FM receiver, Find out what frequency is in use. You will need to pay close attention to the progress of the event so you will be ready for work time, grid time, and run time for your run group. Pay Attention! to the
Listen to the announcement of the Drivers' Meeting. You must attend it. You will be informed on your work assignments, Tech. Inspection, instructional course walk, grid procedures, and other organizational details. Please ask any questions that you have at this meeting.
Now you are ready for tech inspection. You will be told where the tech is conducted during Drivers' meeting. If you run in the first group, your car will be tech'ed on the grid.
Drive your car to the Tech inspection site for inspection. Tech will check for safety and numbers visibility rather than class conformance. Your car's legality is policed by your competitors, who can protest you for illegal modifications, and get you disqualified.
Depending on the event schedule, you may have to work before, or after your run. You must work to pay for your runs, non-workers will be banned from future events, not to mention disliked and shunned. When your group is called to work, report to the Motorhome. Event Chairman will check your name off the worker sign-up sheet. If you do not work, you will not be listed in the results and may be banned from future events.
When your group is called to grid. There will usually be someone controlling the grid. Pay close attention to this person running the grid and do not leave your car unattended from this time on. Note that one or more lines are for two-driver cars, use these only if you have a co-driver. If you need a loaner helmet, get one just after you grid your car. Leave your fully filled out registration card under your windshield wiper or on your dash in clear view.
If your class runs in the first run group, arrive early and grid your car FIRST. This group uses an Inverted Grid:
WHY? Because the first car out each day runs on a slippery, dirty track, and smart drivers want others to clean it off for them. Grid Early.
Other drivers often are happy to coach you on your first runs. Ask for help and you will usually find a friend who can help you with staging, starting and actual driving. SFR rules permit passengers on any run, and other drivers often give rides when asked, though most often on their first or second runs only. Don't be afraid to ask, don't be deterred if one declines -- ask the next person.
During your run, watch for any red flag being waved by a course worker -- STOP AT ONCE if the red flag is waved, until the workers direct you to continue quickly but not at racing speed through the course.
IMPORTANT: After you cross the finish line SLOW DOWN and STOP to pick up your timing slip, then proceed SLOWLY back on the grid to prepare for the next run. After the last run SLOWLY drive to your pit.
Congratulations! You've done it!
|Last Updated ( Friday, 22 April 2011 )|