Road Rage Therapy

The title of this post is how Michael, an autocross competitor I visited with, describes what autocrossing is for him.  Apparently, the daily 60 mile commute (in each direction) is frustrating and autocrossing helps him to release the stress.

While his daily driver is a current year model Honda Civic Sedan (5-speed, of course), his “therapy” ride is a 1994 Mazda Miata (with the 1.8L engine) he bought about 6 or 7 years ago.  At the time of purchase he wasn’t thinking of autocrossing it, but he surely is today. The only modifications are R compound tires he swaps out at the event, aftermarket Tokico shocks, and a roll bar.  Check out his clean ride:

Michael\'s \'94 Mazda Miata

When asked what got him started autocrossing, he explained that his dad was the president of a local club.  He started at about age 15 and the bug bit him.  He autocrossed for about 10 years & then life got in the way for almost 20 years.  But he’s been back at it with a vengeance since this past April.

In addition to autocrossing, he’s had some experience with karting at a facility in New Braunfels, TX – the Hill Country Kart Club.  He says karting is VERY different from autocrossing.  You really learn a different point of view of vehicle dynamics.  It is definitely something to check out, as I was told by others listening in.

Apparently, there is another Austin, TX regional karting track called Iron Rock Raceway.  You pay only $20 for a 10 minute race (plus $6 daily liability)!  There are a total of 3 race sessions available.  This is their Arrive-and-Drive Karts program.  They provide your safety equipment (helmet, racing suit) access to the course and, of course, a kart.  This sure sounds like some serious fun (and learning, too)!

An aside commentary…
You know, a few months ago I had no idea of all these events and racing venues that are available and are relatively close by.  I really encourage you to start researching!  There’s the online activity of search engine surfing & participating in online forums.  But really, get off your butt!  Get out there to live events and start talking to people, like I’ve started doing.  It really is opening up my eyes to the opportunities available!!!
(Okay, back down off my soap box…)

When Michael is finished with an autocross event, he remounts his street tires.  What to do with the R compound tires in a small 2-seat coupe like a Miata?  He puts them on his “TireTail”, a proprietary tire mounting bracket he’s attached to a special trailer hitch.  This is a cool idea!  Here are some views.

TireTail, rear view

TireTail, hitch view

This post is just the first of a series of overviews of conversations I had with competitors of last Sunday’s autocross event at the San Antonio Raceway.  There are more to come.  So, come on, come along to gain more insight to be Racing Ready!


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