I had fun at the SPOKES autocross, on 11/23/2008. Instead of abusing my beastly Great White Whale (as I’ve nicknamed my 2000 Nissan Maxima SE), I was able to throttle (pun intended) Jerry’s stock 1990 Mazda Miata. If you don’t know, I first met Jerry (my autocross mentor) at the first autocross I attended this year in June, at the Pearsall Divisional event (which was also the first date of my first blog entry!).
Being of tall (6’2”) stature & more than moderate girth, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I fit well in that little 2-seater coupe.
Between the 2 heats, we had a total of 8 runs each on the course. A couple of days ago I talked about the autocross course. Here’s a revised drawing showing what I perceived the best path through the cones. I’m still not convinced that I drove this well, though…
Making the transition from being a daily driver of front wheel drive (FWD) to a Sunday autocross rear wheel drive pilot was more of an adjustment than I had anticipated. Initially, I was impressed by the nice sound (Jerry said it was just a Meineke muffler special – nothing fancy). The clutch and transmission were tight, nothing mechanically sloppy on this 150K+ miles Mazda Miata.
In the first 4 runs, Jerry & I simply swapped seats. This was so I could watch & learn as ride-along passenger, & for him to direct me a bit while I drove. It was good!
I got a pretty good feel for how this little car responds and accelerates. It DID NOT feel like an 18 year old car at that amount of mileage. Having daily driven & done some autocrossing in FWD vehicles, I was very used to trailing throttle oversteer. In other words, in the RWD Miata I felt somewhat unsure of flooring it & then lifting the throttle in the 2nd half of the left hand at the end of corner 1 (see the red A on the course map above), and right hand sweeper between corners 2 & 3 (see the red B on the course map).
I’m sure that with time and experience I could get much closer than the approximate 3 second gap between my course times & Jerry’s. Jerry took some great shots of me posing with & driving his Miata – thanks SO much Jerry!
He says he’s a wannabe amateur photographer – I think he’s better than that – lots more potential than he realizes! Check out these shots & tell me he’s a great photographer…!
At the end of the autocross they announced that all Novices would get a trophy! Out of 10 novices, I placed 4th, based on the car performance equalization formula of PAX. This was not at all expected. Here it is!
Racing Ready wants to place well as a source of winning racing form – stay tuned for more!
And again, Jerry, I can’t thank you enough for your allowing me the honor to abuse your Miata & become a definite Miata driving fan (& maybe a future owner).