Last AT&T AutoX – Frustration Of Constraints

WOW, what a long & thorough day as Eventmaster at yesterday’s SASCA 2009 AutoX #8!

Seems to be some definite posing going on this autocross grid.

Here’s the “Reader’s Digest” version: It started early & ended late – much happened…

Here’s the FULL story.  No matter what you design down on paper, it really doesn’t come to life till you drive the lot with the truck packed with cones.  Basically you drive the way the course was drawn & yell out the back window the number of cones you want dropped.  Then you walk around, set the cones in their relative positions & discuss/debate racing lines & curve/slalom apexes.  There’s a lot to think about & to take into account.  As an Eventmaster you have to have a thick skin, as all will critique the course & have their own opinion.

But the person whose opinion I trusted the most was Steve, the SASCA Safety Steward.  He provide much good insight & autocross sense.  Based on years of experience in autocross, he helped make my course both safe & with a good momentum flow.  He’s also a very competitive autocross driver with his 2008 Mazdaspeed3.

A field of cones...

Over the course of the morning, most of the comments I got related that it was a tight course, but challenging and fun nonetheless.  The raw course times ranged in the 44 to 54 second range, depending on the car & who was driving it.  Not bad since we were reduced to a smaller lot size to work with.

After lunch, the real challenge occurred.  After only about the 4th car or so, the runs stopped.  Karlino & I were oblivious, “hiding out” in the Miata-produced AC, trying to put a dent in the oppressive over 100 degree heat.  I finally ventured out to see what happened.  I noticed a yellow Honda S2000 had stopped at the far end of the lot, 1/2 way through the course.  Apparently Hisham has lost a bolt or broke a hose & left an 18″ wide trail of lightly sprayed engine oil all along the first half of autocross course racing line!

Steve conferred with me, advising that as Eventmaster I had to make a decision:

  1. Call it a day, and stop the autocross event
  2. Sprinkle kitty litter, absorb the oil as best as possible & sweep it up
  3. Move & redo the course by about 40′ plus

I went with option #3.  In moving the course, and removing a couple of gates & superfluous cones, the racing line was a little faster & the course shorter by about 6 or more seconds.  Since this was at least a 1/2 different course, the decision was made to make this a “Divisional In A Day” course.  That is, the morning heat times would be considered the “Day 1” times & the afternoon heat would be those of “Day 2”.  Thank goodness for AXWare Systems software to make all the variety of numbers (event results)more manageable.

SASCA 2009 AutoX #8 - 1st heat grid

Being Eventmaster requires you to stay till the end & assist (delegate) clean up.  Once again, with the use of Craig’s Tundra 4X4, we went out to retrieve the now stacked cones, radios, fire extinguishers & safety flags.  The last thing to do is consolidate all the “stuff” into the timing trailer, lock it up & hitch to the truck.  We finally got out of there by about 5:30pm – an 11 hour day on site – Phew!

Racing Ready may consider doing more autocross Eventmaster stints…but when it’s cooler.


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