Rain, The Great Autocross Equalizer

Today, SASCA (the San Antonio Sports Car Club) started off the 2011 autocross season.  It was a cold & wet one.  The event took place at the NEISD Blossom Athletic Complex parking lot, just north of the San Antonio International Airport.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Pondering wet autocross cones

Rain is the great equalizer.  This was no truer than today at the 2011 SASCA Autocross #1.  We showed up along with a steady, but very light drizzle, right at about 50 degrees.  But that wasn’t the challenging part.  The paved surface that we compete on, is sealer coated from a couple of years ago.  Here the traction coefficient goes WAY down once moisture is involved!  It DID give us the opportunity to test the limits of our wet driving skills.  It was noted the time ranges between the fastest & slowest cars was relatively narrow.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Wet timing trailer

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Wet grid lineup

We had a lower then usual attendance turnout, due to the cold & wet.  The upside?  We had a total of 10 runs!  But most of us were grousing that our last few runs were slower (throw away runs) since the diminished rain started back up toward the end of our runs.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Wet drizzle beading up on a formerly clean competitor's car...

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Wet parking lot splatter on my Karlino

I WILL say we all had fun with the challenge.  There was a delicate balance that we all had to obey, between gripping & slipping.  This was in all three situations of:

  1. acceleration
  2. braking
  3. turning

Lord help you if you did more than one of these actions at one time.  In addition, there was one tight, downhill hairpin turn that continued to catch just about all of us out.  This was regardless of the speed & approach we took.  It reminded me of my snow weather driving days from up north!

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Slick & wet grid entrance & exit...

I noted that the drive back home was SO much less challenging on regular, non-sealed pavement.  Even wet, I felt I had at least twice the grip driving home, than I did during competition today.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Wet grid overview of Heat #2

Here are the results from today’s results on AXWare!

As you can see, doing ride-alongs is part of the key to autocross fun!

SASCA 2011 AutoX #1 - Passenger ride-along swapout...

Racing Ready appreciates the competitor that confronts the variety of racing conditions & deals with them as best can be expected.  Next month’s SASCA Autocross will be at a new venue – Retama Park (it actually has been many years since SASCA competed there).  It will take place on February 20, 2011, at the Retama Park Horse Racing Track parking lot.  We’ll see you there!

Dan

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