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Old 07-24-2001, 04:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 1970
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Jordan's "First" Time

Well, I finally motivated myself to try and get involved more with my local BMWCCA chapter and try and have some fun at the same time. I looked around on the Boston Chapterís website for events I could attend and came across the autocross series. $20 for what looked like a whole lot of fun seemed like this was going to be too good to be true so I double-checked with the eventís coordinator about what was involved and what I got for the small amount of money. From his description, I decided to give it a try.

Having completed my first autocross event, I have but one regret...I waited THIS long to do this!! If you have not done this and enjoy pushing your car, you need to contact your local Car Club chapter and get your name on the registration list. Hereís my best description of the dayís events:

You must register by 8:00 am and every step along the way in the process must be completed on schedule for everyone to get the most out of the experience so we planned on arriving by at least 7:30 am. Upon arrival, we signed our lives away for the duration of our stay at the abandoned airport and rolled in to see an enormous line-up of enthusiasts and their cars. The non-BMW line-up ranged from a Civic del Sol adorned with the usual over-exaggerated aerodynamic pieces and the obligatory 8" diameter exhaust pipe to a beautiful red 993 twin turbo shod with "sleeper" black powder-coated wheels. The Bavarian crew was represented by anything from an E30 M3 to an E39 M5 and just about everything in between. We found a parking spot and began to unload our stuff. Everyone has a 1 to 3-digit number that they either choose beforehand or are assigned upon registration. You then write your number on two pieces of paper and tape them up in your windows. After we completed this task, we lined up for tech inspection.

Tech inspection is done to ensure that all cars on the track are in "good repair" and that the drivers have an approved helmet. Apparently, the biggest problem discovered during tech inspection is loose objects in the car. Having known this before the event, Tim and I cleaned out everything in our cars the night before (including our rear seats and spare tires for a little weight advantage =)). Our cars passed inspection, we parked, and went to figure out exactly what was next.

We quickly found out that almost everyone there was an enthusiast and while the autocross series is technically a "competition," everyone is there to have a good time and people are generally very friendly and giving of knowledge. This was very comforting as we were half-expecting to be harassed as novices, but that was anything but the case. Event coordinators, instructors, seasoned autocrossers, and even casual onlookers were all easy-going and helped the event to be a great success.

After we figured out what we needed to do for the most part, we lined up with everyone for a walk-through of our course. This was given by a very knowledgeable, veteran autocrosser/instructor/event coordinator who goes by the name of Steve Hazard. This guy knows his stuff! In any case, Steve walked us through the course sharing his thoughts and strategies through every single turn and straight away. I walked away from that thinking "hmm...Iím gonna make a fool out of myself."

After the walk through, you are given your work assignments. "Work?" you say...thatís right, the event only costs $20 for a reason. When youíre not driving, youíre shagging cones or calling in hit cones/missed gates on the radio. As members of class D, Tim and I were on work duties during the first bank of laps. The working part is really not that bad, especially when itís your first time and you get to see how everything unfolds. When you realize the amount of excitement you are about to experience, the work is actually enjoyable. Of course, youíre anything but disappointed when they finally radio that itís your turn to drive.

When I jumped behind the wheel of my car I was all kinds of nervous. As a first time autocrosser, you are required to have an instructor ride with you for at least one lap. I did so and turned out a time of 71.645 seconds" not anything that you want to go and advertise. Of course, this was basically taking a cruise through the lines and I wasnít even pushing my car. The next lap, I crossed the finish line in 63.128 seconds with a different instructor but was told that if I really wanted to knock some time off my laps, I should ride with the guy who gave us the walk-through. So when Steve Hazard jumped in my car for the next lap, I knew right away that he meant business. He had me disengage my DSC and turn off my air conditioner, which I completely forgot about in my nervous state. We rolled up to the start, they gave us the green flag, and we took off. Before we even hit the first turn, he was barking at me. "SHIFT!" "Wait for it! Wait for it!...now, TURN!" Some people may find this sort of teaching style annoying, but it was perfect for me. I tuned everything out and just did what he said. The result, a 56.587! Not too bad for a novice. Using the techniques he taught me, I eventually turned out a 55.207 and averaged 55.897 landing me fifth place in my division. Not that anyone really wants to out-do everyone else, but itís nice to see how you measure up. Did I mention that I beat Tim for the day? =)

Anyway, you complete the morning runs and do a similar bank of runs after lunch, clean up and go home. In between all that was time to stand around and talk with other enthusiasts about driving techniques, good corners, bad corners, and (my favorite) aftermarket accessories. We met a lot of nice people and had a wonderful time and are extremely excited to do it again in August.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:19 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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My Ride: 2004 330Ci
Cool! I have had my '04 330Ci for almost a year now. Your post makes me want to go check out an autocross now! Thanks.
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