NCR Autocross #1 - April 29,2007

by Joe Kraetsch, NCR Autocross Chair

The weather was cool and cloudy with temperature maybe in the sixties. This was NCR’s first autocross at a new site, the M-lot at NHIS in Loudon, NH. For many, this was their first autocross experience on a parking lot and as such was quite a change from the wide open space at Devens.

Mark Schnoerr generously helped me set a course Saturday night after the Car Control Clinic and also helped with changes Sunday morning to make the course flow better, easier to follow and safer. It turned out to be a great course—easy to follow but difficult to master. The course featured several linked elements which required patience on the first element in order to set up for the elements that followed. Too much aggression in the wrong places would slow you down and hurt your final time.

We had a delayed start because we were not allowed to enter the site until 9:00 a.m. due to traffic entering for the motorcycle races on the track. We had a couple first event jitters and a few minor timing glitches but overall the event ran smoothly. We got ten runs in with a lunch break and were finished, packed up, trophies awarded and headed home by 4:00.

We were hoping for a larger turnout after the number of responses from our member survey last year in favor of an event closer to home. Perhaps the less than ideal weather forecast or the early season date kept some folks from joining us.

I was happy to see many of Saturday’s Car Control Clinic students return Sunday to practice their newly acquired skills. I was even more pleased to present trophies to several of them at the end of the day showing just how much they had learned. We saw several new faces and some faces that had been absent for a couple years. We also saw three generations of one family participating. Pete Petersen, our club treasurer, brought his granddaughter, Alex Snowe and her father, Tom Snowe out to play with us. Tom won the Novice class with Alex finishing second. Look out Jamie and Christine Z.!, Alex may be vying for the “Cone Queen” title. The NCR Novice class is open to anyone who has been autocrossing less than one year and who has never won the Novice (or any other) class. (Sorry Tom, you are no longer eligible!)

There weren’t any tight races for first place and the morning leaders all held on or extended their leads with their afternoon time. There were close races for second place in several classes. Dave Porter needed to get faster somehow after losing to me at the Zone 1 Autocross last fall so he showed up in a Dodge Viper. Unfortunately, he is no longer in my class (but I still beat him). In fairness to Dave, he was running on 8 year old street tires so he couldn’t do much with all that horsepower , but he sure had fun trying! Mark Schnoerr took FTD as well as top PAX. I would like to thank all who helped the event run so smoothly. I would especially like to thank the morning workers who also worked regular assignments: Judy Hendrickson and Lisa Roche handled registration, Ivy Leonard and John Lussier covered the insurance waivers at the gate, Kevin Bobbitt set up Timing and Scoring, Georges Rouhart and Matt Romanowski did tech inspection, Mark Schnoerr helped me with course design/setup and Barb Jacques who helped out even though she wasn’t driving.