sponsored by

Porsche of Nashua

NCR Autocross #1—May 24, 2008

by Joe Kraetsch, NCR Autocross Chair

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times... No, I am not writing a novel but depending on whose perspective, this describes our first autocross of the season. From the competitors’ perspective, it was a good event and everyone had a great time. From a management perspective, it was a bad dream.

The day started out sunny turning to mostly cloudy through the day with temperatures in the sixties. The wind was cold at times and got so heavy that we had to take the timing tent down. We had a very good turnout with 66 drivers challenged by an excellent course designed by Chris Darminio and John Mac Donald. The course was open and easy to follow for the novices, yet provided some technical elements that were difficult to master even for the best drivers. To quote one member’s comments:

A very interesting course with two distinct personalities: the first half was sweeping and the second half technical. It let everyone find favorite parts of the course and kept them on their toes. A special thanks to the course designers...

Our novice program continues to draw newcomers into the sport. We had about fifteen novices including a Junior Participant, Nora Seymour. Nora drove her father’s Lotus Caterham very well in her first autocross ever. We hope to see her again. We had a number of guests, many including some outstanding instructors from the Renegade Miata Club (RMC). North Country Region has a reciprocal agreement with RMC. RMC members are welcome at our autocross events and NCR members are welcome at RMC autocross events. This year, we are also trying a new guest policy on a case by case basis. North Country Region members who would like to invite a non-member guest to an NCR autocross should contact me for details.

I won’t provide all the gory details of the bad dream, but my wonderful staff pulled together to get the event going and to keep it going. They kept most of those gory details transparent to the everyone else. The visible ones were: the police closing the main entrance to the site for a town parade that we were not warned about; first car off an hour later than normal; and the hand- written timing slips. Once started, the event ran quite smoothly and everyone got 4 AM runs and 3 PM runs. 7 runs is quite respectable and I doubt if anyone except me really expects to get 8 runs at all NCR events.

Note that our autocross events score the average of your best AM run and your best PM run. There was a couple interesting classes:

  • Congratulations to Michael Moushen, our first Novice Champion of the Season.
  • In Production 6, Chris Ryan and Bob Canter continued their dual from last year. Bob had a 0.273 second lead in the AM, but Chris pulled a couple nice runs in the afternoon and took the win by 0.465 seconds.

  • In Modified, Mark Skala tried to overcome Ron Mann’s 1+ second halftime lead. It looked like he might do it, but Ron managed a clean third run to escape with a win by 0.4 seconds. In other Modified class news, Chiquita did not leak oil!
  • Grant Reeve, one of our guest instructors, dominated the non-Porsche class and the event in both raw time and PAX. Not only did he win the class, but took FTD and top PAX for the day. Nice driving! Meanwhile Ron Mann took Porsche FTD and Mark Schnoerr took top Porsche PAX.

  • The race of the day was in Production 7 with only four entries. Driving Boxsters, we saw our defending champion Chris Jacques, Greg Osche, who missed that title by a tiebreaker, and Oliver Lucier, 2006 class champion. Mike Stukalin was the newcomer to the class, driving a 993 cabriolet on street tires. In his old Boxster sporting a new engine and brand new Hoosiers, Ollie had the fastest time in each session and took the win. Greg was only 0.019 seconds out of the lead in the AM and a half second ahead of Chris. Mike was a bit over 2 seconds out of the lead. Chris was 0.4 seconds faster than Greg in the PM but on average time, he fell 0.073 seconds short of taking over second place. Mike pedaled hard in the PM and in spite of having no clean PM runs, he moved within 2 seconds of lead. All four drivers finished among the top ten Porsches in both PAX and raw time. This will be a fun class to watch this year!

I want to thank my staff for their dedication and hard work through all the adversity, making the event appear so smooth and handling administrative details while I worked on the timing issues. I want to thank Chris Jacques for help in diagnosing the problem so we could get the event started. I want to thank Matt Mitchell, a non-competitor friend of Jason Weier. Matt volunteered for gate duty at the distant gate while the access road to the site was closed. I also want to thank everyone who pitched in and helped out to keep the event going. This club really is about the people! Last, and certainly not least, I would like to thank Porsche of Nashua for their generous sponsorship of this event.