My Year In Review
By Russ Walters
What a great year for auto crossing. I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of this.
Never got the winter motor upgrades that I wanted, so I started the year off in the same 1986 Corvette that I bought two years earlier. My son Travis and I decided to change classes this year to CAM S (Classic American Muscle Sports), we felt that it was more fitting for our 30 year old car.
Started off at Ice Breaker and had a great time getting out with everyone for the first event of the year. Always nervous getting started, what did I forget, it’s been awhile since I’ve done this, how’s the car going to run? All this went away as soon as I pushed down on the pedal and turned into that first turn.
My next event was the Starting Line Driving School at PIR on March 18th. This was one of my first times that I went to an event without knowing anyone there. This quickly turned into just another event with other drivers and people from Oregon SCCA. The people were great and made a miserable rainy day into another fun day of driving my car. Before the school I never liked the slalom sections. I would film Travis and myself side by side and he always pulled ahead of me in the slalom sections. Not anymore, hand placement on the wheel and staying early was what I was missing. After hours of running several practice courses they set up a short autocross for the students. One of the instructors was Tom Kotzian, I meet Tom last year at Packwood and knew his pedigree on the track. After having other instructors driving and riding with me I finally got Tom in my car behind the wheel. As we left the starting line you could really feel the clutch slipping. It’s been getting worse all day. Tom stopped and asked if I wanted to stop or keep going. What, stop? Never! I finally got you in my car, drive it until it dies. So off we went.
When I got home I went to take the car out of the trailer and when I let the clutch out it just sat there and wouldn’t move. That was a problem, I already paid for the Spring Enduro in Medford for the next weekend. So I bought a clutch from Summit and paid the extra money to have it shipped two day mail. Pulled the car in the garage and jacked it up as high as I could. Crawled underneath it and tried to reach the bolts on the bell housing. This was not going to work. Loaded the car and took it to Point S on Main Street in Springfield. They replaced the clutch and got me back on the road just in time to load the car in the trailer and head off to Medford.
If you have never been to one of the Siskiyou Sports Car Club’s Enduro races you need to go. Another club with some fun loving members. At the enduro you get five laps on the track and your run last about five minutes. After about three laps I start looking forward to the straight away so I can relax my grip and wiggle around in my seat before the next turn. Sorry about the brakes Bert.
Now it’s only the end of March and I’ve been to three events and having a blast. What’s next, off to join Willamette Motor Club at the Spring Fling in Salem. Just a small course at the McKay High School, but once again I get to drive my car and meet some more great members from another club.
Event 3 and 4 in Roseburg was another lessoned learned. How far can you wear out a set of tires? I guess when the cord show its time to buy some new ones. Next problem, nobody has the tires I want in my size. No problem I still have some time before Packwood in July, right? No such luck, I only found two Bridgestones and had to settle for a couple of Dunlops to get a full set. I guess planning ahead is something I need to work on.
Once again Packwood was a fun time. Not only was driving on the track fun but camping out on the grounds and spending time with fellow racers was worth the trip. Met a couple of Canadians on this trip that I look forward to meeting again next year, or maybe I’ll take them up on their invitation to race at one of their events in Washington next year.
Back home for Events 5 and 6 at Willamette Pass and another great time camping out with fellow autocrossers. Now the local season is starting to heat up between me and my son Travis in CAMS. We are really close and the wins are going back and forth between us. I can’t say how much I enjoyed listening to Brad Moffit announcing when we are running. He made the family rivalry even more fun, thanks Brad.
August 25th I headed to Dallesport Washington for the Triple Threat event. Triple Threat is a three day three event race. Friday was drag racing (never done this before), Saturday was Drifting (never done this before and probably shouldn’t do this again) and then Sunday was Autocross. This was a team event and points were awarded to your team depending on how you placed at each event. I was part of Team Ground Pounders with Bert, Jerry, Jason, Tim, Ashley, and a couple of people from the Salem area. Overall the team came in first place. At this event I’m really starting to meet more and more people from different clubs. Everywhere I’ve gone it might be different but the same car loving group of people.
Bitter sweet I headed to events 7 and 8 at Valley River. Knowing if I won on Saturday I would take the CAM S trophy. Again Travis wasn’t going to just let me have it, so it went back and forth all day, and with Brad on the microphone we had a blast taking our turns to see who was going to be on top. So by just a few thousands I was able to take the win on Saturday, but just like other events Travis beat me on Sunday to prove he still can.
In October I headed back down to Medford for the Fall Enduro. Another campout with close friends and a chance to meet some new ones. I think I’m really starting to figure this whole autocrossing thing out.
Now for the grand finally, OSI in Salem. Another wet, wet Saturday racing on a slick narrow course. Sunday came and a break in the weather turned out better. It took a while for the track to dry out and with the luck of the draw I was in the last run group so I was able to put down some good times.
After all this running around I can look back and think of all the good times I’ve had driving on all of the different courses. The one thing that I can say was better than the courses, was all the people I’ve met this year. I’ve had the best times traveling with Bert and Jerry up and down the highways, enjoyed the meals we’ve shared and the stories we’ve told. Did I mention the ice cream? There was always some type of ice cream in someone’s freezer.
Another lessoned learned, there is no place like home. Thank you to all of our EESCC members that make our club “the premier autocross club in the state”.