I'm Walkin, yes indeed...
By Jeff Fields
Oh, man is it nice to be back racing with EESCC. It’s been a few long seasons away, but it feels like we haven’t been gone at all. Everyone is so kind and welcoming. It continues to be one of the most caring and considerate places you can find yourself. It’s a pleasure to see all the familiar faces as well as the new. We’ve been talking to and building relationships with people we never really spoke with before and it’s really been a joy. Sarah and I didn’t want to stay away, but sometimes things happen in your life and the unexpected pops up where you really didn’t expect it to. If you’re lucky, it’s an easy recovery but sometimes the road’s a bit longer. For us, it took about three years. We always kept our eyes on the end, so we knew it would all work out to be a blessing. In truth, through some of the darkest times of my life, it’s all been a blessing.
So here we are. Back racing that same old car that I brought to the club back in 2008. It’s grown up a bit since then. Like me, maybe a bit grayer and worn at the edges. She’s no spring chicken with almost 16 years on the clock since leaving the factory. No garage queen, either, but still able to turn heads; much like me.
I don’t envy the young. I like being an old guy. It’s easy. I slip under the radar. For the most part, if you’ve been around the sun more than 60 times, you’re ready for obsolescence and counted out of the party. That being said, it’s interesting that the fastest folks are usually the older guys (I’m using “guys” generically for all the possible permutations, so please, no protests). The elderly don’t really get the credit they deserve for working it all out for the younger folks. If they saw us on the street in our road car, they’d probably think we’re on our way to WinCo for constipation meds and mothballs for our hopes and dreams. At an event, we bring our wisdom and skills while demonstrating a social aplomb that escapes anyone who is still concerned with pimples. Patrick O’ strolls past on a course walk wearing a Pink Floyd T-Shirt and he and I laugh and acknowledge a joke no one under 50 could understand. Being an archeological living dinosaur has its benefits. Seeing the world through old eyes isn’t just a recipe for cataracts. For most of us, we’ve become encyclopedic test pilots who can drive at the edge while explaining suspension geometry. It’s why we make good mentors. I get a thrill out of walking with a novice and explaining the intricacies of the course. It’s relatively easy to walk around and follow the map, but to really grasp the flow and nuances of a course takes focus and attention. I enjoy a nice social stroll as much as the next octogenarian, but a course walk is mostly business if you’re looking to put down a decent time. We old codgers have done it all wrong, done it all right, and made our peace with doing it somewhere in the middle. We’re wonderful at being supportive and thrilled when you want to share in something we love and care deeply about. If we can help you be faster by getting a few pointers, it makes our entire race.
So now I’ve taken on the co-role of novice course walk instructor, with a head nod to Licia for giving me a supportive bow and indulging my ego. I want more people to grasp the wonders of driving a car at its limit, and seeing what you’re made of when everything is happening at speed. It’s empowering in a way unlike anything else. It’s a confidence-builder for the rest of your life. It’s you and only you at the extreme with no one else to take the credit or blame. It’s 100% focus that makes the rest of the world and all its beauties and nightmares disappear. There’s a calming, Zen-like satisfaction in being able to focus on something with 100% of your attention, even if it’s only for a minute. If we old guys can help anyone see or reach that, we’ve done our job in furthering the species. I never wanted to be a parent, but I always wanted to be a mentor. Antiques have their value to the discerning eye, and quality construction, whether in your favorite vehicle or person, never goes out of style. Let’s take a walk…remember to swing wide and cut back in tight so you get a good apex for the slalom.
Finally Some Events!
By Mike glass
Well here it is mid-summer and we finally have had a couple events to attend even if they have been a departure from what we have been accustomed to. As it seems we have a shortened season, we will also have a shortened article! I feel that first I should let everyone know that a miracle has occurred! I have just returned from the Bible Creek Hillclimb, itself having just returned from a four-year hiatus (not without its issues however) where absolutely no one left the road and required a tow! This is the very first hill that I have attended at which this has happened. Congratulations to all that safely completed their runs.
As everyone who cares knows by now the Larison Rock Event went into hiding from the virus this year but it has managed to survive this quarantine period without becoming terribly ill and will return next year barring any further virus complications. There are a wide variety of emotions that surround the cancellation of an event like this, many of which make decision making very troublesome. Will it be allowed at all? If so, what will it look like? Can it be a good event? How many people are we letting down? (a big one for me) How much work will be wasted? How much additional work will be required? Will it be safe, as the first event of (of any kind) the season for most of the entrants? There are many others but I think this gets the message across, the physical demands of chairing an event are no match for the mental strain that comes along with the responsibility of preparing for the running of an event. Larison enjoys a wide range of support from many folks that come out and throw time and energy at providing a good event, many events do not have this type of support though they all need it. It is working with these people that is missed most of all, though there are probably other events (and running the hill against the clock or your personal goals is not to be missed) that will fill the activity gap, there is nothing to replace what is gained by working with people that give so much for others enjoyment...
As I said, a very short article but I do want to thank Jody for becoming the latest new event organizer and Keith for dragging him into the fold! See you out there!
Glad to be Back
I have been away from autocross for two seasons. Upon my return a couple of months ago, I also found myself with no racecar due to an auto accident last November. I was excited to return, regardless. Very few things get me excited like cars and racing do. So I got there early; I walked the course over and over and over; I worked the course. Yes, even though I wasn’t driving at all that weekend. I can’t even be a passenger yet. I love it that much. It was like I hadn't been away at all. How amazing it was to return all the sounds, the smells, and the exhaustion. The best part of the return was all the familiar faces and friendships, in addition to meeting all the new drivers who had just started racing, in some cases, just that same weekend! With all the politics of the day, and our “new normal” with COVID-19, we still all come together for our mutual love of autocross, and we draw new interest every event. Even with COVID, we all still came together, and did our due diligence to help keep ourselves and everyone else safe by wearing masks and staying the recommended distance apart. As usual, it was well-coordinated and executed, helping to keep the club’s positive reputation in our community alive and well, and continuing to share it as a family-friendly event. I spoke to many people who showed a lot of interest and had a lot of questions. I wanted to share what a great time I had these past couple of weekends with EESCC. I can't wait to be back and driving my race car.
By Sarah Fields
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