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What is TSSCC?
Autocross, or Solo II, is a form of grassroots motorsports that allows drivers to compete for trophies in a safe and controlled environment. A course is set up in a large parking lot or other paved surface, using traffic cones (pylons). Cars maneuver through this course one at a time (thus the term Solo), and are timed to the nearest 1/1000th of a second. Penalties are assessed for displacing any of the pylons or failing to properly navigate the course.
Recognizing that all cars are not created equally, classes have been designed based on the individual performance of makes and models, as well as for any enhancements made to the car. There are several major classifications: Street (Stock), Street Touring, Street Prepared, Prepared, Street Modified, Modified and the newest classes CAM to accommodate drivers in late model / Classic American Muscle Cars. Within each of these classifications cars are further divided to more closely group similar performance characteristics. For example, in Street Classes, cars are grouped from A Street through H Street with cars like the Dodge Neon competing in D Stock, the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro competing in F Stock, the Ford Probe and the Mazda MX-6 competing in G Stock, etc. The same type of breakdown occurs in the other classes as well.
A typical autocross day begins with registration. Here you will be assigned a car number to use for the day. Cars then go through a technical inspection to make sure they are safe for competition. Drivers are then given the opportunity to walk the course in order to familiarize them with the course design and prepare for the day's competition. A Competitors’ meeting is held to review the day’s activities and general rules for competition. Once the competition begins, each driver will be given a minimum of three runs, with the best times used to determine the class finishing positions. The finale brings the Awards Presentation where drivers are presented with trophies. The number of trophies given is dependent on the number of drivers competing in each of the individual classes.
Autocross is a volunteer sport, which means that all competitors are required to work the course when they are not driving. The work assignments include replacing pylons and reporting any "off-course" excursions or other penalties. This is also a great way to learn – by watching how other drivers maneuver their vehicles through the course.
The sport has a family atmosphere. Many spouses share a car and there are women’s classes, and even classes for junior karts, all of which can be very competitive. Many competitors often bring their children, friends, and families of the drivers for a day of sun and fun as spectators.
Rookies, or new drivers, are always welcome at an event. Veterans enjoy sharing their experiences and helping others to learn about the sport. Experienced drivers will walk the course with newcomers, assist with tire pressures, explain the rules of the day, and generally do all they can to make the novice feel comfortable.
What do you need to compete in an Autocross? A safe car and a working seat belt! Most clubs, including TSSCC, have loaner helmets available and materials that can be used to mark your car with the assigned number and class.
There are many clubs in the Tri-State area that are involved in this sport. Some clubs, such as Tri-State Sports Car Council are dedicated to just autocross, while others such as the Sports Car Club of America, are also involved in other types of motorsports. With the variety of clubs, an enthusiast could compete every weekend from mid-April through most of October.
All in all, autocrossing is a way to enjoy your car, meet new friends, and compete in a safe and friendly environment. Just ask if you need assistance!
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