News: Marines, Sailors hone vehicle skills at Cherry Point autocross event
Story by Lance Cpl. J. R. Heins
CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Cherry Point Marines and Sailors explored the limitations of their vehicles Saturday and Sunday during an autocross event on the flight line here.
Cherry Point’s Single Marine Program and Marine Corps Community Services collaborated with the Sports Car Club of America to bring the quarterly autocross event back to the air station.
During the event, the SCCA’s main objective was to teach Marines and Sailors how to avoid hazards on the road. The SCCA also provided training for attendees who used their personal vehicles on the course.
Participants who drove their personally owned vehicles on the course learned how it might react when faced with obstacles or adverse conditions, said Jen Krivohlavy, the SMP coordinator.
Krivohlavy has attended autocross safety events several times, crediting the training for her own safety after a narrow escape last year.
“It has saved my life. Just after leaving the autocross in March of last year, I got into an accident with a truck that had dropped a steel plate, which ended up totaling my car,” said Krivohlavy.
Examples like Krivohlavy’s bring the event back to Cherry Point roughly four times a year, said Krivohlavy. “By understanding how to maneuver my vehicle, I saved my own life as well as some motorcyclists who were alongside me on the road.”
Before driving, SCCA instructors perform safety inspections of participants’ vehicles to ensure tires and breaking systems are operating normally. The course is designed to test driver capabilities and vehicle limits, according to Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Tiuseco, an airframe mechanic with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3.
“It definitely teaches you the limits of your car. If you try to push faster than you should, you’ll see cars spinning out or hitting a cone they’re not supposed to,” said Tiuseco.” Doing it here in this environment under the safety of the SCCA staff is the place to do it.”
Tiuseco drove the course six times in his vehicle, improving on his driving precision, control and patience with each run. Autocross gives participants a safe and legal outlet for their need for speed, according to Tisuseco.
“Marines need a place to vent,” said Tisuseco. “I know we like to soup up our cars and go fast. If they really want to put the hammer down, they can do it here and do it safe.”