News: Start your engines: Cherry Point co-hosts 2nd 2010 autocross
Story by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - The Single Marine Program and Sports Car Club of America co-hosted the second autocross of the year held at Cherry Point, July 24-25.
The first day of the autocross was a novice school that taught drivers how to safely maneuver through the course, explained Bradley Draughon, Cape Fear Chapter coordinator for North Carolina region SCCA. Races were held on the second day of the event.
Draughon said the course involved multiple turns which made it difficult to measure the total distance, so the race committee judged the distance in time.
“We try to set the courses’ finish time by a margin of 50 to 60 seconds per racer,’’ said Draughon.
Some of the racers were first timers and some were regulars to the race circuit.
“I am at almost every event that the SCCA hosts,” said Laura Guest, one of the drivers running the course Sunday. “This track was a lot faster than what they usually set up. We have a lot of space to race here, but most of the time our tracks are made in small spaces. They are just more congested.”
According to Guest, the smaller tracks test your turning abilities more than the longer tracks.
“The hardest part of today’s track are the U-turns,” said Guest. “You have to come to almost a dead stop but keep the pace or you’ll have a terrible time,” said Guest.
According to Draughon, the vehicles were broken up into two groups made up of four classes. Draughon explained the class depended on the amount of modifications made to the car. A few to no modifications puts the vehicle in the stock car class. More modifications placed cars in a higher class, such as street, street-modified and modified. Each class had multiple sub-classes that broke down the groups by what type of modifications were done; for example, engine upgrades and suspension improvements.
The autocross was open to all eligible patrons – active duty, Department of Defense employees and military dependents. It incorporated many types of vehicles but excluded trucks and motorcycles. Each vehicle had to pass a safety inspection before hitting the track.
“I just raced in my buddy’s rear wheel drive car, and I’m used to racing front wheel drive cars,” said Draughon. “I came across the finish line swerving, but all in all it was a great day and the track was extremely fast.”
According to Guest, these events are a lot of fun and make for some great racing. She said she is looking forward to the next course setup at the race in August.
“There is no better way to spend a gorgeous weekend than out with friends enjoying some great racing fun,” said Draughon. “We give new and old racers a controlled environment to have fun in, and we will keep that up until we are told we can’t race anymore.”