January 7th, 2017. Kempton, PA. 20°F.
This event was awfully cold to do a rallycross, especially without any snow. If you have ever been to an SCCA event you are probably familiar with the work and play system. Go out and work the course 50% of the time, and race the other 50%. Except, I was working a corner of the course where not many cars hit cones, so I was just standing around watching cars as the cold wind froze me. For $43 though, I am not complaining! If I didn't install the heater core the night before like I did, then I sure would. That's the great thing about SCCA rallycross. It is so easy to get out there and race that there really aren't many reasons why your car cannot participate.
The event director said that the course had some rainfall four days before the event. Apparently, the ground likes absorbing the moisture and freezing underneath. What did this make for? Random parts of the course that induce understeer. The ground was super hard. There were some visibly ice areas, but there was also areas that were surprisingly slick.
For the morning session of the event, this understeer was the worst. Left foot brake, nope. Setting up a pendulum, nope. This is the point where you say use the handbrake, but sadly I do not have one installed. Until I get a DCCD STI transmission, that is probably not going to happen because of my center differential. I found myself shifting back into 1st way too many times. Usually that's the sign of, "you just messed up that turn", but it turned out that a lot of people stayed in 1st for most of course because of the understeer at every corner.
This course would have been more fun if we were able to pick up more speed before turns. Then we would probably have enough momentum to setup a pendulum or left foot brake the turns. As my friend Jack Swayze said, "This is almost not fun." I know the quickest cars in the event were using the handbrake constantly, sadly for most of the Subarus out there, we do not have that option.
For the afternoon session, we ran the course backwards. This was much better. At this point, I learned to down shift to 1st at almost every corner. For my second run I set the fastest time of the day. I wish there was a notification or something for that because I started getting sloppy afterwards. I am always trying to go faster and faster, so I need something to settle me down a bit.
I finished 2nd in my class out of 5, second to Jack by half a second (I am 1st officially, but Jack ended up listed in the wrong class.) Don't worry though, I will catch up to him next time. The winner overall was a stock 2015 Mini Cooper S. Very awesome driver, basically ran the course as if it wasn't even slick. It was a fun day, but it feel that it would be even more fun during the summer time. Until next time, BMR rallycross.
Thank you to Mike Vanino for the shooting the cover photo for this post.