Off season. That time between the last event of the year, and the anticipation of things to come the following year. What are your plans this off season?? Do you have a plan put together? Do you have a stock pile of parts you have been waiting to put on? Let’s talk about a few key areas racers might tend to overlook.
First off, the ever elusive driver mod. It’s a good time to reflect back on the year, and try and look at where you are as a driver. What areas do you feel you need to work on? How can you work on those areas? Well, first off start by asking questions. Talk to those PAX drivers, talk to anyone who may be faster than you. Ask for a ride along, ask them to ride along with you. We all want to get faster, every the best drivers are always looking to improve, and that may not come over night. Don’t get down on yourself, it just means it’s time to put in the work. Keep in mind, it’s never a bad idea to put someone faster in your car to see what speed you might be missing out on. Too often you hear drivers say my car is not fast enough, I need to make some changes. While this may be true, as cars can almost always be improved upon, make sure you as a driver are getting all out of it as you can as it sits. By putting a faster driver in your car, this may give you some perspective on where you are as a driver.
Next, what are you plans for next year? What class do you want to run in? Are you planning to stay in the same class, or do you want to move up in prep level? If you are planning on moving up, what parts will you need to do so. One key thing to keep in mind, unless you have a lot of extra money laying around (we are racers, we have none) it may take a few years to reach that next prep level. Set reasonable expectations. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t make the full prep level for that next class right away. Lay out a realistic game plan for those car improvements, and put that plan into play. Reach out to other in that class, and for their feedback on what they feel is the best way to attack the changes.
Don’t forget the simple things! Sometimes it’s just getting a real setup on the car. Getting the proper alignment can make a world of difference. Just getting the air pressures right for where they fit your driving style can give you a time gain. Often, people tend to overlook the little things that the best drivers will tell you, can make a world of difference.
As always, one of the most important things to keep in mind though out everything is every driver is different. What may work for other, may not work for you. Remember, it never hurts to try things. You can always go back to where you were. Unless you’re Dennis Healy that is.
Push those comfort zones. Have you been thinking about trying a National event? Have you been wanting to travel to try some other sites out? DO IT! Running at a National event can be scary that first time. Reach out to those drivers who have done them. Ask for hints on what to do to prepare, and how to go about those weekends. Mays its trying National Tour in Packwood, maybe you have been wanting ot head down to Cali and see what Crows Landing is all about. You are the only one that can make those things happen, and I promise, you will not regret it. Its an introduction to another level of drivers, of cars, and of competition. There is a good chance that it will stoke that fire within you, and you will want to do more of them.
Maybe you want to head north, and run an even with our great partners in NW Region, it could be heading up to Vancouver, and running with their great club. EESCC is a fantastic club down in Eugene with some fantastic people, maybe its heading out to try one of their events and meeting new people. We are blessed to have such a strong Autocross community here in the PNW. There are clubs in every direction, so check their schedules, and maybe plan a trip to try something new.
We would also like to welcome a new leader to our club, Bernadette Kuehn has stepped up to take change of our great club. By her side, Jason Hicks has taken over as second in charge, and under their leadership, our future looks extremely bright! We wish them both best of luck as we move forward into 2020!
New things are in the works, and the best way to find out about them is to get involved! Attend a monthly Meeting. Those take place on the second Tuesday of the month at the Round Table Pizza on Barbur Blvd. Sign up for a permanent work assignment, the club is always looking for more help!
The 2020 season is coming up fast, so eat all that Holiday turkey and Ham you can, and then get to work! The season ill be here before you know it. Have a Merry Christmas, and a safe and Happy New you Year. And as always, we will see you at the races…..