Treadin’ Thin Ice Rallycross Recap

Sorry I’m a little late getting up a recap from the Cannon Falls race weekend.  I stayed at a friend’s house in Clear Lake, IA on Friday night.  Saturday morning, we headed for Cannon Falls.  There was almost no snow in Des Moines, and some piles left in Clear Lake.  When we arrived at the rallycross site, there was a solid four to six inches of snow on top of frozen ground.  I knew it was going to be a fun day.

The snow made it a little interesting getting out to the staging area.  My friend got stuck at one point on his way to the starting line in his front-wheel drive Civic.  The all-wheel drive of the Subaru definitely helped me out there.  The safety steward for Land O’ Lakes region allowed me to shadow him for the day since I am wanting to get certified for the DMVR region.  That allowed me to watch the first runs from a great vantage point where I could see the entire track.  I learned a lot from the LoL steward before I even made my first run.

When my first run arrived, I was excited and scared.  The snowy field kept the speeds low, but the excitement from going through gates sideways was amazing.  It was tough to keep the car under control as the steering wheel was constantly going lock to lock.  During my second run, I came into a tight turn going to an uphill a little fast and slid off the packed snow into the fluff.  I was left-foot braking and accidentally mashed the brake instead of the clutch, killing the car.  That was embarrassing, but once I got the car started again, I found myself stuck.  My rookie status was blatantly obvious.  Thankfully, the corner workers came over and gave me a boost to get out of the snow.

My third and fourth runs went a bit better with some very good times compared to my first two runs.  I learned that my limited autocross skills did not translate to rallycross like I expected.  This second set of runs, however, showed me that slowing down, driving smooth, trying to keep the car pointed more forward than sideways through gates really helped me to move faster through the slippery course.

During my final set of runs, my courage and confidence was building and that translated to wanting to keep the skinny pedal closer to the floor.  Because of that, I slid into the same tight corner as my second runs and got my car stuck again.  It was not one of my best racing moments.  Thankfully, the corner workers came to my rescue again and I was able to finish the run.  My final run, not wanting to end on a bad note, was much more conservative and I made it all the way through.

I ended up placing sixth out of eight in the stock all-wheel class and 21st out of 26 cars overall.  Not horrible for my first rallycross outing, but I know I can do a lot better.  After checking out the times, if I would have run the same times as my second session (runs three and four) for the first and last sessions, I would have placed fourth out of eight SA cars and 16th out of 26 overall.  I had an absolute blast and can’t wait for the next rallycross event.

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