2013 Autocross Wrap Up

No, not identical cars tailgating. This is a time lapse shot taken at the October event.  Photo by Paul Marrello

No, not identical cars tailgating. This is a time lapse shot taken at the October event.
Photo by Paul Marrello

By Mario Marrello, Autocross Chair

2013 was easily the most successful year for Autocross since UCR started running this event. We’ve had record attendance this year with close to 100 registrations in total across four events.

We had our first event way back in May. This event was so popular that we had a waiting list. I wish I didn’t need a wait list, but we need to set a limit on participation to keep the event running at a reasonable pace and not taking too much of the day.

July’s event was also fully booked and with a wait list, but thanks to responsible members who formally cancelled at the last minute, all the wait-list participants were able to participate. Since UCR allows participants to register right up to the Friday before the event, it’s relatively easy to manage a wait list and handle last minute changes. Here’s a tip to all those who are unsure of their schedules–register anyway and if you can’t make it, cancel on Friday! There is no penalty.

I’d like to say August was also fully booked, but even as the weakest event, we still had 21 cars. Perhaps a late August event is not ideal, as summer vacations and school planning obviously take priority.

In October, we were back to full. October always seems to have perfect weather; not too cold or hot. This year, we had slight rain in the morning. Rain is normally a good thing with autocross–unfortunately, there wasn’t enough to really cause any traction issues.

What are the plans for 2014? Autocross will definitely continue and there will be at least four events in the GTA. I would like to expand the event for those members outside the GTA. I’m happy to continue the GTA event, but we need to start growing events and participation in other parts of the province. How about a Niagara event? London? Prince Edward County? Barrie? Elsewhere? Would there be participation at these? Feel free to email me and let me know your thoughts.

For those of you who have never been to an autocross, it’s a test of your driving skills and knowledge of your car’s limits. Although speeds are well under what you encounter on day-to-day street driving, it requires a high level of concentration and close attention to car feedback, which makes for a very entertaining and safe learning experience. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) recognizes Autocross as a form of competition. At UCR, we emphasize learning and skills development more than competition, but for those of you interested in this competitive form of motorsport, the UCR event is a great way to practice and fine tune your craft.

I would like to thank the volunteers who helped make this year a success: Geoff Sheffrin, who helped with course layouts, Charles Brooks who took pictures, Kirk Katzel who helped with marshalling, and my son, Paul Marrello, who is always available to help and provide his own brand of verbal commentary!

I would also like to especially thank the Toronto Star which has provided the event venue for several years, and has been nothing but helpful in making sure the lot was clear and ready.

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