This whole discussion has been MOST interesting to follow. Now, I
guess, it's time for me to chime in here. Many of you have said the
same things that I'm about to say, but please follow along.
As an autocrosser since 1985, (Actually, I ran my first Gymkhana in
1967! But I try not to talk about those things) a Solo Safety Steward
since 1987, a Divisional Solo Safety Steward since 1994, and now a
member of the National Solo Safety Committee, I like to keep up with
discussions such as this. And from everything I've seen and heard in
all of my years in this sport, I think there are a few points that we
all need to keep in mind.
First, maximum speed. The rule book tells us that we should try to
keep the fastest Stock and Street Prepared cars down to a maximum of
the low-to-mid 60's. But how do we determine that? The most obvious
way is to buy a radar gun and shoot the cars on the course. But
that's a big expense and a lot of hassle for many small regions. The
alternative, as I see it, is to know at what speed the fastest Stock
and Street Prepared cars are going to max out second gear. You can
determine that by talking to the drivers. IF a car tops second at,
say, 55mph and bumps third very briefly, we haven't exceeded the
maximum allowed speed. If, however, a car tops second at 55mph and has
to shift into third for more than just a few seconds, we may have
exceeded our maximum allowed speed. But, the bottom line is whether
the site can SAFELY accommodate those speeds.
Second, sustained speed. And THIS is where most of the discussion
about "FAST" courses seems to fall. Many drivers, at the local level,
never have the chance to run on anything but a postage stamp-sized
course. When they first run a National-level event, on a large site,
they're astounded by the amount of speed they're able to sustain.
Even if that sustained speed was only 50 mph. So they, naturally, say
that it was a really fast course. But, did they exceed our
guidelines? Again, the layout of the course and the safety of the
site will determine that.
Third, there are other venues available to you if you want to go
faster than what we allow in Solo-2 competition. There's Solo Trials
and Solo-1. Or, if you want to go all-out and rub fenders, there's
So, I guess what I'm trying to say here is that we ALL need to take a
very close look at the "speeds" we achieve at our events AND the
layout of the sites on which we're running those events. What might
seem like a very "fast" course might be perfectly legal for a given
site. However, what we might consider to be a moderate (or even slow)
speed event might prove to be very dangerous for another site.
IMNSHO, unless and until we all look at our events from this
perspective, we're ALWAYS going to have discussions about events that
were "too fast." But were they?!?!?
Just some food for thought in this seemingly-never-ending discussion.
John (Old Fartz & TLS #37) Lieberman