Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this?

Southwest Montana SCCA discussions for the 2011 season.
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Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this?

Postby findurpath » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:14 am

Saw this link today that was floating around the Subie forum:

http://www.onehotlap.com/2011/11/how-not-to-run-autocross-event.html

:shock:
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Re: How not to run an autocross event?

Postby rkaiser » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:55 am

OUCH! I'm not sure what the comment about padding on the poles is for though? What good is that gonna do? Keep the cement from getting scratched? One thing is sure they should have stopped the event at that time.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby Mel Kuipers » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:48 pm

oh my, that is downright scarry...too small a lot with curbs around...as safe as our events are, all our drivers should see that, just to know what can happen....and why we are so careful to avoid that posibility...I wonder if the drive did not push the accelerator instead of the brake cause it sure looked like he all of a sudden hit a patch of ice
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby kjohnson » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:02 pm

It was a shocking video, you don't expect that kind of thing at an autocross, but autocross is a low-risk motorsport, not a no-risk motorsport.

With that in mind I have a bit of a beef with the "this 'Vette owner ended up paying a hefty price for the organizers' stupidity" part. Its a fact that, especially in our area, curbs and light poles in or near the course are a part of life. If we never held events with curbs or poles we really could only have events in Helena. We try and design our courses so that incidents are unlikely, but anything can happen when it all goes wrong. Just ask Ray or Alex who have both damaged wheels on curbs that I know of.

I wasn't there and it's hard to get a clear picture of what was happening from the video, so I hesitate to comment on the job the club was doing. I agree with Russ that padding on the poles would do next to nothing. The 3 foot wall looked to me like it was a good distance from the course, but it's hard to judge the distance based on a video. Also, just because you can't see anyone waving red flags in the video doesn't mean it wasn't happening, it looks like a big course to me. Corner workers in the middle of the course... I don't even know what that means, where are they supposed to be? I did see one who looked like he was standing a little too close. As far as crouching while working, when your out there for an hour or more standing it's hard not to want to stretch your legs for a few seconds.

Its unfortunate that it happened to him, but I believe that it was up to the driver of the Vette to drive within his limits and/or not participate if the situation feels unsafe to him. Its not that I don't feel bad for him, it's just that he made the choice to drive his expensive car at that event. He also made the (poor) choice to hammer the throttle on a high hp car going into the finish without knowing how to control it. Joe brought up a good point that participants should be made aware that if you damage your car at an event neither your insurance nor the club's insurance is going to pay for that. I encourage everyone in our little region to follow common sense. If something seems unsafe you can tell the EC and the SS of the event, and if it's not fixed to your satisfaction then you can opt not to participate in the event. You also need to work up slowly to the limit of your car and know how to handle it.

Why am I defending this event? Out of respect mostly. How would we feel if somebody video taped an incident (heaven forbid one should occur) at one of our events and the entire internet blasted our club? It's not that these incidents should be swept under the rug, but you just can't tell from the video what was really going on.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby findurpath » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:32 pm

I hadn't realized that it was a non-SCCA event! :shock:

Mel Kuipers wrote:oh my, that is downright scarry...too small a lot with curbs around...as safe as our events are, all our drivers should see that, just to know what can happen....and why we are so careful to avoid that posibility...


I totally agree, it's one of those things like "Ohh, so that's what that looks like..."

If anyone's curious to what the venue looks like, I found a video on YT of someone's run which gives you some perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k85lrjnVjxM
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby RayAR » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:10 pm

Damaged 2 sets of rims on my modified Dodge Stealth TT in one day but as much as I hate to admit it they where both driver error. First time I was on the brakes and part of my foot was still on the throttle. That car had a lot of power and was in no way going to slow down much. I went home and put my street tires on so I could at least run some more. The very next lap I over compensated so I wouldn't hit the throttle again and completly missed the brake pedal and pushed in the clutch with my right foot. Over the curb I went. Luckily I was able to straighten out the street rims but one of my race rims was destroyed, Had an extra rim that I mounted my tire on so I could finish out the season then sold the car. The Hospital was one of my favorite locations but we don't use it anymore because there where quite a few incedents there. One big one during buck runs that involved my car but not me driving. The guy driving my car said" Your car goes like stink but stops like shit" He activated the ABS and the ABS on that car sucked. He was used to a much lighter car without ABS.

Another location where I very slightly kissed a curb was the front lot at the HS. No damage but if we where still holding events there not sure I would attend, It was even tighter then the Hospital.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby DaveMk1 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:27 pm

kjohnson wrote:It was a shocking video, you don't expect that kind of thing at an autocross, but autocross is a low-risk motorsport, not a no-risk motorsport............................................
Why am I defending this event? Out of respect mostly. How would we feel if somebody video taped an incident (heaven forbid one should occur) at one of our events and the entire internet blasted our club? It's not that these incidents should be swept under the rug, but you just can't tell from the video what was really going on.


I agree. I think we could easily have an incident like in the video at one of our events. We often run close to curbs and if we didn't we wouldn't be able to run at all. The courses are designed to be as safe as possible but accidents can still happen. In this case the driver blipped the throttle right before the finish and he didn't have the skill do deal with the aftermath. The car has so much torque that even with the huge tires they will still break loose with little provocation. With the increasing popularity of solo more and more guys who can afford cars like Vettes will often do their first ever event in a 500-600 hp car that can spin on a dime under throttle. Many folks that have soloed for years started in a Golf or Rabbit and they know how to layer the speed and power on - the new Mustang owner often doesn't have this skill.

I've talked to others about this video and incident and we agreed that one thing that could be done is to talk to the 'new to us' guys who show up with a very high powered car to run in our little lots. I think we should tell these new to solo high powered car guys the following -

* if you do damage to your car neither your personal insurance nor the SCCA insurance will cover it.
* our lots are small and the curbs and light poles are big and can do serious damage to a car.
* our lots are slippery and even a Civic has trouble putting all its power down.
* this is not the place to see how fast your car will go - top speeds will still be relatively low.
* and lastly - sudden application of power in some powerful RWD cars can and will cause the rear end to break loose which in turn will cause the car to spin into what ever is nearby.

I think if we tell them some form of the above and let them know that if this sounds bad to them that we will be happy to refund their entry fee and their Vette/Viper/Mustang can live to see another day.

just a thought.

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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby Alex » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:49 pm

kjohnson wrote:Why am I defending this event? Out of respect mostly. How would we feel if somebody video taped an incident (heaven forbid one should occur) at one of our events and the entire internet blasted our club? It's not that these incidents should be swept under the rug, but you just can't tell from the video what was really going on.


I agree with all of what you said, but this part especially. I haven't watched the video yet (at work), but from reading the caption the guy writing it comes off as a bit of a jerk. Maybe the event was well run, maybe it wasn't, but I feel that if that guy saw one of our events he might have some of the same complaints and I feel that they would be very unfounded. You do the best you can with what you have, and in our case I would say that we do very well considering some of the lots we have.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby rkaiser » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:42 pm

Well, the car was on the gas when he spun and then possibly lifted to cause the spin. I think the course was too close to the curb. I think we have been trying to do a good job with these type of elements but this clip shows you can never anticipate everything what will happen. Someone with a lot of horsepower hits the accelerator on a slippery lot and - slippity do dah. I think if there was maybe 10 ft more of space between the course and curb he could have been in a much better situation and with possibly less or no damage. More space would have allowed the car to spin completely around instead of contacting halfway through the spin.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby themobtheory » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:39 pm

this was 99% driver error. Could the course have been arranged slightly differently? Sure. But in the end, the finish line was parallel with the curb, meaning that to have a crash involving said curb would require a massive loss of control. numerous other vehicles rans the course without incident (that I could find). The persons who posted this and wrote about protective padding on the poles doesn't seem to have a firm grasp of how these events work. He also seems to have a rather biased view of personal responsibility. We've all damaged our cars before and we all feel for the driver. Fortunately, no one was hurt from what we can tell. There was plenty of distance between the course and any spectators or staged vehicles. From what I can see, this looks to be a fairly standard autox event. It's unfortunate that in the social climate we live in, it's becoming more and more difficult to host events due to the oddball that makes a stink rather than admits responsibility. I hope this club doesn't lose their ability to host events because of this one event. accidents will inevitably happen no matter how careful we are. You just have to be prepared to accept the consequences.

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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby Dogeater » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:36 pm

rkaiser wrote:Well, the car was on the gas when he spun and then possibly lifted to cause the spin. I think the course was too close to the curb. I think we have been trying to do a good job with these type of elements but this clip shows you can never anticipate everything what will happen. Someone with a lot of horsepower hits the accelerator on a slippery lot and - slippity do dah. I think if there was maybe 10 ft more of space between the course and curb he could have been in a much better situation and with possibly less or no damage. More space would have allowed the car to spin completely around instead of contacting halfway through the spin.

I think if he had 50ft more room he still was F@#$ed. The speed of the car in the other video was close to 60 in one part, so if the vette was say at 60 or even 50, how many feet does it take to stop when under control??? According to Motor Trend it takes a 2011 Corvette Z06 102ft to stop from 60mph. The corvette in the video probably wasn't going 60, but you get the idea. I think this falls into the catagory of S#%t happens.

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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby rkaiser » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:02 am

120 ft in a straight line - he wasen't going straight at the time. I don't think brakes were his problem there. However, I agree that it falls in the catagory of stuff happens too.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby Mel Kuipers » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:50 pm

thanks for the ride along video post James...from seeing that, I did not see any mistakes with setup---the inside lane was chaulked, and cones were closely space on the outside of the lane to clearly define where the track went...the curb incendent could easily happen at either of our MSU venues (and did in fact by Alex), or even at Cardinal....in my experience, if you are careful enough, nothing good or bad will happen to you---ergo since Autocross is by definition carries some risk, those things can be expected...Walter Paton, in his 12th and last year of pro football, did the same things in training camp he had done the previous 11 camps....point being, we can always benefit from revisiting the basics, and this video and thread comments do just that...Merry Christmas to all...
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby kjohnson » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:26 pm

Mel Kuipers wrote:...the curb incendent could easily happen at either of our MSU venues (and did in fact by Kent)

Nope, not me.
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby Mel Kuipers » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:25 pm

ooops, my bad...it was Alex....I am sorry for any dispursions I may have cast on you Kent, and Datsuns in general
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby Alex » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:08 am

:oops:
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Re: Non-SCCA autocross incident, what can we learn from this

Postby mdlfCRXs » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:58 pm

Yes it is sad Alex; everyone seems to remember that one slip up and drag it up at any opportunity. But does anyone remember all the good and even great runs you have had?.... No. It is good to receive criticism, it means you are making them nervous. Have a Merry Christmas anyway and try to block this harassment out of your mind.
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