If you've never participated in an AX, the I would suggest that you try it.
You may have to get up early, but it is well worth it.
As for tech inspections... Yes, there is a tech inspection. For street tires, so long as there are no cords visible, you are good to go. That said, even if you fail a tech inspection, use it as a learning experience.
Come out. Even if you don't drive, there are plaenty of people, myself included, that are willing to take you for a ride.
PM me and I will give more detail as needed.