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Old 12-05-2008, 07:56 PM   #1
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need some guidance...

As of the last few years I've become activly involved in racing on different levels.
Right now I'm in on a ground up autocross. When I say groung up, I'm talking sitting at city meetings and such. I had to leave for iraq before getting too far but a friend grabbed the ball. next week we will have our official ok for the area to use and the date which will be next august.
Being we are on a pretty basic level we want to keep it simple and not over complicate it for ourselves, just make it fun.
Cones are no problem, we can get them by the truckload if need be.
Our problem is we don't want to create a bunch of classes, basically just a couple for older cars, newer cars, stock, modified. and maybe some help figuring out a course (the lot has 6 light posts in it). Maybe make it like a time attack for each class.
As I said, we are pretty grassroots and are just organizing so people can have fun, we don't want to complicate anything or try to overthink. and yes, safety is at the utmost for us. If it goes well the city will grant us a permanent use for the lot and will step in and back us on it further. It took us awhile to get this far because the city councel is a bunch of old farts more interested in their unused walking trails than an event alot of people will most likely attend.


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Old 12-05-2008, 10:09 PM   #2
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(This wasn't my idea, just passing it along)
At a recent autocross the director setup how he wanted the course to look using google earth, this gave the competitors a chance to know what they were going to be driving on. Maybe if you had a screenshot of the lot you're looking at, people could help you lay a course out?
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:40 AM   #3
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It's definitely not a huge area as you can tell by the cars, but is a place to start.
there will be plenty of parking in a lot across the street.
also notice the 4 lights in the middle. theres 4 on the north and south ends also but they are on or near an island

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Old 12-07-2008, 01:18 AM   #4
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Here is an overlay of one I found on the net. It gets small in some places but it gives you an idea you can expand upon.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:55 PM   #5
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If you're asking about spliting up cars for classes, I would just do it my drivetrain. And then divide further as needed.

One of the biggest issues with autox, is finding and keeping sites for use. It is extremely difficult to get lots to run on, and if you lose a lot you will almost never get to use it again.

So the biggest concerns for organizing an event should be safety and insurance.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:36 AM   #6
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safety nis being worked on and the city has volunteered to cover the insurance for this one event to see how things go. The safety issue is my biggest concern with the 4 light poles in the middle and keeping vehicles away from them with the track design, we also have plenty of straw bales being donated as barriers for the poles. this should stay a fairly slow course
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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Sounds like you've covered the insurance part.

Here's an excellent reference for course design, covers everything from making a course fun, to how to set up a course safely. It explains a lot of the SCCA rulebook stuff, a lot more clearly.

http://houscca.com/solo/courses/coursedesign.zip
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:31 AM   #8
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I've been designing AX courses for about 10 years and it does take some practice. So, don't expect it to be perfect your first time out.

Here are some tips from the guy who taught me:

1. At first, keep your courses simple. Concentrate on the "flow" of the course more than "traps" for drivers. Over time, you will begin to get a feel for what will challenge drivers. Make it too difficult early on and your participants will become frustrated or worse, you could upset the car.

2. Use fewer cones. A lot of AX courses feature ninety bazillion cones directing drivers here or there when in reality all that is needed is a simple gate. Fewer cones make things less confusing for novices and experts alike.

3. Rope. Have a good 30 foot length of rope and measure off 12 feet and wrap the 12 foot mark with a piece of electrical tape. The 12 foot length can be used to measure your gates. place one end top dead center of a cone and the tape end top dead center on the opposing cone. You now have a 10 foot gate pre-measured. It saves a lot of time during set up. The whole 30 feet can be used to accurately measure out slalom cones or chicanes.

4. Draw out your course. Then, draw it out again. When you reach the AX site and are ready to set up, walk your course through the lot before you lay down the first cone. You will be surprised at how your perspective changes when you are on the ground. Google earth photos and tech sheets don't always give you a good feel for elevation changes and sloping.

5. Light poles. Use them. Design your course around the light poles to channel traffic AWAY from them. For example, you never want to put a gate directly in front of a light pole. You can run even and have the course "flow" away from the light pole. It also gives corner workers an additional safety factor and they are centralized to pick up cones faster.

6. Be mindful of curbing. As a general rule, you want to keep participants a minimum of 30 feet from any curbing or the the edge of the paved surface. While it is doubtful that impacting a curb could cause serious injury, they can really bugger up a car even at 20MPH. Like the lamp posts, channel traffic parallell to or away from curbing.

7. Once the course is laid out, have someone you know and trust drive the course at slow speed and then at competition speed. If there are any adjustments that need to be made, it will become apparent at that time. Be sure to watch their runs. If they feel like they were too close to a curb and were 60 feet way, you can objectively disagree. If the car got out of shape and missed the curb by 10 feet, then change it.

8. Unless a serious safety hazard becomes apparent, DO NOT change your course in the middle of the event. It will skew the results and also make the design one made by "committee" and that is never fun. It's your course.

In the AX section there are the stickies that show sample designs that you can use for reference. Also, the design manual that was posted above is a good resource.

Let us know if we can help further.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeAsp View Post
3. Rope. Have a good 30 foot length of rope and measure off 12 feet and wrap the 12 foot mark with a piece of electrical tape. The 12 foot length can be used to measure your gates. place one end top dead center of a cone and the tape end top dead center on the opposing cone. You now have a 10 foot gate pre-measured. It saves a lot of time during set up. The whole 30 feet can be used to accurately measure out slalom cones or chicanes.
Don't you mean a 45 foot rope, marked off at 15 foot intervals?
According to the rules, 15 feet is minimum for gates, and slaloms should be 45 feet minimum:
Quote:
2.3 COURSE DESIGN RULES
B. The course shall be at least 15 feet wide, and single-file slalom
markers shall be at least 45 feet apart. Any series of course
markers which are generally in a line and have the effect of a
slalom are considered to be a slalom. Additional course markers
associated with the slalom markers to form gates, “boxes”, etc.,

do not cancel this limit.
Other than that, you've got some good suggestions to go on Jack.

And, as WeeAsp mentioned, that course design manual that wrc_fan is an excellent resource.

The SCCA rule book also has a chapter on course design, which is where I picked up the above quote from.

I do have a quick question;
Why not use the SCCA classifications?

They've already done the footwork/homework, and are revised each year to keep the competition at a relatively even level in each class.
It also makes it much easier when there are classing disputes, cause you can point out exactly where someone belongs right from the rule book.

When the Great Falls Region (105) had their own classification system, it only caused more problems than it solved.
There were always mis-matched cars in the same class, and some competitors never came back.
Once they switched to the SCCA classes, things have gone much smoother.

If you are determined to have your own classifications, this is what the Kalispell Region (38) used before they stopped putting on events.
(They lost their venue. )
4cyl-street tires
6cyl-street tires
8cyl-street tires
4cyl-race tires
6cyl-race tires
8cyl-race tires
Street tires = DOT legal >140 treadwear
Race tires = DOT legal < 140 treadwear

You can see, the guys that didn't mod their engine, or change their suspension were at a huge disadvantage.

It didn't make for real fun racing with all the mis-matched cars running against each other.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Don't you mean a 45 foot rope, marked off at 15 foot intervals?
According to the rules, 15 feet is minimum for gates, and slaloms should be 45 feet minimum:
Good catch. It is 15 feet. Dunno why 12 stuck in my head....

However, the rope is 30 feet. Of that I am certain.

We take some "liberal" interpretations based on the lot that we've used for so many years. That and we have been known to put in DECREASING slaloms as an additional challenge.

We start at 45 feet, then 40, then 35, 30 and on down to 15.

It certainly makes things interesting.
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