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The Colorado RallyCross Novice School and Event #1 are in the books!

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  • The Colorado RallyCross Novice School and Event #1 are in the books!

    2018 Novice School

    Saturday, March 24, 2018 began early for 41 intrepid and mostly new drivers and over one dozen instructors and other volunteers who attended the 2018 Colorado RallyCross Novice School at our brand-new Front Range Airport (FRA) site. After a detailed drivers meeting where most of the minutia that is RallyCross was discussed the students partook in a guided course walk. Then the students hopped in their cars for a parade lap followed by a couple of romps around the course. Upon completion we once again gathered up so I could then split the group to viciously attack three features: a figure eight, a triangle thingie, and a slalom. The students ranged from those whose experience amounted to watching the X games to some veterans looking for seat time. All were happily flinging dirt about in the windy conditions.

    After a lunch break and more feature-flogging several instructors scrambled to set up another course which all drivers had a chance to wreak havoc upon. Much delight and merriment was had as our Chief of Timing & Scoring Susan recorded times so everyone could gage their progress. I do believe all cars that showed up to race left under their own power which is a success in itself (less to do with the battering from the course and more with the sorry state of some of the cars that often come out). This was easily the largest group of students we’ve had the pleasure to host and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

    A special shout out to our awesome instructors: Brian Cather, Cody Melius, Elizabeth Reid, Eric Adams, Eric Genack, Jeff Freedman, Jonathon Nagel, Kubo, Melissa Sherowski, and Todd Briley.

    Other notable volunteers include: Valerie Briley who helping everywhere in between and keeping things on track, Susan Lawson for recording times for our drivers, and Danny Reid for testing timing upgrades.

    Event #1 – The Recap

    The first event of the 2018 Colorado RallyCross season was held on Sunday (Sunday, SUNDAY!), March 25th at FRA. The sun wasn’t quite up when I arrived to set up the course (don’t worry, others subsequently fixed what I had laid out). Before long the drivers were streaming in, lining up, and getting their beastly cars tech’d. The competitors kept coming and coming and coming. A total of 86 drivers participated in the day’s dust-making activities. Because of the high numbers we utilized the national’s schedule of having three run groups to keep things moving along.

    Up first was an absolutely huge prepared AWD class of 24 mostly Subarus. The course looked long but was quick and times were mostly around the 40 second mark. Consistently smooth and fast driving had Morgan Schoepke taking the top spot followed closely by Charles Sullivan. The times were close for much of the class with eight of the positions being less than one second apart in accumulated time.

    Next came a big group consisting of all the modified cars, both 2WD and AWD. The modified drivers seem to be a friendly bunch and most of the cars were piloted by two drivers. Unfortunately fortune turned to fail for three cars that fell to mechanical issues. These delays and others caused from multiple course changes (them mod cars are hard on them courses) meant a lot of down-time which affected the number of runs the modified drivers received. The battles were crazy-close in the modified AWD class with the top three being only 0.411 apart. Todd Briley took first place in his black RS with Eric Genack in his green machine and me (Max Lawson) with our silver shark right there breathing in the copious dust created in his wake. Driving his FWD Subaru Legacy Jonathon Nagel cleanly snagged the numero uno spot in modified 2WD from Brian Cather in his crazy three-driver Subaru Neon.

    Last but not least had the prepared 2WD, stock AWD, and stock 2WD cars hitting the course. The day’s weather had begun relatively calm and warm but by the time of the third run group crazy winds were blowing dust, tumble weeds, and trash from the next town over all across the field. Still warm so there was that. Max Johnson left no speck of dust unflung on his way to a commanding victory ahead of Josh Karczewski and the rest of prepared 2WD class. Keith Lightfoot managed to hold onto first place stock 2WD in his brappy Fiat despite hitting three more cones than Marc Swanson in his old Honda Accord. Dylan Davis (a student from the day before) showed that old bug-eye WRXs still can be fast in stock form by winning stock AWD over Kevin Henly in his beautiful blue 2015 WRX.

    We wrapped around 4:00 which was great as for the first time in a long time event trophies were awarded courtesy of sponsor The Subie Doctor. Tastefully designed, these magnets will look great on any and all cars (and refrigerators) which they will adorn. There was a large crop of novices in attendance (many returning from the previous day’s school) and novice trophies were also awarded to those deserving of them.

    Special thanks to:
    Da Chiefs: Eric Adams, Eric Genack, Jeff Freedman, Jonathon Nagel, and Susan Lawson
    Da Safety Stewards: Diego DeCastro, Keith Lightfoot, Mike Miller, Will MacDonald, and shadow Jason Lang
    Da Sellers of Merch and General Great-Helpers: Todd and Valerie Briley
    Dees Others: Cody Melius for helping with workers and Dan Hipwood for driving the bus home after a harrowing experience swapping wheels out on a half-busted car.

    All in all the weekend fired on all cylinders, having a low 0-60 time combined with a short braking distance. It set the track record while laying down fresh patches of rubber. A great way to start the 2018 and we can’t wait for event #2 on April 14th!
    Max Lawson
    2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX MR
    National Champion 2015 PA
    2nd Place 2016 MA