I got up early in the morning and drove down to Lake County. I thought I was going to freeze to death. Streams next to the freeway were frozen solid. I moved from San Diego to Florida for this. Awesome.
I signed up for STS because no one else was in my class. I never got to be that fast to begin with and I had forgotten everything about autocross in the two years I did not participate. I was never that fast because it took me such a long time to isolate the skills I need. But when I did improve, I was placing higher at each event and eventually got to the point where I was at the about 50% of PAX, on all-season tires.
Photo by Kevin "Kabel41" more cool photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kabelphoto.This autocross event felt very good. Not in terms of competition (I placed pretty low) but in terms of development. It put me right where I left off. And I picked up a few new things. Here they are:
Before your runs
1. Walk the course as much as possible. (4-5 times is usually not enough for me)
2. Walk the course alone
3. While walking the course, really make an effort to visualize it at speed. Pick out the tricky spots.
4. Try to isolate the few point on the course that is the biggest hindrance to speed. For sloths like you and me this is where you can gain the most speed. Get this and you'll consistently place somewhere higher every event.
5. Get serious.
During your runs
1. Look ahead MORE. you can never look ahead enough.
2. No matter how short the course is, note braking points on the course
3. Attack slaloms. You can save some time in them.
These are the things I was working on when I stopped autocrossing and some more I learned that day. I figured it out during one of my later runs.
I also got a great piece of advice from a pro driver that was there that day. I will make a separate post about this later.