Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,
Sandpanther
sandpanther

Take My Tofu -- Please!

I had intended to skip this week's autocross since a) it's all the way over in Oakland and I was feeling lazy, and b) no, really, I need to go to class. Bad senior student, no passing degree test.

This lovely plan went out the window when, while I was a brunch with a few friends, I realized that I was about to snap my oldest friend in the world's head off because she was teasing me about how sucky the weather is at home. (She live outside the fog belt.) Right, Sandpanther needs to go sit in a corner and chill out, not deal with guilt, obligations, and a sword.

Plan B consisted of trying to find the new anthology that has Miles' wedding in it, then drop by the Oakland autocross event - since I happened to be on the same side of the Bay, thanks to brunch suddenly happening in Berkeley - and see if I needed to be doing anything to prepare for running next time. I failed completely on the first score. But I have yes more

I have never in my life been to the Oakland Coliseum. I avoid sporting events like the plague. This meant, of course, that I had no idea where I was going. Finding the Coliseum itself wasn't too hard - it's the big, round building next to the freeway that looks a lot like a stadium. Oh, and has nice signs directing people to it. Check.

Finding the event, however, was a lot more tricky. Turns out it was around the back side. To get there I had to first, drive onto the wrong side of the street to get around the (closed) gates. Second, I had to drive around in circles like an idiot, going "where the heck is the event??" Then I had to drive all the way around the Coliseum, down a bit labeled "no through traffic". After doing all that, I found cones and racing cars, but no parking.

I did, however, know that I was at the right event, since the first thing I saw was a red Hachiroku hatchback pull a nice, tidy little drift. Mmm-mm! Tofu for you, my boy! Tofu for you.

I eventually managed to figure out where the parking was (it required driving down a narrow road in between the Colliseum and the driving course -- a little nervous-making, but oh well).

For a while I thought I was watching the same run-group as was running when I first drove in, since there was a similar-looking red Hachiroku hatchback. About mid-way through the run group I saw another car that I knew I had seen running while I was driving in being driven off, so I guess that I there had been a switch in run groups, and there were just two old, red Hachirokus running that day.

This would also explain the difference in skill level that I was seeing between that first one, and the later runs. I guessed (correctly) that this car was a two-driver car. (I.e., two people were driving the same car.) Both of the drivers tried to drift a lot. One of them wasn't bad at it. One of them... doesn't get any tofu.

I should note that this course seemed to be good for drifting. There were several cars that I saw pulling off credible drifts at one of the corners that I was sitting next to. One of them was a Mustang, no less, and it was pretty impressive. One of them was this oooold Corolla (if it's the car I'm thinking of, it's a '74). He stopped trying to drift after he lost getting the top time for the day by .3 because he went too sideways coming out of a drift and lost time as a result. *ouch*

So, he-who-may-have-tofu pulled off several credible drifts. He also managed a really weird 360 right after crossing the timing beam. It almost looked intentional. He even managed not to wipe any cones out in the process.

He-who-gets-no-tofu is my nominee for this meet's Coneslayer. He tried to drift a corner but messed up with the braking, and slide sideways straight through a couple of cones and off the course. He took out another one getting back on the course, and had hit one other one sometime before. Yeah. No tofu for you, boy.

Since last time I learned that it's important to memorize more than the make and color of the car, I made a point of memorizing the number of the car, so I could check its times later. He-with-tofu happened to have been the one running when I thought to check, and I made a point of trying to remember that his number was 68. If I had thought a little bit further, it would have been easier to remember. It wasn't until a car went by with a number of 87 that my brain caught on to the subtle joke in the Hachiroku's number. See, two driver cars frequently will swap the numbers, depending on the driver. So one driver would be 68, and the other one would be 86. Somehow, I think I can remember that. Sadly, no-tofu-for-you got the 86. There's a painful irony in that, somewhere.

I should note, by the way, that both of the 68/86 drivers pulled off cleaner drifts than the guy I saw last week with the 240SX who looked like he was trying to drift.


Quotes of the day:

"Oh, look. It's sideways." Said in the tone of voice one would use when discussing a particularly interesting specimen, about a car that had tried to drift a turn, but lost it and skidded to a halt.

"He finished with a 50.463. That's .2 slower than the go-kart."


I found out that pulling the e-brake to initiate a drift is forbidden. I suspect it's to discourage people from trying it and screwing up, since that will really bog the whole meet down. If a car spins, chances are good that the two cars behind it will get stopped, and have to re-run. This takes a lot of time. With 300+ drivers at slightly over a minute a piece, these events do start getting to be a race against the sun towards the end.

One other odd things that I saw: A Golf that would usually do the last turn with the right rear tire off the ground, locked. As in, that tire is not touching pavement and it is very clearly not spinning. I wanna know how he does that.

The fastest time I saw was a 47.880. (This will, in all probability, be the fastest time of the day.) There was one guy who did a 47.083. Unfortunately, he slid a little in the section just after crossing the timing beam, and came to a halt just barely touching a cone. *ouch* It only counts against you if the cone is knocked out of the little box drawn around it. Unfortunately for this guy, the cone was. *sniff* So his beautiful 47.083 got turned into a respectable 49.083. Which is still very good, since we didn't see too many people break 50.

I need to note down the course designer's name for future reference. It was an evil-looking course. A lot of fun, I suspect. But really evil.
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