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Newbie needing advice

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  • Newbie needing advice

    Newbie here, so I apologize in advance... Iíve been wanting to join the club but I see I missed the Novice School and Practice. What should I do now? Wait til next year? I donít see another one on the schedule. Thanks for your help.

  • #2
    Sign up and come to M4 this next Saturday. You will have an awesome time.

    Let people know it's your first event. We'll do our best to make sure everything goes smoothly for you.

    I put a version of our "welcome to the novice event" email on our website. This gives some idea what to expect and how to prepare. If you have particular questions, post 'em here and we'll help you out!
    Jeff Rye #64
    1999 Mazda Miata Sport -- ES
    2001 Toyota Corolla S -- HS
    Proud recipient of the 2016 Paul Weidner Spirit of the Sport award.


    • #3
      Definitely come out! The novice schools are great, but are in no way required to start attending events. We have a very helpful bunch of people in the club. I will be the event master for M4 (this coming saturday) so definitely come find me if you have questions. Feel free to shoot me a msg on here as well in advance with any questions
      2001 S2000

      Originally posted by 86SVO
      ..... then I found a broken chuck of plastic bumper cover to use as "paper".
      No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why. - Mignon McLaughlin


      • #4
        Can confirm, from another newbie. I missed the first Novice school last year, but came out to a competitive event and laid down some abysmal times. I'm glad I did.

        Everyone in the club is friendly, helpful, and eager to spread the gospel of Autocross. Some folks may prefer not to chat too much if their runtime is approaching and they are focusing, but other than that come out, ask tons of questions, and you will be sure to have a blast.

        Only downside is that you will only get 6 runs in, which is hardly enough to pick up the basics, let alone fine tune. For that reason I highly recommend the practice events (you will need to be a paid club member for the season). Typically two shorter courses are set-up and you get as many runs as possible for two hours, one block in the morning, one in the afternoon. I think I got nearly 50 runs at my first Test-n-Tune. Plus, the rules are relaxed on who can ride shotgun so you can get feedback on your own driving, ride-along with fast drivers in their cars, or even let a fast driver drive your car.
        Brandon A.
        2013 Abarth 500 (#595)

        "...there is only one way to drive a small FIAT, and that is without mercy." -James May


        • #5
          Originally posted by gt11Luke View Post
          Newbie here, so I apologize in advance... Iíve been wanting to join the club but I see I missed the Novice School and Practice. What should I do now? Wait til next year? I donít see another one on the schedule. Thanks for your help.
          Welcome aboard Luke! Just sign up and jump right in. Let us know you're new and we'll make sure you get some assistance with the process. The "getting-started" page is a great read too. And remember to take instructors on your first runs, it'll help you get started smoothly.
          Jay McKoskey
          1991 Miata #12/63


          • #6
            The members-only practice autocross this season is August 18. I suggest you join MAC right now so you are sure that your membership is approved and recorded when registration for the event opens 30 days before the event. I really can't overstate how much this event helps. Seat time, on either side of the car, is golden at every stage of development in this sport.

            Meanwhile, don't be afraid to ask questions here, even if you think they may seem silly to us. Attacks on newbies that are unfortunately so common on the Internet are strongly discouraged here.

            Two things make for less hassle at events. The easier of these two is to have a plan before event day to display your car number. Numbers need to displayed on both sides of the car eight inches high. At Mowog events, we launch a car about every 20 seconds, so you see that the Timing workers are happier if the car numbers are easy-to-read.

            "Permanent" car numbers are reserved car numbers so that you can know ahead of time and prepare. There is no charge for this. A list is maintained at Scroll down and find an unused number you like, then send an email to [email protected] and request that Jeff issue you the number. For our events, this number will magically appear for you as you register for the event at If you start by running in the Novice Class, you are not required to display your class letters, and you don't have any hassle about figuring out for what class your car is eligible.

            Commercial message: I don't really make money at this, but I sell magnetic car numbers. They come in white or black, since studies have shown that these are the most readable colors. I charge 3 dollars per digit, so a set for a new Met Council number (only three-digit numbers are currently available) is 18 dollars. Delivery is free at selected events. Send me a PM.

            If you use tape, be prepared with white or black tape (depending on your car color). It is astonishing how invisible other colors of tape can be. If you design your own numbers, keep it simple. "Artistic" is not the goal, and can be the enemy of rapid legibility at a distance.

            The other great convenience is having your own helmet. For insurance reasons, Met Council requires helmets held to a far-higher standard than is really needed for most cars in this sport. DOT standards will not be enough. Since this is a commitment in time and money, most folks start with the loaner helmets the club provides. When they become hooked on the sport, it soon seems worth it to get their own.

            The most important advice I can give you when starting out at Mowog event is arrive at the event early. Ask questions of anybody. 95 percent of us will be happy to tell you the answer or steer you someone who can answer it better. If you hit one of the other 5%, just ask someone else. As a whole, we are very accommodating with new people. The earlier in the day, the better.

            Finally, we have designated Instructors. We Instructors are all different. Some, like me, are the chatty-type during a run. This is very popular with some people and not helpful at all to other folks. We also have Instructors who have to be prodded to say anything at all during a run, but can give a long string of reasoned advice afterwards. Some of us are great at doing both methods. Don't be afraid to say something about this, as we understand. I advise that you take an Instructor with you on every run. Take different ones if you like. You may quickly find a favorite. As you approach the Instructor Station (really just a bunch of folks in camp chairs holding helmets), put on your hazard flashers as an early alert for us. Feel free to point to the Instructor you want, even if a different one is already approaching your car. Sometimes you can catch one of us in Grid as we have just exited another car.

            Instructors who are usually open to taking a student with them on runs often display a piece of red duct tape in the upper-right corner of their windshields. If your place in the run grid is compatible, ask to ride. Be understanding if they don't want to do it this run, as they may be intent on competition. But don't be afraid to ask.

            Think ahead. Ask ahead.

            Unlike in racing, it does not matter if you are slow when driving the course. We know that everybody learns this sport differently, and we know that at some stages of development driving slowly can actually help you learn. If you expect that you will be slow for a run, don't be embarrassed to tell the Starter, so (s)he can allow a little extra time before starting the next car.
            Last edited by phile; 06-06-2019, 06:14 PM.
            Phil Ethier - Numbers Czar Emeritus
            1973 Triumph Stag LE22439UBW "uncle jack", Sapphire Blue
            2004 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 8.1, Sport Red
            2005 Lotus Elise, Bordeaux Red Pearl
            2006 Gulf Stream Conquest Super C Chevrolet Kodiak 8.1
            2017 Ford Fusion SE, Oxford White, as befits an appliance.
            pethier7 [at] gmail [dot] com


            • #7
              What those guys said.

              Come to an event. Play hard. Learn lots. Repeat.
              David Parsons
              1973 914. Kinda running.
              2000 Audi TT. 30+ mpg of fine art.
              2013 Jeep Compass. Wife's truck. Always.
              1993 Miata. Dad's to drive. Mine to maintain.
              2003 Kawasaki Ninjette 250. It followed me home.

              "Fix it till it breaks. Then fix it some more." Me
              "At the end of the day, when all is said and done- more is usually said then done" My Dad.

              Proud recipient of the 2011 Paul Weidner "Spirit of the Sport" award.


              • #8
                You guys are awesome! Iíll make it out there soon. Thanks everyone!