CXKJR/CCMGC Slaloms: For Everyone!

An article in the January-February 2010 JCNA Jaguar Journal points out that it was our CXKJR club that organized the first ever JCNA-sanctioned slalom in 1991. Jerry Parkhill, along with Jim Brown from the Seattle Jag Club, were responsible for setting up the JCNA slalom program. The course we use for our Jag- MG slaloms is the one used by Jaguar clubs in the US and Canada,
initially drawn by Jerry
link here.

Slalom Guidelines Club Slalom Master John Morse

Slalom racing, also known as autocrossing, consists of navigating your Jaguar or MG through a course of traffic cones set out on a large vacant parking lot with the objective of completing the course in the least possible time. Participants run through the course individually, with the runs timed electronically. The layout is designed to maximize the opportunities for testing the capabilities of both driver and car in a compact area, while ensuring speeds are kept within the skill levels of all drivers.

Cars are designated by class to ensure drivers’ times are compared with similar car models. Drivers are permitted five runs around the course, with new drivers typically approaching their first run cautiously to become familiar with the course configuration. By the end of the second or third run, most neophytes are “putting the pedal to the metal” and see their times fall as they become more confident with the course layout, their car and their own skill level. Cones knocked over or moved totally outside of their marked position, even if left standing, attract a 2-second penalty. If a driver goes off course, backs up or hits a cone in the stopbox at the finish, a DNF (did not finish) is recorded. Drivers must wear seatbelts and helmets, with the club having a number of loaner helmets for member use.

Car Preparation:

Stock configuration: It is expected that cars are in good basic mechanical condition. Each car undergoes a technical inspection at the track that covers: seat belt check, removal of all loose items in the passenger compartment and boot/ trunk, and ensuring that (a) the battery is secured; (b) the throttle return springs are effective; (c) the wheels, steering and suspension are tight and in good working order; (d) the brake pedal is firm; and (e) the tires are in good condition. Drivers should increase tire pressure to stiffen the sidewalls to increase grip and control. While too little pressure will result in vague handling, too much pressure will result in a ‘skating’ feel to the car. As a starting point, first time drivers may wish to adopt the pressure recommendations of others in the same class and fine tune the settings from there. [Note that there are also a series of moderate, cost-effective modifications that can be done to your car. If you are interested, you should talk to John directly.]

Driving Technique:

While speed and steering accuracy are obviously very important, smoothness is paramount to avoid upsetting car balance and traction. Drivers should walk the course before the event starts to visualize where to position the car on each turn. It is best to plan ahead at least three cones, looking where you want to go rather than where you don’t. Pick an apex to plan for a good exit and avoid jerky movements that often result from small steering corrections. Smoothness is the key to consistency and control.

Classical Gas May/June 2010

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