2008-07-16

Triad points event: July 13, Winston Salem: First problem surfaces

June is a fun month for autocross, it seems. Every weekend almost there is an event I can go to. So last weekend, I attended a Triad event in Winston Salem and for the first time since I got the new springs I did not forget to tighten the shocks. In case you don't know, I got Koni adjustable shocks on my car, and I set them on full hard in the front and a tad bit softer (about 15%) in the rear.

This of course added some extra stiffness, but also brought an interesting problem to light. Whenever body roll was highest (like switching from right-hand ssweeper into a left-hand one) something in the front suspension would pop. After the first run, I and my co-driver (I volunteered to let an experienced driver co-drive in exchange for instruction) checked everything visually but found nothing. After the second run, we jacked the car up, stuck our heads underneath, checked the wheels for excessive play in the bearings, yanked on the sway bar, with the same result. The handling did not seem to be impaired, so we just did our best to ignore the pop-pop-pop as we steered the car through the sweepers and the slalom, and hoped nothing too important would fall off.

Everybody got four runs, all in one heat, at this event. I was running in second, and by the time my co-driver and I have gotten all our runs in, all parts were still where the should have been, as far as we could tell, at least. In regular street driving, no matter how spirited, none of this popping noise would come up, by the way. So we changed the tires on the car and I loaded the car up and parked it in the shade.

I was working in fourth heat, and this time again, I had an assignment I did not have before: starter. That was a lot of fun! Getting the cars to pull up to the start cones, exchanging a few words with the driver, if they felt like it, wishing them luck and watching them start... Definitely beats standing out in the field waiting for a cone to fall over.

So today I am having the car checked out for the popping sound as well as some emissions code that came up yesterday morning. We'll see how that goes.

Oh, and if you're wondering about a course map to this event, there won't likely be one, because it went about like this: Start, turn left, right-hand sweeper, short straightaway, left-hand sweeper, right-hand sweeper, short straightaway, short slalom, 90-degree right turn, finish.

Edit July 20, 2008.

Results from Triad event posted: