[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]

Grattan - QClub Event Report (very long)

Well, the first of the midwest events is now past for the 96 season of
q-club, and the results are in......  

The weekend actually started (and is prolly the highlite) at Gingermann
Raceway in South Haven MI on Friday afternoon....  11 turns 1.some miles....
Open track time from 2:30 thru 7:30pm, 30(!!??!?!?!)USD for the track time,
no workers, BYOH.....  What a riot...  I convinced my brother to drag his
StealthTT for some serious seat time at a new track...  We arrived about
3:00, and got right out to the track, and had 3+ hours of solid track
time....  And by about 4:15 we were the only two on the track, a great
oportunity for some brotherly bonding and teaching of lines and skill...
 Albeit my
brother has never put a car on a track, he is a very good driver,
however,PDQSHIP gave nothing to the Stealth on the lapping....  To Jim's
credit, Icould not lose him when he followed my line,
 but he could not lose me when I chased....  The Line IS a humbling

So after burning myself out with those three hours of intense track time, I
decided to lay low at the qclub event and put all my efforts toward
instruction at Grattan.....  Since I was not assigned students (didn't sign
up in time), I made a concerted effort to ride with as many students Saturday
possible, trying to get a true feel, not only for the instruction techniques,
but the students
perceptions and execution of the exercises as well......  Quite a few
observations came to light, some positive, some not so...  More on that


Grattan Raceway is a Multi-plane 2 mile course that challenges the best of
drivers throughout the year and is considered one of the toughest courses by
the motorcycle racing community as well.....  The key to this track is the
proper setup in the back corners, you blow turn 3 and 4 (off camber left
to on camber right) becomes impossible and the setup on five is key to the
"toilet bowl" at turn 9....  The LINE at this track is more important than
speed, a perfect teaching track for exactly this philosophy...  Some well
placed 90cq's and sedans were more than holding their own everywhere but the
straight against the most tweeked of turbo motors....

For safety, the straight had a single chicane just before turn 1, the
back 9-10-11, had  a very complicated series of chicanes as well as a coned
"out" on 10....  The spirit of safety might have been compromised to the
extreme by this design, but more later on that...  Straight speeds reached
90-125 depending on driver, car, and chicane technique....  Back sections
were "fast" at 40-60mph exiting, proper suspension execution and line beat


59+/- total

*  1 - Big bird (the cq with the wing thing in yeller, now with spun
bearing, oops)
*  8  - urq's 
*  12 - 5ktq/200
*  4 - v8
*  4 - cq
*  1 - M3
*  1 - 348 Challenge 
*  1 - 928
*  1 - 911
*  6 - S4
*  3 - S6
*  6 - A4
*  5 - 4kq
*  3 - 100cq
*  3 - 90q20v


*  Morning exercises everyone...  A one, a two....  Lane toss, braking,
cornering, and cones...  I ended up with most of my time at the cones,
helping a few students with the increasing interval cone exercise....  I had
a discussion (nice word) with the designer of this particular exercise as to
the reason why cone three was constantly being shot out of it's square....
And why by cone 10 most cars (incl the M3) were 3 feet from the cone....  The
basic problem was that an increasing interval cone session is a VERY advanced
maneuver for a student, and probably more directed toward an advanced skippy
school than a Beginner q-school.....  A constant interval or even a
decreasing interval would probably benefit most students more than this
exercise did.....  Logistics dictated that the cornering exercise was on an
off camber left on turn 3, but also was probably more input factors than most
could handle as well....  Lane toss was standard qclub issue, as was the
braking exercise, both with good feedback and very effective learning
*  Afternoon....  Run group sessions, 5 groups,  15 min intervals...  The
execution of the run sessions was good, the design of the track was not
as.....  The chicanes in the back of the track (turn 10-11) got a lot of
students (and more than a few instructors) easily confused, cuz more laps
than not, all cones were not standing, and the last chicane coming into 11
(off camber 110 degree right) was so close to the turn, that trail braking
was MANDATORY to make the turn, again, a very advanced driving maneuver ....
The corner worker at 11 constantly had to walk 500 some feet to put the cones
back, rarely made it back to his flag station (saftey concern here too) b4
having another cone fly, it was almost comical.......   Some flag stations
had propped flags unfurled at the ready, which more than once had me
screaming yellow flag to a driver, when in fact, the flag wasn't really

Saturday Nite....  Some serious discussion and selling Mike Fisher on the
modification of the back section...  To no avail....  Ah, well Scott, just
keep grabbing the "Oh sh** Handle"  on turn 11...   Nightmares tonite of that

Hmmm....  The first event that all chicanes were left the second day...
Between the two days I ran with 12-15 students, some with some without prior
track experience...  Unfortunately, I found quite a few "differences in
opinion" on the Line as well as the Techniques involved in driving this
course between instructors, some of them dangerously so....  What was
crutially important at this track was the setup at 3 (off camber left to
sweep right) and the setup of 9 (toilet bowl tight left), both of which
proper speed and setup was critical to making the turn.... Most students went
too hot into both, and I'm not sure they were taught why....  The hardest
thing to do was to slow the students down, and I realize the adrenal gland
sometimes makes that tough for an instructor to do, BUT it is THE INSTRUCTORS
JOB to do so....   Given the temperance of the current "clubbing"
this net is entertaining, I don't want to pulpit the instruction cause too
far (like I didn't already...).  What the students reacted well to was the
effect and "feel" of getting the line right....  I made a point to give exit
speeds as reinforcement that control and the line got ++++ speeds at the
outcones, and got excited for a few that knew and learned when they found the
line, a most rewarding experience as instructor and driver....

This track is an equalizer, lots of mix in the groups did not really have
many cars overpowering (save the 348 maybe) the others with the straight only
passing rule....  Lots of really fast cars with really bad lines were out
driven by some slower cars with cleaner lines....  Polumbo bros (NJ) had a
very quick urq that had really clean lines...  I went with Keith Anderson in
his beast urq, and found him to be very fast, and he enjoyed the hill
technique I taught between 4 & 5 (stab brakes just before top of hill keeps
down over hill, and braking timing into the bottom of the hill, just before
coming up to 5 almost thru me into the windshield when he got it right)....
Neil Brandt has a 3inch exh on an S4 that was fast, but tail happy...    Some
waaaaay too lowered cars abounded, I know that some education on this will
arrive for those of you at the Stapleton event.....  The M3 had a new driver
/new car syndrome so not a factor (but great brakes)....  The 348 challenge
was just awesome to watch, line be damned....  Some very smooth non turbo
cars....  Got a good laugh with a newfound friend/student (W.G. Wiles -
P-class GTI ProRally winner 1994) with a gorgeous S6 with BBS RX's that he
tried to ProRally around the course with beautiful and well executed slides,
but tires (chunked) and brakes paid all the price...  Brought back fond
memories of my first roadracing experiences following PR in 1987......  Pam
and Phil Smith in a 90cq did a fine job of pointing out the importance of
line vs go pedal (she was faster doing it right, Phil just couldn't release
that right foot magnet)....  

Anyhow, lots of fun at the track, lots of quattros and enthusiastic owners
that thoroughly enjoy and are committed to the experience of the q-trax
experience...  Certainly a foundation on which a formidible and educated
driving force can be built....  

My hope and summation is that whatever qclub has done in the past is "old
business," mistakes maybe were made, come clean and go forward with it.
The sell is to make it a better animal,come clean on the board, plan and
implement corrective action to prevent the dark side from clouding the spirit
of the q...  The members, and even the nonmembers of qclub have the
experience and resources within their own group tomake the best events happen
country wide.....  

A weekend of great experience that keeps me optimistic that the q-trax
concept will survive the current turmoil, too many good people for it to be
any other way....

If I missed something, glad to share.....

Till the next one....

Scott Justusson
Chicago IL
qcusa # 1241...  Not bragging, not complaining yet either
Instructor Status