NHIS 2004 report
brett at cloud9.net
Sat May 1 01:45:07 EDT 2004
Just got back from 3 days at NHIS (I seem to be living there
recently- a total of easily a week's worth, over 3-4 weeks) with the
NE chapter of the ACNA. Spent monday helping set up cones for the
car control exercises and a little assisting TMTek with tech
inspections in the afternoon. Tuesday and Wednesday, running
Control/Pit Out/Turn 1 flag station. Made for a very busy 3 days...
Best quality of any driver education event- no bent sheet metal. Not
even any real dramatics. We had two spins, both in safe places, both
by experienced drivers who handled it properly. Two minor turf
excursions. Three mechanical failures- one of which was Chris
Racide's shift linkage; jokes about J-turns aside, reverse doesn't
cut it as your only gear and it was a tow back to the pits. The
eventmaster's mazda 323 blew a turbo as well, or something- he's
never managed to get it or its twin to survive one of our events ;-)
Despite the long sessions on a challenging track, lots of safe and
consistent driving with a lot of students making noticeable
improvements, at least from the flagger's perspective.
Weather was downright cooperative; first day was slightly wet but by
mid-morning the track had dried up completely and was clean from the
rain and extra care taken by the track for the motorcycles that had
been tooling around the day before. Opened up to cool, slightly
windy, cloudy/overcast conditions. Perfect! Wednesday was cooler
and very windy, which was not terribly nice for those of us standing
out on station all day- but it could have been worse (rain plus wind
There was a HUGE amount of track time- 30 minute sessions, 3
rungroups (usual is 4); the largest was perhaps 20 cars in advanced
(yellow), I think. Many participants pitted in before the checker
came out, especially on the second day. Folks- if you didn't come to
this event, you missed out on some of the cheapest track time around.
Hell, it's even a hour and a half from Boston and hotels are the
cheapest of any track we go to...
This event is in serious danger of not continuing. Despite
sponsorship by Audi of Nashua and TMTek, it was still a major loss
for the chapter, and that's the second year in a row. Only 15 more
people would have made the event a break-even proposition.
My personal thanks to those who helped the club out:
-Glen Powell of TMTek, who went above and beyond his original
obligation of providing tech inspection services. He also spent two
days at different turns filling in for MIA flaggers, for which he
adjusted his schedule on barely 5 minute's notice. Handling tech in
the morning also freed myself and others to get the track ready.
-Bonnie Royal and John Mileham for manning the half-way point at the
pits when Steve or Mike could not.
-John, Ray Tomlinson, and several other folks who helped fill in for
flagging (I am terribly embarrassed that I do not remember their
-our numerous SCCA flaggers and the SCCA for training excellent,
professional flaggers who have always been a pleasure to work with
when the club is fortunate enough to get them!
Now, with some apologies to Scotty J:
Fastest looking car- Ray Tomlinson, who was SO FAST [looking] he
produced a contrail up out of turn 3 up the hill towards 5. Well,
ok, it was actually oil from his catch can thanks to a blown head
gasket, but from a half-mile away it looked spectacular.
Most surreal moment- RS6 getting passed by a early 90's Jetta GLS
(very new student in the RS6, seasoned student in the Jetta; proof
the driver is at least half the equation!)
Coolest noise- RS6. Yum. Even hundreds of yards away, that V8
sounds fantastic under acceleration. Runner up: S4 V8, very similar
Most amusing moment- watching the Radices, at 10mph down pit lane,
"argue" with hand signals between their cars about who would get to
go out first (a true "you know you're married when..." moment).
Best "you should have told us beforehand" moment- VP of the club
takes his instructor-candidate student out and the student says "ok,
show me how to do everything wrong...be a jerk!" Which resulted in 3
or 4 station reports over the radio and a black flag before he even
finished his first lap :-)
Best under-appreciated joke: "You know it's a low-budget affair when
there's no Turf Award given at the banquet." (the eventmaster is also
the club's unofficial 'award' presenter at the event banquet, and the
Turf Award consists of a shot glass with some local grass- presented
to the individual who did the most spectacular 'lawnmowing'. Various
awards are invented as appropriate; Felix Tang earned the First
Annual Corn Stalk Award for loosing a wheel at Watkins Glen off into
a cornfield on the way back from lunch, a first for all parties
involved, including the farmer).
And now, as a reward for reading through all that...photos from the event! :-)
Yes, many of the same type- I spent most of the event working,
couldn't get away to do shots at other turns etc. Featured Audifans
listers include Chris Miller, Ray Tomlinson, and Paul Royal.
incidentally, if you'd like to see photos of the Winter Driving
School we did back in January, they're here:
...which includes the cover image used on the last issue of the
Gripster and a few from the inside photo spread (hey, helps if you're
one of the editors ;-)
"They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
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