NHIS 2004 report

Brett Dikeman 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 
plus cold).

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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