2011 Car Control Clinic Recap

What a day

Luke Bittenbinder demonstating "no fear" in throwing around this highly decorated Golf GL

The day started out well. The weather was just beautiful. The drive up to BeaveRun was perfect. Traffic on 376 north (past the Airport) was very light. It allowed for quick cruzing. After some efficient travel north on 376 I exited onto the State Route 351. I was behind a number of interesting cars…. a BMW 740il, a Steel Gray Boxster and a Guards Red 911 (mid 1980’s vintage.) They were early (I might have been a bit late working the event.)
By 8:00 AM participants began to congregate. The Swanson’s were the first to strike a tent. I added mine to the group. These were going to prove to be very useful around 1:15 when the rain came down…

We started the registration process. Scott Morse arrived early and, as usual, volunteered to help. Scott again had something to say (and again – it was with the text on his shirt – you will need to view the attached picture gallery).

Seventeen students signed up for a delightful experience. They were not going to be disappointed. John Schrenker kicked the driver meeting off precisely at 8:45 AM. At 9:00 the students headed up for their first classroom session.

While the students were in class the instructors headed out on track. They wanted to make sure they understood the layout. We have planned for 3 exercises on BeaveRun’s Vehicle Dynamics Area (VDA).

  1. Slalom and Stop – An opportunity drive through a series of cones at greater speed. The objective is to “keep the rhythm” while driving at different speeds without hitting the cones.
  2. Avoidance – Drive towards a set of cones “in the middle of the road” and “avoid the obstacle” by driving around the obstacle as the instructor recommends – “go left” / “go right”.
  3. Finally, the Skidpad: This is the opportunity to feel the car understeer as well as oversteer and then react accordingly.
    Instructors Joe Serbin & Jim Kleeberger (see pictures) were the first out on the Skidpad. They were making sure they had the technique down before guiding the students through the experience.

At 10:00 the students started their on-course exercises. The day turned out to be perfect. The morning was overcast but dry. This gave all the students an opportunity to learn the basics. There was a short lunch break from 12:30 to 1:00 giving everyone an opportunity to grab a bit of lunch. The afternoon classroom started up again at 1:00 PM. Bob (who also taught the morning session) was a fantastic teacher. His materials (vide) as well as expert insight and instruction provided real insight into how each student could take the experiences from the morning and apply in the afternoon.

Mother Nature contributed as well. As soon as the afternoon classroom session was complete the heavens opened. We had a great downpour for about 30 minutes (the tents setup in the sunshine earlier really paid off.) After 30 minutes the rain subsided and everyone was back at the afternoon exercises. The rain ended up being very helpful. The Sidpad went from “good” to “fantastic.” Students like Scott Mores and Alex Schaefer learned a “real feel” for when the car will break adhesion.

Great progress was made by many students. Rose Pinkerton was throwing around a BMW 740il as if it was a Boxster. Freva Swanson is ready to give her mother (Kathryn) a real run for her money. In the end, a good time was had by all.

Take a look through the pictures. If you are 16 & have a valid driver’s license next year why not come out and spend a day learning how to control your car in many situations.