Solo II events (also
known as autocrosses) are an all forward motion
driving skill contest. Each driver is
individually timed to the thousandth of a second,
over a short, miniature road course clearly
defined using traffic cones. Cars compete one at
a time, hence the name "Solo", in a
class with similar cars. An event can be held on
any flat paved surface, usually a parking lot, or
airport apron or runway.
Solo II emphasizes
driver skill and vehicle handling rather than
just speed. The corners are tight, and there are
lots of them, so the driving is exciting and
challenging. Solo II speeds do not exceed those
normally encountered in highway driving. (This is
the main difference between Solo II and Solo I;
where much higher speeds are attained)
The skills you learn and
practice here; smooth transitions, enhanced
braking, and skid correction, will have an
immediate impact on improving the safety and
skill of your street driving. Solo II is an
excellent way to teach car control to young
drivers in a safe environment.
Running Your First
People begin arriving
before registration opens (usually about ) so
they can unpack their car, change tires and get
ready for the day before registration begins. It
is best to arrive at or before the beginning of
registration so you will have time to register,
tech your car, walk the course, and have ample
time to talk to the Novice Chief. It is also a
good idea to have your tires overinflated before
arriving (a good starting point is 40 PSI cold).
A tire pressure gauge is an important piece of
Of course, you'll also
want to have the standard "outdoor"
stuff like cold drinks (no alcohol, though!),
sunscreen, hat, snacks, sunglasses, and maybe a
rain poncho if you're in the Northwest.
To register you must
have a valid driver's license and entry fee
(usually $15 to $20). Fill out the information
card at the registration area. They will help
choose the class for your car if you don't know
what it is. You will also be assigned a car
number for the day. At registration, you will be
asked to sign the insurance waiver. You must do
this to compete, and any guests you bring must
sign the waiver also.
Once you know your class
and car number, mark your car using white shoe
polish on the window (it comes off with Windex),
tape paper numbers inside the window, or use
magnetic numbers if you have them.
Your car must pass tech
inspection before you can compete (see the Tech
requirements below). Registration may be at one
central area, or at your "pit" space.
The tech inspector will
sign your card if you pass, or recommend changes
to make the car pass, such as additional
tie-downs for the battery or removal of loose
items or hub caps if you've forgotten.
After tech, you will
have time to walk the course. Course maps are
available at registration, and the Novice chief
will take you on a guided walk after the drivers'
meeting. Try to have the course memorized before
you go on the guided walk.
The drivers' meeting is
mandatory for all drivers. The event chair will
hold the meeting approximately one half hour
before the first car starts. Be sure to attend.
This is where you will find out information
you'll need to know about the course conditions,
number of runs, particular safety concerns, how
penalties are assessed, and how work assignments
will be handled.
At the end of the
drivers' meeting, the Novice Chief will announce
the novice course-walk.
You will have a minimum
of three timed runs, weather permitting.
Depending on the event, you may get as many as
five timed runs. Find out who is running before
you and after you, so you know when to line up.
Running in order makes the timing people's job
easier, and keeps the event running smoothly, but
if someone gets in front of you, or you are
running a little behind, don't worry too much
about it. The event chair will call out which
classes are to come to the grid (line of 4-5 cars
waiting to run)
Once you are in grid,
you will wait for the cars in front of you to
launch, and you will move up until you are on the
start line. A starter will wave a green flag when
it is OK for you to start. The green flag means
go as soon as you are ready, the timer will not
start until you pass through the lights. Don't
take too long if we are running two cars on
course at once, because you start is timed to
make sure you do not get too near the car already
If you do get
"lost" on course, take the time to
orient yourself and continue. Don't head back to
the start line, because you may be pointed toward
another car. Just take the time to get back on
course, and continue the run as a practice! If
the next driver catches up, they will be
red-flagged and be granted a re-run (which
they'll use to its fullest potential).
Times are posted after
each run. Your fastest run of the day is used to
determine your finishing position.
Your Work Assignments
The big rule in
autocross: If you drive, you work. Other drivers
worked during your runs so you could have fun,
now it's time to return the favor. Plus, it's a
great way to see how the more experienced drivers
run the course.
It's best to report for
your work assignment as quickly as possible when
it is time for you to work. Otherwise, some
people end up working longer than others, which
is no fun. The place to get work assignments will
be announced in the drivers' meeting.
We try to put a novice
with an experienced driver on a station if we
have enough people. For a little bonus
instruction, ask your co-worker to talk about the
techniques of the cars on course.
If time permits, fun
runs are held at the completion of the event
while trophies are being readied. This is your
opportunity to ride with other drivers and have
them ride with you. Fun runs usually cost one to
Once all the timed runs
and fun runs, if any, are complete, everyone
helps clean up the course. This involves bringing
in the fire extinguishers and flags, cones and
timing equipment, and storing them in the
trailer. Scoreboards need to be cleaned off and
the pit area needs to be checked for trash. When
everyone helps, this can be completed in fifteen
to twenty minutes.
After the event,
following course clean-up, everyone meets for the
trophy presentation. The location for the
presentation is usually announced at the drivers'
meeting. The event chair and his/her assistants
will give out results and present trophies to the
top third of each class, plus a trophy for
Fastest Time of the Day (FTD) and the PAX
challenge winner; the driver with the fastest
· Safety Helmet: If you bring your own safety
helmet, it must be approved by Snell in the
current or two most recent ratings (e.g. if Snell
95 is in production then that, 90 and 85 are
legal). The club provides loaner helmets for
people who do not have one.
· Safety Belts: Original safety belts, at a minimum
are required. Shoulder belts are not required, if
your car did not come with them, but you must
have a lap belt. Belts must be firmly attached.
· Solidly Mounted Battery: The battery must be held
down properly. If it can be moved at all, it will
not pass. There are some additional battery
requirements which may affect you if you have
modified your car. The Tech Inspector will help
you out with them.
· Legal Tires: In Stock and Street Prepared
categories, the tires must have measurable tread,
and must be in good condition. Excessive weather
checks or visible cord/plies will fail
inspection. Tire pressures should be higher than
used for the street, usually
45psi-Front/35psi-Rear for a front-wheel-drive
car, or 40psi all around for a rear-wheel-drive
· Brakes: The brake pedal must be firm, with no
loss of pressure when held down.
· Steering / Suspension: The steering must be
tight, with no excessive play. Wheel bearings
cannot have excessive play.
· Hub Caps and Trim Rings: Hub caps, trim rings and
wheel covers must be removed for competition,
unless they are bolted to the wheel.
· Loose Items in Car: All loose items must be
removed from the passenger compartment and trunk.
This includes the floor-mats. You may remove the
spare tire and jack, but you are not required to
if they are properly secured.
· Fluid Leaks: Excessive fluid leaks will not pass
· Numbers and Class Markings: The car numbers and
class markings should be prominently displayed on
both sides of the car in colors that contrast
with the paint, and should be large enough to be
seen easily from the timing van. White shoe
polish for marking windows (comes off with Windex
) is available for people who don't have magnetic
or paper numbers.
· Adequate Muffler: Your car must be quieter than
95dbA (RLS) measured 50 feet from the course at a
place where you are under full throttle. Due to
the possibility of losing sites for noise
problems, this rule is strictly enforced. (If
your car is quiet enough to avoid attracting
Police attention, it will most likely pass the
· Throttle: Accelerator pedal must have a return
spring and operate freely.