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Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline
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2005 Driving Season
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The Rally Corner
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9th All British Swapmeet
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  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
The Rally Corner

For those of you who have missed my other installments of this column, relax, you havenít missed anything. There werenít any. Now if I had the ambition I once had when I joined this club back in the eighties, I would have had all sorts of great ideas. And I did, but that was then and this is now. Besides, Iím no writer. But this column isnít to be used as a soapbox, itís to report the state of Driving Events in our club. This is, someone said, a drivers club. So here goes.

Guess what someone wants for Christmas in our club? Autocross School! Well, maybe not for Christmas now, it being past as you read this. At any rate, I just got an email from one of our members asking where there is any Autocross Schools. Well, no one ever asked me this before and I had some strange reaction to it. I know of driving schools for racing like Skip Barber, Bondurant, Bertil Roos, Derek Daly, etc, etc. But maybe autocrossing or solo, as SCCA calls it, has come of age and there is a demand out there for more instruction. Maybe the time has come.

Back in the eighties Mahlon Hillard and his North Suburban Sporty Car Guys were organizing a driversí school in March at a hotel near OíHare and he asked me to give a classroom talk on autocrossing. I was flattered and did, but never even thought people would want a classroom environment for something they should experience with their eyes, ears and seatĖof-the-pants. Most of it turned into a discussion of what we did to make our cars handle and we probably gave away too many secrets I think. Later that spring we went to Blackhawk to put our learning to the test. I learned a lot there too. My little MGB didnít know what to do on a real race track. The suspension was too hard for most of the turns and the car was very squirrelly. My highlight was later riding shotgun with a driver of a Saab Turbo who really knew the course. Seat-of Ėthe-pants learns best. It was impressive. Next time out in the B, I had more confidence and was much faster. They still do that each March and I heartily recommend getting in touch with the North Suburban Sports Car Club for their school nights. I do believe that in order to run at Blackhawk now your open cars must have a suitable rollover bar. That leaves me out. I hate em.

But if you canít make it to Blackhawk and donít want to put a roll bar in your beloved MG, I suggest just coming to our first autocross next year or any one for that matter, and walk the course with Barney. You will learn more just observing the way he analyzes each gate and puts them in perspective of his line for maximum speed. And heís quite willing to help. But then: practice, practice, practice. Thatís what it takes.

Shortly we will be making our calendar of events for the 2005 driving season. This year past we missed out on the Lands End Rally and the Lucas Night Rally. No one seems to want to write rallies like we used to. Thatís a shame. This should be more a club of contribution more than consumption. Kennedy said it best. ďItís not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club.Ē Then they shot him. But all kidding aside, if you would like to show us what a rally really should be like, weíre quite willing to try yours. And we donít want to hurt anybodyís feelings if itís not perfect. Mine arenít, we all know that. A rally is supposed to be a pleasant experience. For those of us who feel competitive and want to win all the time there are trophies awards and applause. For those of us who just want to enjoy our cars with our friends around us there are still trophies awards and applause. Wait until you see who won this year. Surprise! Surprise! See you February 21st.

Don Anderson

©2005 Chicagoland MG Club, All rights reserved.