PCA Southeast Michigan Region

From the Blog

P4-2018-08 – Good Things Come … still holds true (RECAP: HPDE #2)

Story by Steve Carbary

The club hosted its second Driver Education event on June 23rd.  Those following along may
recall that our first two DE events this year had less than favorable weather.  Well, as it turns out, this Friday was starting out in the same direction.  We arrived to the track dodging the slightest of raindrops and scanning our weather apps, hoping for the spirits of all things blue skies and sunny to smile upon us.  To be honest the forecast was 50/50 or 40/60 at best, depending on your favorite flavor of weather service.  But we here in Michigan are hearty souls and can make the best of any weather situation.  Nobody was going to stop our fun day we had planned.

So we continued along with the usual procedures with a mixture of rain coats, umbrellas (sometimes up and other down), and smiles.  One of the things we do at the beginning of every track event is one walking lap of the track.  This gives everyone who want to go a chance to see the track up close and at a slower speed.  You can typically notice something new every time you do this, so even our experienced drivers will join the walk.  On this day though, at the time we have on our schedule to do the lap,  the rain came on fully.  Marc Molzon our Chief Instructor looked at me (as I was planned to guide the walk) and joking asked if I was ready.  We laughed as I ‘politely’ told him that it wasn’t going to happen at that moment.  We waited for a brief time and the rain let up.  The radar looked like we had some time to get it in so I grabbed those wishing to follow and started on a rather quick tour as we needed to make up some time.  Apologies to anyone who may have been feeling like they had to work to keep up.  Those familiar with our track events and such know me and know I can be rather enthusiastic, and I was on a mission to get us back on course with our schedule.

The track walk was completed with the clouds becoming less and less prevalent.  The drivers meeting, car preps, and first sessions were clear from new rain but the track remained damp.  Fans of racing may know that just the cars driving on the track will dry it, but it can take some time.  Then it happened.  Just after the first on track sessions for our Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced student groups ran …. The Sun came out !!   It was just before lunch too, so lunch was a great time of everyone drying out and enjoying what was quickly becoming one of the warmest days we had seen so far this year.  We offer the chance for anyone who wishes to do parade laps during lunch.  Several cars went out just to enjoy the sunny drive I think.

The afternoon was full of sunlight and fast cars.  Everyone got a chance to put all those skills they practiced at slower speeds on the wet track that morning, as well as our first DE, to good use on the dry track.  I know people can be very apprehensive about driving on a race track in the rain.  I completely get that.  It’s not what you think of when you go to spend money on a day at at the track.  But these are not only fun but extremely educational (as the name implies).  I can promise you a great time even on a wet track and you will most likely learn even more on those days.  Then when the track is dry you will be that much better !!

Several sessions for all groups continued on the wonderful and challenging road that is Waterford Hills Road Racing Course with its various corners and elevation changes tempting all drivers to see what they can do with their cars.  Heating up the tires and brakes was a new and exciting experience for many.  I heard more than a few comments about how different the cars felt in the dry.  Most of these came with big smiles as well.  This was our Saturday event at Waterford so we were able to keep the track open until 6 pm with each group getting 1 more run session than our typical Friday DE’s.

As I stood in the sun warming myself like a lizard on a rock,  I couldn’t help but think ‘Good things come to those who wait’.  After all, I think we deserved a day like that seeing how our first two were.

DE Chair Steve Carbary and Instructor Andrew Olson Erik Ohrnberger, Marc Molzon, Robert Brill

P.S. – Oh, and just when we thought we were in the clear and congratulating ourselves on the spectacular afternoon we were having …. out of nowhere it opened up and poured on us again for about 2 minutes at 5 pm  …. then back to clear blue skies for the rest of the evening.  Was that just to poke at us or something ? And did I mention my sunroof was open when that started ??