AutoX: Moline, IL Great River Region SCCA 2014-7-6

Iowa is a great state, it has great landscapes, there are these things called seasons (which I completely forgot about), a HUGE amount of America’s food is grown/raised here in Iowa, and there’s AutoX. LOTS of AUTOX. Plus it’s pretty close to Nebraska, I hear there is a big AutoX held somewhere in the expanses of Nebraska. This week on Autoxing in Iowa my Co-Driver and I went east towards the great Mississippi River. The Great River Region does events at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL. I drove over to Brian’s house bright and early to pick him up and then we were off towards the ole’muddy Mississippi.

People like to make fun of smaller states in the Midwest, but they really are missing out on some amazing landscapes, and AutoXs.

This was my first event with the Great River Region, every region runs thing differently. It’s always fun to go to new regions and new locations. The Great River Region didn’t disappoint. As always we arrived nice and early. There were a few cars already there and the course was all setup. Brian and I un-packed the STI and split a PB&J for breakfast. After breakfast I broke out the Surface and plugged in the AIM SoloDL hoping to fix the OBD2 portion. We re-loaded up the correct Subaru config file and checked the sensors, unfortunately even after the right config it was rendering errors. I’ve got a contact at AIM to help try and debug the problems, just need to get a functioning wireless network near the STI haha.

After the failed attempt to get the DL portion of the SoloDL I prepped Brian on some of the idiosyncrasies of the STi, along with the pre-run and post-run rituals.

The main things I explained to Brian before we walked the course.
1.) No, I don’t care if you hit a cone
2.) Light launch is ok, no launch control though (still on stock clutch after 56k miles)
3.) The car doesn’t mind being tossed around, get on the gas sooner than you expect
4.) The car can make some noises, as long as it’s not grinding you’re probably ok
5.) If you start beating my time, you’re walking home. (haha j/k)

Pre-Run Rituals
1.) don’t stage too close to corvettes, they throw rocks
2.) start the contour (it’s on the roof)
3.) make sure the AIM SoloDL is turned on, if it isn’t hit the power button
4.) rev the engine to 4k or so to start the tactrix logging
5.) make sure you buckled your seat belts and helmet

Post-Run Rituals
1.) turn off the contour
2.) park the car, don’t pull the e-brake
3.) pop the hood before you get out
4.) kill the engine (stops the logging of the tactrix)
5.) hook up water sprayer hose
6.) spray down the intercooler
7.) spray down the radiator
8.) spray down the intake manifold
9.) if the tires are too hot spray them down
10.) check tire pressures adjust if need be

It may seem like a lot to remember and do, but over the years it has become 2nd nature. The system works well, or at least it normally does. LOL. Brian seemed up to the challenge, so we went and walked the course.

As you’ll notice I generally reference other courses when I talk about new ones. The iWireless lot was very similar to the Bank Atlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale. The iWireless lot had plenty of elevation changes and a few light poles, like Bank Atlantic Center. Walking the course we had a few surprises right from the start. There was a hard left after the start followed by a sea of cones, at first glance direction after the start was undetermined. Some quick investigation we found the chalk markings on the ground telling us to go right. Due to the smaller lot the course designers opt’d to do two laps. Brian has done a few Autoxs but not many so I tried to give him some navigational pointers. Discussing my ideas with him and talking through some of the elements helped (I hope haha).

Brian and I chose to run in the same run group so we could help each other between runs. This exposed a weakness with the STI’s power steering, we’ll get to that later. Brian got first hit in the STI and checked all the boxes on the Pre-Run list like a pro. Brian has an 05 STI of his own so he’s familiar with its dynamics. He had a good start and he showed he knows how to drive an STI with “aggressive intent” and no hesitation.

After Brian’s run I was excited to get behind the wheel. The Dunlop Z2’s do great with a little heat in them, Brian being my designated tire warmer the Z2s should be where they needed to be. I go out there and shortly after the start I see a downed cone, so I stop and point it out to a course worker. This isn’t a common occurrence at AutoXs because the workers are normally on top of it. Below you’ll see the video of it. This is one of the many reasons it’s beneficial to look ahead.

As long as you stop before the cone and point it out to a course worker (and weren’t off course prior) you’ll get a re-run. After going through the finish, I checked to make sure 5 cars went before me and got back in the staging line for my re-run. This probably was a bad idea as after this point my power steering wasn’t happy at all. Going through the slalom the power steering would simply cut out, it creates some interesting problems haha.

After the run we wanted to allow the car cool down as much as possible giving the power steering fluid time to cool off. Brian’s smooth driving style didn’t exhibit the power steering failures I was experiencing (or he was heating it up along with my times lol). Throughout the day I was battling some very stiff steering at times.

Brian took his 2nd hit and got faster and cleaner. It was great to see and hear everyone’s reactions of the car on course, safe to say they loved it. My 2nd hit the car decided to do its power steering disagree dance, but the times got faster so that’s good.

Brian’s 3rd hit was clean and faster than both of his previous runs, after he completed his run we decided to call the morning session quits and let the car cool down.

The afternoon runs were fun, haha. The first hits for both Brian and I we decided to push it a bit further than usual. Took out a few cones in the process (2 for Brian, 5 for me). Felt good though. haha.

We were still battling with power steering overheating but we tried to mitigate it as much as possible with spraying down the reservoir and simply waiting patiently. It did help some, my last few runs I didn’t see any issues till the 2nd lap in the slalom.

Fastest time for me was on my 4th run (2nd of the afternoon) with a 42.216
Fastest time for Brian was on his 5th run (2nd of the afternoon) with a 42.316

Drew run 4

Brian run 5

This, right here everyone, is why I autox. Where else can you battle against friends all day long and end up within .1 second of each other’s times? ONE TENTH of a SECOND!! There isn’t any other place, just AutoX.

If you haven’t already, check out the videos from the event posted throughout this post and enjoy.

There was some snickering about Brian racing in “Novice” this event since he out pax’d the next novice by 1.4 seconds who was in a GS GTI.
After we finished working we packed everything up and headed back home, all in all another successful autoX event.

It’s important to step back and reflect on events while you’re driving home. Especially so if you’ve had a co-driver. Their input is invaluable. A few key points from this event.
1.) my car looks cool on course, slip and sliding at times.
3.) either Brian is good, I’m slow or my car is easy to drive fast (I’m going with #3)
4.) Great River Region runs a fun event
5.) I love dunlop Z2s, they handle great and they handle the heat well. (35/33 hot pressures worked great for us)
6.) Lets go racing again next week.

Hope everyone enjoyed the videos and sorry for the lack of photos, working on the photographer aspect for up coming events.

I will be adding more edited videos with data from this event during the week. Check back here, the media outlets and forums for updates and direct links.


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