What is autocross?
“Autocross is also known as an SCCA Solo event, and it involves precision driving. Ultimately, the closer you can get to the cones while keeping your car at the limits of traction will determine how fast you are. Throwing a wrench in the works is that Solo courses are tight and twisty, usually assembled in a parking lot, unused airport, or other large area of pavement or concrete. Traffic pylons – the orange rubber cones you see on roads, usually around construction zones – mark the course. While these cones are relatively soft and generally don’t damage the car should you topple one, you still want to avoid the cones as each cone is an additional two seconds added to your time – and in the world of Solo, two seconds can be an eternity. Which brings us to our next point: Solo is a timed event. Runs will usually be about a minute long, and your objective is to have the lowest time in your class if you want to win. It’s really that simple. But while getting started is easy, mastery can be a lifelong pursuit.” – Richard S. James, Erin Chechal, Philip Royle
How can I get started?
It’s as simple as registering for an event online and checking into registration the morning of the event. Event registration opens 10 days before the event on Motorsportreg.com ( www.motorsportreg.com/orgs/scca/snake-river ) Our veteran members are ready and willing to assist you new drivers! No previous experience is required. Most vehicles are welcome, provided they have a low center of gravity and can pass a safety inspection (tech). All drivers must be 16+ with a valid driver’s license, and all drivers under 18 must have a parent/legal guardian present to sign a waiver. Even if it’s your first time at an autocross event, and you want to start driving, look for the guys in the bright orange or green neon vests, and just plan on learning about autocross. It can be difficult to understand everything that’s going on from the sidelines without someone being there to explain things and help out. We recommend anyone who has never autocrossed, only participated a few times, or who hasn't autocrossed in a long while to register in the Novice group. The Novice group has many benefits, one being a special walk around the course with an experienced club member, who will give you tips/pointers, and let you know what you need to do. They will show you what different cone layouts represent, as well as give you a few pointers on the quickest way to maneuver your car through them. Drivers in the Novice group will also have the ability to work one-on-one with a designated "Novice Coach" for help around the course, driving pointers during your rungroup, and to make sure you have a great time. Although Novices have access to their "Novice Coach", everyone is ready to help out, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring stuff like chairs, sunscreen, water, and/or a jacket if the weather calls for it.
What happens before the event?
All you will need to do is park your vehicle in the paved lot on the south side of the course area (Expo Idaho Fairgrounds), and make your way over to the registration table near the timing trailer around 8am. (See MotorSportReg event details for specific start times.) The number you chose during registration will need to be displayed large and easy to read on both sides of your car (example: N3), we recommend blue painter’s tape, or chalk on the windows. We will most likely have tape if you need it. We do have loaner helmets for anyone to use (which should be reserved at time of online registration), but if you would like to use your own, it needs to have a Snell sticker on the inside (usually under the lining) with a date of 2010 or newer. Your car and helmet (if you bring one) will go through a safety inspection (tech) once you are registered and have your numbers in place.
(PLEASE NOTE: As part of a rules update in 2022, ECE helmets ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED.)
There will be a line of cars parked with their hoods and doors open in the parking area, and you will need to drive your vehicle into this line after you are checked-in. Please stay with your vehicle during this time, and open all the doors, hood, and trunk so that it can be quickly checked over.
How do I pass the safety inspection? (Tech)
Make sure your car is ready for the event! – anything that’s loose and can move about freely, needs to come out – make sure you have all your lug nuts, and that they’re tightened – shake the wheels to make sure nothing wobbles (bad ball joints, looseness) – make sure the brake pedal gives feedback, and the seat belt retracts – make sure the throttle body snaps shut on it’s own – you can borrow a loaner helmet that’s provided by the club if you do not have a Snell 2010 or newer helmet of your own.
How long does the event take?
We usually drive on 1 minute courses, with 4 laps in the morning, and 4 laps in the afternoon. In the morning, everyone will be split into two groups. One group will drive while the other takes up worker assignments (picking up cones on course, timing, grid control, gate watch, etc.), and we switch spots (drivers/workers) before taking a short lunch break. We repeat the same process in the afternoon. You should expect to be there from 8am to around 4pm. Worker assignments are required if you want to drive the course, and will be given to everyone after the opening driver’s meeting. (With larger attendance we will split into three groups as necessary. Each groups will rotate through Driving, Resting, and Working instead of the entire event taking a designated lunch break.)
What are the worker assignments?
A few of the different worker assignments include gate guard, grid worker (staging cars in sequence before the start line), start (staging cars up to the start line), timing (operating the scoring equipment), worker chiefs (delegating worker positions), and course workers (the most common for beginners). Course work entails picking up and replacing cones that are hit out on course, and relaying that info to the timing trailer.
Where are the events held?
On our Events page, you can find the dates and locations for our events throughout the year. We regularly run at the Expo Idaho Fairgrounds, located near Glenwood and Chinden in Boise, and we have had a few events at the Mountain Home Municipal Airport, Ontario Municipal Airport, or other venues in the past.
Can I spectate and/or ride along?
Yes! It is entirely free for anyone to spectate, as well as ride along with drivers (who agree to a passenger). As a driver, you’re more than welcome to ride with other drivers staged in the grid, as long as you’re back in your car when it comes time for you to take your run. Drivers will sign a waiver at the registration table and have a wristband on their left wrist, but passengers also need to sign the waiver, and place wristbands on their right wrists. Passengers can also make use of the available loaner helmets at the trailer whenever riding in a vehicle. (Loaner helmets may require a small checkout/head sock fee)