PDA

View Full Version : Autocrossers how do I find local events and a Helmet question


AF
01-06-2003, 10:06 AM
I've decided I'm going to participate in Autocrossing with my local BMWCCA chapter though I don't see any events planned yet.

My first question, does everyone go to the events set up by the local BMW chapter or are there other ways to find out about autocrossing ?

Who makes these events ?

Helmets: How much do they generally cost and according to the chapter it must be:
" The helmet must meet be Snell 90 or later rated. Both M and SA rated helmets are acceptable"

Where do I get a helmet, from a motorcycle store ?

I've got no clue to these things so any help you can give me is really appreciated . . . Thanks

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 10:51 AM
If your local BMWCCA chapter is anything like the NCC chapter, that's a great place to start. If you don't see anything scheduled on your chapter's website, email someone. If you can't find an autocross coordinator (or something similar) find any email link and use it. They should be able to point you to the right person if they don't have the info you want.

The SCCA is another group that does autocross events that you might want to look at (goto: www.scca.org and then find out what region you're in and go to their website).

Do some google searches on autocross and long island (or wherever you might be willing to travel to autocross) and see what turns up.

Another place you might want to look is on the evolution mail list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/evolution-discussions/)

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 10:56 AM
Regarding helmets...

There is a lot in the archives about helmets regarding SA vs. M, where to buy, how to buy, etc. I'll just say that I think it's worth spending the extra money on an SA rated helmet. If no other reason, you won't be turned away from any driving school that you might do later where M helmets aren't allowed. If you buy a new one, it should be SA2000 which will probably be "legal" until ~2010 since most places allow the current standard and the two prior standards as well, and the standards are typically revised about every 5 years (not an absolute...could be sooner or later). (Same goes if you buy a motorcycle helment...get one that meets the current Snell standard.)

Ausgang
01-06-2003, 11:14 AM
Come to think of it, I haven't seen a NY chapter newsletter lately. They usually have the auto-x dates in there.

I believe the Nassau Col. is/was a frequent location for NY Chapter events.

I'd defer to the chapter auto-x coordinators on a good place to get an appropriate helmet.

Zaphod
01-06-2003, 11:31 AM
IIRC helmets have a useful life of 5 years (at least they did when I was riding motorcycles about 10 years ago). After that their effectiveness to dissipate impact energy decreases. So make sure you look at the manufacture date.

alee
01-06-2003, 11:38 AM
I know there are usually autocross events held at the Palisades Mall (the really huge one) in Nyack, NY. A bit of a trek from LI though. I'm not sure who hosts those events.

alee
01-06-2003, 11:39 AM
More info:

http://www.autocrossnyc.com

teamdfl
01-06-2003, 11:42 AM
Perry A. of the NNJR SCCA chapter runs a great website:
http://www.autox4u.com/
http://www.autox4u.com/schedule.htm

His site has all the NY/NJ/PA area autocrosses on his calendar as well as links to the appropriate club websites.



Ed

alee
01-06-2003, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by Ausgang
Come to think of it, I haven't seen a NY chapter newsletter lately. They usually have the auto-x dates in there
My NY chapter newsletter just arrived today. :thumbup:

AF
01-06-2003, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the links and advice . . . I got my BMCCCA newsletter on Saturday and usually they have a list of events but for some reason in this newsletter, they didn't.

I called them and left them a message but it seems the next event they have is in July ?!?!

Anyway, I'll try some of the links and see what I can find . . . thanks for the help . . .

Johann
01-06-2003, 05:06 PM
If you absolutely want to start auto-xing, and don't yet have a helmet, some Auto-Xs might have a few "loaners" on hand... try calling the event coordinator ahead of time.

Although I would really prefer not to wear a helmet that has been on how many other people's heads.

Jonathan

AF
01-06-2003, 05:14 PM
Originally posted by Johann
If you absolutely want to start auto-xing, and don't yet have a helmet, some Auto-Xs might have a few "loaners" on hand... try calling the event coordinator ahead of time.

Although I would really prefer not to wear a helmet that has been on how many other people's heads.

Jonathan

I'm going to buy a Helmet . . . how much does a decent one cost ?

TD
01-06-2003, 05:18 PM
Originally posted by Alan F
I'm going to buy a Helmet . . . how much does a decent one cost ?

The least expensive decent SA2000 helmet will be around $300,

Mathew
01-06-2003, 05:20 PM
Funny, i was just looking up some auto-crosses for my area this past weekend. And the local BMWCCA chapter does it 15 mins away at a muni airport.

Do you guys know the typical costs of renting a helmet? And also, are these events strictly BMW, or do other people come (or does it vary chapter by chapter)

Johann
01-06-2003, 05:37 PM
Do you guys know the typical costs of renting a helmet?

Probably any where from free, to a few bucks. Couldn't tell you for sure. I'd reccomend calling an event coordinator ahead of time to reserve one (they probably only have one or two).

And also, are these events strictly BMW, or do other people come (or does it vary chapter by chapter)

There are also SCCA (see www.scca.org under their SOLO II section) events. These aren't manufacturer specific, and open to everyone.

Jonathan

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 05:45 PM
Originally posted by Mathew
Funny, i was just looking up some auto-crosses for my area this past weekend. And the local BMWCCA chapter does it 15 mins away at a muni airport.

Do you guys know the typical costs of renting a helmet? And also, are these events strictly BMW, or do other people come (or does it vary chapter by chapter)

In the DC area, I have never seen a rental helmet. Plenty of loaner helmets, though...sometimes only neough for a few drivers at a time, but still.

What cars and drivers are allowed to compete will vary from club to club, chapter to chapter and even event to event. Check with the contact person for whatever events you want to run.

LarryN
01-06-2003, 05:48 PM
I wasn't sure if I wanted to get a $300 SA helmet to start, and figured if I really dig autox, I'd think about upgrading from an M2000 helmet.

M2000 are what almost every person at the Boston area CCA events use, and they can be had for fairly cheap. I got mine on eBay for $65 last year. I just checked, and there are numerous ones there now, like this (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6749&item=1876212725) one.

I would agree with others here that if you are planning on doing track events, then defintely get an SA helmet, but if you aren't (*or really aren't sure if you want to do a whole season), you may want to consider something like the one at eBay. Just my zwei pfennig.

AF
01-06-2003, 06:01 PM
Larry, thanks for the link . . . the thing I don't understand is this . . . is it really bad not to buy the best helmet. It's not like I'm riding a motorcycle or anything, I'm driving a brand new BMW, worse case scenio I crash my car and flip it . . . which I really doubt because from what I've read, you don't hit speeds of more then 40-50 mph . . . plus I'm driving a car with more airbags then wheels !!

Is there something here I'm not realizing being that I am extremely new to this . . .

LarryN
01-06-2003, 06:10 PM
Alan, probably a quarter of the guys at the CCA events have that helmet I linked you to. Yup, it's cheap, but it's certified for both DOT and SNELL. That was good enough for me, as a beginner.

You are correct that you'll most likely hit only 40-50 mph's. Some of the courses that (I think) Nate has shown do go up to 70+ mph's, but they are rare.

Pinecone
01-06-2003, 06:21 PM
The big thing people are pointing out about buying a helmet, is that many people who start autocrossing end up doing track events.

And for track events you will need a fairly new SA rated helmet. SO in that case you would have to buy another helmet. ANd if you forget the requirements, you may show up with the wrong helmet and not be allowed to run.

But for autocrossing only, just about any helmet will do. In the 70s I used to autocross with a $19.95 Kmart motorcycle helmet. :)

I think that $300 for an base price SA2000 is high. My Bell M2 was slightly less than this.

BTW helmets are normally good until they are 1 to 2 rating cycles old. But the new helmets don't come out meeting the new standard for a year. So SA2000 helmets didn't become readily available until 2001. And most places allow you to run with an SA1995 and some with an SA1990.

AF
01-06-2003, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by Pinecone
The big thing people are pointing out about buying a helmet, is that many people who start autocrossing end up doing track events.

And for track events you will need a fairly new SA rated helmet. SO in that case you would have to buy another helmet. ANd if you forget the requirements, you may show up with the wrong helmet and not be allowed to run.

But for autocrossing only, just about any helmet will do. In the 70s I used to autocross with a $19.95 Kmart motorcycle helmet. :)

I think that $300 for an base price SA2000 is high. My Bell M2 was slightly less than this.

BTW helmets are normally good until they are 1 to 2 rating cycles old. But the new helmets don't come out meeting the new standard for a year. So SA2000 helmets didn't become readily available until 2001. And most places allow you to run with an SA1995 and some with an SA1990.


You were around in the 70's :yikes: ;)

Just kidding around . . . thanks for the advice, I am going to check around with the SCCA and the local BMW chapter to make sure the SA2000 is ok, then if it is, I'll likely end up with one of them.

Why is it that helmets aren't good after 1 or 2 rating cycles ?

LarryN
01-06-2003, 06:39 PM
Originally posted by Alan F
You were around in the 70's

:lmao: :lmao:


Why is it that helmets aren't good after 1 or 2 rating cycles ?

1-2 rating cycles = 6-11 years. The helmet is then not only old and probably banged around a few times, and not as safe, but the bar gets raised for safety, and the older helmets no longer meet the new standards.

AF
01-06-2003, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by LarryN
:lmao: :lmao:

1-2 rating cycles = 6-11 years. The helmet is then not only old and probably banged around a few times, and not as safe, but the bar gets raised for safety, and the older helmets no longer meet the new standards.


thanks again Larry :thumbup: :thumbup:

TD
01-06-2003, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by Alan F
You were around in the 70's :yikes: ;)

Just kidding around . . . thanks for the advice, I am going to check around with the SCCA and the local BMW chapter to make sure the SA2000 is ok, then if it is, I'll likely end up with one of them.

Why is it that helmets aren't good after 1 or 2 rating cycles ?

The SA means automotive, the M means motorcycle. Autox allows both. Drivers schools often only allow SAs.

2000 is the newest standard. Basically, EVERYONE will allow an SA2000 as you can't go any higher.

It's just which SA2000.

Like many here, I have the Bell M2. Nick and Clyde have it too.

Here's mine-

http://members.roadfly.com/holden/P4140005.jpg

AF
01-06-2003, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by TD
The SA means automotive, the M means motorcycle. Autox allows both. Drivers schools often only allow SAs.

2000 is the newest standard. Basically, EVERYONE will allow an SA2000 as you can't go any higher.

It's just which SA2000.

Like many here, I have the Bell M2. Nick and Clyde have it too.

Here's mine-



Thanks for the clarification . . . is there a reason you don't take the clear cover that could go over your eyes off the helmet ?
I would think you would only use it if you were riding a motorcycle . . . :dunno:

Since I'm just starting, most likely I'll go the inexpensive route and go the M2000 type . . .

BTW . . . cool pic :thumbup:

TD
01-06-2003, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by Alan F
Thanks for the clarification . . . is there a reason you don't take the clear cover that could go over your eyes off the helmet ?
I would think you would only use it if you were riding a motorcycle . . . :dunno:

Since I'm just starting, most likely I'll go the inexpensive route and go the M2000 type . . .

BTW . . . cool pic :thumbup:

As many have alluded to, if you go with the M, you're gambling that you won't catch the bug and want to hit a drivers school. But if you get the SA, you're good for everything.

Since my first event was a drivers school and I only starting autoxing after that, the SA was the obvious choice.

And these are couple of my favorite autox pics from this year (linked to not hog thread space)- Pic 1 (http://www.nrubenstein.com/images/autox5/mini-NSR_2002_1012_111218AA.jpg) Pic 2 (http://www.nrubenstein.com/images/autox5/mini-NSR_2002_1012_111220AA.jpg)

JT - '02 330i
01-06-2003, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by Alan F

Since I'm just starting, most likely I'll go the inexpensive route and go the M2000 type . . .

[/B]

Alan you'll be fine with an M series helmet. I've got this ultra cheep HMC helmet that I got an offroad motorcylcle supply store for $79. It's an open face helmet with no face shield.

I like it because it's cheep, and it permits me to talk to others while driving, without the muffled sound you make with a full face helmet.

Either way you can't go wrong and autox is a heck of a lot of fun!

http://www.macko.net/bmw/images/480x360-FresnoAutox.jpg

brave1heart
01-06-2003, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by TD
As many have alluded to, if you go with the M, you're gambling that you won't catch the bug and want to hit a drivers school. But if you get the SA, you're good for everything.

Since my first event was a drivers school and I only starting autoxing after that, the SA was the obvious choice.

And these are couple of my favorite autox pics from this year (linked to not hog thread space)- Pic 1 (http://www.nrubenstein.com/images/autox5/mini-NSR_2002_1012_111218AA.jpg) Pic 2 (http://www.nrubenstein.com/images/autox5/mini-NSR_2002_1012_111220AA.jpg)

Nice pics! Did you have a friend take them or you paid the CCA photographer? I had a couple of pics taken by one of the club photographers at NHIS. I liked one of them so much, I had to hang it by the staircase going up to the second floor in our house, so I can see it often. I'll have to scan it in one of these days... BTW, the Boston CCA offers magnetic number plates - it's worth the 10 bucks.

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by brave1heart
Nice pics! Did you have a friend take them or you paid the CCA photographer?

Nick took the head on shot. Nick's got a cool camrea and some decent glass. :D

TD
01-06-2003, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by brave1heart
Nice pics! Did you have a friend take them or you paid the CCA photographer? I had a couple of pics taken by one of the club photographers at NHIS. I liked one of them so much, I had to hang it by the staircase going up to the second floor in our house, so I can see it often. I'll have to scan it in one of these days... BTW, the Boston CCA offers magnetic number plates - it's worth the 10 bucks.

I'm sure Nick will appreciate the compliment. Those were taken by our own Nick325XiT.

His directory of autox pics is here- http://www.nrubenstein.com/images/

I'm only in the autox 5 pics. But in these sets are pics of Nick (taken by Clyde), Clyde, JST, CD-55, Jetfire, myself and a couple of other less frequent posters. If you pay attention to what we all drive, you can figure out who is who.

TD
01-06-2003, 09:13 PM
Originally posted by Clyde@work
Nick took the head on shot. Nick's got a cool camrea and some decent glass. :D

Did you take the other? Obviously, I wasn't paying attention to who was taking the pics.

All I know for sure is that it was definitely Nick's camera.

Nick325xiT 5spd
01-06-2003, 09:20 PM
I would say Clyde has taken about half the pics on that site. I really need to give him credit up there. ;)

It's a good bet that he took any picture I'm in. ;)

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by TD
Did you take the other? Obviously, I wasn't paying attention to who was taking the pics.


Woulda been kind of heard since I think i was hardly out of the stop garage when the other one was taken. Same sequence as the head on.

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 09:25 PM
Originally posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
I would say Clyde has taken about half the pics on that site. I really need to give him credit up there. ;)

You think? :dunno:

:mad:

:D

nate
01-06-2003, 09:32 PM
Originally posted by TD
The least expensive decent SA2000 helmet will be around $300,

Define "decent." If it meeds the same specs, it is on par safety-wise. You don't need a lot of features in a street BMW for auto-x.

Right now, if I were in Alan's situation, I would buy an open face SA2000 helmet. I'm not sure that full face is needed in a closed car and it would certainly be much more comfortable at auto-x on warm days..

You can get one for $150

http://www.racerwholesale.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RW&Product_Code=MAT4403&Category_Code=Racing+Helmets

brave1heart
01-06-2003, 09:33 PM
Originally posted by Clyde@work
Nick took the head on shot. Nick's got a cool camrea and some decent glass. :D

I'm sure he does but as they say - it ain't he scalpel; it's the surgeon :D

teamdfl
01-06-2003, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by JT - '02 330i
Alan you'll be fine with an M series helmet. I've got this ultra cheep HMC helmet that I got an offroad motorcylcle supply store for $79. It's an open face helmet with no face shield.

I like it because it's cheep, and it permits me to talk to others while driving, without the muffled sound you make with a full face helmet.

Either way you can't go wrong and autox is a heck of a lot of fun!

I agree 100%. Go for an M2000 open face helmet which will run you $60 to $150. If you want to do a driver school later, you will be fine for a couple events with an open face motorcycle helmet. If you like track events and want to do more, invest money in a lightweight full face SA2000 helmet later. Full face helmets suck at 95 degree autocrosses in July anyway.

Be sure the helmet has a Snell rating in addition to any others (DOT, ANSI, etc.) because every club I've ever autocrossed or driver schooled with requires a Snell rating.


Ed

brave1heart
01-06-2003, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by teamdfl
Full face helmets suck at 95 degree autocrosses in July anyway.


True about the temp but autoX is OK because you only need the helmet on for a couple of minutes at a time. Driving schools is what I'd worry about because a run is ~ 20 min.

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by brave1heart
I'm sure he does but as they say - it ain't he scalpel; it's the surgeon :D

I agree, but I wouldn't want a surgeon operating on me with a rusty dull butter knife.

Seriously...nick's equipment lets you take better bad photos, such as my favorite of the autox ones I've taken:

http://www.nrubenstein.com/images/autox3/mini-NSR2002_0818_112158AA.JPG

Nick325xiT 5spd
01-06-2003, 10:06 PM
Up to a point, yes, it's the surgeon... But I wouldn't even bother trying to take these pics if I didn't have a digital SLR. ANd that there was a CLASSIC picture. :D

·clyde·
01-06-2003, 10:20 PM
Your camera has fast autofocus, minimal shutter lag (compared to the consumer point and shoot digicams), full manaul controls and allows the use of long glass all the while sporting an honest to god TTL viewfinder.

The photographer is still free to fucck everything up.

Nick325xiT 5spd
01-06-2003, 10:22 PM
Yep. But waiting fifteen seconds for my Minolta DiMage 7 to hunt for focus and then taking the picture a while after I pushed the button did make ANY sort of photography a LOT harder.

brave1heart
01-06-2003, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by Clyde@work
I agree, but I wouldn't want a surgeon operating on me with a rusty dull butter knife.

Seriously...nick's equipment lets you take better bad photos, such as my favorite of the autox ones I've taken:



:lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

I'd just finished going through your website when I read your post and in the 1 sec that I gave that pic, I thought it was someone's sideview mirror. :D Who knows, it may be worth millions some day... I wouldn’t' hold my breath but I've see MUCH worse stuff sell for millions.

Clarke
01-07-2003, 03:15 AM
Try Grassrootsmotorsports.com the online site of a great magazine for enthusiasts.

Pinecone
01-08-2003, 05:20 AM
Originally posted by teamdfl
I agree 100%. Go for an M2000 open face helmet which will run you $60 to $150. If you want to do a driver school later, you will be fine for a couple events with an open face motorcycle helmet. If you like track events and want to do more, invest money in a lightweight full face SA2000 helmet later. Full face helmets suck at 95 degree autocrosses in July anyway.

Be sure the helmet has a Snell rating in addition to any others (DOT, ANSI, etc.) because every club I've ever autocrossed or driver schooled with requires a Snell rating.


Ed

I know of no driver's school or track event that allow M rated helmets. So first DE or track day, you are aout another helmet.

An open face SA2000 would be a better all around helmet.

ANd if you just want to try autocrossing, just borrow one of the loaners. If you like AutoX you will have no problem buying a good helemt, amoung all the othe rmoeny you will end up spending. :) Not required, but just seems to happen.

As for all the other ratings, don't worry abou them. For any form of auto sports Sneel is the only rating you care about. In fact most SA helmets don't carry DOT rating.

teamdfl
01-08-2003, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by Pinecone
I know of no driver's school or track event that allow M rated helmets. So first DE or track day, you are aout another helmet.
...

Every club my buddies and I have ever run a driver school with allows M rated lids:
NJ BMWCCA
Delaware Valley BMWCCA (PA/NJ)
Tarheel BMWCCA (NC)
Coastal Empire PCA (SC)
Tarheel Sports Car Club (NC)
Triangle Z Car Club (NC)
Mid-Atlantic Alfa Romeo Club
NASA VA
NASA Northeast (NJ/NY)

I have no doubt that there are clubs that prohibit M rated helmets but its my experience that they are the exception rather than the rule. It is definitely worth contacting your home BMWCCA chapter to determine their rules because it would definitely suck to be essentially helmetless.

Ed

EDIT: Of course an SA helmet is better for open track use. The fire resistant lining and multiple impact rating is preferred for track use. For someone who just wants to try a driving school, using their M rated helmet for a day or two is a good way to put off spending $300+ until next year. I consider brightly colored Nomex gloves and a good neck brace to be as important as a helmet. If using an M helmet for a couple days means getting additional safety gear, then use the M helmet.

Everyone here is using a good neck brace at the track, right?

AF
01-08-2003, 05:54 PM
Originally posted by teamdfl
Every club my buddies and I have ever run a driver school with allows M rated lids:
NJ BMWCCA
Delaware Valley BMWCCA (PA/NJ)
Tarheel BMWCCA (NC)
Coastal Empire PCA (SC)
Tarheel Sports Car Club (NC)
Triangle Z Car Club (NC)
Mid-Atlantic Alfa Romeo Club
NASA VA
NASA Northeast (NJ/NY)

I have no doubt that there are clubs that prohibit M rated helmets but its my experience that they are the exception rather than the rule. It is definitely worth contacting your home BMWCCA chapter to determine their rules because it would definitely suck to be essentially helmetless.

Ed

EDIT: Of course an SA helmet is better for open track use. The fire resistant lining and multiple impact rating is preferred for track use. For someone who just wants to try a driving school, using their M rated helmet for a day or two is a good way to put off spending $300+ until next year. I consider brightly colored Nomex gloves and a good neck brace to be as important as a helmet. If using an M helmet for a couple days means getting additional safety gear, then use the M helmet.

Everyone here is using a good neck brace at the track, right?

You really use a neckbrace when doing this ? Is this the norm ?

Are you talking about the type you get at a medical supply store ?

TD
01-08-2003, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by Alan F
You really use a neckbrace when doing this ? Is this the norm ?

Are you talking about the type you get at a medical supply store ?

No. Check this link- http://www.ogracing.com/eshop/home.asp?categ=50

He's referring to what this site refers to as "helmet support". They are basically donuts that fit around your neck below your helmet and support the helmet. I have the Sparco "anatomic" helmet support in blue.

I don't see many guys at autox using them but almost everyone at the track does.

AF
01-08-2003, 07:18 PM
Originally posted by TD
No. Check this link- http://www.ogracing.com/eshop/home.asp?categ=50

He's referring to what this site refers to as "helmet support". They are basically donuts that fit around your neck below your helmet and support the helmet. I have the Sparco "anatomic" helmet support in blue.

I don't see many guys at autox using them but almost everyone at the track does.


Thanks for the link . . . they have your helmet on there for $440 :yikes: :yikes:

That is one expensive helmet !!!

TD
01-08-2003, 07:22 PM
Originally posted by Alan F
Thanks for the link . . . they have your helmet on there for $440 :yikes: :yikes:

That is one expensive helmet !!!

Actually, if you're looking at the M2 Pro, that's different. Look at the regular M2 on the next page where it's $299 (roughly what I paid).

As the advice I received prior to buying suggested buying your first helmet in person, OG Racing is where I went. I got my helmet and neck brace there.

teamdfl
01-08-2003, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by TD
Actually, if you're looking at the M2 Pro, that's different. Look at the regular M2 on the next page where it's $299 (roughly what I paid).

As the advice I received prior to buying suggested buying your first helmet in person, OG Racing is where I went. I got my helmet and neck brace there.

I love the M2! I'm due for a new SA helmet this year so I'll probably pick one up this spring.



Ed