Event #9 for the KCRSCCA was held at Heartland Park Topeka, which is a racing complex in Topeka, Kansas. The site has a HUGE lot for setup, and that makes for some national-level course designs. This was both great and bad, well not really bad but just difficult. I had only recently left the grass pads and mostly predetermined shape of the Metropolitan Community College Precision Driving Center to visit the hilly parking lot of Providence Medical Center Amphitheater. The transition wasn’t bad, but this Heartland Park setup was massive.
To give you an idea, most of my events run from in the 30 second range to the 50 second range. This course was in the 70 second range for me. There was so much more to memorize, and there was nothing really guiding you through the course in some areas.
Either way I buckled up and headed out for my first run. What do I do?
I get lost. I went around a corner and in the distance I spotted a pointer cone, and my mind glued to it. Thankfully the startled course workers were able to guide me back into the course and let me finish with a horrible time.
After that first run, I got in a groove. The thing about this course was it was set up to look fast, but it was actually very technical. I found myself going too fast for some corners, and the car was not happy with the colder weather and all of this hard cornering. I pretty much slid around for the remaining three runs, finally sliding myself into a cone on my last run.
Overall it was a real eye-opener, and I think it will make my next event at MCC a lot more competitive. I’ve spent most of this season just trying to learn how to autocross, but this felt like a tipping point for some of my basic skills which should help me finish out the year strong.
This event I ran first heat, so after I ran I took out my new compact (well, not really compact, but not a DSLR) the Lumix FZ1000 out for a spin. I was able to get some decent shots, but it was definitely a different feel and it took me a while to nail down how to capture good images with the camera.
The one thing I really wanted to try out this event was the 4K video capability, as well as the continuous autofocus. For handheld shots and an incorrectly zoned autofocus map (something I did not the camera) it did surprisingly well.