GGR AX7 2014 Autocross Report

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GGR AX7 2014 Autocross Report

Event #7 in the Carlsen Porsche GGR Autocross Series was a replay of the previous August event featuring another weekend of back-to-back days of racing in conjunction with Loma Prieta Region at the Marina Airport site.  This time LPR took the lead hosting on Saturday, Sept. 20th, with GGR running the show in Sunday, Sept. 21st.  Also as before, both events were Zone Series events.  We enjoyed beautiful weather, with sunny skies and just light afternoon winds on both days.

The course design was an adaptation by Dave Dunwoodie of the course used a few weeks before for the two-day Zone Autocross School.  It started off with a nice, long 6-cone slalom, followed by a more open section of short straights and sweeping turns, and finished up with a section featuring several linked Chicago Box features.

A smooth running event let all 60 drivers crank through an exhausting 14 runs each.

The Mike vs. Monty TToD battle went to Mike this time, with a 4 tenths edge in his 914-6 race car.  TToD Ladies went to Paulattusman McNair in 1968 VW dune buggy hill-climb special, with a 34.796 in 22nd place overall.

The top ten:

1 AX02 Koozmin, Mike 1973 914-6 (Diedre) 30.644
2 AX02 Pack, Monty 2011 GT3 RS 31.003
3 AX02 Boynton, Rob 2002 GT2 31.276
4 AX04 Lau, Steve 2006 Cayman S 31.598
5 AX03 Dunwoodie, Dave 1970 911 31.792
6 FUN Obert, Chris 1974 Dallara 32.446
7 AX04 Hunter, Ed 2005 997 S 33.085
8 FUN Borchard, Bryon 1968 VW Buggy 33.389
9 AX09 McGuigan, Dave 1986 911 33.498
10 FUN McGuire, Martin 1973 914-6 33.549

Top Ten PAX:

1 AX02 Koozmin, Mike 1973 914-6 (Diedre) 30.644 *1.000 30.644
2 AX02 Pack, Monty 2011 GT3 RS 31.003 *1.000 31.003
3 AX02 Boynton, Rob 2002 GT2 31.276 *1.000 31.276
4 AX04 Lau, Steve 2006 Cayman S 31.598 *0.993 31.376
5 SS03 Sharp, Larry 2006 Cayman S 34.218 *0.917 31.377
6 AX12 Zaccone, Terry 1968 911L Targa 34.123 *0.928 31.666
7 AX11 Robertson, Curtis 1974 914 33.890 *0.938 31.788
8 AX03 Dunwoodie, Dave 1970 911 31.792 *1.000 31.792
9 AX10 Carter, Grady 2002 Boxster S 33.655 *0.946 31.837
10 AX09 McGuigan, Dave 1986 911 33.498 *0.954 31.957

Post-Event Protest

This event included our first post-event protest in quite a while.  Monty Pack protested Mike Koozmin and Dave Dunwoodie for switching run groups.  Mike and Dave ran in the second run group in the morning session, but switched to the earlier, first run group in the afternoon, both citing family reasons for wanting to finish up and be on the road early.  Monty thought this gave them a competitive advantage by running when the course was a bit warmer, the usual rising afternoon winds dropping both course and tire temperatures for the later, second run group.  Both Mike and Dave worked morning setup jobs, so neither had an afternoon worker commitment.  Neither sought permission from the Chair or trailing timing personnel for the run group change.

Per our competition rules, I convened a protest committee composed of myself, as Autocross Chair, and two other drivers who also participated in the event.  For this, I chose Ed Hunter and Terry Zaccone.

Our final ruling was to deny the protest on technical grounds.  Our rules are quite specific in stipulating that a protest must be made in writing, accompanied by a $15.00 protest fee, and submitted within 30 minutes of the last timed run of the protested car.  Additionally, the protest must state which specific rules paragraph has been violated.  Unfortunately, Monty’s protest did not satisfy any of these conditions.  In fact, to I think everyone’s surprise, while it is certainly long-used practice to not allow drivers to switch run groups without permission, we don’t actually have a rule specifically addressing or prohibiting this behavior.  As such, with a technically invalid protest and no specific rule violation, we felt we had no option but to deny Monty’s protest.

Despite our official ruling, however, I am symphonic to Monty’s concern.  Unauthorized switching of run groups should not be allowed and is not in the spirit of fair competition.  I don’t believe Mike and Dave were actively seeking a competitive advantage when they switched run groups, but their actions did inadvertently give them both a slight advantage over Monty.  While the possible advantage gained in this case was slight at best, in a situation where rain was expected later in the day, the advantage in manipulating when you run during the day could be huge.  A basic tenant of the competitive fairness of our event administration has always been that you choose your own fate when you choose your run group in the morning, and the run group order is then randomly assigned, by coin flip or dice roll, at the drivers meeting, after everyone has already chosen a run group.  In fairness to all, we need to hold to this procedure, and violations of it should be protest-able.  When we consider rules change proposals for 2015, I will submit a proposal to specifically prohibit run group changes without approval from the Autocross or Event Chair.

Several lessons here:  first, don’t hesitate to speak up and come see me if you feel another competitor is acting in an unsportsman-like manner.  Perhaps a quick chat can keep an issue from becoming a formal protest.  Second, if you’re contemplating a protest, be sure to carefully read the GGR competition rules and make sure you fulfill all the required protest procedures.  And finally, while many of us in the autocross series are highly competitive, we should hold ourselves to a high standard of gentlemanly and sportsman-like behavior, and be watchful that our actions do not inadvertently disadvantage another competitor.  In short, play nice with others and we’ll all have more fun.

Andrew Blyholder, GGR Autocross Chair

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