MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Cherry Point Marines and community members enjoyed the first day of summer racing down foxtrot runway in a variety of vehicles June 21 during the annual Sports Car Club of America autocross event.
“(SCCA's) main purpose is to provide people, especially the Marines, with a safe place to enjoy their car by pushing it to the limit and learning what their car can do in a safe, controlled environment,” said John Byers, the North Carolina Regional SCCA solo chairmen in charge. “Safety is number one with us. It keeps people from doing these sorts of things out on the public roads.”
During the race, participants of all ages and ranks hit speeds ranging from 45 to 65 miles per hour on a course that tested the driver’s ability to maneuver through short distances and tight corners while striving for the fastest time during race time trials.
“The wonderful thing about autocross is any vehicle that can pass our safety technician inspection can participate in the event. It can be from a Subaru station wagon to cars you would consider sports cars,” said Byers. “The cars can’t be over a certain height or width, so you are not going to see trucks or vans, but you’re definitely going to see some diversity out here in these cars.”
This year’s course theme was fast, according to Byers. The course staff decreased the technical aspect of the track to allow participants to enjoy burning rubber on the air station flight line.
The course can be complete in less than 50 seconds, said Byer.
“This event is important because it's providing Marines with an outlet from their work for them to just come out and have fun, to hang out with their friends who are like minded who enjoy cars,” said Byers.
Sgt. Ray Finlay, former SCCA member, has participated in autocross for more than five years, and said each year the courses get better and allow riders to push their driving skills to the max.
“I enjoy participating in the event,” said Finlay. “It’s a good way to drive fast without having law enforcement interdiction.”
Finlay looked forward to maximizing his speed as he gave the course a walk through before driving his car onto the taxiway.
“The course is fast and very smooth,” said Finlay. “The cones aren’t very close together and you can carry more speed. There’s more room to put space between the corners so you have more time to set up and prepare for a certain move.”
Immediately following this autocross event, drivers will start preparing their cars for the next year's event, according to Finlay.
“This is a good way to scratch the itch for adrenaline, and I absolutely would recommend all Marines who feign for speed to buckle up and get on this roller coaster that never leaves the ground,” said Finlay.