From Cones to Camaraderie: Recap of St. Louis's First Autocross of 2024

From Cones to Camaraderie: Recap of St. Louis's First Autocross of 2024

The first local autocross of the year was officially Event #2 for the St. Louis Region SCCA. Why Event #2 if it was the first? Event #1 ended up getting scrapped due to lot availability issues and the committee just left the original titles of the events the same.

I am not sure when I last ran a regional event; it was likely back in 2022 when I drove Matt Miller’s Camaro at Gateway, where the car nearly caused a serious accident by heading straight for some jersey barriers and a fence.

Event Overview

Showing up to the event in the morning, I knew what to expect, I’ve run locally in St. Louis since 2000, so things shouldn’t be that much different. The event had 155 drivers pre-registered, so coming into the day you have to assume a few things, being the first event.

1) There will be delays 2) There will be newbies getting lost 3) You will be there longer than you want to be 4) You will have fun

Overall the event ran pretty smoothly, a few timing issues, many of which I think were caused by workers running through the finish. Things will smooth out as people get the rust off, and newbies start to learn how things work.

ProTip: If you’re working in the timing van, and you see someone run through the finish lights, essentially tripping a finish when a car hasn’t ran through the lights, there’s a button on the timer called “Reset Finish”, if you’re fast enough, you can hit that button BEFORE the next car comes through the finish and you’ll save yourself, and everyone else, a lot of headache with timing issues. If you aren’t able to do this quickly, don’t fret; it takes time to get comfortable with some of these tools.

The People

It was great to catch up with folks I haven’t seen in a few years! Thanks to everyone who said hello to me. I thought about trying to list off all the folks I hadn’t seen in a while, but I am positive I would forget someone and I don’t want to do that, so, no names, but it was great to see you all!

Working the Course

I ended up working at Corner 4 in the first heat. I haven’t ran that much in quite a while and am paying for that with full on body pains today! This corner was the Chicago box followed by a non-optional 3 cone slalom before the finish. The first couple of runs people didn’t hit too many cones, but as they started pushing, all the cones in the Chicago box and the slalom started to suffer. One guy came out while we were working and scolded us for not seeing that a cone was out of position in the slalom.

ProTip: Just call this out over the radio so that course workers can be informed and fix it, no need to walk out on the course yourself to do something to the course. To be honest, that’s probably grounds for disqualification…

The Course

Ouch, let me start off by saying, I have never turned so much at an autocross on the family arena parking lot as I did on the course yesterday. I am not sure I would define this as fun in a 2012 Mustang. We were the fastest car on the course? Certainly! Could it have been a more enjoyable experience? Absofrickenlutely.

The Results

Dave and I ran second heat in CAM-C. I started out running a time of 55.* with a cone, which based on the times I had noticed while working the course seemed to be a decent starting point. My second run I managed to drop a second off to get down to a 54.3* while Dave put down a 55.4* on his second run. Third run I managed to get to a 54.333 which would end up being my fastest, while Dave put down a 54.5. Fourth runs we both put down slower times, and then on our fifth and final runs we each put down a 54.1*, with Dave running a 54.162 to my 54.105, the catch being that I had a cone on my 5th run to negate the improvement and give Dave the win again for the weekend.

I am never really happy when I don’t finish on top of PAX results, it’s been a while since that has occurred, but I look forward to hopefully achieving that goal a few times in 2024…

The Photos

Because I was working first heat, running second heat, I was only able to shoot photos of the third heat, but I managed to take 1300 photos during that time. I have posted 300 of those photos on my RainbowMarks Photography event gallery, check it out and purchase a shot or two if you ran third! If you ran first or second heat, sorry! Hopefully at some point this year I’ll get an opportunity to take pictures of every driver. (Perhaps at the CAM Challenge in two weeks!)

Street Creature Mustang splitter digging into the pavement

Subaru Wagon lifting the inside rear tire

White Mustang attempting the drift

White Mustang paying for the attempted drift

What’s next?

The CAM Challenge is coming up here in less than two weeks, once again at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO. If you haven’t signed up yet, get signed up! Local entrants not running in CAM classes (or the X classes) can run for $45 for the weekend, with 6 runs on Saturday and 3 runs on Sunday! CAM/X drivers can enter for $125 entry with the same 9 runs but also the ability to qualify for the Challenge portion after the Sunday morning runs. If you’ve not run a SCCA National level event before, this is the perfect time to try it out. You’ll see drivers that are way faster than what you’ll find at typical location regional event, and if you’re local to STL you get to do it without all the travel costs! Sign Up Today!

Videos of Runs

Here is the video of my fastest autocross run, followed by Dave’s fastest run from Sunday April 21st, 2024

About the Author:

Chris Hammond
Chris Hammond has autocrossed for 24 years, racing in a variety of vehicles from a 1994 VW Golf to a 1999 Z-28, a 2003 350z, a 2004 ZO6 and a 2016 FRS. He is the founder of and created the ultimate autocross forum, SOLO2.ORG, years ago . Read more at


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