CBR600F4iHsun Chen

member since July 18, 2003

Autocross has been a part of my life for so long now it’s actually difficult to recall how it all started. Or, it might just mean I’m hitting my early senility.

Either way, as I recall, I participated in my first autocross at the behest of a friend who was into Volkswagens and driving them fast. It was fall of 1992. He tried to explain the gist of it to me and told me it involved cones in a parking lot. Yes, it’s at Bandimere Speedway (the drag racing track in Morrison, CO). No, it’s not going to be drag racing. No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a race car.

Completely confused, I showed up anyway in my 1982 Subaru GL 4WD hatchback, complete with off-road-esque ride height, mud and snow rated all-season tires, and Thule bike rack up top.

My trusty Subie had 72 flywheel horsepower from its 1.8 liter SOHC, carbureted engine. It understeered as if the Fuji Heavy Industries engineers had all been threatened with a most dishonorable death if the car actually went where it was pointed. It didn’t matter. It was fun, and I was hooked.

Over the years, I progressed to marginally faster and more capable vehicles, such as a ’84 Isuzu Impulse, a ’90 Acura Integra GS, a ’91 Ford Taurus SHO, and a ’91 Toyota MR2T. All of them have done duty dodging cones. I’ve also campaigned vehicles such as a ’95 Acura Integra GSR sedan (STS), Nissan 200SX SE-R (STS; co-driver with Gary Phillis at Nationals 2002), a turbocharged Mazda Miata (SM2), a ’93 Acura Integra GS-R (STS), and an ‘89 Honda Civic Si hatchback (STS). Just for the halibut, I’ve also put my ’92 Honda Accord LX wagon - the designated family “dog car” out on course (and the road courses!) too.

My performance driving experience also includes some track days and Time Trial events, mostly at the now-defunct Second Creek Raceway (I can say from direct experience that the tire wall to the outside of Spectator works as intended to cushion a vehicle’s impact), but also at Heartland Park in Topeka, KS and the uber-old “Stapleton North” Denver road course in the mid 90’s. I’ve played around with several vehicles in the 1320-foot, “straight line autocross” event as well.

There was also one “let’s go play in the dirt” wild hair in 2005, where I was compelled to go beat the living snot out of my Civic – with Kelly McCormack as my co-driver – at a rallycross event down at Pueblo Motorsports Park (PMI). I enjoyed the unpaved driving event immensely, especially the part where Kelly and I finished very well against seasoned rallycrossers with dedicated off-road racers. I started scheming to acquire a ’88-91 AWD Honda Civic wagonette for a while, but then decided against getting involved in yet another car pursuit/project.

Right now, my primary autocross vehicles are a ’97 BMW M3 sedan, which I drive in STU class, and a ’93 B18C1-swapped, supercharged Honda Civic 2-door hatchback, AKA “EGBEATER,” which competes in the SM class. I’ve also been dabbling with sport bikes since 2006. My “stable” of two wheelers currently consists of a ’01 Honda CBR600F4i, and a ’02 Suzuki SV650S (my wife Julia’s bike).

I continue to enjoy autocross immensely, both for the thrill of driving and the social aspects of the sport. I continue to wonder at my inability to drive well, despite over a decade of experience. And I look forward to wasting time, money and energy chasing those completely meaningless tenths and thousandths of a second for years to come.


SpecialED, also active on other forums as EGbeater or SpecialED (eBay ID = hsunchen)




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