|January 28, 2012||to||January 29, 2012|
(additional pictures can be found at http://public.fotki.com/esokol/naac-wds1-2012/, thanks to Evan Sokol for sharing)
We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling, while driving on a snow-covered road, when the car starts to slide toward the outside of the turn, possibly toward an on-coming car. It’s a frightening moment, but usually just a moment, and we’re back on our intended path, perhaps with sweaty palms or a rapid heartbeat reminding us that we just had a close call. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end as happily; I’ve wrecked 2 cars on winter roads in my lifetime, and it was only chance that saved me from serious injury. I looked for ways to improve my driving skills; this led me to the Audi club.
Twelve years and many winter driving schools later, I can say I’ve learned a lot, and I’m a much better driver when road conditions deteriorate. I became an instructor so that I could help pass that knowledge along. The weekend of January 28 and 29, I joined the instructors and volunteers of the North Atlantic Audi Club for the first of 3 planned winter driving schools; this one took place at the Team O’Neil rally school in Dalton, NH.
About 42 students, including several teens, drove through heavy traffic and messy weather on Friday night to the Spalding Inn in Whitefield, NH, our “home base” for the weekend. The course started bright and early on Saturday morning in a conference room at the Spalding, where chief instructor Mike Collier gave his detailed and polished, at times humorous, presentation on vehicle dynamics, skid types, and the basics of car control. After the classroom, students proceeded to the rally school, about 20” away over winding back roads lined with snow-covered pines.
Students were divided into 3 groups, with each directed to a separate exercise: the avoidance course, skidpad, and slalom/braking area. With an instructor in the right seat, students began to experiment with understeer and oversteer, and were coached in the techniques of skid recovery. An atmosphere of initial tension and fear gave way during the course of the day to under- standing, to increasing confidence, and finally to grins and laughter. Students rotated through each of the exercise areas on Saturday and Sunday. After a short break at noon on Sunday, a time trial course was set up for students and instructors to try out their skills against the clock in a friendly competition—a great finish to the weekend before heading back home, better prepared for the challenges Mother Nature occasionally sends our way.
Many thanks to eventmaster Peter Schulz, and to Mike Collier, Buddy Gregory, and all the instructors and volunteers who helped make another successful winter driving school possible.
Results of Final Exercise
(2 sec ea)
|Mike Collier||Run 1||01:05.53||2||No||No||01:09.53|
|Ian Duff||Run 1||01:18.29||0||No||No||01:18.29|
|Greg Ames||Run 1||01:17.69||1||No||No||01:19.69|
|Martin Krzemien||Run 1||01:09.97||2||No||Yes||—|
|Robert Leger||Run 1||01:15.95||0||No||No||01:15.95|
|Nelson Chadderdon||Run 1||01:15.16||1||No||No||01:17.16|
|Terrence Sturm||Run 1||01:11.38||2||No||No||01:15.38|
|Evan Sokol||Run 1||01:12.13||0||No||Yes||—|
|Peter Krzemien||Run 1||01:08.65||0||No||No||01:08.65|
|Alex Kuklov||Run 1||01:09.19||1||No||No||01:11.19|
|Natalia Kuklova||Run 1||01:12.69||0||No||No||01:12.69|
|Mike Katzman||Run 1||01:16.12||3||No||Yes||—|
|Dave Kalinowski||Run 1||01:12.46||3||No||No||01:18.46|
|Keanna Erickson-Chang||Run 1||01:12.77||0||No||No||01:12.77|
|Andrew Bader||Run 1||01:15.26||0||No||Yes||—|
|Adam Hirshan||Run 1||01:22.00||0||Yes||No||01:42.00|
|Jon Cowen||Run 1||01:04.60||0||No||No||01:04.60|
|Steve Tomas||Run 1||01:11.83||0||No||No||01:11.83|
|Josh Anthony||Run 1||01:02.78||2||No||No||01:06.78|
|Aleksey Gerasyuto||Run 1||01:08.79||0||No||No||01:08.79|
|Jess Sibbald||Run 1||01:16.40||0||No||No||01:16.40|
|Devon Hillard||Run 1||01:11.03||2||No||No||01:15.03|
|Michelle Gregory||Run 1||01:11.69||0||No||No||01:11.69|
|Steve Bader||Run 1||01:09.13||2||No||No||01:13.13|
|Kathi Recce||Run 1||01:17.66||6||No||Yes||—|
|Buddy Gregory||Run 1||01:03.63||0||No||No||01:03.63|
|Chris Miller||Run 1||01:11.70||1||No||No||01:13.70|
|Mike Kelly||Run 1||01:11.40||0||No||No||01:11.40|