I've now competed in a speed-based event in my MINI. I participated in Sunday's Autocross, and boy oh boy did I have fun. I got a wicked sunburn, but I had fun. And I'm doing it again!
The harnesses made all the difference in the world. Previously, to keep my butt in place, I had to push my arms hard against the steering wheel, my knees against the sides of the cockpit, and my left foot hard against the dead-pedal. On Sunday, with the harnesses in and drawn tight enough to reduce circulation, I was free to just drive the car.
I was surprised that, over 6 runs, I never upset a cone or veered off course, although I went through a bunch of rubber. The course began with a zig left and a zag right, followed by a short downhill slalom, a sweeping uphill left 180, a very short straight, a sweeping downhill left 180, slaloms again, the uphill again, a hard brake, a hard left, and then a quick launch to the finish line. Amazingly, I didn't come in last place. The little Cooper showed its teeth, and while my times were nowhere near record-breaking, they demonstrated that this car can be mean. I was only .05 seconds off the best time of a Cooper S. Of course, he was competing in a stock class, and I was competing in a virtually unlimited class, but I think that, with a little more experience (and perhaps a performance driving school), I might be able to post some really good times.
My fastest run was 34.402 seconds, and my slowest run was 36.418; just 2.016 seconds difference. But, watching the videos, that 2 seconds is fairly easy to see. I need to see if there's a way I can make a split-screen video of the fastest and slowest runs.
As mentioned, I got lots of tire squeals, managed to get her a little bit sideways (on purpose), and had an absolute blast. I can't wait for registration to open for the next one.
I have now received my AutoMeter gauges, but they're going to be tricky to install. I don't have the highest expectations, but they will at least be in the car for the British Car Show on Sunday. I hope to have them both functional by the autocross on the 25th, as one of them directly measures lateral G-forces, and I would like to know exactly what I'm doing to the car on these runs.
Enough geekdom. Amanda is edging closer to the third trimester, and we still haven't fully settled on a name. Or perhaps I mean that I still haven't fully settled on a name. I like Aubrey (I just mistyped it "Aubrye", and thought it looked really cool). Really, I do. But it's so inexorably tied to Jack Aubrey that I might have trouble over time. I think it's also a name that I would tire of saying. But it's such a classic and classy name. Full of power and history. It's a name that I associate with emotional and physical fortitude.
Alistair, on the other hand, lends more to intellectualism and royalty. Yes, it's tainted by the famous Satanist, but every name has been assigned to at least one ill-bred fellow, right? Just think about all the poor folks named Adolf, Saddam, Fidel, or Kim. We can't hold the circumstances of history against them just because they share a name with a tyrant.
Both are the types of names that children often eschew in favor of their more mundane middle names (which, for Lumpy, will most likely be Paul, in honor of my grandfather: Albert Paul Chamberlain).
So which is it: Aubrey Paul Amos or Alistair Paul Amos? There's always the dark horse: Addison Paul Amos.
We've looked over scads of more pedestrian names, and they just don't ring true with either of us.