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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Need For Speed

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SCCA Features Motor Activities

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to jam your foot down on the accelerator and not worry about a police officer with a radar gun. If you’ve secretly held a dream of speeding around a carousel or slicing through a chicane. Or if your idea of a fun afternoon is smelling burning rubber and gasoline fumes, watching people compete against the clock for fame and glory, the place for you is Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe. Even if you just like to see fast cars and precision driving, it’s still a good place to pass an afternoon.

That’s where the Red River Region chapter of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) stages its events once a month. John Lieberman is the publicity chairman for the local club. He said most folks don’t know about SCCA, but it’s been around here since the 1950s.

“The SCCA is one of the largest sanctioning bodies of motorsports activities in the United States,” according to Lieberman. “We’ve got at present over 60,000 members scattered throughout the country.”

The Red River Region club is based in West Monroe. It covers all of Louisiana north of and including Alexandria, plus the first tier of counties in Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Lieberman said the SCCA sponsors all sorts of motorsports activities. Everything from road rallying to autocross to road racing, even up to professional racing. The Red River Region club runs events throughout its geographical area. He said since there are no racetracks in this part of the state, the local group is primarily an autocross club.

“Autocross is basically a precision driving competition. One car at a time [on the track] against the clock trying to negotiate around a parking lot of orange traffic cones without hitting any cones or missing any maneuver,” Lieberman explained. He said it pits racers and their rides against other drivers and cars, which are roughly equivalent in performance.

If this sounds intriguing, there’s good news. Almost anyone can participate. “As long as they are old enough to drive, have a driver’s license, they can pass our on-site safety inspections and pay their fee, they’re good to go,” he said.

Entry fees aren’t as high as you’d think. It’s $45 for SCCA members or newcomers who want to try their hands and cars at autocross. Non-SCCA members or those who’ve tried it before and haven’t joined the club pay $55. If you pre-register online, you can save $5 off either of those categories.

The website is www.rrrscca.org and contains the schedule of events, past results, frequently asked questions about autocross. It also has contact information and tells you how you can become an SCCA member. On Facebook, search Red River Region SCCA.

It’s a short drive to a potential checkered flag.

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