Regional auto club starts rally season
The Allegheny Highlands Region of the Sports Car Club of America, which includes members from Indiana County, kicks off its season with an autocross competition this weekend at the Jennerstown Speedway.
Shawn M. Bauman, 25, Shelocta, has been competing in the autocross skill competitions since 2009 in his 1993 Corvette. He also is the assistant regional executive for the Allegheny Highlands Region, which hosts competitive driving events in Indiana, Cambria, Bedford and Somerset counties and has about 50 members from the region.
Autocross competitions require drivers to weave in and out of cones on a closed course going up to 60 miles per hour. Any street-legal car is eligible for the competition, but sport utility vehicles, vans and four-wheel-drive trucks are prohibited for safety reasons.
“Autocross is a skill event,” Bauman said. “It’s not a speed or door-to-door racing event. It’s about precision.”
Pennsylvania drivers in particular can benefit from autocross competitions because this region is prone to icy winter conditions and a high deer population, Bauman said.
“It does make you a safer street driver,” he said. “I’ve been in a couple of situations in the snow where in the past I didn’t react so well. Now I’ve reacted better.”
The club will host 15 open autocross events this season. Registration is $35 per competition for non-members and can be completed the day of each event.
The club is also hosting its first Road Rally in Johnstown on April 27, which will begin and end at the Quaker Steak and Lube. Drivers will be provided instructions for this 80-mile course and must pass checkpoints at specific times, completing the entire course twice in six hours.
“The idea is to navigate well,” Bauman said. “The point is to keep accurate track of your time and distance.”
Road rallies are open to any vehicle because they are conducted on public streets under standard driving laws.
“The course takes people places they wouldn’t normally go,” Bauman said. “It’s scenic. You have enough time to safely complete the course.”
For more information about the SCCA and upcoming regional competitions, visit www.ahr-scca.com.