Miatas of Mid Michigan held their second annual Autocross in the Holt Jr. High parking lot in August, 2002. I borrowed a helmet and took my "REDBODY" 1991 Miata (A Package; short crank). Steve Krause, John Hammer and some others organized the event: both are accomplished track racers and autocrossers. They set up cones and a timer, walked the course with us and then set us loose. After a couple of times through I rode with John which was quite a ride! My helmet kept banging on the roll bar. A little later I asked Steve to ride with me and give me a few pointers -- my next run improved by 1.5 seconds.
This was not a race -- the timers were there so we could get feedback on how we were doing. (Of course, we did compare notes :-) An autocross course is so small that you do not get out of second gear, but it feels like you are going 90 because the turns come at you so quickly. It is a great way to learn the limits of your car in a safe way. Everyone was helping everyone else -- I learned a lot. Toward the end I could feel the rear end sliding a bit on turns while I was still in control. I also learned that the very experienced folk know a lot more than I do. Watching Steve burn up the track was interesting.
Here are my times
47.3 (+ 2 sec for knocking over a cone)
Steve turned a 37 second run in a borrowed car, so my 3 seconds off the best of the day felt pretty good. At least one other novice (Ken) beat me by more than a second.
This was a LOT of fun!