A Ford Galaxie dips to the left as the driver negotiates a sharp right turn. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Klondike Cruisers cut loose with Whitehorse autocross event

‘You are racing against yourself to improve your time, or maybe beat your buddy’s time’

The sound of squealing tires and the smell of burning rubber filled the air at the Takhini Arena on July 29 for an autocross event hosted by the Klondike Cruisers Association.

Sixteen cars including a Ford Galaxie, a Chevrolet S-10 and everything in between took part in the short course — the winning time was 25.924 seconds — all around the paved section of the parking lot.

Klondike Cruisers, sanctioned by ASN Canada FIA, host events like this as a way to give people a safe place to push their cars to the limit and have fun.

Randy Grantham, president of the group, explained in an email that all cars are inspected prior to racing and that drivers must wear an approved helmet.

In autocross, cars race against the clock to complete a course as fast as possible.

Once the light turns green and the car leaves the starting box, the timer starts and drivers race to get around the course as fast as possible without hitting any of the cones used to mark the correct path — every hit cone is a time penalty. At the end of the course, drivers also have to stop in the stop box without sliding through.

The courses are almost always unique for a particular event, typically set up in parking lots or on airport tarmacs.

Autocross is an accessible and affordable form of motorsport, making it a popular choice for people looking to get into racing.

At this latest event, drivers each had nine runs to set a fast time.

“You are racing against yourself to improve your time, or maybe beat your buddy’s time,” said Grantham.

The day also included a barbecue and wrapped up with a 100-foot shootout.

Klondike Cruisers are hosting another autocross event for club members this season on Aug. 26.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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