TWO COURSES, VAGUELY SIMILAR
COMPETITORS AT THE 2011 Tire Rack Solo
National Championships will understand a sense of
déjà vu on the second day. Didn’t we just do this?
How two course designers – Kevin Youngers in
Colorado and Andy Hollis in Texas – could
independently come up with courses vaguely similar
to each other remains a puzzle.
But here they were. Hook a turn off the start for a
run in front of the spectator area, then a 90-degree
turn into a slalom; cones evenly spaced at 62-1/2
feet. Then a big sweeper into another slalom, uh,
wait, it was another slalom into a big sweeper. Oh,
never mind, here’s the narrow section, then some
little dipsy-doodle across the far end. Then turn for
home and through the bus stop to the finish. Run
time about 65-70 seconds each.
Yet, given courses that are vaguely similar, if
they are not exact duplicates or ProSolo-style
mirror images then they must have subtle
differences. As any Solo veteran knows, move a
cone two feet and it changes the entire character
of the turn.
The opening turn for the East Course was a sharp
90 with the start light right after; on the West Course
it was a gentle bend with the lights at the far end of
the run. The East Course slalom was six cones, the
West Course was four, then another four offset at
longer spacing, and so forth.
Hollis titled his beginning slalom as the “Sound Check,”
going into the “Opening Act” of a 180-degree
right-hander, and then “Showtime” was a fast
showcase turn back across the spectator area. “Rock
Out” was four offset slalom cones spaced 100-125
feet apart – just how well do those tires stick?
Then came his narrow sequence – 90 left (this is
“Back Beat”), 90 right and watch out for that outside
wall, another 90 right, squirt down the “Big Hair
Straight” to yet another 90 right and then – “Drum
Solo” – in and out a pair of diagonal gates.
“Turn It Up” meant a power-on 90 through a pair
of bridges, one inconsequential, the next better be
dead on line, and all by itself out there was cone 501.
Had to go around it before the bus stop, “Tickets
Please,” then hammer down to the finish.
WES T COURSE
Depending on different assessments, the Youngers
course had six to eight slaloms in it. On his opening
run, the starting lights were so far down the chute
that once turned into his opening slalom he called that
the “Extra Start.” His second set of slaloms, the
traction test on his course, called for the “4th Pedal.”
Unique to his course was “Rockumentary,” a set
of seven fencerow slaloms, the middle three offset
to the right but with a little extra distance to make
the whole set flow easily. But watch out for the turn
at the end, something greater than 100 degrees
feeding into another five-cone slalom.
Big Hair Straight
West Course E