34 AUGUST 2020 scca.comTECHNICAL
The 2020 DirtFish RallyCross National Championship is nearly upon us – will you bethere? Of course you will. In fact,you’ve already registered for theevent at scca.com/rallycross. There’sa snag, though: The pandemic andnationwide stay-at-home ordersput a damper on keeping yourRallyCross skills sharp. So the realquestion is, will you be ready comethe big day or will pre-run jittersbe the enemy that defeats you?
Luckily, there are folks whospecialize in performance rallywho know the secrets to drivingsuccessful events – even NationalChampionship-level RallyCrossevents. As such, I (virtually)cornered one such talented rallyinstructor to discover the secretsof staying atop the RallyCrossgame during a season whenin-person practice has becomeas elusive as a perfect run.
But first, a nice, juicy caveat:Everything you’re about toread also applies to your nextRegional RallyCross, so don’tstop reading just because youcan’t make it to this year’s bigNational Championship event.
With that, let’s jump in.
Are you ready to rock the 2020 DirtFish RallyCross National Championship?No? These tips will help | WORDS Philip Royle | MAIN IMAGE Justin Fitch
TRAIN YOUR EYES
“Vision and smoothness are two
major keys to success in
motorsports, and the beauty is
these can be practiced
anywhere – on the road, on a bike,
or wherever speeds are higher than
walking pace,” explains Nate Tennis,
the lead instructor for DirtFish Rally
School. DirtFish, it should be noted,
not only offers numerous in-person
performance rally experiences at its
gargantuan home base in
Snoqualmie, Wash., but is also the
title sponsor for SCCA’s RallyCross
National Championship and
RallyCross National Tour. “Exercising
good vision through corners, driving
the correct line, and being as
smooth as possible with each input
can all be practiced on public roads
without alarming fellow motorists or
the local authorities.”
To that end, Tennis offers simple
tricks to accomplish the feat. “If
possible, take a drive on a road you
aren’t used to in order to make your
brain work in a new environment,
rather than resorting to autopilot
on the daily commute,” he says.
“Better yet, take the RallyCross
car out for a drive to reacquaint
yourself with its idiosyncrasies.”
Simulators have also come
a long way in recent years and
offer a great way to practice.
“They may not replicate the feel
of sliding on gravel, but to your
brain it is racing, and therefore
worth the investment,” he says.
“As in any situation, preparation isthe key to success, so overall wesuggest finding the areas you feelare weak or most intimidating andpractice those,” Tennis advises ofminimizing your nervous tension.“The less experience we have withsomething, the more daunting itcan be, so practice the challengingcomponents until they are morecomfortable. The nerves may stillbe there, but practice will provideexperience in dealing with thesituation and allow you to performwith less stress and anxiety.”