The NCJOC wrapped up its first season of slalom activity with two successful events held in July and November. (The JCNA allows clubs to conduct two sanctioned slalom events per year.) A total of 13 drivers registered for those events, many of them as first- time novices. By all accounts, everyone had a most enjoyable time. As an added attraction, Ogun Yilmazer, the General Manager of Rosenthal Jaguar at Tysons Corner, agreed to provide an XE and an F- TYPE for club use at the July slalom, and he also provided a sporty XE sedan for the November slalom. I have never attended a slalom event where Jaguar dealers had provided demonstrator cars.
We searched throughout the metropolitan Washington DC area for a period of three years before finally arranging with Prince William (VA) Public Schools to hold the slaloms at their Stonewall Jackson High School drivers’ education range. Over the past 7 years, I have driven in 32 slalom events at 10 different sites, and our current site may be the best one I have encountered. The course is quite flat with none of the oft- times light pole obstructions, the solid surface is unworn by heavy traffic, fenced perimeter, adequate parking and indoor restrooms are available. The school staff are very accommodating and professional in their scheduling and management of our events.
We were fortunate to have as our guest in July Rich Rosen who trailered his 1971 V12 XKE from the Delaware Valley Jaguar Club. For the past three years, Rich has scored in first place among the stock V12 XKE entrants throughout JCNA. Unfortunately, he got in only two turns with his XKE before being sidelined with a faulty cooling fan relay. However, Rich then registered in the new XE sedan and proceeded to turn in the fastest time of the day at 46.386 seconds.
Pete Crespin also registered with the new XE at the July slalom and turned in a best time of 46.607 seconds. That one- quarter of a second margin between the times of Rich and Pete seems like an agonizing stretch when the electronic timer is whirring away its seconds to the third decimal place. Jumping ahead, for a moment, to the November results, Crespin once again registered the XE, and drove the day’s fastest time at 45.918 seconds. That time places him in likely contention for one of the top three places in the JCNA Class M cars for 2016, and solidly within the range of the best performances in the JCNA slalom classes for theV12 XKE and the XK8 models.
One theme that was common among the novice drivers was their pattern of decreasing times across their five turns. (A single turn consists of three laps in different configurations around the orange cones.) The novices started out slowly in a well- considered effort to learn the sequence of corners throughout the course. Then, their times improved throughout their five turns, sometimes dramatically by 10 to 20 seconds faster. On their first turns the novices drove easy paces in the range of 50 to 60 seconds. For example, at the July event Charles Carbone went from a first- turn of 74.134 seconds to a fifth- turn of 54.144 seconds. His wife, Jocelyn Kendall, improved her times by 16 seconds from first to last runs. New member George Crosby started his July runs at 58.779 seconds and dropped to 49.935 by his fifth run. George enjoyed his performance so much that later in July he drove up to the DVJC slalom where he turned an impressive 45.765 time with his XKR. George definitely got bitten by the slalom bug. Drivers and interested members can view their slalom results on the JCNA.com website through the following tabs: Events/Slalom/Review Results, and then selecting the Event Date of the slalom.
At both the July and November events there were about as many spectators as drivers. Several of them remarked that it was fun to watch the Jaguars in action. And, we expect several spectators by become drivers at future events. Also, five of the registered drivers were new or recent members who have been in the club for less than two years. The range of Jaguar models included an E- Type, 40- year- old XJ6, XJS, newer model XJ’s, X- Type, XF and an XKR. And, Charles Carbone, who didn’t want to miss out on the fun while his Jag was in the shop, registered with his Mercedes.
As with other club events, it takes a team willing to assemble the planning, the equipment and the delivery logistics to make the event a success. Bob Engh graciously retrieved the slalom equipment from storage in July, Cindy Perlberg served at the timing table in July as did Jocelyn Kendall and Julia Brown in November. Pete Crespin coordinated a field crew to lay out the circuit of orange cones for both events, and Bob Andretta helped to monitor the cones.
The start- up costs for timing equipment, orange cones and miscellaneous equipment were spread over two years, and the fixed costs for future events will likely be near $400. With registration fees covering most or possibly all of the fixed costs, the slalom events can be a very low- cost means for the club to provide a vigorous exercise for its cats. The range of cars and the enthusiasm of the drivers and spectators bodes well for future NCJOC slalom events next year.