A solo autocross driver negotiates the traffic cones during a race earlier this year.
A solo autocross driver negotiates the traffic cones during a race earlier this year. (Courtesy photo)
IF YOU GO

What: Solo Autocross Motorsport Race at McGee Park

When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: The parking lot at McGee Park, 41 Road 5568, in Farmington

Cost: Free for spectators. One-day racing is $30 for members, $40 for non-members. Racing both days is $50 for members, $60 for non-members. Junior karters race free with participating parent.

More info: Contact Joseph Pierce at 505-695 2465 or go to www.rgrscca.com.

FARMINGTON — Local members of a national autocross organization will test their driving skills at a pair of racing events this weekend.

The Rio Grande region of the Sports Car Club of America which has 180 members in the state, mostly in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Farmington will race this Saturday and Sunday at McGee Park. The Rio Grande is one of 112 regions in the country.

Slaloming through a solo course that from above looks like a squashed double helix, drivers will race against the clock along the track while avoiding knocking over a constellation of traffic cones.

After seeing the club's races last year at McGee Park, Kyle Vallejos joined the group. The teenager lives in Farmington and plans to race this weekend in his Mazda Miata convertible.

"I really like that it's racing that doesn't cost truckloads of money," said Vallejos. "You can show up in your everyday car, bring a helmet and meet and learn a lot from really nice people."

Drivers get to walk the mile-long track an hour before the racing begins, testing their memorization skills of the course's layout as much as their control of the car while weaving and skidding along at speeds as fast as 50 mph.

On average, drivers cover a lap in under a minute, Vallejos said.

Drivers in the club also perform work duties in between laps, repositioning flattened traffic cones, recording lap times and flagging point violations, Vallejos said.

With many age groups and both genders represented, Vallejos likes the full spectrum of cars and drivers on display at solo autocross events.

"Definitely some of our best drivers are women," he said.

Vallejos even convinced his dad to take up racing after showing him his own abilities on the track.

"The fact that when if you spin out, it's not going to likely if ever result in an injury helped convince him," he said. "That and the affordability of competing."

Solo autoracing is considered an entry-level motorsport that ensures driver safety, as much as lap speed, said club secretary Joseph Pierce.

"This kind of racing is great because it lacks the expense and injuries associated with most auto racing," Pierce said. "And it's fun as no two courses are alike."

Pierce, who joined the club four years ago, will compete from behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza.

"You'll be able to see everything from Mini Coopers and Corvettes to hand-built cars (race car prototypes made by mechanical engineering students) and junior karts driven by kids ages 8 to 16," he said. "A lot of members race the same cars they drive every day."

Vallejos and his dad plan to compete both days this weekend, driven by the same desire to have a good time and test their skills on the course no matter what it looks like.

"I do it for the fun of it," Vallejos said. "I just race my car like a maniac. It's my favorite thing to do."

James Fenton can be reached at jfenton@daily-times.com; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt.