As you may or may not know, Flat Brutus has been spending a little time with us, mostly enjoying some quality downtime (while Abby the Mutant Puppy may or may not have been attempting to nibble on his legs....). Today, however, Brutus got to go to the Utah Region SCCA's mostly-annual Memorial Day autocross event. This is typically a pretty big event (100+ drivers) with a lot of non-regular racers showing up, as well as lots of regulars. Because it was a local event and Mom and Dad didn't want to drive the House With Wheels down for a one-day, local event, Abby and I stayed home (and got to play with Jessi, The Woman Who is Training Mom to Feed Us Turkey Hotdogs), but Flat Brutus (who is a bit lower maintenance than, oh, say, me, fr'instance) got to go along. Lucky devil!
Anyhoo, since I was not there, I can't exactly describe Flat Brutus' adventure. So, I will do the unprecedented, and let Mom tell about the autocross.
First, for those of you who want to know a little more about this whole autocross thing, here is a fantastic 9 minute documentary on what autocross is. If you have even the slightest interest in racing a car (and it doesn't have to be a "race car" - you can run the family station wagon - although not the family mini-van, due to height-to-width ratios) it is a good introduction to the sport: http://www.vimeo.com/12067348
At any autocross you attend, the very first thing you do is sign a participant waiver. We got Flat Brutus signed in, and got him a wrist band (which indicates that you've signed the waiver).
Since the wrist band is designed for humans, Brutus wore his more like a belt.
And you sign the waiver, we had to get Brutus registered for the event. (We weren't sure what class he was going to run in, so we waited until this morning to register him.)
After registering, you get your car 'tech-ed'; meaning that they check to make sure the car meets all safety requirements, including making sure your battery is secure, your brakes work, and your wheels aren't going to fall off. (There's more to it than that, but if you can't tell, it's not an area I know a ton about.) So, we got Flat Brutus tech-ed. As far as our tech guy could tell, Flat Brutus' wheels weren't going to fall off, and his battery was secure enough.
Brutus received a blue sticker (which remains on his back) saying that he was legal to run the course. So, between the waiver and the sticker, Brutus was free to run the course, or drive it/ride along.
Brutus decided to take a look to see if he would rather run the course himself, or ride along. After taking a look at the course, he decided that it might be a little long for his short little legs.
(That's 155 seconds.... Which is actually pretty quick for his little legs. But he didn't want to run the course more than once...)
So, we went looking for a car for him.
He tried our car first, but discovered that while he might be able to handle the steering wheel, his feet weren't going to reach the pedals.
He rather liked this Factory Five MK4 Roadster,
but his couldn't get to the pedals in this car, either.
So, we thought we'd try him in a Junior Kart.
But, yet again, he couldn't reach both the steering wheel and the foot pedals at the same time.
So, we decided that maybe he should just be a passenger. Certain that we could find him a ride, we tried to see if we could get a helmet that would fit him.
Alas, we didn't have much luck there, so we got Special Approval for Flat Brutus to ride without a helmet (the theory being that since he is only 2-dimensional, they could make an exception in his case).
Brutus then got his first taste of 'working' an autocross; all autocross events are self-supporting events, meaning that if you aren't racing, you are working. There are all sorts of jobs, from being on course chasing down cones to working the computers and timing systems.
First we tried to see if Brutus might be able to be a course worker:
Unfortunately, Flat Brutus' short (and stiff) legs made it so that the course worker vest was too big (and would have tripped him up when he was running for cones that had been knocked down), so being a course worker was not an option.
We thought he might try his hand at set-up, but again, his short little legs were a bit of a hindrance.
Next, we tried him on the computer, where he seemed much more comfortable.
However, since Flat Brutus wasn't actually driving, he didn't have to work (if you are just spectating or just riding as a passenger you don't have to work - working is only mandatory for drivers).
After getting a reprieve from the work assignment thing, Flat Brutus decided to go socialize, as autocross events are at much a social occasion as a racing occasion.
Brutus first met Gary's coach and co-driver Charlie, and his son Adam
Then he met Matt, our "adopted son" (he's really not, but he's such a good guy that we'd claim him as a son if the IRS would let us!)
As well as a member of Salt Lake City law enforcement.
As a side note, apparently Flat Brutus has a traffic ticket or two, and was going to be detained...
Luckily, we were able to convince the officer that Flat Brutus wasn't in his jurisdiction, and Flat Brutus was able to escape incarceration. :-)
After his brief encounter with the Long Arm of the Law, Brutus sought sanctuary with Linda, my very fast co-driver:
and Valeri, who has recently returned from a trip where she got to be in the Mission Control room for NASA during the last space shuttle mission
Autocross events are also popular with dogs of the 3-dimensional variety, and Flat Brutus got to meet a couple of the doggies out:
But when it came down to it, Flat Brutus was Here To Race! (Okay, ride along, since we couldn't find a car that he would fit in...)
Here Brutus got to ride along in the car that I co-drove last weekend.
Flat Brutus also got a chance to get in the car that won the day:
Here's a close-up....
And Flat Brutus with the winning driving of the day (who is known as Crazy George):
It was a long, busy day for Flat Brutus, but he had fun (which is the #1 rule of autocross: have fun!!!). When he got home, he was ready for a Serious Nap.
Abby and Fi had a great day at home, playing lots of 'fetch'....
And now we are all ready for a good night's sleep.
BTW, Flat Brutus was a Big Hit at the autocross, and lots of people were very willing to pose with him and hear his story! A good time was had by all!
Fi here again.
Boy, Mom can blather on, can't she? We are going to keep Flat Brutus for another day or two so he can see the sights of Park City, and then he'll be moving on to his next destination (someplace in Colorado). I have to say, Flat Brutus is pretty cool - he's good company and he doesn't hog the toys, like some Mutant Puppies I might mention. I'm just saying...
We'll keep you updated on Flat Brutus' adventures before he leave us. But now we are all tired (except for the Mutant Puppy who seems to NEVER be tired...)
-Fiona and Mom (and the Mutant Puppy, I guess)
PeeEss: Fi's Mom here again. For those of you who don't know the Flat Brutus story, it started as a "take-off" of the Flat Stanley story and turned into a way to raise money for the French Bulldog Rescue organization. I loved the Flat Stanley story when I was a kid (how cool to be able to mail yourself to your friends?), and am always in favor of dog rescue organizations. The actual Brutus is a pretty cool dog, too, so I was very excited to get to host Flat Brutus!
Also, thanks to everyone in the Utah Region SCCA who was very tolerant of me as I took Flat Brutus around the event; I have WAY more pictures of him posing with people (many of whom thought I was totally crazy, but all of whom loved his story) and cars - everyone was really great with Flat Brutus! Thanks everyone!!!