Solo II in Ontario

Reprinted without permission (but with the best of intentions) from CASC-OR - Always check there for the latest info, or review the various regional schedules: This info is admittedly old, but it should give you the basics of an understanding of the sport.

This article is intended to provide you with an introduction and overview of Solo II (also known as Autoslalom) motorsport in Ontario; the official rules and regulations covering the events, classes, and car preparation are available from the CASC-OR office at very little cost.

Solo II is a low cost, "grassroots" motorsports discipline that allows anyone to enjoy the thrill of automotive competition in a safe, controlled, and legal environment. With roots going back to the gymkhanas of the late 'forties, Solo II has been an ongoing part of Ontario's motorsport history for almost fifty years.

A Solo II event consists of competitors driving through a 'race course' that is laid out using pylons on a large parking lot or other paved surface. Because the vehicles race independently of each other, at no time can there be contact with another competitor, thus reducing the risks considerably, and allowing the drivers to concentrate on threshold braking and precision cornering. Each 'run' is electronically timed, and the fastest driver in each class is the winner.

Understanding Solo II

There are are nineteen different classes that group vehicles based on drivetrains (engine size, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, etc.) and the level of modifications - if any - made to the car. The specifics of each of these classes are spelled out in the Rules and Regulations, but the intention is to ensure that each vehicle will be competitive within its class. Whether you have a fully tricked-out Camaro or a completely stock Honda Civic, there is a Solo II class for you.

No special vehicle preparation is required to compete. The only stipulation is that your vehicle must be roadworthy (although not necessarily licensed) and safe to drive. It must have working seatbelts, and the driver must wear an approved helmet at all times while on course; 'loaner' helmets are often available at the event to encourage newcomers to compete. Additionally, some events may require the vehicle to conform to an exhaust noise limit.

Competing In Solo II

As noted above, any road-worthy car is eligible; however, before you attend your first event, it is important to understand how this motorsport discipline actually works.

You begin with a standing start - from the 'start box' and must complete the course by finishing up in the 'stop box'. As you launch, you break the beam of an electronic timer, and the clock starts ticking. Each course cone is specifically sited on a painted spot, and if you dislodge a cone you incur a time penalty; getting a 'clean' (no cones moved) run is the first imparative. Next is completing the course correctly; many rookies get lost, and if you go 'off-course', your run is scrapped. As you approach the stop box you will again break the beam, and the clock will stop, but there is one more challenge; the stop box has a final cone located at the back; if you take that one out, your run is again scrapped.

Fast, accurate driving is the most important element of Solo II competition, but learning and understanding your vehicles' dynamics is also important. As expected, everything depends upon the grip of your tires, so tire choices and tire pressures are understandably the first area of concern. You will see competitors using white shoe polish to mark their tires before going out; by examining these marks afterwards they can tell how far over onto the sidewalls the tire rolled during cornering, and adjust pressures accordingly.

The Series

The Ontario Championship Series generally consists of seven events that run between May and October. While these have traditionally been held at various locations around southern Ontario, for 1996, the Series will run exclusively at Cayuga Motorsports Park.

Sponsors (generally automotive-related) allow the organizers to provide prizes and contingency awards at both specific events, and as part of the over-all Championship. Trophies are also presented for class wins and for the over-all Fastest Time of Day.

Getting Involved

The easiest way is to join a club that has a Solo II focus (see CASC-OR listing). Then you can either jump right in as a competitor, or get involved by coming out to a couple of events as a spectator - or worker - to better understand the sport - and the competition.

Go to the CASC-OR web site, or ask one of our local Gurus!