WHAT: Advanced Civilian Driving Course given by the Alameda Country Sheriff's training center.
WHEN: Arrive by 7:30 AM, Sunday 7 February 1999. Rain or shine.
WHERE: Alameda Country Sheriff EVOC Facility, Dublin, CA. Directions below.
COST: Bring $150 cash or check, no credit cards accepted.
See Ian's Dublin Summit Page with lots more pics!
The day started with a torrential downpour.
The classroom just before 8AM. We were still asleep.
Shawn showed off his new mods- including Brospeed headers installed just the day before. Read about his install on the Headers Page.
To the right you can see the lines of cones marking off the J-Turn exercise. You accelerate to speed, then the course turns to the right (too far to see in the pic) and you slam on the brakes at a certain marker and feel how the ABS allows you to turn and come to a stop. I've played around with ABS alot, but the instructor taught me a few new things!
Then we got
to drive the LT1 (Corvette engine) powered police cruisers on the skid
pan. The skid pan is concrete flooded with 1/4 inch of water. We would
take it into the corner, then apply throttle to break the rear end loose,
then modulate throttle and steering to save the car. i spun out the first
three times! The engines are so powerful and the surface so slippery it
didn't take much to get into an uncontrollable spin. With a little help
from the instructor, I discovered that applying instant counter lock (steering
into the slid) was highly effective. The sooner you applied opposite lock,
the less the back end would slid out. If the slip angle at the rear exceeded
about 25 degrees, nothing will stop the spin. .
We had another short classroom discussion, then out to run the pursuit course. The Pursuit course is used to train officers in high speed vehicle chases. The course could be set up in several different ways- like an autocross course, or with two legs joining different parts of the course. The two legs allow the chance to try to chase another car- unlike a race track you are having to make decisions about entry lines without knowing which way you will be going in advance.
We could decide whether to drive the course alone or try to chase one of the police instructors in a pursuit cruiser. At first the coordinator bragged that they would lap people in a 1 1/2 laps. When they first set up the course one of the best drivers demo'd the course, flinging the huge cruiser around at a terrifying pace- perfect power oversteer through the tight corners, burning up rubber and turning massive car around in the width of an alley by sliding and pivoting around the center, all the while a cigarette dangling at a jaunty angle. We were a little intimidated, but Mike whispered to me that these guys might be surprised what a Probe could do on a course like this.
It was a strange sight- the gigantic cop car hurtling around the track in a cloud of rubber and brake dust, sliding gracefully through corners and looking like it was going 100 mph. And right behind the PGT, loafing along effortlessly. I had to keep stopping and let the guy get a good head start because I would catch up so quickly. This happened a few times and I heard one of the instructors say they needed the keys to the Taurus pursuit vehicle. Don't know what they had in that.
Of course the track was still wet at the time, giving the FWD PGT a huge advantage.
Then it was my turn to drive with the EVOC instructor in the car. I come barreling out of the turn before a slalom like straight and nail the throttle. As we whip around the middle curve I hear a slightly panicked voice from the passenger seat saying "too fast!, too fast!!", but being familiar with my car I keep the right foot buried and thread through the twisty bit at the end, finally hitting brakes- then the instructor with surprise: "boy, these cars sure handle better than I thought!". Every person that came back from that session said the instructors were amazed at the handling of these FWD cars.
My first session out alone got the attention of everyone, as high on adrenaline I proceeded to make every mistake I could, rolling over my tires and making a huge racket. Yes, the 16-year old in me still lives! Mike took pity on me and rode with a few times, and I rode with him. That helped me a lot- and not in small part due to his calm, efficient style while driving.
There were more sessions until the end of the day with various pursuit configurations. Everybody drove well and the improvement was obvious. The EVOC instructors did a great job and were very friendly and patient.
If we weren't on the real course outside, we got to use the state of the art driver simulator where four people could drive together on an autocross/street type course.
Mike gives Ian a few pointers on driving his new 1999 Miata- got to be pretty careful not to spin in that thing.
Here are our
Terry, EVOC coordinator (white shirt)
Bill, retired sergeant, CHP
Tom, retired lieutenant, CHP
Fred, retired agent, FBI, NASCAR driver
Curt, retired CHP
Joe, retired EBRP
Mike got some of them interested in racing autocross. I think with the right car they would do pretty well!
See Ian's Dublin Summit Page with lots more pics!
(From East Bay)
1.take 580 east
2.Take Santa Rita Rd/Tassajara Exit
3. Make left at end of off ramp (into Dublin).
4. Make left on Gleason Dr.
5. Make right on Madigan road.
Madigan is a really short road that heads up to the south east end of Santa Rita Prison. The training center is the first (and only) right that you can make before entering a restricted area. If it helps, the address is 6289 Madigan, but you wont be able to pull maps from mapquest because of the nature of the area (both the prison and the NIKE missle base...).
There are 5 acres of specially formulated asphalt and concrete, selected to match city and county road surfaces and used as the pursuit training course for many police departments.
There is a hazard control simulator with two traffic signals that turn green/red randomly- for practicing emergency lane changes. the lights are triggered with pressure sensors in the surface.
Other activities include the Offset Alley, Slalom, J-turn, Turn around, T-driveway. the J-Turn simulates high speed on a mountain road and suddenly coming on a stalled car or other obstacle. it should be done both with and without ABS- we can pull our ABS fuses.
The afternoon we will drive the pursuit course, taught by instructors with 25+ years high speed pursuit experience. The skid pad is in the center of the course and can be flooded- providing experience in the dry-wet-dry transition. The course has quite a few elevation changes, off camber turns and other special features.
There is also a state of the art driving simulator we can use. up to four people can drive at once, racing each other on a variety of courses- g-forces are simulated!
I think this is a fabulous chance to get some top notch training and experience with high performance street-style driving on a unique course. I could definitely see it saving my ass on the road somewhere.
It also is another facet of performance driving not covered by autocross or road racing, and it would be interesting to get some of the same training as a police officer.
(They also have a "chemical agents" room where they play with such fun toys as ferret rounds, baseball grenades, pepper gas and something called "Mister Clear-out".. i kid you not :P)
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