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Gymkhana is now in the U.S.

Old 06-04-03, 05:17 PM
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Talking Gymkhana is now in the U.S.

It was the first gymkhana (Japanese style gymkhana to be a bit more exact) in the U.S. as far as I can tell and nobody so far has yet to prove this claim wrong. This past Sunday there was a semi-private gymkhana held at the Boeing facility where they make the 747/777 airplanes. There was plenty of sliding around the course in order to get the best run time possible. I set this event up and it was more of an experiment to test the water and see how people would react to it. It went very, very well. Many seasoned autocrossers hadn't had this much fun driving a car in years. They loved the challenge of it and it was simply fun to drive.

For those of you that are not yet familiar with this sport, don't worry. Most people that know about gymkhana have different ideas of what this is as there are so many different uses of the word. I won't event bother getting into the history of the word and how it pops up every now and then over here. But I'll focus on the type that we did which is the type of motorsport that is extremely popular at a grassroots level in Japan. It can best be compared to autocross. There are different car classes and the cars are timed from start to finish. Penalties occur when cones are hit and if gates are missed. But it is the course that makes the largest impact on most people seeing one for the first time. The course is setup in such a fashion that the same space a 30 second autocross would take place is the same amount of space that can make for a 1 minute plus gymkhana course. There are a lot more technical areas to get through and the course usually has areas that are covered more than once by the same car per run.

This form of racing awards drivers that can slide their car around in a controlled manner in order to get through the course with the lowest time. To not slide the car at all will slow you down. This is not to be considered a drifting event, but a race that requires drivers to control a car by using high slip angles to get through the tight areas.

This event had a small turnout due to the low profile that we were keeping with this. The entrant list was limited by local motorsport club affiliation and guests of those club members. Click here for some pics. When more pics and vids of this are available I'll share them. But due to the positive response of the people involved with this event, expect more of these to come. They are organized the same as an autocross event with the same equipment required. The same cars can be used for either event as well. Also, the courses can be setup in areas that would normally be too small for a regular autocross. The drivers get more seattime so there can only be so many drivers participating and understandably the cost would be a bit more than an autocross. But a slightly higher cost of entry is no reason to not go to one. Soon there might be some of these races in your area too. Try it out, you just might like it.
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Old 06-05-03, 01:03 PM
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Gymkana in the US sort of evolved into what is now autocross. I remember going to PCA gymkana's with my dad when I was a kid. course layout is similair to autox. this was very popular in the mid seventies before marquee clubs started running track days and events. not something new but something being restarted. you still see reference to gymkana in older driving books and suspension setup books.
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Old 06-05-03, 04:53 PM
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Yeah, gymkhana is the old name for what is now autoslalom but generally called called autocross. I found all that out by doing reasearch on it a while ago. I didn't want to get into the etymology of the word. The word has plenty of uses and goes back to the 1800's

But this form of gymkhana is unlike anything else that has ever been done in the U.S. before. It's not the goofy gimmicky gymkhana's that are still held these days where drivers do tricks while driving. This version is all out fun. If popular in Japan but has yet to have any coverage over here in the States. Here is a collection of videos that best illustrates this - gymkhana vids. All of this is done against the clock. To not slide will means you will be the slowest one through the course. The best of both worlds. It's a race as much as autocross is a race but requires drivers to know how to slide the car around in order to get across the line as quickly as possible.




From m-w.com :

gymkhana
Pronunciation: jim-'kä-n&, -'ka-
Function: noun
Etymology: probably modification of Hindi gedkhAna, literally, ball court
Date: 1877
: a meet featuring sports contests or athletic skills: as a : competitive games on horseback b : a timed contest for automobiles featuring a series of events designed to test driving skill.
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Old 06-05-03, 06:58 PM
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Way to Go Jerk Racer!! I think it is the Bomb Shiznitty to see people doing Gymkhana in the US. It is a lot of fun and plenty of competition as well.

Next time get that FC of your out there and show em whats up.
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