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I want to get out to Gingerman, what do I need?

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I want to get out to Gingerman, what do I need?

Old 07-08-03, 01:15 AM
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I want to get out to Gingerman, what do I need?

Me and some friends would like to head out to Gingerman raceway next year in the summer. I have never raced my car before and just got it a couple of weeks ago (which is why I want to wait a year). I would probably want to go on one of those evening test and tune events. I know I need an SCCA approved helmet and my car has to pass inspection. I have a few questions:

1. how much does a test and tune night at Gingerman cost?

2. do I have to have an SCCA racing license or anything like that?

3. Do I have to have a roll cage/roll bar, extra harnesses or any other special safety equipment?

4. is it okay for me to run on regular street tires with good tread and stock suspension or should I get some good tires and possibly some new springs (remember, this is my first time, I have no interest in being fast ^_^, but will it damage the car or be dangerous is my main concern)?

5. How many runs have you gotten in at Gingerman and how many should I expect?

6. what else should I take to the track besides brake pads, duct tape, extra fluids, and something to stop the tires with? Do I need spark plugs, injectors, tires, etc?

Thanks in advance, I am really looking forward to getting me and my friends into track racing.

Just to let you know what I plan to be "up against" I drive an 88 tII, my brother drives an 89 XT6 (rare as hell), my friend is getting a 1st gen RX-7, another friend drives a 04 monte carlo (I don't like it that much but oh well) and another drives an 04 Impreza (but its an AUTO!). I think my car has a weight balance and power advantage over most but the impreza puts down 227. Thankfully its an auto, we'll see what happens... Thanks in advance for any help that you can provide me with on getting into road racing.
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Old 07-08-03, 07:12 AM
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Call Bob Gilroy @ 269-253-4445. He runs the track and will be able to answer all your questions as far as what is required in the way of liscensing and saftey tech.

As far as car prep, for now, just make sure you have a good safe car. Your street tires won't perform like a race tire obviously and you may or may not see some serious wear but they'll get you through your first time. If your going to only have one set of tires I'd recommend Toyo RA1s. The wear like rocks and give decent grip. Best idea would be a seperate set for the track though.

Just like autoxing I'd say as long as your not running on the worn out original shocks and the car is safe with what it has just go drive it. Brake pads may or may not last. You should upgrade to a good DOT4 brake fluid and make absolutely sure the braking system is in order.

Don't know how they run Gingerman but test days can get dicey sometimes. Some tracks don't man many corner stations so you can be on your own as far as flags and if you have trouble there might not be anyone very close to help out. Keep that in mind when you're on the track.

Chris
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Old 07-08-03, 11:32 AM
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Is a "test and tune" event like a hot lapping session without any instructors? If so, I wouldn't recommend this course of action considering you have not been on a course, let alone received any instruction.

See what high performance driving schools or clubs are having events at Gingerman for the rest of the year. Going to a track for the first time (with an instructor) will be extremely enlightening. See previous threads in regard to this topic.

Good luck.

Ramon
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Old 07-08-03, 12:36 PM
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I go down there once in awhile. All you need is $50, a helmet(they don't check for Snell rating) and sign their waiver and you are good to go. Check out the website. I think it is Gingerman.com or Gingermanraceway.com. As far as run time it depends on how many cars show up. I have been there when 3 cars showed and we had the whole track to ourselves until dark. I have been there with as many as 15 cars and they just split us into 2 run groups at 20 min. each. I have run the stock suspension and tires and everything was fine. You will just need to be ready to be passed by the faster cars. I think it starts at 4:30 or 5 and runs until 9 or so. It is definately a lot of fun. Make sure you check out the pics I posted of the BMW flipping at Gingerman before you go so you have an idea of what can happen.

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Old 07-08-03, 12:40 PM
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those pics are in the Midwest mountain section.
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Old 07-08-03, 12:58 PM
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Keep in mind "test and tune" days are most definitely not covered by your car insurance.

Most car club track days are called "driver's schools" or "high performance driver's ed" (HPDE) and have some mandatory classroom time to give the impression that it is actually a school. Insurance companies will usually buy this depending on how thorough the club is about making sure there is no timing equipment and that there is actual instruction going on (PCA and BMW for example). Some companies are even getting wise to this, however.

Here is a link to various club events around the country, including Gingerman:

www.TrackSchedule.com

I've instructed at Gingerman before and my strong advice is to invest in a HPDE day with a BMW club or the PCA. The instruction in incredibly helpful (required in my mind) on your first day to avoid developing bad habits. Plus, if you do happen to ball it up there is a good chance your insurance will cover it.

Here's another link to those photos you should look at before deciding you want to track your car. BTW, this is from Gingerman:

http://www.mazda6forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=82

Sorry for the downer but you do need to assess your acceptable risk and take whatever steps neccessary to stay within those limits. The best way to lower the risk is with good instruction and the (possible) backing of your insurance company.

Don't get me wrong, it is still my belief that *every* RX-7 should get to the track at least once. There is nothing like it!

Alex
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Old 07-08-03, 03:08 PM
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I don't know about getting instruction before I actually try it and see if I like it. I understand that the best way to make your car faster is a good instructor but I don't really want to spend $150+ on a driving school and find out I don't even enjoy it. Is there anything wrong with taking the track slowly at first and work my way up to being comfortable with it or do you really think that for my first time out (even if I'm being careful) I should have an instructor?

oh, by the way, what is their policy with minors? Do you need to be 18+ to race?
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Old 07-08-03, 03:36 PM
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don't know about getting instruction before I actually try it and see if I like it. I understand that the best way to make your car faster is a good instructor but I don't really want to spend $150+ on a driving school and find out I don't even enjoy it. Is there anything wrong with taking the track slowly at first and work my way up to being comfortable with it or do you really think that for my first time out (even if I'm being careful) I should have an instructor?
Your problem will be that while you are "working" on "getting comfortable" there will likely be others out there who are already comfortable. One of the dangers in open tracking street cars is contact and speed differences are the main problem. example, 10 year racing veteran is shaking down his full blown race car and working hard to improve his lap times while you are cruising around. this spells disaster and you are more likely to get hurt. spend the extra money go to the driving school where you will start with people of similair experience and take advantage of the instructors experience to get you comfortable quickly, also helps you learn the track rules(flags) and procedures. Anybody racing today has had to do at least one drivers school in their racing career. then once you understand what to do when faster cars come up on you use the test and tune days to do just that, testing and tuning. some of us are at test days to run our race cars hard to get ready for wheel to wheel racing, so be sure of what you are doing before going on track in this situation.
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Old 07-08-03, 03:50 PM
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As Ramon Ceron pointed out...GO TO DRIVERS SCHOOL. Your first or second time out on track you'll be getting passed ALOT by experienced drivers in cars with half the potential your FD has...
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Old 07-08-03, 04:10 PM
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regardless of whether or not I am going as fast as I can, I am going to get passed easily by people with 10 years of experience and full blown race cars. My only concern is safety. I have absolutely no interest in beating other cars right now but I would like to get into track racing. Will a driver's school be necessary to be safe or is it something that helps more with my performance?
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Old 07-08-03, 05:01 PM
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If you are serious about tracking the car and/or racing, you better get use to spending A LOT of money. Honestly, if you are even worried about the $150 then the rest is a moot point.

On a side note, I have yet to meet a person who has not truly enjoyed a HPDE event their first time. It will be one of the best $150 you spend on a car related item--including any mod you can think of.
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Old 07-08-03, 10:04 PM
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I think I am going to take my car to the track and see if I can get in on a day when there is next to nobody else there. As Finky said, he has seen as little as 3 other cars there. I think that if I get into such a small crowd I should be able to get a grip on everything prior to hindering somebody else. What do you guys think? I would really like to avoid a driving school before my first time at the track but I don't want to be a danger. I want to get a taste of racing but I don't want to jump into it and find out I don't like it. Do you think it would actually be DANGEROUS if I drove with no instructor my first time.

Right now I am not so worried about developing bad cornering habits or being fast, I just want to see what it is like and I want to do it safely. Are there any people here that have gone to a test and tune type event with no prior experience? How did it work out for you? I know there is no passing on corners so I would assume it to be relatively safe for everyone else but do people often end up going too far? Like I said, I have no interest in pushing the car but I also have no interest in "cruising around the track". I'd like to drive fast, but safe. Can I do this without prior experience if I get to the track with few people there or do you think I'd end up in the dirt?
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Old 07-09-03, 12:39 AM
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Even if there are more cars they try to put you in run groups with people with similar skills. If you keep an eye on your rear view and get out of other drivers way you will be fine. Have you ever tried auto-X? That is not nearly as fast but you are able to learn car control on a controlled course.
Check out West Michigan Region SCCA, South Bend Region SCCA and Furrin.org. I autocross with those groups and it is a lot of fun also. Good intro to racing.
Also check out xceedspeed.com they cover most of the Michigan auto-Xs

Last edited by finky; 07-09-03 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 07-09-03, 06:11 AM
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PureSephiroth, we'll be up there at Gingerman for the regional this weekend if you want to come out and watch. I might be short on help too so another body to run a stop watch or help out never hurts. A good idea might be to volunteer for flagging duties too. You can learn alot (not everything) about what you need to know as a driver by flagging. And they can always use the help. Drop me an email at [email protected] if you're interested.

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Old 07-09-03, 08:19 AM
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Two great points to reiterate from above:

1. You *will* enjoy it and you *will* agree that it was worth the $120. Also, let's not call it $120. It is $50 for an evening of test and tune so the "cost" of the HPDE is only $70.

2. If $120 is too much for an entire day at the track then you shouldn't even go just yet. I have never known anyone who did not spend $1000+ between their first and second events at the track. My favourite overused quote:

"Road racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty."
- Peter Egan

You will want more maintenance, better brakes, better tires, better suspension, more power and most of all *more time at the track*

This garbage about not caring if you're faster than others is bunk, LOL. I said it before my first event also but by session two I was locked on to every car in front of me trying to catch up. That's why you need instruction, a good instructor will feed on that desire and help you learn faster than you've ever learned a skill before. Your brain will hurt at the end of the day

Also, without insurance at a test and tune night your careful driving is not a guarantee of safety. If you get a$$ packed by some moneybags in his ubercar and your car is totalled you get *nothing*...think about that for a minute.

Alex
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Old 07-09-03, 08:27 AM
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Do you think it would actually be DANGEROUS if I drove with no instructor my first time.
yes, with no experience of how things at a test day work you will be dangerous.

Right now I am not so worried about developing bad cornering habits or being fast, I just want to see what it is like and I want to do it safely
if you are worried about safety then take the drivers school and breaking bad habits is harder than you think.

I know there is no passing on corners so I would assume it to be relatively safe for everyone else but do people often end up going too far?
I have not been to a test day were they restrict the passing. these are normally open track type situations with no corner workers and little safety personel. passing can and will be done anywhere on the track. this is why it is important you know what you are doing before you move into someone elses line. drivers schools and HPDE type events tend to have passing restrictions on the slower groups.

Like I said, I have no interest in pushing the car but I also have no interest in "cruising around the track". I'd like to drive fast, but safe. Can I do this without prior experience if I get to the track with few people there or do you think I'd end up in the dirt?
you "cruising" is going to cause more problems than if you know the line around the track and are just driving at a slower pace than others. the problem is that you are out there "playing around" but there will likely be others there that are more serious and are working hard at going faster. if you want to get started spend the money on the first event. if you go to the test day and people are running you off the track it wont be fun. the HPDE event will group you with other first timers and regulate what goes on on the track. test days are a sort of self regulated free for all and are really designed for experience drivers. if your lucky the only thing that happens is you go into the dirt. I was involved in a serious wreck when a rookie driver did something stupid(stopped in the middle of the track when his car stalled probably after a spin) on a blind corner. he was lucky I avoided the 120mph T-bone wreck and only side swiped him. he was new didn't know what to do and paniced. unfortunately it cost both of us a race car and nearly cost him his life. be safe learn to run on the track before you go out with unknown drivers.
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Old 07-09-03, 02:39 PM
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you "cruising" is going to cause more problems than if you know the line around the track and are just driving at a slower pace than others.

If you read my post, I said i had no interest in "cruising around the track". Taking the proper line at a slower pace is exactly my intention. I have seen many hot lapping sessions where passing is restricted. Maybe it is, perhaps it is not, but I am pretty sure that it is...

oh and as far as insurance goes, My car was only $1,500 anyway. Not that I wouldn't be pissed off because I love my car but I wouldn't be completely out of everything. I have gotten some contradicting responses and a lot of them don't even help. So what you are telling me (at least a lot of you) is that if I take a HPDE course I will somehow magically become fast enough to not be getting flown past by experienced and full blown race cars? That makes no sense. Could someone give me some real advice that pertains to the actual situation. I drive an 88 TII. Regardless of how good I am, there are going to be cars flying past my 182hp 1.2 liter. There is no way around it. Are you suggesting that I not take a slower car to the track because that is EXACTLY what you make it sound like. People keep telling me if I take the track slower at first then I'm going to get in the way of other drivers. No matter how good I am, there are going to be cars flying past me like I'm not even moving, so what's the difference. Please give me some real advice for this situation not just "go to a racing school, you will learn alot" or "people are going to be flying past you" or "your insurance won't cover you". My insurance only pays $500 anyway. I only have insurance because it is legally required.

Last edited by PureSephiroth; 07-09-03 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 07-09-03, 08:29 PM
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OK, go to the track during a test and tune for your first day. Get input from the other racers at the track afterwords, I'm sure they'll have plenty. There is nothing better for a veteran track dog than to have new person discover the experience. There is little worse than having a new person mixed in with the advanced group (or test/tune crowd) and resisting instruction.

I think enough experienced people have provided a fairly consistant message here. If you don't wan't to hear it that is fine.

Hope you have fun. I hope you know how to properly point someone by, which line to take when being overtaken in a corner, how to signal to enter the pits, what to do with a black flag -vs- a red one, etc, etc. Also, good luck with the guy at the starter tower if you screw up. He's a great guy, just don't screw up any of the above items. And *good god* don't ever lift in turn 4 when you are out with faster drivers, you could be responsible for totaling someone elses car and you wouldn't even know it until the next lap.

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Old 07-09-03, 09:37 PM
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You will learn what to do when a faster car comes up on you. Also you will learn where to move to when faster car needs to get by. Don't get so offended by things, taking that attitude to the track is a bad idea. You will get no help from people acting like that. Racing is serious what people have said here was not intended to say your car isn't fast enough or anything. There are just a some simple things that need to be learned about being on the track. You are a n00b accept that don't get so defensive. You will find life in racing much easier if you take all advice given to you nicely. If you don't agree fine but don't have an attitude about it. Because you need all the friends and help you can get in racing. Just calm down and consider an event that will allow you to get used to being passed and what not in a controled enviroment. That way even though your car will be slower, you will be mentaly faster and able to make the right move. Like I said nothing said was a personal attack on you, just some advice in response to the question you asked.
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Old 07-09-03, 11:47 PM
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I wasn't getting offended because I was under the impression that people felt that my car was slow (I really don't care about speed right now). I was just getting frustrated with people giving me advice and then giving me reasons that either didn't make sense or didn't pertain to my situation. Even though it was incredibly sarcastic and he was being a complete jackass, ajmacdon's last post was exactly what I needed to hear. Too bad it took so many tries to get it out of someone, and too bad certain people had to decide to be ******** simply because they don't want to give me a reason or explain it. All of the advice may have been very good indeed however, most of it didn't even pertain to my situation and even if it did, there was no way for me to tell because nobody told me WHY it pertained to my situation. Now that I know that from a driving school I will learn things like and need to learn things like how to properly point someone by, what line to take when being overtaken, how to signal to enter the pits, and the flagging system I know why I should go to a performance driving school day before I go to the track. I hope you can see that I had at least some viable reason for my last post. From my point of veiw it just looked like a bunch of veteran bashing a newbie simply because they want people to think that what they are doing is harder than it looks. I had the same crap when I asked on the 2nd gen forum if a TII was a good first car. All of the people that said no didn't say it just because they thought it would make it a bad first car, they simply said it to try and keep a 16 year old from having the same, if not better car than they had. Maybe I misinterpreted it. I read this forum often and there usually isn't pointless bickering like this unless a drift topic comes up. I still stick by my reasons though. I would not have posted in such a rude manner if I had simply had my questions answered with justification that I could understand. Now that someone has finally done that, I will definately go to the track for a school event before a hot lapping event. Too bad it had to come in the form of an insult before it came in the form of civilized discussion. I apologize for my previous post but I will not say that it was entirely on my part. I am obviously new to the idea of road racing so there is no reason why I should have known why I would need to attend a school event before a track event. All I wanted was clarification. Thanks.
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Old 07-10-03, 08:52 AM
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I am sorry you misinterpreted all the advise people were posting(including mine). I and others never meant to say that since you were new and you might no be "fast" that you should not take up racing or open track hot lapping. believe me I have been racing for years and I don't consider myself "fast". this is a matter of talent and you may have more than the average driver. what I was trying to get you to understand is that racing and being on a race track with race cars can be dangerous, and without some basic instruction could cause you and other drivers injury. I think racing is the most fun anyone can have and I try to recruit as many paople to it as possible. if the earlier posts were not what you wanted to hear then I am sorry it came off wrong. I also want to make sure new people understand the dangers and give them some advice to help them get through the begining stages without hurting themselves, damaging their equipment or feeling like they don't belong. If you are serious about racing try the school and get your feet wet. then see what you can do to get to the next level. I have posted this many times in this and other racing forums, that if someone wants to get into racing and is finding it hard I will help. come to an event that we are racing at. Hang out see how things work at the track and I will help you get started. instruction, driving school, car prep, etc. I have even offered to pay the entry fee and drive my car. so far not one taker. so I again I make the offer(I know you are not in Ca, but I am sure other people are in your situation) come to the track and I will do everything I can to help you get started, as long as your serious. I believe that if you went out to the next event at your track and walked through the paddock and introduced yourself to some of the racers you would find other people who would be willing to help you get started. come out to the track make some friends and most importantly have some fun.
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Old 07-10-03, 01:45 PM
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Good decision to do a drivers ed before an open lapping event. I run an open lapping club @ Putnam Park and require my participants to attend @ least ONE Putnam Park drivers ed before doing one of my evening lapping events. The drivers education event doesn't necessarily teach how to go fast during the first weekend, but it does teach you the basic protocols and track etiquette, which all racers will follow.

Best of luck, and keep the shiny stuff SHINY
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Old 07-10-03, 06:39 PM
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Well, since that's finally cleared up I have a couple of different questions about track racing.

I have seen the pictures of the BMW that rolled but I assume that this is a rare situation. What I was wondering is how great is the risk involved?

I hear all the time that track racing is safer than freeway driving but is that really true?

In the event that I did roll my car, how sturdy is the roof on an s4? Would I be in trouble without a roll cage?

What causes the cars to roll? I know that generally it is because the car hits the dirt sideways and pops up over the rumble strip causing it to roll but is that just because the person took the corner wrong, did they just hit the dirt at the wrong place? what goes on in that kind of situation?

by the way, I have firmly decided to go to a school event before doing anything else. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-11-03, 08:26 AM
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Most rolls happen when drivers try to be a hero and "save" a poorly taken corner without going off the track. You'll feel it in your gut if a corner isn't going to work and the best thing to do is just drive smoothly off the track and then back on (watching your mirrors and corner workers, of course). Sideways in the dirt is the problem. If you are rolling forwards the only thing that may happen is some damage to your airdam and some dirt in the car.

That said, you can't bail on every corner that makes you uncomfortable or you will never learn your limits. Just don't try for a corner that you know is completely hopeless. Generaly if you are OK in your mind with widening the line into the dirt you can avoid a spin which is when things get sketchy. One more way to say it: It's a lot easier to catch oversteer and go straight than to catch it while trying to go around a corner.

Think out of the box, the track is where the grip is but you are allowed to drive anywhere Walls make all of this much, much harder, that's why I love Gingerman.

BTW, sorry for getting a bit snipy, I guess I need to keep in mind that it may not be clear to a new driver exactly why some track etiquette needs to be learned. Thanks for not taking offense.

Alex
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Old 07-11-03, 08:35 AM
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BTW, I don't know about statistics but I do feel safer on the track than in Detroit traffic. #1 no SUV's #2 no cell phones #3 no oncoming traffic (most of the time ) #4 no baby strollers #5 no COPS

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Quick Reply: I want to get out to Gingerman, what do I need?


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