Precision Course

chippewa valley sports car club's autocross puts enthusiasts behind the wheel

Mike Seitz, photos by Frank H. Robinson

ZIP THROUGH THE CONES: Autocross puts sports car fans behind the wheel on a tricky parking lot obstacle course.
ZIP THROUGH THE CONES: Autocross puts sports car fans behind the wheel on
a tricky parking lot obstacle course.

What we drive is often just a means of transportation, giving us a way to get from point A to point B. For members of the Chippewa Valley Sports Car Club, a car is something that becomes a lot of your personality, explains Steven Andringa. Steven is the president of CVSCC; an organization made up about 30 people from the area with a common passion for sports cars, and the possibilities when someone gets behind the wheel of one.

The club was formed back in the 1960s and its first event was a Hare and Hound rally in Chippewa Falls. In 1980, the club was forced to a halt due issues such as the energy crunch and the double nickel speed limit. After being dormant for two decades, The Chippewa Valley Sports Car Club was brought back to life by Jim McCarthy and Dick Feeney in 2001 and has been cruising ever since.

CVSCC includes a wide range of members, from people in high school looking for a way to get into cars, to a couple who have been married for 50 years. This club is made up of all kinds of people with a similar interest in cars. For Steven, this is something that is particularly interesting about the club: “You don’t typically see that kind of age range; it tends to be one or the other.” This is a group meant to bring people together who love and appreciate sports cars, whether they own a car worth $1,200, one worth $9,000, or even if they don’t own a sports car at all.

There are several events that CVSCC hosts, one of the more popular being an autocross held twice a year. An autocross involves participants driving through courses set up with the orange cones we see on the side of the road or in parking lots. Drivers have a limited amount of time to get from start to finish, which usual involves a lot of technical driving with their sports cars. CVSCC host two autocross events each summer; the Spitfire Challenge Autocross on June 21 and the Dick Freeney Memorial Autocross on Sept. 27.

The courses are set up in the Chippewa Valley Technical College’s parking lots. The Clairemont Avenue parking lot is used in June and the smaller lot by the truck driving school is used in September. In return, half of the proceeds that CVSCC make on the autocross go toward scholarships for the technical college’s automotive students and auto body club.

Through a partnership including CVTC and Mayo Clinic, CVSCC also provides a service called the Teen Car Control Class. The class was formed because a 16-year-old with a new driver’s license will, on average, have a 20 percent chance of being in an accident. The course is meant to lower that percentage by helping teens understand what a car is really capable of. “The goal is to give them experience that a 19- or 20-year-old has after driving three to four years.” Steven is very happy with how the course has turned out. The next class on May 16 is sold out, but there will also be another class this fall.

If you’re interested in getting involved with CVSCC, they hold club meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, February-November; 7pm at Mogie’s Bar and Grill. Another casual event that you can check out is Chippewa Valley Cars and Coffee on the second Saturday of the month (April-October) from 8-11am at Action City.