Ladies Who Just Want to Have Fun:  Try Autocross

 Anita Benzing  by Anita Benzing, Redwood Region Member    Article courtesy of El Portal, The Newsletter of the PCA, Yosemite Region

Hello, I'm Anita Benzing, an affiliate member of the Redwood Region. Some of you may know the name of my Partner in Porsche and boyfriend, Bob Schoenherr, Redwood Region Membership chair. This past year and a half, Bob and I have enjoyed participating in Concours, various rallies, tours, and, of course, wine tours in our region.


Bob, who has autocrossed for years, has encouraged me to try the sport. I have been content though to tour and assist preening his "Queenie" the 912E for Concours, play navigator for TS&D rallies, or simply tour in the Boxster. Last summer, Bob asked if I would be interested in videotaping an autocross at the 912 Rendezvous, a task he would normally perform. This particular day though, he had committed to various other tasks and would not have the time to be out in the center of the track with his Flip Video.

I had attended prior autocrosses and watched from the sidelines as he drove, but this time I had to be in the center of the track. As I watched these vehicles speeding by me, swerving to avoid the placed cones (sometimes not successfully) and maneuvering the ins and outs of the track, I suddenly became curious. Wouldn't it be fun to see if I could drive the course, dodging the cones and staying on the pavement? Just a thought in my head while I was observing. After all, even though most of the drivers were male, I did notice a handful of female drivers. When I talked with Bob about my "observer thoughts", he suggested that I ask Annie Roth, the Autocross chair for Loma Prieta Region, if I could ride with her on the autocross track. I figured my first time on the track should be with a female driver. After all, we sort of think alike, right? Annie quickly and gladly welcomed me to accompany her. From the moment I entered Annie's 1968 912, the energy level was a 12, on a scale of 1 to 10. What was I thinking when I was in the middle of that track considering daintily dodging cones and staying on the pavement? I had forgotten, oh yeah, there's SPEED involved! As we zoomed around the track, swerving in and out, I cannot possibly express the adrenaline rush I was experiencing! Saying that it was fun is an understatement!

When I got out of Annie's car, I was a changed woman! So much so that I asked Sharon Neidel, our Zone 7 Representative, to ride with her around the track. Again, as I was entering her 911C2, there was that Level 12 Energy!

Needless to say, I now wanted to actually drive on the! So, at the end of last summer, I had my chance. With Sharon as my instructor, I drove my first lap at lightning speed. Lightning speed for me, that is; when I received my time slip I realized that I had barely poked around the course. That's ok because I had felt that adrenaline rush!

After several more turns with Sharon, as well as Bob as my instructor, I was hooked!!! The heart-pounding, sweating palms, knowing that you're getting inside the car again for another attempt to drive the track better and faster "feeling"!

We are so fortunate to have a group of people in our zone that are happily willing to share, teach and assist us. I encourage anyone with even the slightest interest in autocrossing to give it a try.  The exhilaration will be worth it!



Anita Benzing at the RR autocross

Anita Benzing at the RR Autocross
on 4/9/11
photo by Barbara McCrory