Strange obstacles like the "Kenny Cone" corner, where an odd shaped outside wall with a suicidal Kenny standing in your path might be good for a Ken Block knock em down video but for autocross I think it's a bit gimmicky.
BUT, I never hit it. soooo... whatever.
Yes - this is excellent! I love the chance to explain. Sometimes courses work and sometimes they fail miserably - but I always have a logic behind my course design. And a lengthy explanation.....you might want to get a coffee before continuing
For those trying to follow along at home we are talking about the Kenny Cone. What's a Kenny Cone? From the animated TV series South Park - Kenny McCormick is a character who was killed during most episodes and returned the following week with little or no explanation. So a cone that can be "tricky" is often dubbed a Kenny Cone if people believe it's going to keep getting hit ....or killed.
Bad course designers purposely place Kenny Cones in bad spots with the intention that it will be hit numerous times. Not real popular with drivers or course workers. Decent course designers layout the course and then realize that a certain cone might be hit more than it should be -sometimes you correct the situation - sometimes it's critical to the flow of the course and you risk leaving it there. That was the case here - I needed that cone to slow down that corner. The other side of the argument would of course be that I should have moved the Kenny cone and reshaped the whole corner.
So which cone are we talking about? Well it would be the one that said Kenny on it during the course walk
Standing at the timing tent it was in the far right corner. The outside wall had a kink in it. As you headed towards the arena and made the left Kenny was in the line of your right tire. See the picture below and I've labeled it.
So...here was my logic to that design. We went around that corner 3 times and in both directions. There were fairly lengthy straight stretches on either side of it. Particularly when heading towards the multiplex and a public parking area it's critical that the end (ie the turn) be marked well so that people don't over shoot it. Also when I got there in the morning the forecast and the sky both showed a possibility of rain. That makes it even more critical that the corner is clearly marked and a reasonable speed. Basically I have 3 choices - round corner with a wall on the outside, square corner with a wall on the outside, or I get creative. I chose creative. But when you really think about it......it's still a corner....the only real option I have there is the radius of the arc.
Now look at the picture below or watch the video linked above (jump to 1:43 and watch how little steering input Steve makes through the whole corner). There is clearly a smooth arc right through that corner. Going the direction of my screenshot there are 3 key cones - the rest is just filler. Pro tip for the beginners - being able to pick out the key cones on a course is critical to success. The 3 cones are Kenny , the second leaner on the left and the last cone in the wall on the right. If we had a giant parking lot with no obstacles that corner would have been exactly the same with only those 3 cones.