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Group drives and "The Pace"

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  • Group drives and "The Pace"

    I picked up on this link from our Miata friends here in DFW. This is an excellent article concerning motorcycle touring but I think the concepts presented carry over well to the group drives that some of our chapters enjoy. Very sound advice and I encourage any Club members who organize and/or lead a group drive with Club members to follow the principles discussed in the article.

    Happy motoring!

    The Pace

    The older I get, the faster I was

    '02 Sebring Silver
    '07 VW Touareg V6
    '70 Volvo 1800E

  • #2
    Good reading! Thanks Dave.



    • #3
      "It isn't uncommon to ride with our group and not see a brake light flash all morning. "

      Not seeing any brake lights all morning? Might be a little too slow for most of us......
      '00 S2000, Silverstone/Black 162k+ miles
      '13 Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track, Circuit Silver/Black 192k+ miles


      • #4
        I used to ride w/ the TSBA - they showed me all the Hill Country roads that I've in turn shown to our local chapter and to the Austin and San Anlonio S2K Days participants. No brake lights has nothing to do w/ being fast or slow, but w/ keeping a smooth, steady pace vs. gunning the straights and hard braking into corners.

        '13 Civic Si sedan
        '08 Ridgeline RTL
        '02 Z06


        • #5
          Here are some additional tips I have learned, in addition to "The Pace". Not that I am very good at following my own tips sometimes

          1. Make a good map of the drive, with locations marked for re-grouping and dis-banning if applicable.
          2. Pre-run the drive with just your car, at the same time of day and traffic level. Look for as many locations for regrouping as possible.
          3. A co-driver is a requirement. Your brain cannot handle everything at the same time. (If you can, let me know what implant you got)
          Just before the drive:
          1. Safety inspection. Make sure all vehicles are capable of the drive, don't start unless an unsafe vehicle is parked and its driver becomes a passenger.
          2. Driver inspection. Talk to everyone and get a feel for kind of pace they are looking for. Brisk drivers in the front, casual in the back, and speedsters reclassified into one of the other two groups.
          3. See if anyone else wants a map and to be labeled as someone who knows where they are going. Make sure everyone can identify their car.
          Rules to reinforce for during the drive:
          1. Legal driving, the club's name and reputation is on the line.
          2. Treat every group gathering as if an undercover cop was attending.
          3. Don't worry about cops. Worry about driving safe.
          4. When following someone, leave space in case they make a mistake. Expect the same of the person behind you.
          5. No competitions or trying to be impressive. If someone wants to try an acceleration test, talk about it before you leave and don't break any laws doing it.
          6. No unplanned leader changes. Sometimes it seems like a good idea but can make a mess of things.
          7. And again, stay in your lane. (It really is more fun. Trust me on this one!)
          Driving styles to help the group: (not for your personal gain, but the group's)
          1. When leading, drive the speed as if you had never seen the road before. Don't let your experience make you drive faster.
          2. When leading, if you expect/suspect danger, make sure your brake lights are lit to warn the others. No hovering over the brake pedal. Try to light your brake lights when engine braking if possible.
          3. No late braking. It can be hard to resist if you are behind and have the urge to catch up.
          4. As the leader, don't be afraid to drive under the speed limit due to traffic or other reasons. As a follower, enjoy the break of slow downs, and don't put pressure on the leader.
          5. Always avoid spraying road debris on people behind you, even if you have slow down a lot.
          I hope this is somewhat accurate and helpful, with more fact than opinion. "The Pace" left out a few of these ideas that the Cincinnati crew taught me and that I picked up myself. Feel free to shred my ideas with better ones. Thanks!


          • #6
            Good post Aaron.....
            MY'03....Silverstone / Red Loaded with "Whistles, Bells & Toys"....

            Life's journey is not to arrive @ the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to "skid" in sideways, totally worn out, shouting"...holy sh*t...what a ride!"


            • #7
              So, many years later and countless drives, what do I have to add? Lets see here.

              Points from a group leader's perspective:
              1. Nothing replaces knowing and trusting your group. Enlist the eyes and ears of fellow skilled drivers to look out for newbies who need a helping hand or troublemakers to nip at the bud.

              2. Do a driver's meeting, for the sake of any new comers. Be sure they are welcomed and reassured that they are not pressured. They should know there are others looking out for them.

              3. Stress a couple rules here and there to keep minds fresh. Road debris is one example, or maybe other traffic.

              4. Always provide backup meet points. If someone gets lost, they should have an address where they can find the group. Encourage GPS use.

              5. One important and most forgotten rule is to not get to comfortable while driving amongst skilled/trusted company. All drivers should at all times anticipate the failure of the driver in front of them, or a cow in the middle of the next hill or turn.

              6. Pay attention to road signs. While recommended limits are largely irrelevant to sports cars, they are still a peek of what might lie ahead.
              "Stop ahead" signs are absolutely not to be ignored.


              • #8
                Just a couple of things to add from my experience...

                1. Turn your lights on. It is so much easier to see the group as a whole if your lights are on.

                2. Use your radios. If the last person can let the leader know that everyone has made it through the stoplight/turn/stop sign that is really helpful. Radios are also very helpful in passing. Listen, and follow the advice of the people in front of you.

                3. Don't drift across that yellow line!

                Thanks! I love this discussion!
                This Too Shall Pass

                If it has tires or testicles, it is going to give you trouble.


                • #9
                  Recently I've been asked about safe apexing, along with helping my wife delve into her her sports car career I'd like to address some bad habits I've noticed as well as a general primer for safe and happy cornering.
                  1. Late apex, sight lines. It is always imperative to only drive quickly on what you can see, and an unsighted turn should be treated with respect. Before you can fully sight a turn, do not accelerate, only feather the throttle for chassis balance or gently drag the brake. Diagrams and more information can be found here:
                  2. Use apex modifications (early or late) to always keep your angle of momentum toward the most area of run off. For example, if there is a very close guard rail and no run-off, adjust your turn line/apex to add emergency braking zones.
                  3. Always take the racing line while inside your lane, modify it as conditions require to add room for error. You want to be prepared for any emergency braking, as well as not keeping your vehicle on the limit for too long. The racing line does not stress your car nearly as much as trying to stay in the very center of the lane.
                  4. Spirited vs fully committed. Fully committing to a turn means the only fully controlled possible outcome of the turn is the one line you choose, and typically is cause by excessive entry speed. This leaves no reaction time or braking zone for emergencies/unknown variables, and increases the risk dramatically for all drivers in the area. You should never fully commit to an unsighted turn, and only consider fully committing to turns that have full visibility throughout the entrance and exit.
                  5. Fatigue and spirited driving: fully focusing on repeated turns approaching the limit of a vehicle's capability can wear on a driver quickly in an uncontrolled environment (read: not a race track). The ability to be prepared for unusual circumstances can lessen, and getting lax on safety can creep up on even an experienced driver with little warning. A varied pace can keep a driver sharp and prepared for anything.
                  6. Proper gearing and feathering the throttle. Balancing the vehicle in the proper gear through a corner allows for both deceleration and acceleration, and ensures the tires don't unpredictably loose grip. In most cases, gentle throttle is required entering and through the apex, and more throttle can be applied after the apex while steering lock is rolled off.
                  7. When entering turns never begin on the yellow or white line. How your car reacts to initial turn in can help your judge the grip levels through the rest of the turn, and the paint or areas to the right of the white line may have dirt or grime which may cause decreased grip or through off your expectations. Always do your best to not have a loaded tire touch any paint on the pavement, which means that during right hand turns the white paint or shoulder grime typically has little impact. During right hand turns, using the shoulder to the right of the white line is typically only preferred if safety is greatly increased by using it compared to not using it. During left hand turns, the shoulder should be avoided in almost all circumstances.


                  • #10
                    Awesome write up Aaron ...!!!!!
                    MY'03....Silverstone / Red Loaded with "Whistles, Bells & Toys"....

                    Life's journey is not to arrive @ the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to "skid" in sideways, totally worn out, shouting"...holy sh*t...what a ride!"


                    • #11
                      A couple of points from someone who has led and followed in groups.
                      1. More than about 10 cars is extremely difficult to keep together, especially in towns. (Ask me about S2KDAYS Las Vegas!)
                      2 The people in the rear of a group have to drive much faster just to keep up most of the time. This is due to the accordian effect of a group. One person gets a tiny bit behind and everyone behind them also gets a tiny bit behind. Two or three people do that and the last person is now quite a bit behind. Now they have to fly to catch up.
                      3. When accelerating after a slow section (end of town, slow zone, etc.) remember that accordian effect and don't just take off. Your group will really get stretched out if you do. And the tail will, once again, have to fly to catch up. I often slowly accelerate to about 5 MPH under the speed limit and watch my rear view mirror to see when the entire group is pretty much back together, then accelerate to my final speed.
                      Just a couple of thoughts for the leader to increase awareness of what the tail is going through. I highly recommend that if you usually lead a group, that you try the tail a couple of times. Can be an eye opener.
                      Pacific Northwest Chapter Guru, 9 years running!