By Tara Feeney
Jo Bejar’s love for autocross was first discovered as a child. Her parents, who built vintage Porsches together, would autocross them when they were finished being restored. They would take Bejar with them, and having grown up in the community, she inevitably discovered she enjoyed it, too. She gradually got into autocross and performance driving and fell in love with the escape you get while running your laps. For anyone unfamiliar with autocross, it is a giant parking lot shaped using rubber cones to resemble a racetrack. She brought her passion for racing to McPherson College and is starting a female-founded autocross club where she will be president. She makes the point that while the school’s automotive restoration program has a lot of connections, most of them are not in the world of performance driving.
The club will be open to anyone school-wide – provided you have the appropriate car. If you’re unsure if you qualify, the Sports Car Club of America autocross website has extensive guidelines on what is allowed. Bejar encourages everyone to try it at some point, as it is a safe place to test both the limits of your car and yourself. The worst that can happen is you spin out and hit a couple of rubber cones along the way. Race entrance fees are relatively low, usually ranging from $10 to $50. Part of the requirement to race is that you volunteer at the event half the time you are there. Volunteers make events like this run and give you a great chance to get involved within the racing community.
If you don’t have a car to race, there are plenty of other options to get involved. For those interested in automotive photography, autocross has many opportunities to get more experience within the field. And for those curious about a career in automotive journalism, media, design, etc., events like these are a great way to see if you are genuinely interested.
As for the structure of the club, it will consist of a monthly meeting where a list of events for the upcoming month will be shared. The local events usually occur in either Salina or Wichita, and most national autocross events happen in Oklahoma and Nebraska, making it just a day trip away from McPherson. Bejar’s goal is to pair up more experienced club members with those new to the sport to provide as much guidance as possible. Having an experienced member in your car for your first lap to provide advice goes a long way. As well as having a mentor to teach anyone who wants to know how to set your car up, walk the course, and line your car up for the race. Bejar’s drive to start this club comes from her passion for the sport, and she hopes to share that passion with everyone who joins.
For questions or to sign up for the club, Bejar can be reached at [email protected].