6 Tom Berry Multi Time Autocross and ProSolo Champion and 2009 Driver of Eminence winner

Tom Berry

Tom Berry in the EVO
Tom Berry in the EVO


2009 Driver of Eminence award

7 Solo National Championships
2015 ASP National Champion
2003, 2007, 2008, 2009 BSP National Champion
1995, 1996 DSP National Champion

Pro Solo

One over all Challenge Championship, Runner up to over all and 15 Class Championships and 10 Challenge Wins


  • Started in 1976 when he was a freshman at University of California Riverside and saw a flyer for UC Riverside Auto Club
  • He described the experience as very archaic compared to what we do now
  • They were racing in parking lots
  • He continued doing it from '76 to '79

Were you always around cars?

  • Not very much, very little exposure but I was always interested in cars
  • "It's still a passion for me, it's not just something I do for a living."

First car/s?

  • Honda Civic 79/80 that my then girlfriend (now wife) Theresa had and we repaired and started racing.
  • Life happened - marriage, kids and work so Tom didn't race for a decade and came back on the circuit in '91

How does that help driving different cars?

  • It helps you adapt easily in different conditions

Left or Right foot braking?

  • Left, most cars respond to left foot braking

"We have our weekend events to practice and I just show up with a helmet at times."

It is eye opening for people to ride with others for progression of their driving skills.

TOP TIPS on Slaloms

  • I was doing it wrong for years.
  • We didn't have data acquisition or a feedback system so you mainly learned from watching and riding with people.
  • SETTLE THE CAR BEFORE YOU ENTER, changing the speed before entry - presents the car on the slalom much smoother, as opposed to standing on its nose.
  •  Braking a bit later, it's not about how he is applying the brake, it's how he's letting go of it (in reference to Brian)
  • When I started in '76the parking lot we practiced in was like a long line, very archaic

Data system?

  • DL One
  • I'm not a techie but Marshall and Christine set it up.

Coming off the brakes and release it much easier

Learning by watching - you should try getting in somebody's car because you can always learn a little something from everybody

Challenges and experiments - change the car and try a different set up

If you are stagnant and you haven't changed anything - if you're not tying different stuff you're getting passed up.

It's like business - if you're business plan hasn't moved in the last 5 years, then you're not successful.


  • It's easy to do too little or too much
  • I walk it once and analyze it - and then I walk the second time
  • I vocalize the course and it helps me solidify in my head
  • Half a dozen KEY CONES
  • A mistake I made was walking the course too much - you're no longer forcing the brain to look ahead
  • Looking ahead - I'm not sure I do that well. I think it's more important for the beginners than intermediate people.
  • Don't concentrate too much on looking ahead, focus on THINKING ahead




5 Leslie Cohen multi-time National Champion and ProSolo National Champion

Leslie Cohen began autocrossing in 1996, she started in an automatic Mazda MX-6. She has 4 national championships in STL (2009, 2010) and SSL (2001, 2004).  She has raced Mazda MX-6, 1989 Corvette, 2001 Z06 Corvette, 2003 Z06 Corvette, 1989 Civic SI, 2002  Camaro to name a few.  She also trophies in open class in STS and SS Super Stock in the Z06.

It was fun to hear her thoughts on everything from focus to ProSolo starts.

Leslie on houzz


  • 2012 1st ProSolo Finale - L3
  • 2012 1st ProSolo Finale Challenge - L3
  • 2012 ProSolo Series - L3
  • 2010 ProSolo finale - L1
  • 2010 ProSolo Serices - L1
  • 2009 ProSolo Finale - L1
  • 2009 ProSolo Series- L1
  • 2009 ProSolo Challenge Series- L1
  • 2009 National Championships- L1
  • 2008 Trophy in SS open
  • 2005 STS Open 4th out of 45
  • 2004 National Champion SSL
  • 2001 San Diego Region Solo2 Driver of the Year
  • 2001 National Champion SSL
  • 2000 National Champion SSL
  • 1997 Rookie award winner San Bernardino Prosolo

Driving Instructor experience:

  • NCCC Corvette Driving School
  • Corvette Big Bear Bash Autocross School (Spring Mountain Motorsports Park)
  • SCCA Cal Club Ladies Schools
  • SCCA San Diego Region Novice Schools
  • Porsche Club of America
  • Lotus Club
  • BMW Club
  • Kumho "America’s Tire" days

Leslie Quotes

It began back in 1996 – I have always loved driving cars. One of our friends was an autocrosser and I was driving a Mazda MX-6 at that time.

I have to say that my first year, I had fun a lot. I pushed the car – aggressive right away.

All my pent up aggressiveness and competitiveness reflect to my driving.

My first year I drove an automatic – won the class in the region and that was based on aggression because my driving skills weren’t phenomenal at that drive. I just drove hard.

The next year, I got rid of the car and bought the same car but a manual transmission all because of autocross.

My first year I didn’t do any practices, I just went to events.

I bought a 1989 Corvette, only owned the car for less than a year because I hated it. I had trophies because of the car but I didn’t like it. The torque was gradual, it felt heavy.

2001, won my Championship on a Z06 Corvette.

I love Pro-solo because of the drag start – you’re there before you’ve taken off whereas at the regular solo, you’re just waiting for the flag person.

The format of the Pro-solo makes me focused.

The majority of my best run, I did something wrong very early and I get mad at myself – all the processing, worrying and all my instincts just set in and I’ll just drive.

I used to have “shakes” but it got lesser in time.

I would use the power for the deficiencies of my driving.

I right-foot brake – I don’t use both feet.

Learning to brake early, just looking ahead.

Picking out what is important to learn and who it is important to learn from. I didn’t listen to everybody.

Number of walks? 6 to 8 in Nationals. If I were serious in a competition, I’d walk a few more times.

I went through a phase and think about the potential screw-ups I’m going to wait. I was working about the variations – contingency plans.

I’d be driving 2-3 weekends a month.

I won everything maybe because I just wanted to have fun, to hang out with my friends – my body was already trained.

I have learned about set ups – as long as you have a reasonable set up and tires, it’s about the driver.

I want to have a set up that I don’t have to touch anymore so I can focus on my driving.

I can diagnose by sound and by feel.

When I am driving well, I am seeing a lot.

My most amazing driving experience ever, it was unbelievable because I could see everything. Totally peaceful. I was one with the car, the landscape, the track. I tried to recapture that in my career but I couldn’t make it happen.

My favorite car ever was the Camaro – it was Z06 on steroids.

4 Danny Kao SCCA 2012 Johnson Spirit of The Sport Award Winner

This show features Danny Kao who was your 2012 Johnson Spirit of the Sport Award Winner.

It was a lot of fun to learn more about Danny who is another of the great people in our autocross community!

Danny started autocrossing at the end of 2006 and I bet he has autocrossed as much as anyone since then. He thinks he 450 runs per year (59 autocrosses).  He makes every test and tune in the DC area.

I totally forgot to ask him about his theory that relates the PSI it takes to seat a tire to how fast it will be compared to other tires. Danny has a tire mounting machine in his house.

Danny did lots of tire testing last year and shared all of his findings and experiences to help the rest of us who use street tires the time and expense of testing. He is very active on forums and Facebook.

If you think you have a car addiction maybe not once you compare your purchases to his before starting autocross in 2006 he thinks he owned 55 or 60 cars.

He started in CSP kind of by accident and he is once again in CSP for 2016 and has been building a Miata from the ground up – he shared lots of photos on Facebook. Danny shares a lot, a lot of fun which explains him winning the Spirit of the Sport Award Winner.

Classes Danny Kao has run: CSP, GS, STX, STU, SS, F125 (KM)


Started autocrossing at the end of 2006 – before that he was a hobby guy – basketball, golf, motorcyles then he started fixing cars.

His first autocross car was a Miata he found for $1300 thought he would road race it but was told he should try autocross.

After the Miata, he showed up with a new Evo in STU.

Fun first more than anything else – it’s not about competing or doing well, fun is the number one priority. “If I get there, I want everyone to have fun or have a good time. I don’t want to go to an event where everyone is miserable.”

Jokes around and let people loosen up. Keep everybody happy.

At least 450 runs a year on average.

Played too much golf between 1996-98, at least 500 rounds a year.

“I don’t focus on the bad. I can remember the good part, the fun part. The first 5-6 years, I didn’t really learn a lot.”

Majority, on the places I thought I did good, I did poorly. Now, I can go back to the data and evaluate and say, confirm that I didn’t do well.

When I first started, I tried to conserve distance by making everything into a triangle.

Right or left foot braker? Initially a left. Every time I get nervous, my left foot just constantly hovers the brake.

Modulating the throttle – that’s when I started driving the car the way it should be driven. That’s how I got faster.

Knowing what your limitations.

The last three years he can actually feel what the car is doing.