Autocrossing is one of the most competitive, least expensive and safest sped events. Still, it's having its problems locally.

"We need sites for meets and we're having some difficulty in arranging insurance coverage," said Keith Grimes of Lanham, an officer of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Sports Car Clubs.

In an autocross, cars race one at a time against the clock over a twisting course marked by rubber cones. A run may take 60 to 90 seconds. For a $5 entry fee, a competitor usually gets two timed runs and some practice.

There are three classes: absolutely stock vehicles; prepared machines that are permitted street tires of unlimited size and some suspension modifications but with stock engines; and racing cars.

Grimes can't remember an insurance claim in the more than 10 years he's been in the sport. "With the Sports Car Club of America as co-sponsor of our meets, we get their insurance. Then, their carrier withdrew his policy. We don't really know why. A couple events have been postponed until we get a new policy."

According to Grimes, most entries now number about 110, down from the 180 or 200 five years ago. "The sport is still healthy and a lot of fun," Grimes said. "Maybe the monotony of running over the same course every meet is affecting entries."

Aspiring autocrossers can enroll in the next Bill Scott school at Summit Point, W.Va., Raceway Aug. 20. They can use their own cars, too.