This article was written by Jack Burrows, Area 2 Director with SCCA, Inc. Susquehanna Region is an Area 2 region.
One dynamic of membership organizations like SCCA is the way rumors fly. A big contributor to this is a lack of effective communication between members and those who are (supposedly) in charge. As an admittedly guilty party on one end of that dynamic, here’s the low-down on a few things which have recently been making the “rumor circuit”. At least this is my perspective as your Area Director.
TIME TRIALS NATIONALS
With the Board’s approval, SCCA rolled out a “Time Trials National” plan which was unfortunately perceived by many to be a re-vamping of time trial and hillclimb events currently staged around the country. Not true. Rather, it was a blueprint for a single event to take place at the end of the season to crown national time trails champions as a rough equivalent to Solo Nationals in autocross and the Runoffs in road racing. In effect, it was a set of proposed supplemental regulations for that event and has no effect on other events Instead of forcing changes to time trials and hillclimbs, the Time Trials National is an attempt to enhance these existing programs’ profile – and, hopefully, participation – by providing a national championship event at the end of the season. Nothing else changes.
Early this year the Board approved a proposal from the Solo Events Board (SEB) regarding “pump gas” in some classes. Because of the extreme difficulties in measuring and controlling turbo boost and because increased boost requires increased octane, the “pump gas rule” was seen as a way to control boost through indirect and non-invasive means. However, a problem arose because octane ratings posted on pumps are minimums and the actual rating can vary significantly from state to state and station to station. As a result, concern arose about the very real possibility that a competitor could buy gas from the pump, only to learn subsequently that the octane was too high and be subject to disqualification after the event. The Board asked the SEB to come back with a recommendation to rectify this unintended consequence. The SEB proposed a modification that included a hard upper limit on octane and outlined a means of fuel compliance. The Board approved that recommendation, and there is now a limit of 95.9 octane for classes required to run on pump gas.
FUTURE ROAD RACING RUNOFFS VENUES
The 2018 Runoffs will be held at Sonoma Raceway, formerly known as Sears Point and then Infeneon. The 2019 Runoffs will be at Virginia International Raceway, and SCCA has just entered into an agreement to take the Runoffs back to Road America in 2020.
ROAD RACING PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
When I came on the Board I was confused and bemused by the fact that we had a Planning Committee and a Strategic Planning Committee. I’ve always considered planning to be strategic by definition, so I asked why the two committees existed. It turned out that the Board’s Planning Committee was solely concerned with developing plans for road racing. After a period of head-scratching the Board disbanded the Planning Committee directed SCCA’s staff to create a working group to take its place. That’s the Road Racing Planning Advisory Committee. The committee is primarily made up of people who plan and operate racing programs in regions around the country along with drivers, stewards and other stakeholders. It’s been a free-flowing, no-holds-barred discussion group which has largely been looking at ways to enhance participation in and our members’ enjoyment of SCCA’s road racing program. We don’t have a corner on the ideas market and are interested in hearing the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions of our members.
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP ISSUES
One of our new president Mike Cobb’s priorities is enhancing service to our members and the regions to which they belong. After all, we are a member-driven organization, and without its regions SCCA would basically be a bunch of folks in an office in Kansas. One of Mike’s initial steps was to hire Chris Robbins, who come to SCCA with a long and successful history of customer service. One thing that became clear is that SCCA had myriad types and levels of memberships which were all piled on to a rickety overburdened system which caused frustration in many areas and levels This is not something that lends itself to a quick fix, but it is all being sorted out and reconciled.
That’s much of the news from the board room. I hope it clarifies some things but also realize it may raise as many questions as it answers. I’ll be glad to talk to anyone about any of this or anything else related to SCCA.
Area 2 Director