On January 18-19, the Southeast Division Annual Meeting was held at the Sea Palms in St. Simons, Georgia. Mark Senior and I attended several of the sessions and our reports are detailed below:
Tech Meeting, led by Fred Clark.
Fred discussed the tech tools available to all the Regions. They included a whistler for measuring compression ratio, including a new adapter for Mini Coopers; a special tool for measuring bore and stroke “in-situ”; an electronic meter for measuring roll bar thickness without drilling a hole; and a fuel tester. Fred noted that the best way to have these items shipped is via bus (Greyhound). On the subject of fuel testing, it was noted that NCR’s Chief of Tech, Buddy Matthews, is likely the only one still testing. Others take a sample at the track and send it off to be tested. It was noted that as soon as we come up with a system to test the fuel, folks come up with a way to beat it. Fred brought up the topic of “REM” coating of parts (transmission). It was agreed there was no way to detect it, so we should just allow coatings.
Hello and welcome to 2014 and a new era of racing at VIR!
The 2013 racing season was a successful one, but financially it left much to be desired. For 2014, we are definitely going to have to cut some of our expenses in order to balance our budget. That, however, is easier said than done. We need to control costs and our options are limited. The cost of track rent is fixed; our sanction costs and insurance costs are not in our control and about the only variable we have any control over is our efforts at hospitality. That is a peculiar issue, however, since the Pagoda, which our contract with VIR stipulates is the only source we can buy food from, adds a mandatory 18% gratuity. So you may see lighter or even missing parts of our normal fare in the coming year. The one thing not on the table for cutbacks is the beer party – that will continue. You may just have to plan for meals at the end of the day.
Well, hello. It’s been awhile since I’ve written, so let me attempt to catch up:
The SARRC/MARRS, in May, was a great race, and we always enjoy our friends from The DC Region when they come and help us with this race. They contribute both drivers and workers and this has made for a great tradition over the last few years. It makes for a great racing and social event. We hope to continue that event for many years to come.
On July 20th, the SEDIV midyear meeting was held in Atlanta, again, and that’s the time when all the Regions of the Southeast Division get together and sort racing dates for the next season. A number of our dates were up for discussion because of different circumstances. Our traditional March weekend was chosen by SCCA for their National Convention which moves to Charlotte this year. This was cause for us to explore other dates and the only one available was the weekend before – the first weekend in March. Another date in question is the Major’s weekend and that traditional date falls on Easter. That date is still in negotiation with VIR, at this point. Most other weekends will remain on their traditional weekends.
The latest iteration of the Nationals/Majors race is behind us, and what accolades we accumulated! The SCCA National representatives charged with overseeing our operation were practically bubbling with praise after the event. They told us that, of all the regions conducting Majors races so far, our Region was the most receptive, most committed, and the smoothest. They praised how seamless and punctual the races were executed, how good decisions were made on Saturday night, when weather intervened, and how well we recovered from that. They said our Tech and impound was the best executed of any Region so far. OUR PEOPLE ARE THE BEST. I think this race will go into history as one of the strongest and most notable races the Region has ever run, while handling, what may be, the most entries we’ve ever had. It’s almost a benefit that we had weather issues on Saturday night, because it demonstrated how well we handle unexpected and potentially dangerous situations in the attendance of a large number of National attendees. At the end of it all, I mentioned that this race was not operated much differently from any of our races, and that we really didn’t make many changes to comply with National’s requirements.
The racing was great with mostly large groups, close racing, and beautiful, if cold, weather. Many races were decided in late lap charges without rough driving. National helped make race finish events special with checkered flag/victory laps, champagne and interviews on the podium. Every participating Region member is to be applauded for their part in this event. It takes an unimaginable number of people doing their best, behind the scenes and in front, to accomplish a result like this. I think the Region will benefit in the future from our work last weekend. Financially, there is hope that this race may help make up for the dismal result of our March race.
First I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Kerrigan Smith, VIR Director of Operations; Tommy Webb, Director of Security; and David Crumpton, a.k.a. “Cowboy”, Director of Emergency Medical Services for VIR, for the wonderfully cordial and productive meeting we had with them. They came all the way to Graham on Wednesday, November 14, to meet with the NCR Board of Directors and some of our race staff to discuss how we can further smooth out our operations on SCCA weekends and make 2013 even better than the 2012 season. We truly value our good relationship with VIR and this kind of discussion only makes it better.