New season! New faces! New plans by old friends! The first Triangle Chapter meeting of 2015 was abuzz with animated conversation and enthusiasm for the coming year’s events. New member Warren Lapham, a friend of Treasurer Steve Keadle from the Heart of Carolina Mustang Club, was there to meet the folks. And new to us, but not to the SCCA, John Snodgrass, a former driver and long-time volunteer in many different specialties, came as well. John is a Steward in training, or “SIT” as they are known, and he cannot wait to get started at our next event, the first weekend in March (March 7th & 8th). And Bob Stearns was there too. Bob’s not a member yet but he’s leaning that way. He’s looking for more venues and more types of events to run his ’65 Cobra. There was a moment of silent awe followed by a round of applause when Bob explained that while the motor wasn’t original, the chassis of his awesome ride was an original CSX Shelby. Should be a big hit at future autocrosses and hill climbs! Welcome to you all!
The business portion of the meeting was short. But first we had to introduce the 2014 Region award winners in attendance. Included in that bunch was Lifetime Achievement winner Dan Robson, Member of the Year Bruce Dover, Ericka Spencer with an Outstanding Service award as a Pace Car Communicator and Justin Deffenbaugh with an award for Outstanding Service as Race Chair. You know you’ve given awards to the right people when the first thing they do after being recognized is start thanking all the other people who helped them achieve that award, and to a person, that’s just what they did. Justin in particular gave high praise to the other new race chair volunteers, Mark Senior and Eric Danielsen, who could not be present, and urged everyone present to get involved in making our events better and better. Amen, Justin. Thanks to all for their service.
The hot topic of the business meeting was our recent joint meeting with representatives from the Tarheel Sports Car Club and the staff and management of VIR. Regular readers of this column will recall that last year we tried to partner with THSCC for a joint event at VIR and this meeting was an attempt to further that relationship and to make certain we had VIR’s blessing going forward. Kerrigan Smith, General Manager of VIR, assured us that this was indeed the case and that he and his staff wanted to grow the motorsports community as much as either of our two clubs did. A number of specific issues were discussed, but more importantly, I think, was that we all got to meet each other face to face and be assured that we were working towards a common goal. To further this end, Mr. Smith surprised us all by picking up the tab for dinner. Thank you, sir! The participants all left that meeting with a renewed sense of shared purpose and optimism for the future.
The rest of the business meeting consisted of a few short items. First up was a yearly financial report, which was available for member inspection. Suffice it to say that it was a good year and that we made money overall, but not much, only about three per cent of the $328K we spent to run this club last year went back into the saving account. But any year we are in the black is a good one! Kudos to Treasurer Steve Keadle for his diligent work in providing that report.
Another item was a revision of the Tarheel Cup Pro Series rules. The TCPS races are 45-minute enduros and following the successful experiment of last year, they will be run concurrently with the 90-minute enduros of the ECR series. That allows for a less- crowded schedule. Gone now are the team registration fee ($15) and the end-of the year cash payouts. TCPS Administrator Steve Rose (also the Region Secretary) explained that this was in response to participant wishes. Our drivers have opted for lower entry fees in lieu of prize money. Member-at-Large Sam Fouse pointed out that TCPS track time is now the best deal you can get at our events, offering the most track time for the least amount of money. We aim to please!
And the final item was the announcement of a new class, Sports R, which had just been approved by the Region’s Board of Directors. Introduced at the Board meeting by Member-at-Large and the Region’s Chief of Scrutineering, Buddy Matthews, Sports R provides a class for drivers to run old Sports Renault race cars. Historically minded readers may remember that SR was the precursor to SRF. Back in the 80’s when SCCA Enterprises introduced the idea of purpose-built sports racing cars to be sold by SCCA; they were powered by Renault engines. When those went out of production, Ford engines were substituted and most SR’s were converted to SRF. Apparently rather than convert, some owners just parked them. And now they can run in our Regional events again. Yeah, I didn’t know there were any of those still around, either! It’s amazing what you can find under a tarp in someone’s garage.
And speaking of what you can find, why not come out to the next Triangle Chapter meeting, Wednesday March 4th, and see what you can find out about what folks have been up to? It’s just a few days before the “March Into Spring” event at VIR, so it will provide an evening’s short break for those getting ready to go and an opportunity for those who need help to get some. I’ll see you there…or at the races!