We Have a Plan

YOUR TRACK TEAM has engaged in a great deal of discussion about how to restart our somewhat-stalled Driver Education program. After two years with no run-group movement, it’s going to be difficult to get it moving again. Especially when you consider that we haven’t been able to host an Introductory Driving School, nor have any green students for two years, or even develop any instructors. Without that foundation it would have been unsafe for those students to drive without an instructor in their cars. While the lead-follow program allowed the yellow drivers to get some track time, it certainly didn’t offer the comprehensive training that our full program offers.

Our plan to allow only double-vaccinated participants to attend our events will permit us to move forward and offer a full program in 2022. We are going to start 2022 with only one IDS in April. We aren’t sure how many green drivers were abandoned during COVID-19 and we don’t want to create a bottleneck from the very beginning. If you are signing up for IDS next year, please make sure that you sign up for other DE events as well, since the schedule will fill up fast.

Our first event in May will contain our original five run groups. They are green, yellow, white, black and red. While there are dozens of drivers who would like to immediately move up, there is nowhere to move you to. Moving from yellow to white at the beginning of the season would result in you being wait-listed and not getting into the events. Please be patient. Other than assisting the students in green and yellow, our check-out focus during the first event will be the black run group. We will be looking for candidates for UCR instructors and helping everyone clean up their lines. Two years without any feedback results in some pretty sloppy habits.

The June event will be preceded by an instructor day on the Friday attended by the black and red run groups. This will be the opportunity to properly train the promising black drivers, using the national program, in order to promote new UCR Instructors and make some space in the black run group. The national certification will come at a later date as circumstances allow. That will be followed by the regular weekend DE during which we will focus on the white run group in addition to the regular green and yellow assignments. I suggest that the white group use the May event to clean up their acts and produce some consistently perfect laps. Then they will be prepared for the check-out rides in June.

By July we will be in the position to start advancing the yellow and green students as their skills allow. We don’t move people based on how many times they’ve attended, but on the skills that they have developed on track. Seat time is a key factor in mastering the techniques that students are taught, so please use the measured start-up to your advantage. Giving yourself permission to be sloppy is never a recipe for future advancement. The only reward that instructors receive in this program is the satisfaction of seeing one of their students excel. Please be one of those students.

As mentioned in last month’s Provinz we have provided a facility in your driver’s profile to allow you to download your double-vaccination record from the Ministry of Health. That feature is now ready so please go to your profile and upload your documentation prior to signing up for the 2022 season on New Year’s Day. That will prevent delays as we verify each entry. Sometimes we take for granted how clever some of our volunteers are but Peter Carroll clearly out-performed any expectation in setting this up for us. We are fortunate to have people like him supporting our program. Please keep in mind that this could all go by the wayside at the whim of the government. It’s not like they have been consistent in their decisions so far.

Registration for the full 2022 DE season will open at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s a first-come, first-serve system that is accurate to within one-hundredth of a second. I wonder who will win the Registration Race this year.

You will find the 2022 schedule included in this month’s Provinz Calendar (pages 10 and 11) and posted on the club website. Please have a look and plan to attend as many events as possible. If you are an IDS student and soon to be in the green run group, please make sure you sign up quickly as those spots are limited. As usual, registration for the full 2022 DE season will open at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s a first-come, first-serve system that is accurate to within one-hundredth of a second. I wonder who will win the Registration Race this year.

One change we made in the past two seasons that will continue is the boxed lunches that have come with your registration. The track has decided that they like this format for private functions, as it limits their employee costs and makes us all customers. For us, it means limited choices and continued drive-through service. It also means that our rates must go up by $15 in 2022. While we’ve been clawing back the money we used to spend on giveaways in order to pay for the food, the cost of $20 per box has wiped out our budget. It doesn’t sound like much by itself but over the season we will spend $36,000 on food. Add the increase in track rental and each of the services we engage, and $15 is a bargain.

We’ve all had a difficult couple of years with the pandemic and all of the home and work issues that it has created. Even if you’ve escaped unscathed, the stress and doubt about the future take a toll. While the effects may go on for years and the damage may be immeasurable, we still have family, friends, and our personal interests to keep us grounded. While small things drive me crazy sometimes, big things don’t. For someone who doesn’t have any particular religious beliefs, I still do have faith. I have faith in family, faith in friends, and faith in the future. So regardless of where, or in what, you place your faith, I wish each and every one of you a peaceful and restful holiday season. Let’s just be grateful for who and what we have in our lives. </>

Photo by Joanne Martin.

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