WINTER CAN GET PRETTY BORING with low temperatures and slippery surfaces, but one of my highlights is the opening of registration for the following season. You can talk, plan and budget but there is something very rewarding about looking at the system on New Year’s Day and seeing that over 600 individual registrations have taken place. That bodes well for a great DE season. There has always been an unofficial competition amongst the most enthusiastic, to see who can sign up first when the system automatically opens.
This year was no different. I should point out that the registration system that Peter Carroll built stores a good deal of data, so you can be assured that our “first come first served” policy is fair and accurate. In the race to sign up for the 2023 events, these are the enthusiasts on the podium. In first place we have a new IDE participant named Keisha Bartrem only 7/100ths of a second after midnight. Our second-place finisher was the White solo driver David Raeside who signed up 10/100ths of a second after midnight. The final registration position in third place is a Yellow student named Zsolt Bancila just 15/100ths of a second after registration opened. Congratulations to each of you for your outstanding enthusiasm. The rest of us are just losers…lolol.
During the off season I get my motorsports thrills from watching Australian Super Cup races and old Nurburgring videos. The “Ring” videos are all from the previous season as they shut the track down during the winter to pave sections and repair curbs. Over the next two winters they are embarking on digitalization of the Nordshleife in their biggest upgrade ever. The most dangerous part of the “Green Hell”, as the Nordshleife is known, has always been the difficult sight lines. A great number of crashes are caused by those who drive into a pre-existing incident, because they became aware of it too late. The flaggers are limited in numbers and unlike Mosport, most can’t see each other.
This ambitious 11 million euro program will excavate half the track shoulder this year and the other half next year to install twenty one kilometers of fiber optic cables. These cables will be connected to weatherproof poles containing high definition cameras. The cameras will allow safety teams and specialized computer programs, in a central control facility, to monitor every unusual incident. The control centre will then be able to warn the following traffic on a series of LED screens set up in advance of the poor sight lines. Many modern tracks are installing electronic flagging, as instant notifications prevent injuries and equipment loss. I’m sure that in the long term the program will be worth the cost.
Please keep in mind that due to the changes in the calendar every year our first track date moves forward a bit. Eventually we will all have to shift back a week so we can get back into May.
It’s already March and our first DE date is April 29th this season. It’s time to go over the mechanical condition of your car, to make sure you have time to complete whatever service it needs. Over the past couple of years it’s been difficult to get tires mid season, so now is a good time to cover your tire needs for the year. If you missed the Covid years you should check the expiry date on your helmet, since it may have expired while you were away. Currently we only accept Snell rated 2015 and 2020 helmets for track use.
For the first time in a couple of years you will be able to invite family and friends to the track as guests this season. Just be reminded that the only entrance to the track is between 7:am and 8:am.
For the first time in a couple of years you will be able to invite family and friends to the track as guests this season. Just be reminded that the only entrance to the track is between 7:am and 8:am. Guests must come in with you in order to sign the UCR guest waiver and receive a guest wrist band. We all have things to do during the day and fetching relatives isn’t one of them. I do sit at the front entrance from 7:45 to 8:am on Sunday morning so we can accommodate anyone who can only come on Sunday.
Our first event is also when we give out our annual DE awards. Someone will receive the 2022 award for Rookie of the Year, Enthusiast of the Year and Instructor of the Year on Sunday morning. While all of our participants invest time, money and effort to advance in the program, these are the people who stood out amongst their peers and received very high ratings each time. Just because event management is busy with lots of moving parts, doesn’t mean that we aren’t paying attention. So, keep up the hard work and enjoy the journey!
With our busy lives it’s easy to forget things. I always claim that I must forget things to make room in my memory to learn new stuff. However, it always surprises me when we get emails from participants asking basic questions. It’s not just a waste of our time, but it makes you wonder what else they don’t know. So do yourself a favor, take 5 minutes, go to the website and read the Registration Rules, examine the Tech Form and generally brush up on how the program works. That information will make your events more relaxed and keep you safe.
I’m not saying we don’t want to hear from you. Once you’ve read the information if there is anything you aren’t sure of, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the person in charge of that activity for clarification. At the track there are ten people running around with radios. You will be introduced to half of them at the mandatory safety meeting. If you need to know something at the track, just ask them. If they don’t know the answer to your question, they know exactly who to reach on the radio and will be happy to assist you. We are there to help.
Spring is coming and so is DE. I’m getting the itch! </>
Photograph by Michael Coates