Back on Track for 2022

WITH THIS TRACK SEASON GONE, we hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. It’s the track team’s intention to put on a full program next season, starting with an IDS event in April and including an Instructor Day in June. It’s not going to be an easy season to manage since the program has been stagnant for two years. Everyone who thinks they are Fangio will have to wait until we have room in other run groups before they can advance. With the addition of the green group, the blue group will be cancelled and those students returned to the white group. They may face the possibility of wait lists next season so don’t wait to sign up. It won’t be pretty, but you can be assured that we will do the best we can under the circumstances.

I may as well get to the point on admission to the events for the 2022 season. If you aren’t double vaccinated, you will not be allowed to attend. After much discussion it’s been decided that managing unvaccinated people at a track event is too cumbersome. Every time we assign an instructor or someone asks for a check-out ride, we can’t be questioning and carding everyone. It’s a lot more efficient to do the carding in the registration phase. By pre-clearing we can be assured that everyone in the facility and at the venue has been double vaccinated. It’s also too cumbersome to check everyone on Saturday morning since we often have to process 150 people in an hour.

This is how next season’s registration will work. Our tech savvy Chief Instructor Peter Carroll is adding a facility in your driver’s profile medical section where you can download the original PDF form that the Ontario Ministry of Health sent to you. It was sent to you to verify that you had received two valid doses of vaccine. It contains your name and the date you received the second dose and the product you received. That information will be verified prior to you being accepted into any of our events and matched against the information in your driver’s profile. The beauty of this simplistic approach is you will only have to do it once and everyone accepted into the event has been pre-approved. It also means that the registrar will only have to check it once as well. If your form hasn’t been submitted and verified, the system won’t allow you to be accepted. None of us want to be COVID cops, so we will follow the government guidelines and the decision to participate is entirely yours.

It’s time to mention some of the people who have served our program over the past few years and are deserving of our thanks. Mary Iantorno has been our registrar and has done a fantastic job. Answering everyone’s E-mails and trying to stuff as many people as possible into the events during a pandemic can’t be any fun. Most people were supportive and understanding, but there are always a few who believe that they are the exception to every rule. She handled it all with style and grace and has been a pleasure to associate with. She is not dead. I just realized that this paragraph looks like an obituary. Mary and her partner Scott are in a vehicle transition and aren’t sure how that will work out for the beginning of next season. As someone who had attended without a car, it’s not the most fun you can have, so she is stepping aside for now. We can always count on her for her help if needed.

If you haven’t been vaccinated to save your grandmother, then get vaccinated so you can track your car.

As one of our long-time supporters and someone who understands the language that Peter Carroll wrote our registration system in, Charlie Croskery has graciously stepped forward to take over the registrar’s role. I’ve known Charlie for a long time and at least his students seem to like him. All kidding aside, he will be a great addition to the team and serve the club well.

As I alluded to, Scott Bodo has stepped down as our on-site safety man. The duties of safety are all trackside but really quite important. Scott would arrive early, set out all the driver-education cones and check the condition of the track. He would then report back, prior to the safety meeting. It’s important that the team and the chief instructor have that information early in the morning’s planning conversations, so the first run groups we send out are aware of the conditions. Scott accumulated photos of the cone positions so regardless of whether you agree or disagree with their positions, they were always consistent. He would then fulfill his responsibilities as an instructor and further contribute to the event. We’re grateful for his service.

Our new safety man this season is Gord McNeil. Gord has been around the program for a very long time. We asked Gord to fill in for Scott because he’s one of those people that you can count on to cover the task and his decades-long service as an instructor makes his reports precise and comprehensive. He’s also a pretty pleasant guy to talk to in the morning, while I’m wandering around muttering to myself. You probably know his partner Karen Geard, who was helping Mary out in registration. They are both avid trackies and long-time supporters of UCR. I always look forward to hearing Gord’s opinions on any subject that the team is considering.

For those who attended the past two track events, you may have noticed the absence of a big voice in the tower. John Adam had some cardiac surgery earlier in the season and is home recovering. John has served the club in many different positions including club president and many others, but his signature contribution is being our old clock on the wall. With his years of experience dealing with whatever we throw at him, John has contributed to the smooth operation of the Tower at DE events and Club Races for decades. So while we wish him a speedy and complete recovery, we also don’t want him to rush it at his health’s expense. I do want him to know that he is missed by the Track Team and everyone who supports the DE program.

We were fortunate that Graham Jardine and Edward Ney were available to competently manage our final two events for the 2021 season and we are grateful for the fine work they did. The tower position is exactly the opposite of “seen and not heard” but the truly important part is reacting quickly to any emergency situations and getting people the help that they need. Thank you both from all of us.

Now the silly season starts, with budgets, scheduling and our annual planning meeting. We’ll keep you all informed of any issues that arise. Until then, have a safe and productive fall and start looking forward to some semblance of normalcy. If you haven’t been vaccinated to save your grandmother, then get vaccinated so you can track your car. </>

Photography by Christopher Hebert

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