UCR HAS THE LARGEST MEMBERSHIP IN PCA. UCR has the largest track program in PCA, with one of the best safety records. We can survive high fuel prices, a pandemic, last-minute cancellation of events and a sluggish economy. What we can’t survive is apathy amongst our membership.
I’m disappointed. I think most of the Track Team is disappointed. Here’s why. At the beginning of every season when we figure out how much room we have in the program for new drivers, we look at the numbers. It’s the only indicator of how many people we can take in and not be oversubscribed. After two years of complete stagnation, we are working really hard to get the program moving again. It looked like we had about a dozen green drivers from two years ago, who wanted to get back into the program. So, we calculated that having more than one IDS at the beginning of the season would be a wasted effort. It would be even more frustrating for our students to take IDS and then not get into the events.
The participation limit at IDS is set at 33. After the classroom sessions we have three stations where the new drivers practice what they have just learned. That’s 11 cycles and three rotations, so no one must wait a long time for their turn, and we have enough instructor coverage to keep everyone safe. We are aware that there have been many complaints that members can’t get into the program, and due to the pent-up desire to join, we had 80 people sign up for 33 spots. Fifty-nine of them signed up on Jan. 1. What we were hoping for was to get the program moving by mid-summer and then host another IDS for those who didn’t get in initially.
That all changed as registration unfolded for the first regular DE event for April 30 and May 1. Despite 80 people wanting to get into IDS, and hopefully then the DE program, only three came to that first DE. You read that correctly, three out of 33 joined us. After disappointing all of those other drivers, we didn’t even fill the green run group. A group of team members and over 20 instructors gave up their Saturday to host an IDS and it was a waste of time. A few IDS participants have signed up for June, I guess to wait for warmer weather, but the majority hasn’t signed up for anything.
It sounds like I’m coming down on the IDS participants, but there appears to be “weather shopping” going on across all groups in the program. Here are the tallies for the May event: combining the IDS and green groups we have 13 of a possible 25, the yellow group brings us 12 out of a possible 25, in the white group it is 29 out of 45, and in black just 25 out of 45. We were counting on doing instructor candidate checkouts in the black group at the first event, because we haven’t vetted any new instructors for two years, and half won’t even show up. In total we have room for 185 cars, which is our vehicle capacity limit, and we are ending up with 111 participants. To add insult to injury, we have over 215 people trying to get into the June event. Good luck.
IDS as you know it is over. We will no longer be hosting big skid schools in the spring to fill our ranks. After many E-mails, meetings and phone calls, we are revamping the way you will enter the DE program. It may seem a little different in the beginning, but as it develops it will better serve the membership and the program.
Now that I’ve blown off a little steam I’ll share where we are going from here. IDS as you know it is over. We will no longer be hosting big skid schools in the spring to fill our ranks. After many E-mails, meetings and phone calls, we are revamping the way you will enter the DE program. It may seem a little different in the beginning, but as it develops it will better serve the membership and the program.
We will open a track registration for novices (the opening date will soon be announced) and you will register as we always have. The registration will not have an event date on it. It will be one registration for the season. As we make room in the green run group through advancements, possibly five or more openings, we will invite those on the list in chronological order. If you accept, the novice training will take place at the track on the Saturday of a DE weekend. Saturday will be your classroom and basic training and Sunday you will be on track with your instructor. If you turn down the offered event you will go to the end of the list, not the next position. We must be fair to the people eagerly waiting on the registration list.
All this will be possible as we reformulate the program and prioritize track driving. As Del Bruce pointed out, “It’s not 1985 anymore,” so we need to change the program to better reflect the modern cars that come to the track. The days of pulling the fuse in your 944 to disconnect the ABS and leaving rubber everywhere are over. We need to focus on those who come out and participate. After all, we are the track team, so we should stay in our lane.
A lot of thought and planning is going into the new program (whatever we end up calling it) to make sure everyone benefits. From rental helmets for your first event, to a direct financial benefit to the students. The $350 you will save by not attending a stand-alone IDS will cover the cost of your DE helmet for the next 10 years. Having a fire extinguisher will be waived for those in the novice program, so you can make sure the program is right for you without any major expenditure.
The training will be first-rate. The safety will be up to our standards and each person accepted will move directly into the program. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. This is a big shift in focus for the novice program and we’re hoping that everyone responds favorably to it. It will only be successful if you show up. </>