Brighter Days Ahead

I SAY GOOD RIDDANCE TO 2020, as I look forward to 2021 and a brighter future. With registration for the coming track season open and our ability to accept yellow run-group drivers into the program, the future does look brighter. The run groups for the first half of the season will see a modified program for the yellow run group as they join the white, blue, black and red solo drivers for the first half of the season.

At that point we’ll re-evaluate our ability to stage an IDS (Introductory Driver School) and the possibility of welcoming the green run group to join us. Those changes will be dependent on the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and our instructors’ willingness to occupy the right seat.

Since my last article we’ve finalized the 2021 budget and found that as long as enough of you support the program, we won’t have to raise the rates in 2021. I’m very aware that some people may be struggling with lower income and higher business expenses, so we’ve done our part to keep our costs under control. Of course, we’re counting on our members to come out and support the club as well. Since we still aren’t doing giveaways and other social activities, we’ve managed to absorb the lunches into our budget, so those costs won’t get passed along this season provided the attendance stays up. If that falls, we’ll have to start charging for the lunches. Running a program in these uncertain times is a lot of fun.

Our new board of directors is in place and it’s filled with enthusiasts, so I’m looking forward to great things from them. You can also expect great things from your track team as we figure out how to give the yellow group a worthwhile experience, while protecting everyone’s health. There has been a lot of talk about how to instruct in a lead-follow or observation programs, so I went straight to the PCA National Driver Education Chairman John Krecek. Like all of the volunteers who spend a great deal of their time and effort to make our clubs better, he is a great guy. He knows his stuff and he’s very supportive of the region’s ability to make things work.

The gist of our conversation is that PCA National has set up some minimum standards to follow and is going to provide me and the chief instructor with a package of information, including written materials and a video to study. Based on that information we can generate our own program that will best serve our membership and function best at our track. One thing that we agree on wholeheartedly is that there will be no run-group movement until it’s safe to do check-out runs. Just because your car appears to
be on the line doesn’t mean that you aren’t eating a sandwich in there!

For those of you in the yellow group who were unsure, we will still be maintaining social distancing while allowing you seat time under controlled conditions. It’s up to each of you to act responsibly and strive for improvement every time you’re on the track. So, sign up as soon as you can since the yellow group is limited to 20 vehicles at each COVID-restricted event. While most of the solo-group drivers have already experienced our COVID format, it will be a new experience for the yellow drivers.

You will receive an E-mail package with all of the procedural information about the event after registration closes and generally a week before the event. You are responsible for having your car teched in advance and you will be required to bring that form and a 2021 PCA COVID waiver form with you. This waiver only needs to be submitted once per season, but you can’t attend without it. We have formatted registration to be non-contact and all of that information will be in your E-mailed registration package. We conduct the safety meeting over CTMP’s FM radio station and lunch is a drive-through format.

We’ve spent a great deal of time and effort making the events safe and will continue to do so until the vaccine is widely distributed. Since part of our format will be lead-follow and the balance corner observation, it will be important that you add the four-inch car numbers on the rear of your car that we mandated last year. We haven’t really enforced it until now, but I’m sure you can see how they will become important.

Due to the slow vaccine roll-out and risks involved in shopping for anything, we will be extending the 2010 Snell helmet’s use through 2021. Our new safety chair Gord McNeil has been negotiating a discounted price for all of our members at Braidan Tire. I think it’s being set up so that you will be able to enter your PCA membership number and get the best discount possible on your new helmet. I hope you take them up on that because the larger our purchase is the deeper the discount they can offer.

I hope you all made sensible decisions when it came to your holiday activities. Our family decided to forego our Christmas together this year in favour of having many more in the future. While a couple of us are getting on in years it was still a tough choice between survival and my sister’s chocolate cake. I was wavering there for a while, but she promised me a chocolate-cake party when this is finally over. Meanwhile, I’ll do what big old guys do best and hibernate for the balance of the winter. I’ll dream of warm asphalt, soft tires and screaming engines.

Stay safe out there! </>

Photos by Robert Martin

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