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Try Not to Panic

WHEN I WAS A KID, a long time ago, my mother used to do her ironing in the dining room of our home. I guess she found the big dining table convenient for laying out ironed clothes and sorting out who owned them. The ironing board had a wooden top and a thick pad on it that prevented creases. The electric steam iron was state of the art 1960s technology.

The reason that I remember all that so clearly is because one day, either the iron got left on the pad too long or the cord on the iron shorted out, because it caught on fire. Mom started shouting and she was so upset that we could barely make out what she was saying. My dad, who was pretty hard to fluster, walked into the dining room, pulled the drapes back, opened the window and fired the whole thing out onto the lawn. He appeared collected and his main concern was that this small fire wasn’t going to delay dinner. I think that event, more than any other, made me realize that panic is pointless. Running around in a circle shouting doesn’t change anything. Making simple, clear decisions and following through with a minimum amount of fuss, always makes for the best outcome. So I just don’t panic and that lesson has served me well.

We have been confronted with an exceptional health crisis throughout the world. Locally it has changed the way we work, the way we live and the way we play. Since there isn’t anything we can do to change that, other than faithfully following good advice and expert direction, we shouldn’t get too excited about it. As I’m sure you’re aware our club had to modify its programs as the situation progressed. We started by cancelling the first IDS and moving DE registrants to the second one. Then we had to cancel the second IDS and planned to remove the green and yellow run groups from the first May event. That was done to prevent instructors from having to ride in students’ cars and violate social distancing. Now as time moves on, we’ve had to cancel the first May DE event and cancel the students from the May 30 DE.

Like fighting a fire we are backing away from our original schedule in small increments, to leave the remains of our program viable. The fire will eventually diminish and the balance of our season will remain intact for you to enjoy. Everyone has a computer and an opinion, but neither of those things makes any difference, as the virus has its own timeline. We aren’t going to do anything stupid or take any serious risks. We are working on a plan to use some of our available track time and it will be comprehensive and well thought out. The decision will ultimately be yours. There will be no penalties and no pressure. Either you will be comfortable with the arrangements or you won’t come.

This is where we are at the present time. It’s our plan to host a three-day lapping event from May 29 through May 31. There will be no students for this first event so we can make sure that we’re putting our personal safety first. This is how I’m envisioning the event taking place at this moment. I’m sure there will be adjustments as we detect issues and solve them. Could we just cancel that weekend too? Yes, but we are willing to do the work in case we can make it happen. Planning a no-contact, socially distant driving event is at the very least a mental exercise. So please hear me out (in print).

Friday, May 29 is our recently scheduled instructor day. That would go ahead with the black run group invited to take part for just $100, a boxed lunch included. You would need a pre-signed tech form and you would just show it while signing the waiver. We’ll take it from you on Saturday at the DE. Make sure it’s signed in advance because you can’t borrow my pen. Mosport (CTMP) will provide numerous hand-washing stations around the paddock and once signed in you should use one. Mosport will turn its FM radio station on, so all instructions for the day, including the required safety meeting would take place over your car’s FM radio and the paddock speakers. Turn your radio off while driving and turn it back on when you return to the paddock for further updates. Please don’t encroach on anyone else’s space or bring any non-participants to the track with you.

This event would be an advanced lapping day with only two run groups (red and black). We will have the opportunity to identify advanced black drivers for future advancement with strategically positioned instructors. Your boxed lunch will be picked up at an improvised drive-through and taken back to the paddock for you to enjoy. The restaurant will not be open, so bring water and any snacks you would like with you. Wash your hands every time you touch something that isn’t yours. The track will make sure that we have ample soap and paper towels. Don’t steal their toilet paper or the weekend is over.

Saturday and Sunday will be a higher-volume lapping weekend. There will be no green or yellow run groups. I’m sorry but there is no way we can manage students with little track experience at this time. We have re-activated the old blue run group. We will allow everyone who is on the solo wait lists into the event so we can afford to stage the event. Any white driver who has completed four or more weekends in white will be temporarily moved to the blue group. Any black driver who hasn’t completed more than one weekend in black will be temporarily moved to the blue run group. This movement is only for this one event before the system returns you to your original run group. There will be no run group movement at this event as there will be no check-out rides.

We will operate on a four-run-group schedule, thus extending track sessions to 25 minutes. A complete schedule and information sheet will be E-mailed at the close of registration. You must print it, along with your automated run-group acceptance and bring it with you to the track. The only thing we will distribute is your wrist band. There will be a modified tech line where you will deposit your tech form directly into a box. Your name will be checked off and a sticker applied to your car. Make sure your form is signed because pens will not be loaned. Make sure your car is fully track-ready or you will not get your sticker. No unloading later. There will be no worker assignments. Two marshals will check your tech stickers and safety gear as you go through staging.

Now this is important — follow all the rules! You are all experienced trackies and you know what is expected of you. If you come to staging without everything buttoned down and track-ready, or do any other careless things, we won’t hesitate to send you home. This is a no-nonsense event and we aren’t going to ask anyone to take any risks because of someone else’s foolishness. Don’t be late, because if you miss the mandatory safety briefing you will be sent home. If you drive carelessly you will be sent home. The last thing you want at this time is to be sent to a hospital. I think you get the drift here.

With your complete cooperation and the tireless efforts of your track team we can begin to salvage our track season. If the virus has begun to subside in the population by the time of the July event we will use the driver development track on Friday to host an IDS and get back to doing what we do best — learning about and enjoying our cars. There is an up-to-date IDS and DE letter posted on the website with the general information as things change.

Let’s have some fun! </>

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