The SCCA National Convention, with a new SCCA President, the highest attendance in years, energized members, and motivated speakers, was a hit with attendees. I expect you’ll hear from Regional leadership in attendance at Convention some of their meeting highlights. At our Convention, I led a packed to brim Time Trials Town Hall meeting where we discussed some exciting developments in Time Trials (TT). TT helps address a critical need for SCCA to develop racing programs that provide additional opportunities to have fun with cars, by allowing:
SCCA is the leader in amateur motorsports in the United States: we need to assert this position in everything we do – or lose it. We also need to look to the future and ensure members have access to motorsports. 70% of SCCA participation is solo racing; it’s no secret the precarious position of many autocross sites, particularly here on the West Coast. Key sites have disappeared at a desponding rate, creating risk to our solo racing community. For us to be confident in our ability to stage highly accessible, time-based competition for the next 20+ years, we need to have a robust product line within a motorsports environment.
Track Events, such as Track Night in America (TNIA), bring SCCA 5,000+ new participants a year. More than 1,000 different participants entered a TNIA event in Oregon and NW Regions since the program started a few years ago. Do you think TT is an opportunity in the Pacific Northwest? Without a robust TT program, we are asking those who wish to compete – particularly those in street cars – either to take a huge financial step up to road racing, take a side step to autocross, or run with our competition.
Let’s look how Solo was built and it’ll shed some light on why we’re taking the path we are with TT. In 1950’s and 1960’s, autocross, gymkhana, etc. were operated by 100’s of unaffiliated organizations, with little or no cohesiveness. In 1972, SCCA planted a flag and asserted a leadership position by staging the first Solo National Championship event. With this National Championship came a rulebook, along with procedures and policies that established standards that SCCA Regions and private clubs have followed. This dynamic of a National Championship event, with its own rules, in effect, created an identity for autocross and established SCCA as the leader in that space
Today, SCCA solo regions have their own identity – and the freedom to execute their program as they see fit. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find a program that does not enjoy benefits from following the model set by Solo Nationals. The National SCCA BOD believes SCCA needs to take the lessons of Solo and apply them to Time Trials. Here’s where we’re going:
It is critically important to recognize the creation of the TTB and the TT National Championship have no impact on any current Divisional or Regional TT or Hillclimb program. Divisions and Regions are free to continue (or start) with rules and classes that make sense for their areas. The only caveat is SCCA TT safety rules set a minimum; Divisions/Regions may add safety measures. What is hoped, however, is local organizers recognize the great benefit of street cars in TT competition and look for ways to reduce barriers to entry to SCCA competition – not create new hurdles.
There is a very real possibility of running a TT competition at an airport. While some may think Hood River, there are numerous SCCA Regions in Idaho, Montana, and Alaska with small airports, zero road racing, but a ton of enthusiasts. What if … we took an airport and created what would be a series of extended Solo courses, one where you run the track in sections, in different configurations? How about scoring PIR not only as a single continuous lap, but run it in segments, so maybe some competitors can smoke the tight turns 2– 7, while others are great at high speed transitions in 9 – 12, and the maximum speed folks romp the straights. Based on the buzz around the country, expect Regions new to TT, to start adopting SCCA National Championship rules to local competition.
Good Luck & Good Racing!