January 13, 2021 at 1:35 PM
I think we can all agree that last season was a challenging and troubling time for the SCCA Solo Community, just as it was for the entire nation. However, what may not be immediately apparent is that the impact of CV19 is extending into the development of the 2021 season regarding resources, schedules, rules, procedures, and the potential impact of local CV19 restrictions on scheduled events. In this environment it is imperative that we improve our communications with the Solo Community for both the “What” and the “Why” of decisions and actions being taken. That is the purpose of the “National Solo Notes”, whether it is written by me, another staff member, or Club official. These Notes will appear regularly in the “Autocross Announcements” section of the Solo homepage on the SCCA web site and then distributed more widely through social media.
Typically, the National Solo Notes, will be just that, notes, as opposed to long, deep dive stories. This issue will be a bit longer as we are introducing this means of communication and we are covering two subjects in this edition: the reasons behind the ProSolo 1 (PS-1) in FL next month and the compressed spring west coast National Solo schedule.
PS-1 is a concept we have been considering for years to address and adapt to the ever-shrinking number of sites capable of hosting a traditional ProSolo with mirror image courses. A solution was tried in 2020 at a few sites where there were still two courses, but not mirror image. Just simply right and left courses. A PS-1 would be used at sites that cannot accommodate two courses, including racetrack facilities as these could become more common as National Solo sites. Additionally, a PS-1 at a racetrack could be a bridge event between Solo and Track Sprints that come under the Time Trials program. An overview of the concept and event details will be posted on the event page SCCA.com registration page: https://www.scca.com/events/1997817-2021-tire-rack-scca-florida-prosolo1-florida-international-rally-and-motorsport-park
Traditionally the spring west coast National Solo events have been scheduled from the end of March through April, with three or four events spread over five weeks with a break for the Easter weekend. As we began the scheduling process for the 2021 season it was clear that with Easter on the first weekend of April it was going to be a break between the first three eastern events (GA, NC, TX) and the spring west coast events. This did not initially cause us much concern as it appeared that we would not have a full complement of spring west coast events due to CV19 related site availability or accessibility, planned construction at the Auto Club Speedway, and potential local gathering size limitations. In fact, at one point we were not sure if there would be any west coast events as the summer events at Packwood were in doubt due to the site being for sale. Therefore, we requested that our host Regions keep checking about availability with the hope that perhaps two or three might come through. In the meantime, we continued developing the National Solo schedule in other parts of the country.
Surprisingly, these locations one by one became available and we had a full house of events without a break – four events in a row! Without a natural breakpoint like Easter, the best we could do was alternate the events north and south. The only other option would have been to tell one Region that we were passing on their event for 2021. Given that there remains a degree of uncertainty about all these events being able to be conducted due to CV19 concerns, it seemed unwise to cancel any event.
If this level of interest and site availability continues into 2022 and beyond, we will have to consider making the investment in equipment and staff to be able to run events on the same weekend simultaneously in different parts of the country. We once had that partial capability, but currently, those resources are not available as we move into a season of wash, rinse, repeat. Our goal for 2021 is to achieve a position for SCCA to be more aggressive in 2022.
The next edition of National Solo Notes will be more details about the 2021 ProSolo program and I hope to see all of you at the start line soon.
Howard Duncan – Senior Manager, National Solo Field Operations