Author Topic: WCMA Announcement  (Read 1681 times)

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March 06, 2016, 05:28:19 PM
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Sue Wilson

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March 6, 2016

Attention competitors, drivers, workers, volunteers and officials.

WCMA has recently completed a number of executive and director changes.

Race Director Change

The first changed occurred late in December 2015 with Wayne Schellekens stepping down as Race Director.  Wayne has been an essential component of WCMA for well over a decade and has held the position of Race Director 3 to 4 times longer than any of the previous Race Directors.  It is a very tedious and time consuming position that usually burns out people and families in 12 to 24 months.  We all thank Wayne for years of contribution of his time to WCMA and to the amateur motorsport community.  If you see him, personally thank him.

Gary Roberts has stepped in as the new WCMA’s Race Director.  Timing could not be better for WCMA completed an Agreement with NASA to use a portion of their car classification system.  Gary brings a wealth of experience and is very dedicated to fine tuning all aspects of motorsports while having a strong understanding of NASA’s rules.

WCMA’s Voting Members – 2 new positions
Since the 2014 WCMA AGM has added 2 new members to WCMA’s Voting Member Executive: Jim Whitelaw and Andy de Boon.  Jim agreed to be the Solosport Director while Andy is the Race Officials Director (volunteers/workers/membership, etc.)

WCMA will also see a change in the President and Vice President positions.  At the 2013 WCMA AGM I went to the executive meeting with the intent to advise the group I was stepping down from WCMA, however, Michael Lemanski announced he was leaving WCMA after being involved for almost 20 years.  Since I was the only warm body in the room at the 2013 pre AGM meeting who had some free time I agreed to be President for one year.  The one year stretched a little longer, however I will be vacating the position as of February 29, 2016.

Andy de Boon will become WCMA President as of March 1, 2016.  Andy brings a tremendous amount of experience to the position. For many years we have all worked with Andy in organizing, running safe and competitive events.  He has been on the executive of both NASCC and ARCA, and his contribution to the Edmonton Indy race events for many years, helped contributed to their success.  His support and dedication to the sport has been second to none.

Doug Campbell will now become the Vice President as of March 1 2016.  Doug has been competing and organizing solo events since the early 1980s. He has been the President Calgary Sports Car Club many times over the past 3 decades.  Doug was a member of the ASN Solosport committee and has attended the ASN advisory meetings a number of times.

In the last two years WCMA has orchestrated some major changes and is finally starting to enjoy the 21 century.

Licensing for Competitors and Officials – Modernized
Registration and licensing is now an online system with a hard card system and an annual waiver format.  Chris Semanciw has done a fabulous, seamless job of transitioning WCMA from a paper process to an efficient and significantly less time consuming process.
 
Scrutineering
Gary Lohues became WCMA’s new Executive Scrutineer. Gary’s multiple decade involvement in car competition events (solosport, oval road racing and sport car racing) and his professional experience places WCMA in very good hands.

WCMA’s business/operating model is undergoing a major change

WCMA is also in the midst of a change in its business model and philosophy about its involvement in amateur motorsports.  WCMA has been strictly a sanctioning body with limited desire to be involved in marketing and direct promoting of events.  Sure there has always been an active indirect support.  This many decade old model was mainly because the sports car clubs associated with CASC Prairie Region and then WCMA had stated that they wanted to be autonomous, run their own events and be responsible for their club’s success. In addition to this, the race track owners have often looked after their own events with securing their own monetary relationship and monetary gain with their sponsors and corporate promoters.  WCMA is about to embark in a new direction and Gerard Tobin has become marketing/promotional director.  His title may evolve with the position and the success of these potential new changes or directions.

The remaining WCMA executive will continue to serve the Motorsport Community as they have for many years.

David Fowler, Treasurer has continued to do a brilliant job of maintaining a fiscal responsible policy while being able to retain the license and permit fees at the same annual fee for almost 20 years. 

Dave Welsh continues to be our legal counsel and is WCMA’s official Secretary.

Sue Wilson our Administrator continues to put in 100’s of hours each year.  Actually it would not surprise me if Sue contributes a 1000 plus hours a year. This type of support, plus additional astronomical amounts of volunteer time from members of affiliated Clubs enables amateur motorsport events to take place every year.

Dino Calvert our Executive Steward continues in that position and in 2015 implemented a number of changes to the overall stewarding process which followed up with a better and more accurate way to record and report incidents which compliments the announcement of incidents and penalties on WCMA’s forum.

Please welcome Andy, Doug, Gary, Chris, Gerard and Gary to their new positions.

As you can see and will come to appreciate WCMA’s new executive will continue to work hard for and support the amateur motorsports community in the 3 Prairie Provinces and 2 Territories.

Thank you to all the volunteers

Before I totally vacate my position as President I would like to conclude with a few statements.  First of all I would like to thank all the volunteers that allow amateur motorsports to exist and to run events.  It is a 100% volunteer organization with many people contributing 100’s of hours each and every year to the sport.

Track workers at events.  We have all said this many times, no one goes on the track without the track workers. They commit their time and without their dedication and experience for the successful operation of amateur motorsport event in rain or shine or even snow.  We all appreciate their support whether it be in scrutineering, stewarding, timing and lap scoring, pit lane, communications (and many other positions) or those out on the corners.

Canadian Motorsports Response Team (CMRT)
Competitors, race track officials and course workers please take the time to recognize the fact that you are very, very fortunate to have a group like CMRT involved at your events.  I have been around race tracks since the 1950’s and this is a very valuable service and please take the time to thank them. State of the art and qualified personal at amateur events in unprecedented.

Castrol Raceway
The sports car racing community is very fortunate to have a facility like this and to have owners who have made so many positive changes in the road course to suit the many different users.  Right from the get-go they have moved dirt, modified corners, moved walls which has created a solid foundation for amateur sports car racing.

The Future of amateur motorsports
These days there is a lot of competition for participants to participate in exciting, extreme or adrenaline sports!

We all enjoy watching the X-games or skier/snow boarders plummeting down rocky mountain sides, snowmobiler’s high-lining steep mountain slopes or people careening through steep valley’s in squirrel suits. Three to five decades these can’t sit at home people or non-arm chair frequenters would have chosen car racing as an activity, however instead of having a half dozen exciting activities to choose from many decades ago, today they have 100’s of different sports to spend their time and their disposable or discretionary funds..  Somehow the car racing motorsport community needs to bring some of these can’t sit in the house Saturday and Sunday motorsport enthusiasts actually out to amateur motorsport events.  How? What would or could be the carrot to get them interested and excited? One common element in these exciting sports is ever increasing new technology and in some of these sports the competitors are raising the bar by becoming faster, higher heights or more and increase skill levels with more complicated rotations and flips.  A clear question: What bars or new technology have the amateur sports car sporting bodies done in the last 10 or 20 years?

Are there activities the amateur sports car community can look into that may increase participation and bring spectators to events?

In my opinion, yes! The sports car clubs, track owners and sanctioning bodies must work hard to increase the exposure of closed circuit (road course track) to the various types of car enthusiasts. 

How? Inexpensive driving schools and lapping sessions (especially for those owners of the new modern sports cars or sports sedans), show and shines of vintage or historical competition cars or even for new or late model sports cars.  Or even free passes to events.

The Spec Miata Series is a great example.  Are there other series or marques that can be initiated in Western Canada?  What about the BMW E40 or E30 series in the States?  Or the American Muscle series? What about all the open wheel cars that once were like locus on race tracks across North America? Somehow increase the participation by vintage sports car owners.   These historical or vintage cars are a huge crowd favorite at all motorsports events around the world, yet here in the Prairies we have a tough time gathering dozens of historical race cars in one place for 5 race weekends in a summer.

Amateur sports car racing must strike a balance with cost effective car racing and modern state of the art cars.  Try to repeat history which will encourage investors to build new tracks and fund existing race tracks in North America

For many decades amateur sports car racing was a balance of modified production based cars, purpose built race cars and newly designed cars and state of the art equipment.  In the previous decades when new, modern fasters cars arrived on the showroom floors it was a very short period of time before they were on the race track.  These car racing events were an opportunity for the general public to come out, see and hear the cars they read about in the paper, car magazines or see in the movies or TV commercials.  However, for the last 15 to 20 years amateur sports car racing weekends has seen less and less modern or state of the art cars.  Sure we have a few GT3’s or Evolutions but we need dozens of them.

These opinions are my own and may not reflect the rest of WCMA’s executive’s opinion.
In my opinion this is where organizations like WCMA, local sports car clubs or track owners must open the doors and invite modern technology to the amateur ranks of motorsports.  We have to move into the 21st century.  Somehow you have to make room at events to showcase new technology.  Everything from diesels, to hybrids to electric to even to the new breed of high HP family cars where the owners only ever use 5 to 10% of these modern cars’ potential.  (Cars like the new Ford Focus RS, the VW Golf R, Ford Mustang 350 GTR or even like the Mercedes AMG 2 litre cars (with a 350 to 370 HP engines).  Amateur racing must also promote and encourage the participation of modern race cars like the Radical, older Continental tire and Rolex series type cars , Porsche GT3, Corvette ZR1, Mustang 350 GTR or Vipers ACR, and ex-Ferrari world Challenge series cars.

I appreciate the value of spec racing and amateur multiple class car racing classes composed of 10 to 40 year old cars.  This type of racing is very affordable and very exciting for the drivers.  We have also to appreciate that these WCMA winning front running drivers in the spec series and production based classes have developed racing skills that would easily place those drivers into PRO/AM successful racing events like the 24 hours of LeMans, 24 hours of Daytona or 12 hours of Sebring Pro/Am competitive cars.  However, these 10 to 40 year old technology cars, typical at WCMA events, neither draw out large crowds of spectators nor encourage potential sponsors to step forward to support these events. What it creates are very good race car drivers, but barely maintains the status quo on car counts.

Somehow the organizing sports car clubs, WCMA and the track owners have to work together to open the doors and showcase static displays of new 21 first century cars and open the track gates for these modern exotic cars.  The addition of the ever increasing value of vintage sports cars, purpose built open and closed wheel race cars will bring more arm-chair automotive enthusiasts to events.

The old guard who only wants older cars and keeping things the way they were must step aside and make room for modern technology to become part of the amateur racing weekends.  Having the vintage cars, which are often more often beautiful works of art at these weekend events and new modern 21st century cars will bring spectators. These spectators may become potential competitors or active participants or the perfect world: sponsors and future promoters.

There is still a huge support for many sprint races per weekend.  I would like to recommend two other major changes that the organizer club or clubs may consider:

Endurance type race – I thought the LA1K was a brilliant idea and NASCC did a fantastic job digging up sponsors and promoters. I personally know how hard it is to get sponsor or some like to call it “charity” for competitors who make major financial sacrifices to find funds to support their hobby.  To me this 6 to 12 hour endurance race concept had legs for the future. The article I wrote in 2014 in the Performance Racing News Magazine “Ignition” supported this belief.

Organizing clubs and/or WCMA may wish to create some type of share car championship award. A way to recognize a 2 or 3 driver entry or team.   
         
SOLOSPORT
My last stand on the soap box is to mention the value of Solosport.  This is really the grassroots or foundation of amateur sports car racing.  These organizers and competitors do their thing almost every weekend some place in the 3 Prairie Provinces and 2 Territories.  This group of incredibly talented drivers have been successful at Canadian National events and successful at North American Events like the Tire Rack Championship events.  We should do a better job at recognizing these talented competition drivers.  These weekend events is also an incredible opportunity to introduce friends or colleagues to have them test their driving skills with their street cars. Or just invite them out to become far superior drivers while participating in a solo event.  The success of the sport is through person to person contact.  Social media is a great way to communicate but the old fashioned person to person soft sell is still the best way to get people out of the arm chair and into solo event. The solo sport requires assistance in either building or securing a large skid pad type areas to run events.

Families and the next generation
Somehow the amateur motorsport race weekends have to involve the entire family and introduce the next generation to amateur sports car competition events (solosport and road racing). We have watched the success of the drag racing community at Castrol and they have involved the entire family.  We all would love to see more women and teenagers in driving suits and driving competitive cars.  Get the entire family involved in amateur sports car racing. This is another major component that is a must, for the success of the sport.

Spectator
I have been a spectator to motorsports for almost 7 decades. I’m strictly a spectator, I started out as a spectator which continued through my driving years and I will continue to be a spectator. I have been to tracks all over the world and I will continue to be a spectator for I truly enjoy seeing well prepared/beautiful sports cars (we all like shiny objects), I appreciate the time amateur race car teams must put into their cars to make them reliable and competitive and I highly respect that amateur and professional drivers that brakes at the limit of adhesion, hits their clipping points at the apex and hits their track-out points while at the limit of adhesion lap after lap after lap.  On those cold wet days and there is often only a handful people leaning against the fence, sitting in an empty grandstand or sitting on a hillside with a stop watch in hand. That old white hair fellow will most likely be me or someone like me, who loves watching cool cars and great drivers on a sunny or rainy afternoon.

As a spectator to the best sporting discipline in the world I would like to wish all of WCMA’s new executive much success being involved in fast, competitive, fun and most of all safe amateur motorsport events.

Cheers

Gary Leadbetter
Past President of WCMA
tachyon@shaw.ca


Sue Wilson
Administrator
Director - Licensing
Western Canada Motorsport Association


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