2017 Mid-Season Newsletter

Fellow COM Members,

Time seems to be flying, and we are already at the mid point of our 2017 season.  There has been some tight competition.  For now, I’d like to give an update on some of the happenings in the club since the open of the season.

Advanced Coaching: 

Back in May of 2016, when I decided to run for president, I asked Nick Fontana to craft a program to offer advanced coaching to our licensed drivers, but that also fit (or at least did not interfere) with our other curricular activities.  The overall goal for the club in offering this program was to offer higher value to our largest single group; our license holders.  The idea was to help individuals that feel they have plateaued to pick up their pace, and thus elevate our overall pace/competition. 

It took some work along with Stephan DePenasse, Jeff Wasilko, our classroom resources, and with Will Martins, our chief instructor to make this fit.  Our biggest challenge has been staffing.  Nick, for the most part, has been working alone with sporadic help of other instructors as they become available.  Our current model tends to fully task our instructor group with student load, the hot lap ride along program, and our instructor candidate program, but in those instances when we have some extra capacity, we can redistribute instructors to assist with coaching.

It is, in a word…….working.

So far, there have been about 30 “one on one” coaching sessions with license holders.  This, along with some very detailed and well attended classroom sessions, have produced many instances of members reporting personal best lap times, and also an up tick in the level of competition in the time trials.  

There is more work to do.  The next phase of this will be to find a way to staff the program with adequate resources to support more “one on one” sessions, and do more data and more video break down…..while not affecting the staff we devote to our students and other event activities.  It won’t be easy, but I think we are up to the challenge.

Participation: 

So far this season, our attendance numbers have been a little on the light side.  For the most part, we have been reaching break even with perhaps a very small margin over on some of the events.  Some of this may have been due to the cold spring season, or schedule conflicts with regard to holidays etc.  We saw some low student counts early in the year, but it looks like those numbers are starting to bounce back up now that the weather seems to be cooperating.  Please keep doing what you can to spread the word on social media etc…and help us fill events.  Renting race tracks is very expensive, and prices have skyrocketed over the last few years.  Having events that are full help us keep our pricing the lowest (by far) in our region.

Staffing:

You may have seen me floating around and playing a few different roles.  Some of this is that I am trying to learn what each position does, but also it has been because we have been a little light at these positions, most notably at operations.  This is a critical role because the person on the radio with race control sets and maintains the pace of the entire event.  For many years, Sam Webster has been at this position.  The growing demands of our group, the increased importance for maintaining quality track time, not to mention the fact that whoever is up there sacrifices their own seat time in huge chunks are reasons why we need more coverage there.  Sam has done this pretty much alone with one or two people stepping in when Sam wants to drive or take a break. Next time you see him, let him know his work is appreciated. Ask him if he needs anything.  Ask to volunteer..

While we are on that subject….

COM is a nonprofit organization.  The club runs on the commitment of our all volunteer staff and board of directors.  We are always looking for help.  Sometimes it is at an event where we are looking for people to help at the grid, at tech, or registration…… Sometimes it can be something that happens away from an event, like something to do with the mobile, website, or social media applications.  We are looking at new ways to streamline our processes to gain some efficiency, while at the same time trying to keep our overall quality level as high as possible.

If you have a specialty in any of these areas and want to contribute a little time to make COM better, let us know.  If there is something we aren’t doing to make COM better, let us know.  Keep the communication flowing.  Tell a board member, a staff member, an instructor, tell me…

Board Meetings:

Our board meetings have been the third Wednesday of the month, and have been happening at Salvatore’s in Andover center.  Members are encouraged to come and see how the club operates.  Also, if you have an interest in serving on the board of directors, let us know.  The board, and officers are elected every year by the membership.  For many years it has been the same people in the same positions.  Sometimes the reason has been due to lack of the willing to put their name on the ballot.  In some cases it has been because our process hasn’t been communicated very well.  Mostly, it has been because our volunteers wish to serve and are very committed to keeping the club going.

Next year will be our 60th.  We got here because we have a strong membership that cares about what we do and the service we provide.  Let’s keep that tradition going!  Put your name in this winter for a board position…..put your name in for an officer position.  Nothing would make me happier than to see multiple names going for positions so that we, the membership, actually have a choice.              

Lastly….  Club Motorsports!!!!!     We are go!!!

You  have no doubt seen the amount of progress they have been making at CMI posted on their FB page.  They have been on a very quick pace to make it to their goal of opening this summer.  It has taken a very long time, and tons of calls, emails, and bit of negotiation, but the finishing touches are being applied to our agreement with CMI and I will receive the contract in the next day or so.  We pretty much know what we are going to see, and our review of the contract should not take very long.  Barring any issues with it, we should have a signed and counter signed document along with our insurance certificate within the next two weeks.

We will be sending a small team comprised of our classroom, instruction and coaching resources to drive the track in late August.  They will be there fill in the blanks for our learning materials.  We will also have a few operations resources there to walk the paddock and determine how we plan to get all of our people in there.  The parking looks like it might be a little tight…..best to have a plan for that before we get there.

I could go on, as there are a ton of things to talk about, but I’ll just say that things look pretty solid for the club for the near term, and that I have been having a good time serving as president.  I see a lot of smiling faces in the paddock, and a very positive and upbeat feel to the club this year.  Let’s keep it going!!!!

Have a great second half!

I’ll see you at the track.

Troy sig

Troy Velazquez – President

Com Sports Car Club

troy