2020 TT Season

General chat that fellow COM'ers may be interested in.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by breakaway500 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:48 am

I'm ready. Whatever it takes to get back on track. Lead/follow works well when there is no traffic..but is sketchy with beginners, especially if they have bad control habits and you can't hit them with the ruler. Lead/follow with good class instructions should work if everyone is on the same page.

Personally I think the entire fiasco is nothing more than a social control experiment. But..that's just me..I live way outside the box...:)

I have some anxious friends awaiting sunny days!!
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by dtlemoine » Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:11 pm

There has been some great dialog so far, looking forward to hearing from more!

Another angle/consideration that we're evaluating is whether we *should* have an event, rather than whether we *could*. In this case, specifically, with regards to impact on our local healthcare facilities. While I appreciate folks have different opinions on where we are with the lockdown in general, I'd like to keep this conversation centered around the facts and numbers in a practical sense.

To run an event, COM typically hires an ALS ambulance and two EMTs to be on site at all times when the track is hot. This takes two healthcare professionals and a very expensive bus off the road for the duration of our event, meaning it cannot easily respond to others in need, in it's local geography. Additionally, while rare, our hobby is dangerous and sometimes folks can end up requiring transport to a hospital, and in a bad case, ICU. Taking up an ICU bed for a hobby/pleasure may seem irresponsible when there are others in need of those same beds due to circumstances that they didn't have control over. We need to be constantly evaluating the local medical needs in the time periods and geographies that we're running our events.

For example, Mary Lane in Ware doesn't have an ICU, someone significantly injured at a Palmer event would almost certainly be bused to Worcester, where demand for care is higher than the more rural areas. Same story with Thompson / Harrington Hospital. Concord Hospital does have an ICU, and NH as a state seems to be keeping COVID numbers low, and thus able to keep up with the utilization demand extremely well.

In MA, we seem to be nearing the top of a "flattened curve" for now, which is awesome, and from everything we're hearing, we seem to be making progress in the right direction. The momentum feels like it's starting to shift. Beds are opening up, and utilization at the pop up hospitals (Worcester Centrum, Boston Convention Center, etc.) isn't being overwhelmed at the moment.

Our leadership is optimistic that we continue to trend in a good direction, but our impact on the healthcare footprint is something that we need to consider as a gating decision to hold and event or not. We welcome thoughts and input.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by i8ur911 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:46 pm

Extremely well written post by Dave. Thank you for taking the time to put that info into this thread.

Again, there are lots of things the BoD are considering when looking at holding events this year.

My own personal thoughts are that this situation isn't going to get "better" any time soon given that there is currently no vaccination. With that being said, I'm looking at this opportunity for the staff of COM and it's members to get creative and come up with solutions to these current problems. We have some really smart individuals in this group and I'm sure we can come up with "solutions". Once we have solutions, Dave's points come into play.....SHOULD we have an event (s).

Again, thank you to everyone for responding and helping. I look forward to seeing you all in the not so distant future.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by Stamanti » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:54 pm

Dave makes a very good point. I think we will have to evaluate where the event state (MA, NH, CT, or NY) stands as far as hospital resource demand and capacity.

Looking at the current IHME covid-19 tracker / predictive model it looks like the modeled demand for hospital beds and icu beds due to covid will be substantially below capacity beginning in june.

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-s ... sachusetts

predictive models change given new data, so this will have to be monitored as things progress.

If things follow the models I think we could responsibly hold events in mass beginning in june with respect to potentially adding demand to a stressed healthcare system. We would still need to establish and implement race track social distancing and consider other factors.

New hampshire is well below healthcare capacity right now.

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-s ... -hampshire

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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by DanDarcy » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:34 pm

While Dave's words are meant to bring awareness to our event's drain on first responders they are incorrect as far a Palmer is concerned. They probably would apply if we had our events in downtown Boston or New York. First let me say in the many, many years of participating in COM events, I can only remember an ambulance once leaving the track and taking a participant to a hospital and that was not to the ICU. I am local to Palmer and know the area well. The ambulance and attendants are not usually local to Palmer but come out of Southern Vermont were there is no mass covid 19 pandemic.The hospital in Ware does not have a level 1 trauma unit but is part of the Baystate Health System which has several level 1 trauma units in Western Mass. If somebody were to go to a hospital from Palmer, they would go to nearby Springfield, not Worcester, were there a two major emergency facilities , Baystate and Mercy hospitals. Neither of which is overwhelmed at the present time. We never go to Worcester from this area. I don't know about Thompson, I'm not sure what Putnam has for hospital(s). I don't think NHMS would be a problem either.
So if you are worried about being a drain , don't worry if you are using Palmer, I live in the next town to Palmer, Belchertown, which is in Hampshire county . So far there are only 509 confirmed cases of Covid19 in Hampshire not 13,417 like Middlesex .Right now the governor has closed all non essential activity until May 18th, I think this will be the last extension , we should start making plans as to how to hold the PMP event at the end of May.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by billrice » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:04 am

At my hospital (Beth Israel Deaconess) we have seen the peak last week. Our total covid numbers are declining though we will be taking care of patients for a while still. We have not and will not be overwhelmed with patients. We are very active planning to reopen for elective surgery. Emergency rooms are generally not FULL of covid patients. Most stay home and recover. Any EMS crew would be thrilled to get an assignment at the racetrack. It would be like a day off.

The risk of being infected at a COM event is extremely small. Among the more riskier things you will do that day is driving to the venue, driving on the track, standing trackside watching cars go by, stopping for gas at the mini mart and buying ice. This is a private event where staff and driver safety will be easy to maintain with very little change in operations.

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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by TroyV » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:42 pm

Thanks for the ongoing discussion. Please keep it going.

My .02.....I'm not going to mince words. The elected officers and directors of COM have their names on the door of this outfit. It is our obligation to see that we adhere to the guidelines and all the rules, but as this is a leisure activity, it also behooves us to take the most conservative approach when the decisions are placed back into our hands. Responsibility should and does fall to the individual, but in my eyes, that doesn't justify pushing to hold events when it isn't 100% safe to do so with respect to COVID-19. What we do is dangerous enough without adding that sort of piece.

I won't support in-car instruction until a vaccine is widely available and the protocol is reinforced by VERY reliable source documentation. The same goes for live indoor activities....classroom, awards....etc.. That doesn't mean we can't have events, and it doesn't mean that we can't compete. In fact I think I'd welcome the change in format a bit, just to see if we can pull it off. I'd like to think we can.

Lead-follow as a primary source for learning is also something I won't support, particularly if we are talking about full run groups of cars.....at any venue.

Some will say that I/we are overreacting. I'm fine with that. If you were in the shoes of one of our board members, you'd probably feel the same.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by gcranston » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:24 pm

We could stand to have a few more people overreacting right now.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by DanB » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:53 am

TroyV wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:42 pm
I won't support in-car instruction until a vaccine is widely available and the protocol is reinforced by VERY reliable source documentation. The same goes for live indoor activities....classroom, awards....etc.. That doesn't mean we can't have events, and it doesn't mean that we can't compete. In fact I think I'd welcome the change in format a bit, just to see if we can pull it off. I'd like to think we can.
Thanks Troy, 1000% agree with your approach for whatever that's worth :)
Lead-follow as a primary source for learning is also something I won't support, particularly if we are talking about full run groups of cars.....at any venue.
Agree on this as well. For this year I do think lead/follow could be considered to allow unlicensed drivers who have previously been signed-off to solo do events with us with no in-car instruction. We wouldn't just be letting them out unsupervised.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by JimsLS1 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:17 pm

I find myself middling on these issues. I don't live in a highly affected city, but I live in MA and it's all around us. I feel that events could be held with licensed members and previously signed-off members with TT experience. I don't see how you're going to justify in-car supervision, or even indoor classroom or driver meetings this year. Still, it can certainly work with PA systems and widely dispersed groups in outdoor meetings. I believe the medical resources will be available and willing as described in previous posts, although the optics may be detrimental.

Real question becomes - can we fund these track rentals and other expenses without taking first-time or non-signed off participants? Perhaps the tracks will be more flexible as everyone is in the same situation. I'm personally signing up for everything I can, from masstuning events to TNIA and SCCA TTs. Thinking optimistically and willing things into happening.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by paultg » Tue May 05, 2020 4:26 pm

Curious if there has been any further discussion that can be shared?

I'm a licensed driver. I get the concern with instruction and being in cars together. So I figure that isn't happening.

I still have concerned for a few reasons. My feelings on all this changes somewhat daily like the info & state guidelines we are presented with.

Today: If an event were to be held at Palmer I don't think I would attend. While I think the BOD and it's volunteers can create a successful/safe event that follows guidelines (or exceeds them); I just think about my typical event and interaction and struggle. When I leave my house now I am in control. I can get things in a store, clean my hands before getting in my car. When I get something delivered to my home I can bring it in, not touch anything else, and wash my hands. I can disinfect items as needed easily. I can stay away from people when out. It's not difficult to be cautious.

At an event I will struggle to avoid the additional risks and be as cautious (at least to my satisfaction):
  • a friend transports alot of my items for me (tires, seat, etc.)
  • we share tools and equipment during the events; floor jack, jack stands, etc.
  • we have a reservation at a hotel in Sturbridge, called today no one is answering phones due to limited staff. I'm not sure at this point or by the event date if they will allow guest who are not "essential"
  • Food, water, gas, etc.. the logistics of always cleaning your hands & being safe while fulfilling these needs, especially with transaction, let alone wondering if food truck, etc. would even be on site?
  • The track would need to implement procedures to meet state guidelines (signing waivers, bathroom use, etc.)
  • Trailer and RV parking alone, how the heck do you spread that all out.
I'm just not sure how this all gets figured out up front, the task and variables are just insane.
And due to this being such a serious heath risk to all, it isn't something we can sort of "figure out" as we go during an event like we so well with schedule changes and such on the fly.

I think about Palmer not happening and then we are on to Thompson. The Paddock at Thompson is crazy small. Maybe by then the health risks will be relaxed? I don't know. It all just seems to me like the "risk" doesn't go away without a vaccine, we can practice safety as best we can, but ultimately going to an event opens up the door of risk vs. just staying home.

PS: My wife has asthma, so if I seem a bit more hypersensitive then others, that is part of it. - Paul G.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by agrabau » Tue May 05, 2020 8:58 pm

Great discussion guys. I'm proud of everyone. I swooped in to see what was going on. Hoping to do some track days if we can safely pull it off. Seems like the group has a good grasp on the situation. I've done some motorcycle track days with lead follow and they were quite good. Perhaps with some coms devices between cars it could be augmented. Of course it would be bring your own device, no sharing.

Attention to lunch should be made.. distancing rules enforced. Bathroom handles cleaned after use..just thinking about high touch point areas.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by CalypsoBean » Wed May 06, 2020 10:22 am

I think lead follow could work for students, broken down into groups of three, with controlled passing after 3 laps to cycle the 'lead' student through the entire group. Any larger group than that and I am afraid it would fall apart for beginners. We would need loud walkies in each car, one-way communication, with no shared headsets.

We use this format at work, when we have novice journalist drivers piloting supercars on a track they've never been to, and with almost no track experience, and it's possible to control for speed and stupidity fairly well.

That being said - the border between Canada and the US remains closed for the foreseeable future, which means my dad and I are on the outside looking in at any future events.

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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by cfossum » Tue May 12, 2020 1:00 pm

I would attend an event without concern about germ sharing in the paddock. The toilet is on another level though, so maybe if we brought our own chlorox wipes... No flushing them, though.
For students, the lead follow idea may be worth a try, but only if we can establish clear car-car communication. Why couldn't we use our phones with earbuds? Maybe we could even set-up conference calls for multiple students. We could test each call prior to proceeding onto the track. Proper positioning of the microphone component within the helmet may be the most challenging aspect of implementation. However I must confess, I'm only thinking of wired earbuds since I have that capability with my older android phone. I have no idea where the mic is when using wireless earbuds.
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Re: 2020 TT Season

Post by gcranston » Tue May 12, 2020 5:52 pm

Troy, what's the cutoff date for going ahead with Thompson?
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