DE Crier Report: DE Season Kicks Off

“NER’s first Driver Education event of the season took place over Memorial Day weekend at Thompson Motorsports Park.  Apparently all of us Track Rats had been very well behaved because we were rewarded with absolutely perfect weather – dry, sunny, not too hot – perfect!”  (The preceding was copied from last year’s report – maybe we should have all our events at Thompson?)

The weekend was divided into two parts, as it was last year.  Friday was a solo driver only day so only three run groups and 2 hours and 20 minutes of track time for everyone.  In addition there were special skill development exercises focused on improving safety in unusual circumstances like getting a late point by or being forced to drive off-line – necessary skills for the expanded passing rules used in the Red run group.  Here’s what Bob Binder had to say about them…

“The driving drills on the advanced day were fun and very helpful. My experience is that there is a lot of emphasis on utmost safety for novice and less experienced drivers at the PCA events that I have attended. This necessitates teaching certain things early on that probably became over-emphasized in my mind: “always brake in a straight line” “always try to throttle in a straight line” ” ‘always’ drive the ‘line’ “. The Friday drills helped open my mind more to thinking outside the box and giving me permission to learn to drive offline while in a safe and predictable environment. I noticed after the drills that I felt a lot more comfortable driving side by side with another car and maintaining poise when passing (or getting passed) with a late point by that carried into the corner.”

On Saturday the instructed students joined us.  Charlie Kenney (Track Chair) continued the very helpful practice of having each run group meet up after the driver meeting.  Meeting the folks with whom you will share the track is both nice socially and also promotes courteous driving. There was also the usual moment of silence to recognize our Fallen Heroes. Stan Corbett (“Registrar Emeritus” and member of the Northboro American Legion Post) brought poppies and miniature flags which had flown over the gravesites of veterans.

On Saturday night there was the usual beer/wine social in the garage (IPA aficionados were impressed by the carefully curated selection of good beers!). This was followed by the usual buffet dinner but this year it was in the garage rather than at the golf clubhouse tent (take that duffers!).  Thanks to NER DE Social organizers Pam Mascetta, Jen Hall and Judy Mansing!

The rest of the weekend involved lots of great weather and lots of track time. Attendance was better than past years: we had a total of 113 drivers.  Chief Instructor Dave Berman did his usual masterful job of herding students, instructors and arranging check out rides – there were a lot of promotions…

Placements (drivers who haven’t ridden with us before but had experience elsewhere)  

Ron Carver – White

Zhiping Wang – White

Jason Settineri – White

New Instructor

Thorsten Becker

White to Black

Jason Loy

Scott Stawas

Blue to White

John Woodward

Yellow to Blue

Jeffrey McKinney

Ben Forman

Stefan Vorndran

Green to Yellow

Bob Baynes

David Klimavich

Corain McGinn

Bill Aubin

Nick Craig

Written by: Bill “Father Time” Seymour