Three days before the Devil in the Dark 12 hour endurance race at the Thunderbolt track of New Jersey Motorsport Park I get a peculiar invitation by e-mail:
And although I cannot commit to Saturday because of work, I was contemplating heading down to volunteer on Friday. But today, two days before the event I get another e-mail from the flag chief of my region pointing out that since I requested additional training this would be a good opportunity to learn on the job. Now I’m definitely not going.
I made a fuss about training because my flag chief complained that I caused severe disruption to a professional event, which I thought was absurd. Especially since I was never told or reprimanded for this alleged offence, and the only reason I found out was because I asked for a release to volunteer overseas, as is standard procedure with SCCA. The training I requested was for the benefit of our whole group, not just me personally. Something like a fire school would have been useful. On the job training at a 12 hour endurance race when they are desperately short on flaggers is a ridiculous idea. Even when paired with the best they have to offer (and as I can recall from last year, it was me and another guy on station) all you will learn is to make due with what you have. Which isn’t much, it’s just you and the other guy. Sure you can probably keep one person on flags and have the other respond to an incident, but then you’re really training yourself… or more likely are the one holding the damn flag.
So thanks but no thanks Mister flag chief.
The incentive to come when they are so desperately short is rather pitiful also. Win a 39 inch HDTV! Wow! Get two AutoX passes in the SCCA SOLO program. Great! I tried getting involved with SCCA SOLO at the Meadowlands a few times now. They don’t need volunteers. And I’m not interested in being a customer, I don’t have a car to flog around their parking lot circuit.
Why not offer real incentive that people can actually appreciate? It costs me a tank of fuel, which at today’s rates is about $70, and about $15 in tolls to come down to NJMP. Covering that would be pretty helpful. No? What am I going to do with another flat screen TV?
As much as I like endurance racing, and last year’s event was pretty exciting I will not be returning this year. But you should… go ahead and register at the DLB racing web site: http://www.dlbracing.com/clubs/workers.aspx?LMID=2926&EventID=5543