Membership renewals and how I hate the fees!

It’s that time of the year again, with 8 events under my belt already this year, 7 of them overseas, I now must send out checks to ASN’s in the US for the privilege of volunteering with them. $40 for the SCCA (reduced fee thanks to the $45 credit I earned by volunteering for club events the previous year), $15 for RSI to volunteer one NASCAR race at Watkins Glen and $25 for USAC to volunteer for MotoGP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I really hate the fees. So many marshals defend the concept saying the money goes towards insurance in case I get hurt trackside, but with my personal experience earlier this year that is completely untrue. SCCA doesn’t cover injuries incurred at Professional events, yet to participate at a Pro event, one must join SCCA and pay their dues. Not fair.

I could understand being proud of joining an organization, a club that would support you as a member as much as you support it. But even that doesn’t happen. I had a spat with SCCA last year where after volunteering half a dozen events I was scolded for not holding a proper license. How would I know if SCCA didn’t issue a proper license? They were very quick to take my $85 membership, but failed to give me what I was signing up for.

Similarly, this year I already had an exchange with SCCA about permission to volunteer for the 24 hours of Le Mans in France. The ACO in France requested a license that would be valid for the event, mine expires May 31st, so I requested early renewal while travelling in Australia…. did SCCA oblige? Not by e-mail… they in turn asked me to call them to sort things out… How dumb?  Now I had to wait till the middle of the night, and spend money on long distance calls, when all the information they really needed could have been easily e-mailed to them. And I would have had my written proof to submit to the ACO to show that the license was renewed.