A Tougher Job than Club President
One could easily imagine that the toughest job in GGR is being Club President (it’s not). There are many jobs that are more challenging. Today I want to focus on one that involves managing the largest, most diverse group of volunteers in the club, sustaining relationships with multiple external parties and with our national body, all in order to put on a series of events that pose the biggest financial risk to the club. I’m writing of course, about the Track Chair.
I feel I can speak with some authority having been track chair myself in the mid to late zippies. Back then, we had at most five or six events a season, no club racing program, a well established approach from the many excellent volunteers that preceded me that I could adopt, a husband and wife registrar team who crushed it (shout out to the Johnsons!) and I had a pretty quiet day job so I could devote a lot of time to the role.
Immediately after my tenure, Michael Cullinan and Warren Walker, with the help of the late Tim Fleming, then zone 7 rep, brought club racing to the mix effectively doubling the workload on some aspects of the job. Michael and Warren passed the reigns to the late Carl Switzer whom I believe added club race-only events embedded within SCCA weekends providing us access to tracks we might otherwise not get to race on. Carl, who was a keen judge of talent, tapped Tim Smith to follow. Tim kept things humming smoothly, with an expansion in number of events, and a good time was continued to be had by all.
This brings us to the current track series administration who have been ably led over the past full two-year term by Richard French whom I originally had the pleasure to meet by going for a ride in his beautiful black twin turbo at Sonoma Raceway. Not only has Richard assumed the leadership for the series at a time when it had the most number of events per season but he expanded the schedule to an unprecedented five club races and at least as many driver’s ed events. In 2017, no other PCA region put on more than two club races. Of course, Richard didn’t have a lightweight day job while he was leading this juggernaut either; no, he is COO of his firm and undertakes significant international travel as well.
So if this job is so tough, why would anyone want to be track chair? The first reason is a sincere desire to give back to the club that hosts these events we so enjoy. Once a new track chair confronts this this challenging job however I believe they find it is also one of the most rewarding jobs in the club. Steering the well-oiled machine that is the GGR Track Program from event to event, providing members with some of the most fun they can having while driving their car and enjoying the halo effect of that member satisfaction can be pretty intoxicating.
When I was track chair it was thought that three years was a long time to be track chair (I agree) and the position was term limited. Of course, as I’ve belabored above, that was before the job acquired all the additional responsibilities. With an update to our bylaws in recent years, Track Chair became a director position on our board and morphed into the two-year terms that all directorships possess. In consultation with Richard and others, the board’s nominating committee has released him from the expectation that he would run for another term in this fall’s election (be sure to vote!).
Please join me in a hearty thank-you to Richard for an intense two years of track events and wish him luck on his journey to build and campaign a Spec Boxster in PCA Club Racing. We’ll save a spot in the paddock for you Richard!