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An essay and pictoral by Rick Pollock
Notes from a Vintage Racing Rookie – Rick Pollock #5
Like a lot of people I grew up watching motorsport on TV and occasionally in person. There was always a desire to get on the track in my own car. For years other commitments would get in the way of pursuing this interest at an amateur level. Having been on the fringes of motorsport for a number of years, 2007 marked the year when the opportunity finally arrived to try my hand at actual racing.
Through the efforts of the good people at the Calgary Vintage Racing Club I found myself invited to try this sport out. I enthusiastically jumped in with both feet! I already had a car that I had been using on the track for casual lapping and solo sprint activities. It would now be pressed into service as a vintage racer.
There are a number of things that had to be done to meet the requirements to go racing. First and foremost was to acquire a competition licence. In Western Canada, this can be obtained by completing the Western Canada Motorsports Association (WCMA) licencing school which is hosted by Alberta Race Car Association (ARCA). This is held each Spring and is a two day course offering driving and classroom sessions. The course is primarily aimed at ensuring participants can safely navigate a race track at speed and can follow the safety protocols that keep everyone safe. On track instruction includes various exercises such as slaloms, threshold braking, cornering technique, practice rolling starts, among other skills. One thing that should also be mentioned is that a medical will also have to be completed, and submitted to the WCMA along with the licence application.
Second on the list of requirements is to make your car race ready. In my case I needed to add several safety items such as roll over protection, 5 point harness, kill switch, and a fire extinguisher. With the competition licence issued and the car prep completed all that is left is to wait for the big day when you can take the track along with other like minded enthusiasts.
My first event was June 2-3. The weekend was very hot. There seemed to be so much to think about. Was the car race ready, was I race ready? Would the car overheat? Would I embarrass myself?? As it happened the weekend played out very well. I took it easy and to tried to get a feel for being in traffic on the race track. I am happy to say there were no issues with the car or myself, and no embarrassing incidents to report! Perhaps the part most new racers would be concerned with are the rolling starts since there is so much going on. I actually enjoyed those!
The best advice I could give would be for new racers to pace themselves on their opening weekend, and to ask a lot of questions. The people in the CVRC have been more than helpful and come your first race weekend you should feel free to draw on their experience to help you along.
With all that said, there is nothing holding you back from joining in the action. I look forward to seeing you at the track!