2017 January REmarks

Happy New Year! – As the year 2016 is drawing to a close, it’s time once again for the three Rs: Relax, Reflect and Recharge. The relaxing is easy; a long weekend with no commitments. No worries about where to go on New Year’s Eve, we haven’t gone out in decades. We prefer to stay in with a glass of wine, a good home-cooked meal and a quiet evening. Whatever you’re doing New Year’s Eve, if you’re venturing out, have fun and be safe.

This is also the time of year to recharge the batteries. As much fun as it is attending one club-related event or another almost every weekend from March thru October, representing Chicago Region as RE and attending 4-5 club meetings per month, all while working a full-time job (retirement is still a couple years off), it can wear on a guy by the end of the season. It’s roughly 3-1/2 months until the first of our 2017 competition events and while I’m already anxious to get going again, this old body is grateful for a bit of rest.

Reflecting on 2016 I’d have to say it’s been a pretty good year. Not without its challenges, but good nonetheless. All our activities had a good year both in terms of participation and finances. We crowned champions and celebrated victories, even if those victories were personal goals achieved and not necessarily the top-of-the-podium variety. We spent time with old friends and made new ones. We held 3 backroads Tour events in 2016 as a follow-up to the first event we hosted in quite a while in 2015. Everyone had a great time and we visited some interesting destinations. We provided staffing for the return of IndyCar racing at Road America as well as continuing to staff the IMSA weekend at the “National Park of Speed”. Our Solo schedule returned to RT 66 Raceway and we were even able to hold a Solo Drivers School and 2 Street Survival teen driving schools. Most importantly though, we got to spend time with good friends doing what we love to do, and doing it with people who feel the same way about racing and cars as ourselves.

On the personal side, the whole family is healthy and provided for. I made it a priority in 2016 to spend more time with my 2 beautiful granddaughters and am extremely fortunate that at 14 and 16 years old they still find Papa to be someone they want to spend time with. I’ve continued to make even more friends in the SCCA and treasure each and every one. If the incoming year ends up anything like the outgoing one I’ll be a truly fortunate guy. My hope for 2017 is that each of you is as blessed with friends and family as I.

Looking forward to 2017 I see a lot of good things coming our way. The road racing schedule is set (June Sprints, June 17-19; Kettle Moraine Classic, August 20-21; Fall Sprints October 15-16), and the Solo and PDX schedules should be coming together in the next few weeks. The Runoffs will be in our backyard, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We’ll again be providing staffing for the IndyCar and IMSA race weekends at Road America. Our relationship with RT 66 Raceway appears to be once again on solid ground. We will continue to work on improving our communications with you, our members via whatever communications method you prefer (well, except printed mailings. Sorry old-timers, the printed Piston Patter newsletter is dead). Our Fun Committee will continue their efforts to make our events more fun, and to organize non-competitive social activities for the benefit of our members.

I hope you and your family had a happy and healthy Christmas season, I wish everyone a great 2017, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all in February at the Checkered Flag banquet.

See you at the races!

Rick Bentson
Regional Executive