Running on Empty By Brandon Fetch

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Welcome to the latest installment of <unknown article>.  I'm still hoping some of our readers can provide some suggestions for its name as I'm feeling a bit like The Unknown Comic - though I'm not from Canada, never been on TV, and not all that funny.

But I digress.

With apologies to Jackson Browne, I think "Running on Empty" is appropriate for a title which I will relate a series of amusing stories of my racing career over the past few years to explain why this is appropriate.  That'll come about over the next few articles.

If you haven't heard, our 2016 Kickoff Party had to be postponed due to a scheduling conflict at Packanack Lake and we've got a finalized date of Sunday, April 17th from 3-6PM.  We're taking advantage of the location hosting our 2016 Mini-Con, the Wyndham Hamilton Park, to give us a bit of a “test drive” of the facility before the big shindig come November.

I'm looking forward to kicking off my 2016 season, please come out and do the same for your own and join us for our volunteer awards presentations as well.  Our Solo folks, in typical fashion, have a number of recipients to present awards to.

Speaking of the 2016 season, our first Solo event we held this last Saturday with 170+ entrants!!  Thanks to everyone who made the commitment to a March autocross, as that always is an unpredictable situation considering the weather.

For Club Racers, what do you have on your list of "pre-season prep"?  For me, racing a Miata doesn't mean you have to do a whole lot outside of the usual bits of brake pads, hubs, & fluids.  This year, however, I'm taking on a few other updates with a new exhaust, radiator, and a new set of shocks.  Fun, fun fun!  No rest for the parity disadvantaged!

Oh, and as is typical of Spec Pinata, er..Miata, I've got a few body panels that need a coat of paint so those have been installed as well.

Besides prepping the car, don't forget your safety gear!  For Club Racing there have been a couple of changes related to key items (belts, seats, helmets) for 2016.  Namely FIA homologated seats outside of their 5-year certification must now have a "postively affixed" back brace after June 1, 2016.  This isn't a minor change in the GCR as previously the SCCA has not based any tech verification of FIA seats upon the build date/certificate date.  So check those seats if you have a non-aluminum version!

On helmets, with it being 2016, this means the Snell 2005 helmet you may have used for the last decade is now no longer "legal" for driver protection.  The SCCA has found it appropriate to give everyone until January 1, 2017 to get a new one purchased and properly tech stickered.  Feel free to give some of our local vendors the business of acquiring a new brain bucket.

For belts, it was a change last year that granted both SFI & FIA homologated belts the same 'tenure' with the SCCA - 5 years.  Previously, the SCCA only recognized the respective homologation organization's dates terms the SFI only being 2 years and the FIA being 5.  Now both are 5 years with the SCCA.

As a reminder, please come out with us to welcome the 2016 season at the Wyndham Hamilton the 17th of April.  We’re looking forward to seeing everyone and welcoming our events for 2016!