National Solo Notes from Howard, 2-15-21 Edition

Hi Folks,

Several times in past National Solo Notes I have used the term “uncertainty” to describe the environment we face in trying to schedule and conduct events in 2021. This has been assumed by many to mean issues related to CV19, and while that is undoubtedly the biggest underlying factor of uncertainty, there are other components to this as well. In this edition of Notes I would like to shed some light on some of the headwinds we are facing this year or may face. Our goal is to keep moving forward with the schedule and the types of events planned, but the realities of the world may cause us to adjust our plans.

As noted, CV19 is a prime factor in creating uncertainty, including the scheduling of events and the number of entrants, family, and crew that can be on a site (potential gathering size limitations). A perfect example of this is the situation we face at the Crows Landing, CA events for 2021. We have been able to schedule two National Solo events there in April through the efforts of the San Francisco Region (SFR) Solo leaders working with the local County agencies that control the site. However, because CA has been at or near the center of CV19 infections, local officials have been very strict about the number of people that may gather at various types of events, including a Solo event. SFR has had recent Solo events at Crows Landing where the limit was a few dozen people on site. Additionally, the decision on the actual size of the events is being held as late as possible by the County to better match the threat level at the time of the event, sometimes as short as a couple of weeks before the event.

While this is undesirable, it is at least potentially manageable for a local event. However, for the size and complexity of a National Solo event, including the personal travel plans of the entrants, this kind of uncertainty (that word again) makes it nearly impossible to plan and execute the kind of event our members expect and deserve. We are still hopeful the situation will improve, but in the interest of full transparency we wanted to let you know the issues we face and some actions we are taking to give us more time to come to a final decision on the viability of events this year at Crows Landing. We have shortened the time between the dates of the events and when registration opens for each, along with not announcing what the entry cap will be until just before registration opens. Unless we receive information from the County prior to the date registration opens, this date will be the decision point for a go/no-go on the event. Again, our hopes are that the County will be able to give us clearance for a normal, or near normal, entry level many weeks in advance of the events and all this planning was merely an academic exercise.

Other factors besides CV19 have introduced uncertainty into the 2021 National Solo schedule. Here is a brief rundown on events currently in limbo:

  • Chicago Champ Tour at the Route 66 Speedway; recent management and operational changes at the track have delayed getting final approval for the use of the site and it is unknown at this writing when this will happen.
  • Packwood Champ Tour and ProSolo events: these events have been tentatively approved by the site owner, although we have not officially announced them as the site is still up for sale and the current owners cannot fully commit until about 30 days before the first event. This is the same situation we faced in 2020. Therefore, these events will soon go onto the 2021 calendar, but listed as tentative until we know otherwise.
  • Toledo ProSolo: this event is expected to be announced soon once the contracts are signed, which for a variety of local reasons have been delayed a bit longer than usual this year.

Again, our goal is to proceed along the planned path to provide quality events for our members until such time as the real world intervenes and we are forced to change course.

I hope to see you at a Solo start line soon.