The SCCA® National Convention is more than a meeting of the minds – it’s a place to celebrate significant accomplishments and achievements over a variety of disciplines. Awards presented at the National Convention are rarely based solely on trophy finishes at a National Championship event or season-long championship; instead, they signify significant contributions, improvements, camaraderie, and more. And on Sunday, Jan. 21, as part of the 2024 virtual SCCA National Convention, the SCCA Autocross, RallyCross, and RoadRally departments honored the recipients of these top annual awards.
The presentation was streamed online for free to all SCCA members. And while these awards have already been presented, it’s not too late to be a part of this year’s National Convention, with free registration still available. Find out more by clicking here.
Rookie of the Year
Recognizing an outstanding performance at their first Tire Rack SCCA Solo® National Championships, the winner of the Solo Rookie of the Year award will have far exceeded everyone’s expectations at the prior year’s National Championship event based on their limited competition experience.
The 2023 Solo Rookie of the Year is Delta Region’s Khai Duplantis.
In a Solo Nationals Solo Spec Coupe (SSC) field of 67, Duplantis – in his first year at Nationals – bested 61 of them, including talented drivers like William Bostic, Andrew Canak, Darrin DiSimo, and more. Finishing sixth in class, Duplantis wrapped up the 2023 National Championship event just 0.530sec from first place.
Driver of the Year
The Solo Driver of the Year will have demonstrated exceptional skill or overcome major obstacles to produce an outstanding performance at the prior year’s Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. The winner is selected by the Solo Events Board from nominations submitted by the membership at large.
The 2023 Solo Driver of the Year is Cal Club Region’s Steve O’Blenes.
O’Blenes has been the master of many classes, winning at the Solo National Championships in B Prepared (2001-’03), Street Touring® Xtreme (2006), B Street Prepared (2015), and D Street Prepared (2021-’23). His DSP win at the 2023 Solo Nats was with an impressive 0.643sec margin of victory, a time good enough to place him fourth overall in PAX results for the event. This is especially impressive considering he destroyed his Mazda RX-8’s differential at the Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo Finale just days prior to his win at the Solo Nats.
Martin W. Tanner Award
The Martin W. Tanner Award is one many Club members might not recognize. Officially, the award is presented to an SCCA worker who displays unusual courage while exposed to danger, with the winner chosen by the Club Racing Board. This award has only been presented 25 times, with the first coming in 1963 and the most recent in 2013.
While the implication is that this award will be presented to a solitary worker at SCCA Road Racing events, it has been presented to a group on multiple occasions. In 1971, the award went to the San Jac Crash Rescue Team; in 2004, it was given to the Heavenly Hazel Incident Team; in 2006, it went to the Arizona ES Team; and in 2010, the Nelson Ledges Rescue Team was recognized. For the 2023 season, this was once again the case, as the Club Racing Board recognized the efforts of all participants of the 2023 Packwood ProSolo event.
ProSolo doesn’t fall under the Club Racing Board’s purview, which shows how deserving this award is.
The 2023 Packwood ProSolo event was well underway when on Sunday, July 16, a vehicle continued past the finish line and struck another member and a solid structure, ultimately resulting in the passing of two members, Amber Dawn Jorgensen and Des Toups. While the event was promptly cancelled, event participants were suddenly thrust into the roles of first responders – fire fighters, medics, and ultimately, grief counselors.
It is with a heartfelt “thank you” that the Club Racing Board recognizes the significance of the efforts put forth by everyone in attendance at the 2023 Packwood ProSolo event.
Presented annually to recognize an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the sport of SCCA RallyCross, this award recognizes contributions over time, made as a competitor, organizer, worker, administrator, or similar. The winner's contribution shall have had a positive impact on the program nationwide.
The 2023 Dirty Cup was presented to Western Ohio Region’s Ed Trudeau.
Trudeau has headed up the RallyCross National Championship for the last five years, and has acted as Chief Steward for not only Nationals, but also a National Tour for the last couple of years. In addition to serving on his Region’s board, he’s also one of the longest serving RallyCross stewards.
Spark Plug Award
Recognizing an outstanding effort in promoting and publicizing SCCA RallyCross using multimedia to further the recognition and growth of RallyCross, this award can be earned by an individual, a Region, or an entire Division.
The 2023 Spark Plug Award was presented to Cal Club Region’s Clinton Padilla.
In the last year, Padilla has concentrated on Instagram in order to help grow the sport, promoting events through the use of exciting and compelling photography. His efforts have resulted in new participants who discovered the program through his online posts.
Divisional RallyCross Achievement
Southern Pacific Division
Regional RallyCross Achievement
Tennessee Valley Region
Best New Regional RoadRally Program Award
Presented in recognition of a Region’s development of a new RoadRally/Trek program as demonstrated by organizing events for two consecutive years, or two or more events in one year, and establishing an independent program by having a licensed RoadRally Safety Steward within the Region’s membership. The recipient is selected by the RRB based on recommendations from any SCCA or RRB member.
This year’s winner of the Best New Regional RoadRally Program Award went to Alabama Region, Andy Williams, RoadRally chair.
Best New National Rally
Presented in recognition of the best new National RoadRally in each of three categories – Tour, Course, and GTA. A new National rally is defined as one that fits into one or more of these criteria: utilizing a new concept or technology; presented by a Region that has never organized a National rally; presented by a Region that has not organized a National rally in the past 20 years; or presented by a committee of senior members who have never organized a National rally. The recipients are selected by the National Events Committee.
This year’s winner of the Best New National Rally was the 50th Anniversary Little Appalachian hosted by Philadelphia Region, Clyde Heckler (Rallymaster).
Regional RoadRally Achievement Award
Presented in recognition of a Region’s activities in RoadRally for a new or on-going program. This may include events, promotions, attendance, innovation in public relations, event participation, etc. Nominations clearly indicating the qualifying details may be made by any rally participant, with the recipient being selected by the RRB.
The Regional RoadRally Achievement Award for 2023 was presented to South Jersey Region, Jim Tornetta (Regional Executive).
Divisional RoadRally Achievement Award
Initiated in 1992, this award is presented in recognition of a Division’s activities in RoadRally for a new or on-going program. This may include events, promotions, attendance, innovation in public relations, etc. Nominations clearly indicating the qualifying details may be made by any rally participant, with the recipient being selected by the RRB.
The Divisional RoadRally Achievement Award for 2023 was presented to Northeast Division, Clyde Heckler (Divisional RoadRally Steward).
W. David Teter Touring Rally of the Year
W. David Teter was the editor of the modernized and comprehensive RoadRally Rule Book, Rallymaster of 17 consecutive March Lamb Regional rallies, and an outstanding competitor on the National Tour rally circuit. This award is presented annually in recognition of the outstanding National Tour Rally from the previous year. The selection is made by vote of the top 20 competitors in each class who have competed in at least three National Tour rallies that year.
The David Teter Touring Rally of the Year was presented to Roads Scamper by Milwaukee Region, with Jim Crittenden as Rallymaster.
Arthur J. Gervais Course Rally of the Year
Arthur J. Gervais was a longtime Rallymaster of the Historic New York National RoadRally, with this award being presented annually in recognition of the previous year’s outstanding National Course Rally. The selection is made by vote of the top 20 competitors in each class who have competed in at least three National Course rallies that year.
This year’s Arthur J. Gervais Course Rally of the Year was presented to 50th Anniversary Little Appalachian by Philadelphia Region, with Clyde Heckler as Rallymaster.
Robert V. Ridges Memorial Award
Robert V. Ridges was Secretary of the RoadRally Board (RRB) from the inception of the National program in 1957 until his passing in 1965. This award is presented to the SCCA member who exemplifies the highest degree of dedication and sportsmanship during the preceding year, making an outstanding contribution to the success of an event during its execution; who has made an outstanding contribution to the program as a whole; who has exhibited exceptional sportsmanship involving personal sacrifice; or who has undertaken physical risk for the preservation of life or property.
This award is not intended for sitting RRB members, official observers, Rallymasters, or officials unless they have clearly demonstrated extraordinary dedication, achievement, and/or sportsmanship above and beyond the duties and responsibilities of their office. Contestants shall only be eligible in cases involving exceptional sportsmanship, personal sacrifice, or risk. The recipient is selected by the RRB based on recommendations of any rally participant or Board member. An individual may only receive this award once. This is the highest honor within the SCCA RoadRally Program.
This year, Jim Wakemen Sr. from South Jersey Region was presented with the Robert V. Ridges Memorial Award.
Wakeman has been active in rallying for more than 50 years, and as an SCCA member for the last 20 years. In that time, he has won numerous SCCA RoadRally Championships and has organized one or more RoadRallies per year in each of those 50 plus years. Wakeman is co-chair of the National Events Committee, and in 2023 was Rallymaster for two of the three USRRC events.
Relive the Award Celebration
The entire award celebration can be viewed on-demand below, or by clicking here.
Photos by Rupert Berrington and James Heine