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On Autocross Events

Dear Editor,

It saddens me to read the article you wrote about your assumptions of the autocross events that were planned at Alameda. I absolutely respect a concerned and involved attitude with the goings on in your city, but I want to take a minute to address some of your assumptions about the merits and dangers of these events.

As some background, I’m an engineer in Torrance, CA, that has been competing in SCCA autocross events since I was 17 from Miami to Michigan and all the way to the west coast. I had planned on attending the SCCA Pro-Solo event in Alameda on April 18th and 19th until it was cancelled due to the delays on securing a permit from the City Council due to matters I’m not completely in-the-know about. The event would have brought 200-300 people from all around the west coast, who typically belong to the upper income brackets, to Alameda for the weekend.

First, you expressed concern for the liability the city could see should an accident happen. Every autocross event I know of, and especially SCCA events, bring with them millions of dollars in liability insurance as well as contracts releasing the site and site owners of any liability at the event. I’m well aware that anyone can sue anyone regardless of what contracts exist, but between the large insurance policy and liability release contracts, the chance of lawsuit to anyone involved other than the club putting on the event is minimized.

Second, you expressed concern over the safety of the event. As with any pursuit in life, there is always the possibility of an accident. However, every aspect of an autocross is geared towards providing as safe as possible of an environment for these competitions. Accidents and injuries are extremely rare, and within the SCCA, always documented and reported to the national office. I’m sure some investigative reporting with a call to the SCCA’s national office would result in very detailed records of the severity and rate of accidents. In my nine years of competing in this sport I have never seen someone injured and have only heard of very few incidents.

Finally, there is the comparison to street racing. This statement probably riled up the commenters the most. Street-racer’s juvenile and reckless disregard for the safety of others is one of the things the autocross community on a whole despises. Unfortunately, this is an image that constantly follows the SCCA and others, as I can understand how an outsider would not differentiate between those that want to enjoy the fun and challenging sport of autocross in a safe environment and those that want to pull of dangerous stunts endangering the people around them.

I hope you take the time to read my letter, and I respect a difference of opinion on the desire to have these events in Alameda, but I want to make sure that difference of opinion is based on an accurate understanding of the event. If you do have questions or concerns, please write me back, I would enjoy discussing this with you more.

Respectfully,

– Jim Reyenga, Torrance

1 comment to On Autocross Events

  • Jim

    Quick note, my letter only reflects my opinions and I don’t represent the SCCA or any of the regions in any way.

    Thanks,
    Jim

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