NER Steps Up: Hosts First ProSolo

For a region as large and dominating as New England has been in the autocross community, it might come as a surprise that it has never hosted a ProSolo event. That all changed the weekend of Aug 11-13.

NER joined forces with Cumberland Motor Club to utilize the Brunswick Executive Airport for it’s first ProSolo. This also happens to be the last ProSolo stop in the 2023 tour before the culminating event at Solo Nationals in Lincoln, September 1-3.

An event of this size and magnitude cannot be done alone. It takes an entire village, and the NER Solo crew stepped up across the board. Take a few minutes to scroll down and read the list from Jerry Papenhausen of everyone – and that means EVERYONE – that played a part in turning out a successful weekend.

Over 130 entrants made the drive north to Brunwisk, Maine. The recap from the SCCA National team can be read here, with all their highlights, including the final results.

Bottom line, this will not be the last time NER hosts a ProSolo. Not only did it run efficiently and smoothly, the number of drivers that showed up confirmed there’s both a demand and desire to hold pro events here in New England.

The Ladies of ProSolo

From Will Koscielny – NER Asst Chair, Course Designer

Brunswick ProSolo was a huge success thanks to our village of New England Region SCCA and Cumberland Motor Club. Every single person stepped up to the plate and made the event a huge success. From gate volunteers, tech workers, course setup, registration and all the little things that can go unnoticed. I heard countless positive feedback about the site and flow and process and even the short course. We asked multiple people to become Chiefs for the event who all did excellent jobs. We learned about the site and how we could make adjustments for next year.

I setup the course early Friday morning but we didn’t have the barriers up to dictate how far we could go on the courses. I opted to play it safe and not have to redesign the entire course and grid setup in case our restriction was more than anticipated. The event worked well when we had 134 participants, when we do this again next year, we will need to consider carefully the paddock spots, trailer parking and some other logistics to fit all the participants. Thankfully the site is very accommodating and allowed us to rent an overflow parking area that was untouched for the weekend. So, hopefully next year we sell out and have 30-35 seconds courses!

Specifically, I want to thank the Cumberland Motor Club for their assistance in making this event a possibility. They were gracious to loan us their cones for the event. They found and started the relationship with the Brunswick Executive Airport and the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority which made this event even a possibility. They have great events and I strongly encourage you to attend one in the future.

A few CMC members volunteered to work the challenges and got to run in an index class to get a feel for ProSolo and did Sunday Only Runs. This new Sunday Only RunGroup and Challenge work assignment worked out well and might be a good way to introduce locals to the event and get some challenge workers.
Thank you everyone and I’m looking forward to the future of NER SCCA!!!

From Jerry Papenhausen…. The Village List

Thank you NER SCCA, SCCA National, and the Cumberland Motor Club CMC for an amazing event in Brunswick, ME at the ProSolo. What an outrageously fun time that particular brand of nonsense is. This run and gun format is hilarious and charming.

This weekend, I saw Mark Ponusky standing waiver guard at the gate for, was it 2 mornings in a row?, starting at 6:30am. I saw Melanie Kwong and Brandon Dryer organize disparate volunteers with various expertise into a cohesive team to run the event in addition to dozens of other tasks such as ferrying and rounding up all of NER’s fire extinguishers for the weekend. Will Koscielny designed a safe and conservative course, which was the smart call for this inaugural event, but still managed to throw in a monster high-speed sweeper, a pin turn to hang yourself with the open space, some tight pinches and a course that pushed participants to multiple options to try and find the fast way through. Will also did a great job announcing for the Super Challenge. Great job keeping up with the pace of that. I wouldn’t be able to do it. Pan Shawn had the very unenviable position of having to call a lightning hold halfway through the Super Challenge and then had to decide whether to make a lot of exhausted volunteers wait it out or make a lot of entrants that came a long way go home without the finale and he made all the right calls on that. I saw Charlie Sinkler make the trek up to work course for the Super Challenge in exchange for runs because he couldn’t make it Saturday, but he still wanted to volunteer and participate. Theresa Doyon stuck around and worked the course for Super Challenge after her day was over today too. Kathy Barnes cleaned up every bit of trash and litter that got left in grid. Apparently, sticking your empty drink bottle under a grid cone for a volunteer to find later and pick up for you is totally a thing people do. But at least the site owners won’t be annoyed with us because we left our trash, because that nonsense got policed up. Kimsoo Gopnik and Chang Ho Kim both made the trek to watch and support our NER folks. Chang even offered to sit a session at gate waiver rather than go watch the show, but I wouldn’t let him because it was my first stint, and others did many. Brad Fiore was fist bumping everyone with a supportive word for every one of our club members he ran across. Mark Sarcevicz worked an extra unexpected stint in Tech on Saturday morning, which meant I got to do an extra course walk. Brian Kuehl was laying on the ground under my car with an electrical tester Saturday morning after I’d already gotten the call to grid, but my car wouldn’t start, trying to diagnose which damn wire I couldn’t manage to get torqued down properly after the motor swap. Fortunately, I managed to make it to grid with less than a minute before my run group was called up and I got all my runs.

The Cumberland Motor Club CMC was incredibly gracious with their site and I saw many CMC members ripping it up out there right along with the rest of us. Thank you so much for hosting on your pad and sharing the grip and concrete with the rest of us! Best description of the surface I heard this weekend (from a CMCer), “it’s concrete of the same vintage as that at Nationals.” 😉

Thank you SCCA National staff for traveling a looooong damn way away from their families and their home in Topeka to come out the edge of the country and give us a chance to host a National event as well.

And I don’t know her at all, but some woman named Betty dove ALL the way under my hot car after I brought a cone back from halfway through the course and after two people tried and failed to dig it out from where it was absolutely buried under the middle of the car. As I’m panicked that I’m going to have to get out of the start queue and lose the rest of my runs to go find a damn jack to get this cone out from under my car and here is Betty trying to save the event for someone she had never even met and at no insignificant risk to herself. Thank you Betty. That was amazing.

There were many more examples that I saw of one of our NER members, one of the CMCers, one of the National Staff, or one of the imported competitors doing their level best to put on a good event for everyone that came up. There were even more examples that I’m 100% sure occurred even though I didn’t see them. This was absolutely the successful event that I was hoping for and I’m excited for the possibility that it might happen again in the future. Thank you all for participating in making this opportunity happen for our region and thank you all for participating in making it a successful event. I had a great time. Let’s do it again next year.