For many, 2020 has been a year of struggles. From the pandemic, to local shutdowns, the effects of this year have left its mark on too many of us facing either health or financial setbacks, and in some cases, both. Even if we were spared some of the worst of what 2020 had to offer, as a region, our favorite outlet and activities were cancelled or suspended for many months, leaving us sitting at home longing to be back at the track, having fun with cars and our friends.
As we enter the final months of 2020, all of our region specialties have resumed events and we’re working hard to keep them safe, secure and compliant so we can continue.
However, during times of trouble, there are always those that see the challenges and are prompted to respond. They feel a call to action. The New England Region is proud that three of our members are among this special group of individuals that step up and create opportunities or provide resources that support our club.
Workers show off their new flagging gloves.
Worker Glove Donation
During the flagger meeting at the NERRC #4 Palmer Pig Roast event, the corner workers were presented with new long, SFI rated gloves courtesy of Abhi Ghatak and Jen Ferreira. Volunteers working flagging and communications always need hand protection when responding to incidents on track. Pushing vehicles to a safe location, helping EV hook up tows and wreckers straps, or collecting various pieces and parts that might fall off and litter the track require this. Gloves are needed to protect from sharp edges, but also from hot spots. The rear spoiler or deck of a car is usually quite hot from engine heat and exhaust. Hand protection is standard equipment for every corner worker. However, many use basic gloves that offer better protection then a bare hand, but do not offer the safety and security of an SFI rated glove.
According to Ahhi, “At last year’s annual meeting, we were talking to our flagger friends about the gear that they needed for being out on station. Several of them said that they could use long SFI rated racing gloves. Over the winter we bought a few pairs every month until we had 25 pairs.” Abhi and Jen then gave this amazing donation to Eileen McStay, the region Flag Chief, who distributed them to the workers.
“Our core group of flaggers were gifted a set of driver gloves to assist them when responding to an incident around the race track. These workers make it so everyone can enjoy racing. The generosity of Jen and Abhi is appreciated by all SCCA NER flaggers,” Eileen said.
Abhi Ghatak (STL #37) Jennifer Ferreira (SRF #37)
New Volunteer Worker Sponsorship
Recruiting new workers, and especially young people, to get involved with the Road Racing program has always been a challenge. Recognizing the need, Miguel Aponte-Rios has donated $1500 to create a sponsorship to cover membership dues and fees for new members.
To qualify is simple. Any new member that volunteers to work two (2) road racing events will receive a $50 sponsorship applied to their membership dues. For anyone aged 18-25, that covers the entire cost of a First Gear membership, making it free for them to join SCCA.
“Miguel’s generosity and willingness to think outside of traditional solutions to attracting workers has the chance to help up to 30 new members with this sponsorship,” explained Rich Currey, NER Regional Executive. “If you know of anyone who could benefit from this program, feel free to reach out to JB Swan (Road Racing Chair) or any of our Directors for more details.”
“I’m always trying to find a way to help and make a difference whenever I can,” Miguel responded when asked about his generous donation. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity for Aponte-Rios Racing to be able to help expand the NER club in many ways, not only with corner workers but also possible future drivers. What better way to introduce young boys and girls to the sport than to be able to be right on the track!
The more important point is, none of us drivers would be able to have the amazing weekends we have without all the workers and staff. A BIG thank you to all of them. The fact that Rich is going after young blood, hits home as well. I have two boys that I will someday see them not only helping in any way they can at the track but also behind the wheel, and that makes me very happy. I am very proud to be part of the NER club for so many years and I am also very much looking forward to see and meet the new talent at the track.”
Miguel Aponte-Rios drives the #00 T1 BMW
Show Our Thanks
The next time you’re at a road racing event, or any NER gathering, and run into Jen, Ahbi or Miguel, please be sure and pass along your thanks. These are members going above and beyond to ensure that we can all enjoy the sport we love, attract new friends and competitors to all the fun SCCA has to offer, and help grow and support the ongoing activities of the club.