Inside Solo: What the Solo Events Board Does

(Each month, Nick Dunlap, the Solo® Events Board (SEB) chair, brings you the latest goings-on as seen by the SEB, including SEB membership changes, explanations of rules adjustments, and more.)

In last month’s column, we covered how Solo® rules come to be, then discussed what the Advisory Committees (ACs) to the Solo Events Board (SEB) do. If you haven’t given that one a read, you really should, as this month’s column builds on everything we discussed there, and you might be a bit lost if you jump in halfway through.

So go read last month’s column. We’ll wait…

Now that you’re caught up, let’s jump into the SEB, along with how you can get involved.

Inside the SEB

As you can imagine, as you move up the rulemaking pyramid the job gets busier and busier.

The SEB role generally requires a larger time commitment than one of an AC. There are two SEB calls each month, plus each SEB member is also a liaison to a few of the Advisory Committees, joining their calls to listen in and answer questions.

Why does the SEB role require more time commitment than an AC? Let’s look at the Club’s Operations Manual: "The SEB is responsible for establishing rules, specifications, and standards for scheduling, organization, conduct, and supervision of Solo programs. The SEB shall work in concert with the Solo Department to ensure such rules and procedures mesh smoothly to the benefit of the program and the participants."

Excluding the awards section, the current iteration of the Solo Rules is 318 pages. Not that it's necessarily a good thing to be that long, but it's a lot of stuff to keep watch over. With some occasional advice from the SCCA National Office (hello legal department!), the SEB uses the recommendations from the ACs and puts together the recommended changes which are sent to the SCCA Board of Directors at the end of each year for approval and inclusion into the following year's rulebook. If the SEB has done its job properly then the BoD agrees with the new changes, and everything is effective Jan 1 of the following year.

Want to Help?

If you haven't been scared off by the time commitment yet (and let's be honest, you already drive for hours to hang out with your friends in a parking lot), let's talk about the qualities of an individual that are important for SCCA committee work.

Having knowledge about the space you want to volunteer in is essential. For example, if you've never even looked at a Prepared category car then you're probably going to be way over your head answering letters written about the Prepared category. If you have no idea what it takes to run a Regional Solo program, you may not be a great fit for the Solo Development Advisory Committee, which helps Regional programs succeed.

That said, almost anyone can contribute to an AC or the SEB in a positive way if they have meaningful insights on how to make Solo or a specific area in Solo succeed.

It's important for people to bring ideas and opinions into these positions that move the sport forward. The tricky part is that on a committee, not everyone is going to see things the same way, and you have to be able to recognize when popular opinion isn't going your way and it's time to move on. The SEB and ACs already spend a ton of time talking about changes, and sometimes in the interest of moving forward there's a simple majority vote and it's onto the next topic.

As you can imagine, being respectful of your fellow committee members is hugely important. Individuals are chosen because they have the best interests of the program at heart, but people may be coming at that from different directions. Likewise, being able to articulate well-reasoned arguments is another key aspect since, often times, you'll have to get everyone on the committee to coalesce around a solution.

So how do you actually get involved? Keep an eye on Fastrack for SEB and AC positions to open up in the areas you're interested in, then send in a resume using the letter system.

The details in that resume will depend somewhat on your history with the SCCA. Maybe the only letters you've ever written in the past have been to argue that all cones should be replaced by ducks. In that case, you probably want to provide some details on your history with the SCCA, positions and responsibilities you've held with your local Region, your thoughts on how things should move forward, and even some of your professional experiences, if relevant.

If you have a long history of submitting well written and insightful proposals to your committee of choice, then the AC and SEB already has a lot of information to go on. Also, don’t be surprised to get a phone call or email from someone to talk in more detail. And don't despair if you're passed up for a position on the AC of your dreams. There's a lot that goes into selecting someone for a position, and that can include things that you only have a vague influence on like geographical representation or expertise with a certain class within a category. And if you don’t make it, keep that letter handy and submit it again when a position opens up.

Phew, That Was a Lot

And there you have it: How rules are made, what autocross Advisory Committees do, the role of the Solo Events Board, how this all connects with the SCCA Board of Directors, and how you can get in on the fun.

It’s a lot, but it’s also an essential process that keeps the sport we love strong – and if you read this far, then you’re likely an autocross diehard who I hope wants to get involved.

Photo by Jay Bonvouloir