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Zone Rep Report January 2011

Sean CridlandIn the Zone by Sean Cridland

Well, we’ve made it through another great year of PCA events all across the Zone. I recently visited Holiday Parties in Alpine Mountain Region, Rocky Mountain Region, and my home Roadrunner Region (Next year I’ll do the “Southern Swing”).  The thing I like most about the PCA Holiday season is that I get to put faces with some of the names I see on e-mail lists.

During the year when I’m making my ZR rounds, I’m visiting lots of events, but I never get to meet all the people of a Region. We know that PCAers are such a diverse group that if I visit an autocross, I may not see a whole group of people who only do tours or socials or even track days. If I go to a track day, I’ll see the trackies, etc. But PCA Regional events are like snapshots. They provide a colorful, albeit small glimpse of what goes on inside a Region.  The Holiday parties are a little different. They usually have a smattering of each of a Region’s various communities. Although I am a self-confessed track and autocross junkie, I’ve had a lot of fun visiting different kinds of events these past two years and getting to know so many people that I wouldn’t have before. There’s always something new…

Speaking of new…There are some new things going on at the Zone level too. I know that many of you rarely even think about what being in a PCA Zone means and that’s natural, since our Zone is so large, you see the Zone Rep rarely and, except for the Alpine Mountain and Rocky Mountain Regions, the Regions rarely interact with one another. It’s the geographic distances of our Zone which almost necessitates this kind of thing.
For as long as just about everyone can remember the Zone 9 Presidents meeting has been held in the (ceremonial, if not exact) geometric center of the Zone, Albuquerque (also center of the Roadrunner Region). But that’s changing from this year on. At the 2010 version of this meeting, it was decided by the Region Presidents to start spreading the meeting around. So, in a drawing from a hat, the West Texas Region was chosen, based in Midland, Texas. At this year’s meeting, the Presidents will determine next year’s location and so on, till the meeting has circulated to all the Regions of the Zone. All the Regions will have an opportunity to host the Zone 9 meeting and socials at some point.  We’re hoping that this new system with start to bring more awareness to each of the Regions on the scale and diversity of our part of the world.

The folks from the West Texas Region have been busy since last year working out some of the details for the host hotel, the meeting place and a special event that everyone with an interest in automotive technology will enjoy. The participants will be making a visit to the Jim Hall Chaparral Wing of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, just outside of Midland.

For those of you who haven’t kept up on the history of sports car-racing, let me bring you up to speed a bit. While Porsche was largely known as an evolutionary developer of technology, from the early 1960s to the early 1970s and beyond Jim Hall was known for his radical and revolutionary leaps in race-car technology. He can be credited with the first use of composite chassis material, the use of wings for braking and downforce, the use of “chin-spoilers” to keep air from the underside of a car, the use of venting on fenders to relieve air-pressure build-up from wheel movement and brake venting, the use of ground-effects, and the use of automatic transmissions in race-cars. With very few exceptions, it’s impossible to look at a modern race-car and not trace its aero and chassis technology back to Jim Hall’s white and yellow cars. They raced all over the world and won in sports car and Indy-car categories and never failed to impress and entertain. For those of us who lived through that period, we expected a radical idea from Hall each year and got it. Can you imagine something like that today.  We’ll be seeing all those cars at the February meeting and may even get a chance to meet Jim himself.

Back to Zone 9 business, last year we also started the Zone 9 Challenge Trophy. The requirements for participation are easy (or not!). You only need be a member of one of the Zone 9 Regions and to travel to other Region events within the Zone. There is no restriction on what kind of event. It could be a track-day, club-race, rally, social, autocross, tech-session, tour, concours…ANY Region sanctioned event. Whoever visits the most Zone 9 Regions during the year will receive the trophy at their Region’s Holiday Party. The inaugural winner of the Zone 9 Trophy is Roadrunner Region’s Kirk Maurer, who attended events in four Zone 9 Regions. That’s pretty good given the size of our Zone.

But…I know that some of you might try harder this coming year and make it to 5, 6, or even all 7 of the Zone 9 Regions for an event. I can imagine a future in which we have to devise a tie-breaking system because there will be multiple qualifiers who have been to all of our Regions. That thought is fun from the competitive aspect, but even more satisfying to me will be the thought that more and more people will be looking to discover all the great events , the wonderful people, and diversity of Porsche and automotive interests that Zone 9 embodies.

Now THAT’s radical!

I hope to see you at one of the events.

Sean

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