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Last Post 20 Sep 2013 06:51 PM by  MackBarker
Final Warning - Moving Cones/Changing the Course
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Z3papa
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19 Sep 2013 10:14 PM
I've never seen someone other than a designer walk on course with a measuring wheel. To do that when you are not the course designer is an invitation to wanting to change things.
JWhitling
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20 Sep 2013 08:54 AM
Posted By Bullitt on 16 Sep 2013 06:48 PM
Thanks Scott. As the course designer, I was very disappointed to see that the course was changed for two reasons. One is that my favorite element, the box near the end which should have been a lane change, effectively was changed into a straight. The second, much more major complaint, is that a course that may have been relatively fair to a variety of cars became one that favored horsepower.

I would very much appreciate if the person/people responsible for this would contact me via PM so that we can discuss why these changes were made. I am officially calling you out. I hope that if you are a Cincy region member you would grant me the respect of owning your actions. And if you visited from another region yesterday, I think it's only polite to explain why you felt you had the final decision over and above the host region.

I get to most of our events by 6:30 AM, help with setup for the day (be it course, registration, etc.), do a work assignment, and am there helping until the trailer is packed. I have been setting courses for Formula SAE and SCCA for years. I am NOT a national level competitor. This was my first course at a big lot and it is really, really a shame that someone chose to take matters into their own hands. What's more, I may have even learned something if people had taken the time to consult and teach me. I think most would agree that I am very reasonable to deal with and am more than willing to listen to suggestions on changes to the course.

End rant.

I had a great time yesterday, thought the event was awesome.

Hey there! It was ME. That's right .. I registered on this forum just so I could ease your mind .. it was ME.

You might want to re-think the "if you're walkin' you're chalking" method of course marking. That would cure your problem completely.

 For the record, there could have also been others at the Wilmington event but I'll take all  the blame because I probably instigated it all since I was first to do it. It started with the first cone off the start, which I moved the most, about 2 feet. That was by far the cone I moved the most. That cone was not hit all day, and given the 15 mph speed of that area was any safety problem created. It was a "gottcha cone" as it was positioned and rather than having it hit over and over I moved the cone inward so that the cone was now positioned at the point where the pointer used to be. I could send a diagram if needed.

I'm sure that moved others as well, but primarily in an effort square up cones with the direction of the course (yes I'm a bit annal about that kind of stuff) and in one area just trying to make the course more readable. And in that same area I'm also the same "old veteran" that suggested a row of pointers there because one corner of the course was quite close to another corner, and the second corner was only marked by two cones which turned out to be a slalom that forms a corner. Mind you that we had a record number of rookies at this event too. In the end nothing was done about that and as it turned out the course was lined later and that clarified the area, and there was no problem there that I was aware of. Just be careful to rely on course lining for everyone to read a course because it disappears when it rains.

Also for the record, I'm in one of smallest and least powerful cars out there, so moving the cones I moved was not an effort in gaining any advantage on my part .. it was just effort to have more fun. Hell, I didn't even have anyone in my class.

Again, mark your cones and nobody will ever be able to do what I did again. Your efforts will be preserved in every way.

Also note that I, nor anyone else I saw, had anything to do with cones around the corner entry areas where cones were later added at turns 2 and 3, later in the morning.

While we are on the subject of course designs there seems to be two distinct philosophies on designing the finish .. one is to make the finish straight so that timers are not taken out and people are not spinning out at the finish all the time. The other is to make the finish a high speed offset maneuver, as has been the standard with this club at Wilmington. You'll find that your event go better with the former method. Not that I'm calling you out on it because it seems to be the standard for every course that this club sets up at Wilmington. If you guys are REALLY interested in safety you should reconsider your finish layouts. And just to clarify, I changed nothing having to do with the finish or the slalom that led to it.

BTW, I also enjoyed the event and the course was a nice use of space for the lot, albeit a bit slow. It was a challenging course with two option slaloms that even today I'm not sure that took the best way.

I will skip this weekend's event there as my self inflicted punishment. Let the flogging begin!


HotDoggin
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20 Sep 2013 11:51 AM
Posted By John Whitling on 20 Sep 2013 3:54 AM

 Hey there! It was ME. That's right .. I registered on this forum just so I could ease your mind .. it was ME.

You might want to re-think the "if you're walkin' you're chalking" method of course marking. That would cure your problem completely.

 For the record, there could have also been others at the Wilmington event but I'll take all  the blame because I probably instigated it all since I was first to do it. It started with the first cone off the start, which I moved the most, about 2 feet. That was by far the cone I moved the most. That cone was not hit all day, not at the 15 mph speed of that area was any safety problem created. It was a "gottcha cone" as it was positioned and rather than having it hit over and over I moved the cone inward so that the cone was now positioned at the point where the pointer used to be. I'm sure that moved others as well, but primarily in an effort square up cones with the direction of the course (yes I'm a bit annal about that kind of stuff) and in one area just trying to make the course more readable. And in that same area I'm also the same "old veteran" that suggested a row of pointers there because one corner of the course was quite close to another corner, and the second corner was only marked by two cones which turned out to be a slalom that forms a corner. Mind you that we had a record number of rookies at this event too. In the end nothing was done about that and as it turned out the course was lined later and that clarified the area, and there was no problem there that I was aware of. Just be careful to rely on course lining for everyone to read a course because it disappears when it rains.

Also for the record, I'm in one of smallest and least powerful cars out there, so moving the cones I moved was not an effort in gaining any advantage on my part .. it was just effort to have more fun. Hell, I didn't even have anyone in my class.

Mark your cones and nobody will ever be able to do what I did again.

While we are on the subject of course designs there seems to be two distinct philosophies on designing the finish .. one is to make the finish straight so that timers are not taken out and people are not spinning out at the finish all the time. The other is to make the finish straight and clean which requires no sideways craziness. You'll find that your event go better with the latter method. Not that I'm calling you out on it because it seems to be the standard for every course that this club sets up at Wilmington. If you guys are really interested in safety you should reconsider your finish layouts. And just to clarify, I changed nothing having to do with the finish or the slalom that led to it.

BTW, I also enjoyed the event and the course was a nice use of space for the lot, albeit a bit slow. It was a challenging course with two option slaloms that even today I'm not sure that took the best way.

I will skip this weekend's event there as my self inflicted punishment.

 

Simply to clarify - Cincy's next/last event is October 6th (Fun event).  MVSCC has an event there this weekend on the 13th..

Secondly - You make the comment to our course designer that you aren't calling him out on finish designs... but you are

- I was the very nice gentleman that spoke with you just prior to my 4th run about your opinion of course design, which you were conspicuously vocalizing loud enough that I could hear you over the very loud exhaust on your solo vee, the lack of muffler on my car, and my helmet.. I chose to comment at the time because after listening to nothing but complaints for the first 3 runs it was starting to wear (Especially considering I assisted in setup and had to be on site before the sun crested the horizon).  To add insult to injury, I was also the gentleman that was lining the course when you were out walking and chalking the course... Un-prompted, you felt it necessary to suggest visual improvements to the course - That's great!  However please recall, I immediately answered with something to the extent of, "I don't think we need to add any more cones - The lines will visually assist with guiding people to where they need to be; additionally, the course has already been approved by the safety steward, and no changes are to be made - There was a big hooplah a few events ago because we had someone changing the course (adding pointer cones) after it had been approved."  I'm pretty sure I then recommended that you find the course designer or safety steward with any additional concerns..

 I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 95% of the course designers wouldn't mind having a conversation about cone placement or visual lines etc. with almost anyone.. After all, the ultimate goal of the event is to Be Safe while having fun..  The caveat to this is when you make decisions on your own without consulting anyone? We really shouldn't have to participant-proof the course by chalking in advance either -

Here's the part that gets me - I'm assuming you changed the arrangement of some cones based on your perception that you were improving the course.  Based on the fact that you stopped adjusting at some point, that would lead me to believe that you were happy with the 'improvements' that you applied.  Ok, so fast forward to when you're now driving the course - How can you not like it?  It's been improved!

 Hopefully we will all learn from this experience, and come up with a method to prevent any issues from now on.  I am unfortunately realizing that this means the course designers will be feeling the brunt of the changes as this will mean getting to the sight even EARLIER now so that we can set up the course, approve it, have the designer do his/her last walk though, mark it, and THEN open it for walking..

 Also worth commenting- in your mention of the finish which you aren't calling our course designer out in- You said straight vs straight and clean - Mr. Clean cone jokes and awkward typos aside, this was definitely discussed during course setup between safety steward, designer, myself, etc..  Assuming you're talking about the fact that the finish was not straight, we decided to leave it in and mitigate any issues with strategically placed corner workers.  Problem solved.  There is a lot of thought that goes into the whole process- perhaps next time speaking more softly (you can leave the big stick at home) and opting to change your driving line would be the preferred reaction..

JWhitling
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20 Sep 2013 12:33 PM
Hi Hotdoggin, and thanks for clipping my post. It doesn't seem to be in the thread at the moment. After posting I realized that I mis-worded the thing on finishes so it would make sense. It was NOT an attempt at humor. Maybe my post will show up again soon and you can see the edits.

Let's be clear here .. the only "significant" (as judged by me) move I made was to the first cone, and for the reasons posted. Why would I admit to this grievous act and then lie about details? This thread makes it sound like I redesigned the course. That is not my opinion, of which everyone is entitled to have, so you might feel otherwise.

I would like to know what you think I did that created any kind of safety concern, seemingly painting me as some kind of crazy idiot with no regard for safety. In fact my approaching you about the section where I wanted to put down pointers was quite specific to safety, and safety only. The last thing I want to see when I go autocrossing is any kind of safety issue, whether that be cars in ditches, people hit, cars colliding, whatever. I've seen that stuff before and racing around in a parking lot is not worth getting hurt over.

I was NOT happy with the finish and definitely had I had anything to do with it I would have changed it. I considered that to be a pretty big thing to change and left it as is. Moving an apex cone is nothing like redesigning the finish or taking out or re-spacing slalom cones. At the time of our conversation 3 guys at worker station 6 left it to one lone woman (I don't know who) to cover the finish slalom all by herself while they were propping up that lamp pole. She was working her butt off and she was getting some jeering for running thru the finish lights at the time and my remark was based on all the problems that were taking place at the finish line that she had to cover.

so whatever .. paint me as the bad guy (everybody needs one) and we'll move on.
christoc
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20 Sep 2013 12:42 PM
Maybe it's just me, not in the region, or even the same state, but it is pretty plain and simple.

You changed the course, and you weren't part of safety, or course design. Plain and simple.

Yet you think you can justify that somehow? There is no justification for that
HotDoggin
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20 Sep 2013 01:14 PM
Posted By John Whitling on 20 Sep 2013 12:33 PM
Hi Hotdoggin, and thanks for clipping my post. It doesn't seem to be in the thread at the moment. After posting I realized that I mis-worded the thing on finishes so it would make sense. It was NOT an attempt at humor. Maybe my post will show up again soon and you can see the edits.

Let's be clear here .. the only "significant" (as judged by me) move I made was to the first cone, and for the reasons posted. Why would I admit to this grievous act and then lie about details? This thread makes it sound like I redesigned the course. That is not my opinion, of which everyone is entitled to have, so you might feel otherwise.

I would like to know what you think I did that created any kind of safety concern, seemingly painting me as some kind of crazy idiot with no regard for safety. In fact my approaching you about the section where I wanted to put down pointers was quite specific to safety, and safety only. The last thing I want to see when I go autocrossing is any kind of safety issue, whether that be cars in ditches, people hit, cars colliding, whatever. I've seen that stuff before and racing around in a parking lot is not worth getting hurt over.

I was NOT happy with the finish and definitely had I had anything to do with it I would have changed it. I considered that to be a pretty big thing to change and left it as is. Moving an apex cone is nothing like redesigning the finish or taking out or re-spacing slalom cones. At the time of our conversation 3 guys at worker station 6 left it to one lone woman (I don't know who) to cover the finish slalom all by herself while they were propping up that lamp pole. She was working her butt off and she was getting some jeering for running thru the finish lights at the time and my remark was based on all the problems that were taking place at the finish line that she had to cover.

so whatever .. paint me as the bad guy (everybody needs one) and we'll move on.

I'm not intending to pin you as the sole bad guy- I am pretty sure that you're not the only one doing it, which is what prompted Scott to issue new rules going forward (that apply to anyone falling under these classifications).. but please realize.. there is no gray area on this issue. There is no allowance for interpretation what changes are minimal or major - It doesn't matter. That's not the point.  Cones were moved.   - Period. I don't care if you only moved one, or many!  Anything past 0 cones is too many, and this includes visual walls (which can be seen from more than just that corner at times)

Just like was outlined in the new rules - If there is a legit safety concern, then you/(insert name of safety-concerned party here) should be able to muster the time/effort to hunt down the safety steward for the event and have that same discussion with them personally, and not through the grapevine of a helper..   If it's not important enough to warrant that discussion, then don't worry about it - Your name isn't on the safety steward line for that event, and that anxiety should end right there without any further changes.

 Let's also be clear - I am not painting you as a crazy idiot with no concern for safety.  Please do not put words in my mouth.  I do intend to paint the picture that changes do have potential consequences that the changee may not even consider (despite popular belief).. that's when it becomes a potential safety issue.  I would tend to agree with Chris in the fact that you (or the next guy who hasn't spoken up) are attempting to justify every change you made... What you're failing to realize is there is no justification. Nothing personal, but I have no clue who you are - You don't know me, I don't know you.  So how can I guarantee that you know what you're doing?  I can't!  I could sit here and google you 'till the cows come home now that I know who's got some responsibility in this game (and I'd learn some interesting things) but I think even you would agree that this info wouldn't do me any good when attempting to judge course design character..

Alas, my issue is still bigger than that - and goes without saying that the whole concern with this issue is that it's happened multiple times.  Hell I'll even admit that I'm frustrated that in addition to you (or the next competitor that takes it upon themselves to tweak the course), I'm pretty confident that I have other safety stewards that are changing things without having any discussion with the course designer or "designated" safety steward.  Same rules apply to anyone that's not been a designated helper.

 Evan - You'll have to speak to the details of this one as I didn't set up the lane change near the end, but for purposes of discussion, that change was pretty significant if it was actually set up as the course map indicated (intent, not exact cone placement) - See for yourself..

 Course map for the lane change feature:

Compare this to what was pictured above - These sorts of changes could definitely affect speed and composure on course.

Catch-22
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20 Sep 2013 02:32 PM
Posted By John Whitling on 20 Sep 2013 12:33 PM
so whatever .. paint me as the bad guy (everybody needs one) and we'll move on.

You don't need any help with that as you are doing a fine job all by yourself.  I'd suggest you go ahead and put the brush down, but I'm pretty sure you won't.

What we (cincy region) will not do is spend an extra hour in the morning having 3 people chalk the course because a few people can not be trusted to not move things around. 

What we will do is identify those people and solve the problem by inviting them to leave and never come back.  John, you have been identified (Thanks!), we'll proactively work on IDing any others.

Since you have self identified (and we already kind of knew about you thanks to some of your peers), you can rest assured that you will get no further warnings.  Hopefully this is crystal clear and you won't feel the need to do whatever you want and then try to justify your actions.  As Gordon noted above, there is no justification and if you were half as experienced and knowledgeable as you say (think) you are then you'd already know this.

Unless something changes before 10/6, Gordon is the course designer and Dennis is the safety steward at the last event.  If anyone but those two people moves a cone they get to go home.  John, if you move a cone you get to go home AND find another region to run with in the future.  If you don't like that, go ahead and save us all the trouble and start looking for that region now. 

Thanks, and have a nice day.

 

JWhitling
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20 Sep 2013 05:03 PM

Still digging that hole

Hotdoggin, I never saw that box laid out like your diagram, and certainly I did not change it from that to what it became. Perhaps that was done in one of the run throughs or something. It looked pretty much like the photo in the previous posts. 

 BTW, the event I will skip as punishment is in Toledo

Catch-22, what exactly does this mean ???? "(and we already kind of knew about you thanks to some of your peers)". What exactly is it about me? Entertain me please ..

mdavis
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20 Sep 2013 05:59 PM
Posted By John Whitling on 20 Sep 2013 12:33 PM

I was NOT happy with the finish and definitely had I had anything to do with it I would have changed it. I considered that to be a pretty big thing to change and left it as is. Moving an apex cone is nothing like redesigning the finish or taking out or re-spacing slalom cones. At the time of our conversation 3 guys at worker station 6 left it to one lone woman (I don't know who) to cover the finish slalom all by herself while they were propping up that lamp pole. She was working her butt off and she was getting some jeering for running thru the finish lights at the time and my remark was based on all the problems that were taking place at the finish line that she had to cover.

so whatever .. paint me as the bad guy (everybody needs one) and we'll move on.

If you're going to talk about the course workers, maybe you should get your facts correct. I was working corner 6, which as far as I could tell when I got there, included the box, right hand turnaround, and the finish slalom. We had 3 people. As soon as the 3 of us got to the cornerworking station, Mrs. Glanz volunteered to work the slalom, heading down 1 lightpole to where the 3rd cone in the slalom was. She told me that she didn't want to work the radio, as did the other guy working the corner with me. Fine, no problem, I'll take the radio and the flag. That still leaves 1 guy to cover the box and turn-around, along with the 1st couple of cones in the slalom (I've been told at previous events that the guy with the flag shouldn't be shagging cones, which makes complete sense in case there is some reason to red flag a car on one side of the corner station while the downed cone is on the other side (as could have easily been the case at Corner 6 on Sunday).

 

I'm not sure how, but on a couple of occasions Mrs. Glanz was already on the move to a downed slalom cone before I even noticed it, let alone could react. She was definitely busting ass, and deserves a big pat on the back for her efforts on course.

Catch-22
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20 Sep 2013 06:09 PM
Posted By John Whitling on 20 Sep 2013 05:03 PM

 

Catch-22, what exactly does this mean ???? "(and we already kind of knew about you thanks to some of your peers)". What exactly is it about me? Entertain me please ..

You had been ID'd as a culprit, by multiple people, before you fessed up.

I'm extremely disappointed that none of the people that saw it said anything at the time, but hopefully the good thing that will come out of this is that the problem will go away.  Actually, I guarantee that the problem will go away one way or another, but hopefully we'll do it the easy way.

 

 

 

JWhitling
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20 Sep 2013 06:33 PM

Well, rest assured that I'll not be touching cones or marking cones again. Nor will I be suggesting or pointing out anything that I see as problematic. I will comply.

I must stipulate again though, that I had NOTHING to do with the redesign of the lane change box, which the original poster was concerned about.

eaf363
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20 Sep 2013 06:47 PM
I find it interesting that we apparently have yet another culprit responsible for the modification to the lane change box... maybe I'll request "course changer sniper" as my work assignment for the last event.

I vote that anyone caught changing course gets to arrive at 6 AM to help set up for the entirety of the next season. If you aren't there by 0600, you don't get to run that day. Maybe that would help people appreciate what goes into running one of these events, because surprisingly they don't just happen on their own.
MackBarker
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20 Sep 2013 06:51 PM
Okay guys, maybe we should slow down a little here. This discussion brings up an area of course layout that I have wondered about. Are the Rule Book Guidelines for course setup hard and fast, minimum standards that regions must follow? I have not gotten a straight answer from National. The only thing I was told is that car classification is partly determined by using Rule Book Standards. I have run events at a region that loves to setup courses for small, very small, cars. I do not go to their events anymore. When I do travel to regions it is nice to know minimum setup rules are met. Some regions can be very territorial!
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