The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships is a big deal, and I didn’t need the September 2018 event to break yet another participation record (1,375 entrants!) to know it. But to me, what has reaffirmed what I already know about the event is that the new president of ACCUS-FIA now also knows how incredible SCCA’s winner-take-all autocross national championship event is.
A little history, perhaps. ACCUS — which stands for the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States — was founded in 1959 and is comprised of the biggest U.S. motorsports sanctioning bodies: IMSA, IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, USAC and the SCCA. ACCUS is also the National Sporting Authority (ASN) of the FIA in the U.S. What does any of this mean? There’s more to it but, basically, if you want to race on the professional global stage and you live in the United States, you deal with ACCUS for your FIA licensing needs. ACCUS is also a key force in bringing Formula 1 and other FIA-sanctioned motorsports to America’s shores.
The previous president of ACCUS was SCCA Hall of Fame member and past SCCA president Nick Craw, and when Mr. Craw retired from his ACCUS position in 2017, George Silbermann was bestowed with the honor of leading ACCUS. So, as the SCCA Solo National Championships neared, SCCA’s president Mike Cobb invited Silbermann to see what the event was all about.
“My head is still spinning,” Silbermann said after returning home from Lincoln, Neb., where the SCCA Solo National Championships is held each year. “I thought I understood Solo, but I had no inkling of what this event was all about. An entire town springing up on a vast slab of concrete, amazing comradery, fierce-yet-friendly competition, everyone pulling together despite the staggering logistics involved, the inevitable curveballs and miscues – and even the mischievous side of Mother Nature.”
For the full experience, Cobb lined up a thrill ride for Silbermann in the form of a shotgun ride-along with 2016 CSL SCCA national champion Deana Kelley, (pictured above) piloting a modified version of Mazda’s latest MX-5.
“The eye-popping ride around the West Course that Deana gave me in the ND2 instilled a newfound appreciation for the skill and precision required at the highest levels of this sport,” Silbermann noted. “Congrats to all of the participants from across North America who descended on Nebraska for this major event, to the SCCA staff, and to the sponsors and partners. Also, thanks to that kind soul who reset the cone I accidentally tagged with my rental car while leaving the site.”
As nearly 1,400 of the SCCA’s members showed this year, the SCCA Solo National Championships is a mega motorsports event with no equal, and it stands as one of the best events of the year. I know it, you know it, and now the president of ACCUS knows it. Indeed, the Solo National Championships is a big, big deal.