Monday, November 14, 2011

Florida State Qualifiers in Jacksonville: Great track, great friends, great racing! (bad SSA)

The Florida state series is somewhat of a novelty to us. We've never completed a season, often unwilling to travel far south to Miami, West Palm, or wherever to attend the championship. The boys do love the competition though, so we try to hit qualifiers when the timing is right. Some might argue with me, but I feel that Florida has the most competitive state series in the country, with qualifiers typically having the feel of a small national. All that said, I'm really not a huge fan of the money-grubbing organization known as the SSA (Sunshine State Association). While I'm certainly not wanting to see it fail, I would like to see a huge shake-up. From what I've heard, there's just not enough love for the local tracks. From what I saw this weekend, there's not a lot of respect for the riders shelling out the race fees that pay their bills either.

On a bright note, the track couldn't have been better. According to Vikki Wright, "...Donell did one hell of job." He most certainly did, Mrs. Wright! Thank you Mr. Wright for a job well done! I can't go without thanking Michelle Messing either, who clearly has a grasp on marketing and event planning. Great job! Oh, and Bill, I hope you figured out how to cook that frozen chicken. Many thanks to all of the volunteers. You helped make up for what the SSA was lacking.

The SSA seemed to struggle Saturday, with what seemed to be some odd attempt at combining their system with the ABA moto system. Riders were called to staging for mains before anyone knew their moto numbers or gates-- unless you were one of the mathematical geniuses who happened to know the correct method for determining gate placement. The riders in the first 20 motos (2 of whom were MY boys), sat in staging for 90 minutes, as there was no announcement made as to what all the trouble was. This was disrespectful and unacceptable SSA!

Once things got rolling, both William and Wyatt had great kids to ride against, making the spectating fun, and the podium finishes worthy. Not that my kids need anymore trophies, but at $40 an entry, one would think the SSA could cough up a little more than some medals that a little birdie told me only cost a buck and a half. Thanks for nothing.


William battled it out with Joey Leto in 10x and 10c, finally grabbing one win in cruiser on Sunday. He gave it his all in 10x, and took the silver, only to have a DQ called on him a few moments later. Of course I didn't waste any time investigating this matter, with my curious son trailing behind me. Apparently, William was called out by the corner marshall in the first turn for crossing the white line. Ok, I've seen that line crossed a gazillion times with no consequence, which ticked me off. As this was just a SQ that we care nothing about, I took a deep breath, took William's silver from around my neck, and handed it to the officials and told them to stick it where ... ahem.... thanked them politely for their information. William's reaction? "I don't care. It's not like I won."

SSA, if I could have DQ'd YOU, I would have.

I absolutely can not end this on a sour note. The weather was beautiful, and our friends were there in abundance. The boys raced well, and I puffed up like a peacock overhearing parents who don't know me from Eve talking about the fast kid with the long blonde hair in 8 int.

We can't pass up the ride time at some of our favorite tracks with some or our favorite friends. Expect to see us at the qualifiers in Sarasota and High Springs. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing some positive changes the newly elected board will bring to the SSA.



  1. Dear Readers,

    I just received this comment via FB message, and would like to share it with you....

    "I honestly thought that your blog was disrespectful towards the SSA. With the whole merger, they were brought upon many changes, some which they are just getting accustomed to. Also your whole little DQ'ed rant, I thought was pointless. It is in the ABA rules, that the corner marshall makes the final decision, and if a rider cut below the white line and gained a position, then that rider should be penalized. It is not fair for the other riders, when a rider "cheats" to gain a position.

    And the whole thing about receiving a medal...the riders will receive a medallion at each of the qualifiers and they will also receive a type of plaque to hang them on. The plaques were not ready yet, therefore they could not be handed out in Jax. I dont know about you, but I would rather receive a medallion than a sticker to put on a plaque that said what place I got."

  2. In all sincerity, I appreciate your comment. First, I understand and empathize with the changes the SSA is undergoing. However, a little information would have been helpful, such as an announcement letting riders know precisely when they need to be in staging, by way of a 10 minute warning.

    As for my "whole little DQ'ed rant", this is MY SON. I will protect and defend him to the end. Did he cheat? NO. Has he ever cheated? NO. Did he cross the white line? Well, maybe. If the corner marshall saw it that way, then fine. I did not waste one moment of breath arguing it, but I don't have to be happy about the call either.

    Thank you for the information regarding the plaques for the medallions.

    Heather Parker

  3. Great article about your Jacksonville qualifier experience. I may have been one of the parents that commented how fast the kid in 8 int was. Great racer. My first gripe with the SSA was that their point system was flawed. Wyatt will receive fewer points then the kid who won 8 novice. After 8 wins that kid will move to int and be in the top 4 in points. This promotes the parents to sandbag the kids on purpose. Not only has some of these sanbaggers raced novice all last year but some the year before.......unbelievable. Next about the DQ's. ABA and NBL nationals had hay bails in place so kids couldn't cut the turns. SSA was more concerned on the turn then the blocking of the home straight that still continues. They even DQ a 6 year old for cutting the turn. My favorite was the famous SSA Sunday stalling and chicken dancing that had us get home at almost midnight instead of a decent hour. The ABA has the SSA saying how high when they say jump and SSA will be on their last leg unless they get their act together.

  4. Thanks for your comment! I didn't realize there had been another DQ for that same reason. William has raced for six years, and has never been DQ'ed. I found out too late that it was in fact a bad call, as he did not gain a position. Thanks for the compliment to our son. He has come a long way! We're looking forward to more great racing.