Short Man Syndrome

Just like anything in life; as you gain experience it becomes easier and easier to spot the bullshitters.

TL:DR

Bullies are stupid. Throw rocks at them!

Bad attitudes and maybe even sexism is no place for the track.  Also, there’s a lack of credibility with many “Tom, Dick, and Jane” event claiming to be a High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) (Lapping Events) that is questionable what they teach.

I attended a track event that in my view lacks credibility to be called a “High Performance Driver Education” (HPDE) event.  In the background they heavily promote track driving education and also try to monopolize how the organizer use to “race”. You know things start to get fishy when they tried to pass off as a sanctioned time attack event only to be told they don’t have insurance and don’t belong to a sanctioning body – go figure right? The problem is that there is only one track and they secured the rights for “lapping” on the track. It is what it is.

Anyway, I volunteered to help a friend to give her some pointers when it comes to managing traffic on the track. The lapping event stated that you could take ride along’s (passengers). At the drivers meeting (if you would call that a drivers meeting). The organizer wanted to know who had ride along’s and the amount of experience that they had. We had our hands up when the organizer asked if there would be passengers with the drivers. The organizer glossed us over the moment we told them we had competition licenses and would be in a race car.

So, things should be kosher? Of course not, otherwise I wouldn’t have a write up. The moment we lined up the organizer blows his top that this was not allowed and to talk to him after the session. The organizer wouldn’t talk to us directly and that is a clue as to how things will roll down – he made the corner worker go in-between.

Talking with the corner worker on the side because he volunteers at our sanctioned races we chat as to what the real problem is. The side comment was that this happens often with the organizer – changing their mind last minute and making things bigger than what they are.

After the session I debrief my friend while coaching her in data analytics that should be done after every session. We’re going over tire temperatures, tire pressures … The next thing that happens is bizarro.

Clearly it was a case of inferiority complex in needing to compensate a certain je n’ai ce quoi. The Napoleon complex was really interesting to watch as it unfolded in front of me – literally the organizer is most likely 5 feet 2 inches or less and stubby  (Napoleon was around of 5 feet 7 inches). The session just ended and he had to storm and find me. I would have come over after debriefing my friend.

Anyway, he stands in front of me all puffed up in an aggressive stance like he wanted to have a physical confrontation. During this time he is looking down over me while I am kneeling doing tire temps while explaining what to do to my friend.

He wouldn’t hear it and started to turn red and kept asking who am I, what qualifications I have, and why did I lie to him. So, I naturally stood up quickly to match his aggression and towered down the little man – it surprised me how fast he backed off. He seemed a little shocked I wasn’t a short asian. I walked towards him and he immediately  kept his distance. Funny.

I told him politely I did not lie and I was at the drivers meeting when he asked and where he said it was “ok” for us to have me as passenger. Obviously, he tried to back out until I told him that I have witness’s that will verify that I was at the meeting and that he said it was “ok”. Of course during this short conversations his face is like a volcano, but keeping a good distance away from me; so much so he is standing in between our open trailer.  Bullies *sigh*

He storms off angry while muttering to himself; most likely still shocked that I wasn’t taking his BS and the fact that I towered over the little man. I honestly think he wanted to fight.

A few moment later “shorty” comes back and tries the same tactic to my friend as the race car is in between me and him.  The organizer starts to accuse my friend that she was not pointing pass by’s and hinted that it was also her responsibility to let the passer have the “good” line. Again false in all counts. I guess he felt he need to cover up something and feel inferior towards the opposite sex.

I quickly remind the organizer that all drivers must be spatially aware of all objects around them. My friend was giving point by’s that can be clearly seen in a windowless back window in the race car. They (the passer) should not be focused only on the left mirror for point by’s. They need to be watching all round them. There’s also a little problem with race cars in that there is a window net. The organizer of course you guess it – “don’t use the window net”. WTF?!?  I put my foot down and say no we will not remove a safety device and that the organizer clearly knows better. He recovers and says he has a safety net as well and he easily put his hand out on top of the roof for point by’s (I know, hand on roof – wtf?,  and shorty sit’s that close to the steering wheel?).  My friend being all very polite tries to appease and says that she will try her very best to put out of the window for pass by’s, but only her wrist is visible.

I reiterate my point that it is up to the passer to make a clean pass – just like real racing and that the leading car does not have to make any unsafe allowances. It becomes a very dangerous mix for someone to guess another driver’s intention or racing line. The organizer won’t hear it and starts to press on my driver most likely because she is polite and you guess it shorter than him.  My friends boyfriend (over 6ft tall) hears the commotion and now starts to walk towards the little man and just like magic “shorty” starts to back away.

The organizer now goes back to me ( you can tell “shorty” is running out of room) and wants to “look me up” and I’m guessing he wants to verbally ban me since it’s obvious a physical encounter would be unhealthy for him.

Shorty now tells me how I need to go through his un-sanctioned instructor school and how I need to spend hours driving on the track to have him feel safe to sign off as a passenger and instructor. I guess my FIA competition license, PCA Instructors status, and BMW Advance instructor status is too low on the totem pole. Seeing what shorty teaches and how his graduated students drive – laughable at best.

In the end things calm down and all is good.  My friend is a race car driver. She didn’t need instructing – just a little coaching. The accusations were over the top, the huffing and puffing wasn’t necessary.

As the event winded down I talked to a couple of corner works since I race with them. I tried to find out who was making the complaints on my friend for not pointing by. They told me they don’t know, it was being directed from shorty. They never herd a call go out in reference to my friend. Interesting isn’t it?

Lessons learned:

  • Can’t fix stupid
  • Short man syndrome is a thing
  • The amount of back tracking was amazing – Maybe it will be called Donald Trump Syndrome
  • Is this what track events are evolving to?
  • A little worrisome if this is what track drivers are being taught (no spatial awareness)
  • Bullies are stupid throw rocks at them
  • Strange that I had to give a resume of real racing credentials and real instructor credentials only to be told it wasn’t good enough – how will I sleep at night #sarcasm
  • Never a good sign when you have to remind the organizer on being safe on the track
  • Maybe the organizer is a bigot
  • Maybe the organizer is a racist
  • Maybe the organizer is a sexist

Note: The window net may seem like a small thing for track folks. The thing is, the racing community is small and the the last thing I would want is to be a footnote for safety in FIA. No one want to be that person.

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