Is the board considering any changes to the practice group assignment (and re-assignment) process for 2011?
I think the main principle that has been employed is sound. In short, I'd summarize what I think we all want it to accomplish: fast racers should be in fast groups, slow racers should be in slow groups. In general, and for what I would guess is about 95% of the cases, it seems to work smoothly and work well. I do have a "beef" that it seems each round a few racers get bumped up or down and it is not always clear why. It's happened to me a few times and in talking with others, I've heard similar stories.
I suspect what seem to be sometimes confusing practice group movements are driven by two things:
1) The formula and data points used in assigning groups not being published and "open" -- it's a bit of a black box
2) Bad dbCom data still being used in the system
I recognize #1 has a number of challenges associated with it, so I won't push for something along those lines unless someone jumps in and says it's actually very easy to publish all the most recent info, etc.
On the other hand, #2 feels very easily addressable. Now that we have two years of riding data from the AMB system, can the practice group formula program be adjusted to only use AMB data from 2009 and onward? This feels reasonably fair, as laptimes from 2008 and earlier are unreliable (dbCom had me doing 41s at Infineon a few years ago, which never actually happened) and arguably much less relevant (if I can't run a laptime within the last couple years, should my times from 3 years ago be used in assigning my practice group?).
I'm sure there are some flaws with my thinking, but wanted to reach out on something that I thought might be able to be improved. I don't mean this to be a rant -- the process usually works well.
Another area I wanted to bring up is that when group assignments seem to be incorrect, I have had the perception that it is very difficult to rectify. Specifically, it can be very challenging and introducing additional potential for danger in order to run 2+ laps at the cut-off times when typically many riders in the slower group are lapping much slower. Even if you get out at the front and get one clean lap, it's unlikely you'll get two. This means in order to hit the cut-off time for a second lap, you may need to push a lap through where you are going 10+ seconds a lap faster than other folks on the track in that session. This can be compounded by the fact that the cut-off times themselves often seem to be "faster than realistic" (some of the riders in the group have never actually beaten the cutoff time). It can also raise questions of fairness when some riders riding in the faster group do not lap faster than the cut-off time all day long. I recognize there are a lot of other factors to balance in here (for example, we probably don't want to encourage everyone to be pushing at their fastest through all the practice sessions). I don't have a great answer to this part, but wanted to mention it, in case others have a solution that is better than the process we're currently using (and which generally works).
Any reaction to the above?
AFM #99 - Riding '09 1198s
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