The Racing Drivers Club: Notes from the Archive
February 23rd, 2017 by James Chartres
Published in the February 2017 Edition of the Wheel.
The Road Racing Drivers Club was an essential part of the SFR and made many significant contributions to the Club’s success. The following history of the RDC was written by the organizations President, Frank Schultheis and was on the cover of the RDC Enduro program from November 16, 1969.
Transcribed by: Gary Horstkorta January 2017
The Racing Drivers Club (RDC) sprang to life in late 1956, just eight years after the SFR was formed. A nucleus of “Senior Drivers” felt the need to assure that all drivers had fair treatment and a proper amount of racing. There were many other reasons for existence including to acquire additional racing time by putting on their own races; to train new drivers by teaching them at a RDC School; and to exert pressure upon and guide the SCCA at a time when amateur road racing was “wandering”.
One of the first RDC events was the 1957 school at the Kingdon Drag Strip, southwest of Lodi. Those students (including Joe Huffaker) learned “how to” in the rain. But things were off the ground and there was some money in the treasury.
From this humble beginning, the RDC has accomplished many things. It promoted and ran its own events for some years. Its past presidents, to name a few including Larry Albedi, Ray Altman, Red Faris, Ted Jackson, Earni Mendanhall, Stro Jones, Buzz Appleby and John Grove. These men saw that the relationship between SCCA, the driver and good road racing were held in the proper perspective.
As time went on, SCCA became more and more able to provide abundant racing opportunities. The Region’s leadership wwas provided with more power from National and they used this power. Little by little, SCCA became a more active organization and RDC found it no longer feasible or practical to provide a parallel racing program…RDC did however continue to act as a “watch dog” and as it does today, maintains a balance-of-nature between the driver and SCCA.
In 1964, RDC held the last of their RDC Schools. 125 students enrolled…this was the most successful school ever held. Before the next year though, SCCA National ruled that they would run their own schools from 1965 on and made this stick by use of the sanction. There was little that RDC could do. Progress had taken some of their reason for existence away. All was not lost though, RDC provided all of the instructors for the ’65 school. Even today, most of the instructors are RDC members.
RDC also originated and implemented another program new to racing and peculiar to the S.F. Region – the Driver Observer. The DO was a corner judge. A driver, while on the course, was now being assessed by his peers, and reports of his transgressions were made by this fellow drivers. The DO program is now a part of the GCR and has worked to improve racing. Most DOs are also RDC members.
The final tangible event which the RDC has maintained is the Enduro. Held at the end of every season, it provides most entrants with either hardware or racing goodies for their efforts. The awards for the Enduro are distributed at the RDC Annual Banquet along with the RDC Regional Points Awards given to the best placing RDC members who competed in regional racing throughout the season.
RDC provides the Region’s drivers with a voice to assure them of adequate, reasonable and favorable racing.