I'm gonna weigh in with my $0.03 CAN here, everything IMHO:
1) At the Regional/Local level, anything that increases the level of
participation or in some way improves the experience of the existing
participants is A Good Thing. If having a SO class, or a Novice class, or a
Novice Catholic class (not a Catholic Novice class, unless you're near a
nunnery) means more people come out and have fun, then more power to you.
2) ProSolo is all about marketing (at least in the Pro classes). If having Pro
Ladies makes some deep-pocketed Honda exec all giddy and brings Honda money into
the sport, so be it.
3) At the National/Divisional level though, I think you've sorted out all the
Novices. You have Rookies of course, but half the fun of being a Rookie is the
sensation of drinking from a fire hose while all these Shoes beat the living
crap out of you. It's a right of passage.
If you're a National level competitor, it's because you're seeking National
level rewards, and you should expect to have to compete against National level
drivers. A National Novice class is an oxymoron.
Now I think we all agree that there's no physical difference 'twix the women and
the men that handicaps the women. They can drive, in theory, at equal
performance levels as the men - and this has been demonstrated to be true. Hi
So why have a Ladies class at Nationals?
"It saves marriages" - Does it really? Assuming you have two highly competative
people co-habitating, they will still find a way to compete. They do, after all,
compete on the same track with the same car, so the times are comparable.
Someone is going to end up faster at the end of the day, and both parties will
have to deal with it, no matter if they are in the same class or different ones.
And to be honest, I think I'd be more upset if my SO turned a slower time than
me in the same car and walked off a National Champion than if my SO beat me in
the same class.
"It makes the logistics easier on married couples" Granted, it does. But we also
see a lot of two-driver-cars running in the same class, and they seem to be able
to handle it just fine thanks. Is the elimination of Ladies really _that_ much
of a logistical hardship on the married teams?
Now with my SO having no interest in ever competing (and I bought her a
membership so that she could if she wanted to) I really don't have a dog in this
fight, certainly not enough to run off and write a letter demanding the SCCA
abolish the Ladies class. It really doesn't affect me. But still, I can't help
but wonder if it is really needed.