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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having read most of the discussion about club rallies, I'd like to throw out a modest proposal as to where club rally may want to go.

First, several things that are generally true:

1) No event can ever be made 100% safe no matter what.

2) Rally cars will crash.

3) In general, speed increases the severity of the crash or the likelihood of a crash. Going off the road at 100 mph is likely to be more dangerous than going off at 10 mph.

4) Related to number 3, the skill and experience of the driver plays a role in how severe a crash will be, or how likely a crash is to happen. More experienced or skilled drivers will get out of situations that will nail those with lesser experience or skill.

5) The total experience of a club rally (all teams) will be less than a Pro rally (all teams).

My thesis, then, is that one of the best way improve the safety of club rallies is to reduce average stage speeds. By average stage speed, I mean that average of all average speeds for all drivers through a stage.

A collorary is that speed is expensive. In general, the faster you want to go, the more it is going to cost. Reducing the average speed in a club rally ought to also reduce the cost of getting a car ready.

There are number of technical ways to reduce speed, but most of them have problems, are subject to cheating and really become difficult to enforce.

There's a better way: A dollar limit. How about this rule:

At the end of the calendar year, any club rally license holder may purchase any car entered in a club rally during the calendar year for $5,000.

I don't know that $5K is the right amount, maybe it wants to be a little higher or lower.

The net effect is that if you enter a car in a club rally, at the end of the year you must be willing to sell it -- as it was entered -- for a fixed amount.

This rule would do three things:

1) It would reduce the average overall speed on a club rally. If you have to be willing to sell the car at the end of the season for fixed amount of money, there's not going to be the incentive to spend boatloads of money making the car faster. What you will do, instead, is get your experience and then start building a Pro car if that's where you want to compete.

2) It reduces the cost of getting a car ready while still being competitive. It levels the playing field. If my car cost $5K and every other car that I'm competing against cost $5K then driver skill becomes at least as important as the size of the checkbook.

3) It makes club rallies a significantly different type of event than a Pro rally. In some respects, club rallies might prove to be much more fun than Pro events because money will not be as much of an influence in performance.

The devil, of course, is in the implementation details. I don't know that $5,000 is the right amount or how the logistics would need to be worked out, but setting limits to the amount of money that can be spent for a car is one way to control speeds for a generally less experienced club rally entry field.

This is just a suggestion, but I think it a more workable approach than most of the stuff so far.
 

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Claiming rules have failed most everywhere they have been tried, mostly for these reasons:
Cars run where there are claiming rules are left as junky looking as possible, to discourage claiming. Spectators don't like to watch junky looking cars.
A minimum is spent on safety items because drivers don't want to lose their "good stuff". Their money is spent on hidden "go fast" items only.
Good drivers tend to leave claiming rule events when they get tired of repeatedly building cars. All cars with a really good driver get claimed. But the new owner is usually disappointed to find out that he didn't get the component that made the car fast - the driver.
 

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Sorry, but I will NOT sell my car after countless hours of work and a significant amount of money invested.

If I end up crashing, that's my problem.

I risk to say that anybody with a decent car will not sell it either.

As Bill said, only junk will be available.

So, I honestly suggest you to find another option.

CS

ps. Obviously everything has a price, but I doubt someone will pay me what I have in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
>Claiming rules have failed most everywhere they have been
>tried, mostly for these reasons:
>Cars run where there are claiming rules are left as junky
>looking as possible, to discourage claiming. Spectators
>don't like to watch junky looking cars.


The problem rallying has is that we assume that what works elsewhere should or should not work for this sport. Therein lies a problem.

As to spectators not wanting to watch junky cars, you'd have a hard time proving that any local circle track. On any Saturday night, there are dozens of junky looking cars that pull thousands of fans. Ditto with my local drag strip on Sunday.

But even if it were true, though, club rallies are not about spectating. Other than public relations, there are few financial benefits to organizers (or entrants) to having tons of spectators. (But there's a lot of incentive for the circle track to have spectators, that's how they stay in business, by charging admission.)

Fewer spectators at a club rally may be a good thing, not a bad thing because it reduces the risk of incidents.

If someone is aiming for sponsorship, or has a sponsor, there is an incentive to keep a car looking nice, and to some extent this can also be mandated.


>A minimum is spent on safety items because drivers don't
>want to lose their "good stuff". Their money is spent on
>hidden "go fast" items only.


This argument would be just as true under the existing rules. Nearly everyone has a limit to how much money they can spend.

Either way, safety items are mandated. Either you have an acceptable cage or you don't. Either you have an acceptable seat or you don't. Either you pass the safety requirements or you do not.

Beyond that, how many hidden "go fast" items can someone potentially add with a fairly small dollar limit? Not many.


>Good drivers tend to leave claiming rule events when they
>get tired of repeatedly building cars.


Exactly the point, and precisely the reason to do it. Good drivers are going to migrate to Pro events, which is what a claiming rule would encourage. Good drivers will have proven that they have the skill and experience to handle faster, more powerful cars.

But they will migrate there after having competed in a less-expensive, less-powerful, and, arguably, safer car.


>All cars with a
>really good driver get claimed. But the new owner is usually
>disappointed to find out that he didn't get the component
>that made the car fast - the driver.
>


That's not really an objection, but there's an important point. The goal of a club rally ultimately, should not be to see who can go fastest, but rather so that new teams can learn how to drive quickly safely. Only after safety should speed be the issue.

Right now, there is no meaningful difference between a club rally and a Pro event. This would change that to put an increased emphasize on safety at the club level by making everything slower.

As others have pointed out here, you can't go out an buy an F1 car and expect to drive it in next week's F1 race. Before anyone would let you in an F1 car and on the track, you'll have to prove that you can handle it.

Right now in performance rallying you can do exactly that.

If you can afford to drop $500K on a factory works car (and can convince someone to sell you one) you can run it in the next club rally regardless of whether you should be allowed to or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
>
>Sorry, but I will NOT sell my car after countless hours of
>work and a significant amount of money invested.
>
>If I end up crashing, that's my problem.
>
>I risk to say that anybody with a decent car will not sell
>it either.
>
>


Two points:

1) Then you should only run Pro events, not club events. A claiming system would only happen under club events.

2) If you end up crashing and seriously hurting someone, that is the sport's problem, not just your problem and it becomes everyone's problem pretty quickly.

I don't mean this to sound nasty, but as long as the attitude "if I end up crashing, that's my problem" prevails it will be difficult to enact any significant safety improvements.

Many human endeavors stipulate that a demonstrated level of proficiency before someone allows you to go to the next level.

Just because you can afford to buy a 747 does not mean the FAA is going to let you climb into the pilot's seat... but that's exactly the situation in club rally.

If there were rallies in a reasonable distance every weekend, then a required several-day rally school in which a driver had to demonstrate a level of proficiency before being allowed to compete would work. Unfortunately, that just isn't feasible for many people.
 

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I guess I should have been more clear.

When I say "If I crash that is my problem" I'm meaning only the car.

I,by no means, am involving other consequences of crashing. The car is the least important thing in a crash, but I was talking about giving up the car, and tha't ain't going to happen.

Also, I do not have the time, the money and the skills today to run a pro event, when you suggested it.

BTW, I don't want to sound nasty either, but you need to read the rule book. It takes a number of rallies to someone make to a pro rally, even with all the money one can have, a seed 8 can't start in a pro rally, at least by the book.

I'm an advocate of low-key start, and that's why I have FWD less than 100hp car. It's enough for my current skills, when I outgrow the car I'll think about another car.

I'll stop here,

CS
 

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> That's not really an objection, but there's an important point.
> The goal of a club rally ultimately, should not be to see who
> can go fastest, but rather so that new teams can learn how to
> drive quickly safely. Only after safety should speed be the
> issue.

Yes, but only if you view Club that way. Alternatively, you can view Club as competitive, just not as fast and expensive as Pro. Not everything that is less fast than the top series is simply practice. With your suggestions, a person would move to Pro as soon as possible to avoid having to sell their car all the time (though you haven't covered whether or not that "advancement" would be the same as in the current SCCA rules). People who might want to stay in Club because it's more fun would be pushed out.

All the problems you have outlined should be addressed, but claiming rules do not seem like a good way to address them. For one thing, they introduce other problems, such as the best drivers potentially losing their cars only because they did well. Claiming rules also fail to eliminate economic advantages. Someone with a lot of money can more easily "lose" his $10,000 investment every year for $5,000. It changes the equation slightly, but it's still an equation in which more money results in an advantage.

A lot of people who can't rebuild each year, but want to stick with their current car model and can't afford Pro, could be completely left out. This is especially true if they drive something less common, like an old Beetle or a Cortina. There's also the issue that a lot of drivers--especially in Club, perhaps--become attached to their cars. That may sound a bit strange, but I know some of you understand!

There are other ways to accomplish the goals you suggest. The power-to-weight ratios in the current SCCA rules are an example of such an attempt, but perhaps the numbers are off? I know I'm so far under the maximum power-to-weight ratio it's not even funny. Also, as CS pointed out, it's not simply a matter of plunking down the cash to join Pro. We may need stricter licensing standards (as we clearly do on the streets around this country). BUT NOTE: No one has drawn a correlation between lack of driver skill and the current safety concerns, probably because they are not due to a lack of driver skill. You seem to be placing a great deal of emphasis on "inexperienced drivers in powerful cars," when that doesn't appear to be a problem.

Interesting suggestions--and we need to keep them coming--but I don't think anyone would go for claiming rules.

Adarsh


Car #362 (Toyota MR2)
www.bitingmonkey.com
 

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I race in a claimer class, and it is fun. The group as a whole is more clubby than other classes. The cars are not slow. The cars are not unsafe. At my track a cage is not required in claimer, yet all cars have a cage. Cars are not being constantly claimed. They are not slow!! The claimer four cylinder cars are within one second of the eight cylinder street stocks.

A few refinements to your claimer proposal would solve a lot of the expressed problems.

Only points standing rally drivers can claim a car.

Claims are at the end of each rally. That way you can claim your car back next event, and finish your season.

The Rally Organiser has the right to "first claim". He can now controll a dominant car.

If a car is claimed and the owner does not want to lose his car he may move up a class.

If the owner refuses to sell his car when it is claimed, he cannot enter any more events until next season.

That being said, I don't think a claimer class will work for rally. Not enough events. And getting a bunch of rally people to do anything is like herding cats.

$5000 sounds about right to me. I would support claimer class or a spec class of equal value.

Dick Fuhrman
 
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