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The point has come where I think the lack of information about what is going on in the sport is starting to, or already has, hurt rally in general. So I am going to do my best to inform everyone of what I see going on, so as to possibly help reduce the negative feelings and anxiety that seem to run amok out there.

I am Major Greg Pachman and I am the Director of the Air Force Reserve Rally team. We have been involved in the sport of Rally for about three years. Our introduction came when I drove our off-road Escape in a couple of rallies a couple of years ago as part of its development process. Last year, we decided to get more involved and supported Tim O'Neil in a pretty successful group N effort. This year we moved up to the Open class with our Ford Focus. We are one of the three marketing partners, along with Subaru and Mitsubishi, who finance the SCCA ProRally television package.

Before we get into the specifics of the meeting let me set the scene a little bit. It disturbs me to see the slants directed at people especially the members of Mitsubishi and Subaru. I know all of those guys and I can assure you they are not trying to do anything nefarious with the series. We are all trying our best, and shelling out quite a bit of money, to try and improve the sport.

Just to give these people a face I will tell you who they are. I can't speak for them or explain how they run their businesses but I can tell you the basic set-up. If I make a mistake I sure someone will correct me. Mitsubishi is run by Dick Kelley. His technical side is run by Lance Smith, who, as most of you know, has dedicated is life to US rally through his company Vermont SportsCar, and Derek Dauncey who works with Ralliart. Subaru is run by James Han and his technical side is run by David Campion of Prodrive. My technical side is run by Andy Brown of Techsport Racing.

In the SCCA we deal primarily through Garrett Mudd who is the VP in charge of Marketing and Steve Johnson the CEO. We worked with Kurt Spitzner, and will work with his replacement, Doug and Sue Robinson in the performance rally department and Curtis Kitchen who does PR. Of course everything runs through the PRB and BoD but everyone here is probably very familiar with them.

The idea for this October 1st meeting began with discussions Dick, James and I started having around STPR. Most of these took place at the rallies but some were done over the phone and some by e-mail. Our primary focus was to figure out what the biggest challenges facing the series were and what we could do to help relieve them. It was pretty obvious, right from the start, that the biggest problem was the organizer's lack of resources. ProRally organizers have spent so long making something out of nothing that people just expect them to be able to do it every year. I don't know how they do it at all. It is a credit to their hard work and dedication. But for rally to be everything it could be the organizers needed more money, more equipment, and more people.

The question was how to get these three things into the hands of the organizers as quickly and efficiently as possible. The first thing we decided was for the three of us to more forward as a unit. If anyone dealt with one of us they would deal with all three of us. We would then decide how to spend our resources. That way we wouldn't overlap our efforts.

So the three of us approached Steve, Kurt, and Garrett and asked how we could sponsor the organizers in the most efficient manner. That's how the Pro Rally Partnership Program (PRPP) was born. Steve, Garrett, and Kurt did an excellent job putting it together and we introduced it at the meeting in October.

The way it works is pretty simple. Mitsubishi, Subaru, and the Air Force Reserve pay money into a fund which is divided among the organizers who wish to participate. In addition, Garrett is working with yet to be named sponsors who also may participate. The final amount of the payout to the organizers will depend on how many additional sponsors participate. (To be honest Subaru and Mitsubishi pay more than we do since their overall marketing budget is much larger than ours. This is true for the TV package as well and they deserve credit for it.)

So what do the organizers get? Since the numbers aren't finalized yet I won't go into them. But the $22,000 figure in the press release should be pretty close. Part of that amount will be cash. Right now it looks like there will be enough cash to roughly pay for the insurance and sanctioning fees for each event. In addition, the fund will pay for a professional media buyer to go into each area and purchase print and radio advertisements for each participating rally in order to generate more publicity.

So what about Rally America? First of all, Doug Havir kicks ass! I will put the smackdown on anyone who talks s--t about Doug because he has done an unbelievable amount for this sport out of his own pocket. He lets his actions speak rather than his words and that is very refreshing. As soon as I can I am going out to AREA 51 and get the space aliens we have working there (you do know we have them....right?) to clone Doug and his money. I feel fortunate to have spent 12 years flying fighters but the more I talk to Doug the more I wish had gone into the computer credit card business! Anyway, there isn't a serious rally fan out there who hasn't sat in front of their computer in their underwear at 1am waiting for updates from a ProRally they couldn't attend. I know I have and that semi-real time data wouldn't be available in Doug didn't pay for it.

Early in these discussions we brought in Rally America to see what kind of services they could provide. The SCCA and Rally America worked together to decide which of those services would be appropriate for the ProRally series. RA had about 7 or 8 services they could provide but they were narrowed down to two.

The most important one to Mitsubishi, Subaru, and us was to have a consistent timing and scoring system for every event in the championship. Rally America agreed to provide a top of the line system and the technicians to run it to all participating PRPP participants. This does not mean they will be replacing the timing and scoring staffs at each of the events. What it means is that we are paying Rally America to bring the system to each event along with people who know how to run it. Those people will work with the existing timing and scoring people at each rally to operate the system at each rally.

Next RA will work with the SCCA to turn the RA truck into the mobile media center for each event. That means Curtis will work with the RA staff and the event organizers to run media operations out of the truck at each event. So they will do Web updates, press releases, etc out of the truck. Doug has some cool new timing and scoring/media things coming on line soon but I will let him tell you about them.

We also talked to RA about registration. We, along with most competitors, would like a central registration point for all events on the calendar so we can enter our information once and write a check for entry fees for the whole season if we want to. The same as the World Challenge teams. The system will then distribute the money to each organizer automatically. In the end the SCCA invested in a new registration system that will do all of these things but I will let them tell you about it.

So in the end, RA will provide timing and scoring and media assistance at all participating ProRally events. The money to pay them is coming from the sponsors.

All of the organizers seemed very happy with the program at the meeting. However, it is voluntary. Any rally that doesn't want to use RA for their timing and scoring or doesn't want to distribute the series poster or doesn't want to put up sponsor signage doesn't have to, but of course they won't get any money either.

Personally, I think it is a pretty good deal. A good chunk of money, someone to buy your media for you for free, free timing and scoring equipment and personnel, on-site media services, and help with registration.

In exchange we get signage, program space, display space, start ramp advertising, consistent registration and timing/scoring, and more organized central service. Fair?

Ok. Just a couple of more things. Remember this is just my opinion and not the opinion of the Air Force Reserve, Mitsubishi, Subaru, the SCCA or Rally America...

First, Club Rally. Just so it is clear, I do not want to get involved with club rally. Club Rally is there so people can have inexpensive fun in the woods. I don't want to mess with that. We are only interested in ProRally where the emphasis is on fans and exposure rather than solely on the desires of the competitors. I want club rally to grow and hopefully it will if we build an extremely visible ProRally program, but club rally is for the competitors to run without interference from corporate entities. The SCCA already has a solid system in place to run club rallies and it should be left alone.

All of the things I discussed apply to the ProRally series only. However, I promise you that any club organizers who want to come and listen will be allowed to the next time we have a meeting like this. I am sorry I didn't think to invite them to this one.

Lastly, I realize that I am the only "independent" team director that attends all of these meetings. I take the fact that I am the only independent very seriously and I try to raise issues that are important to the rank and file (I am, after all, a seed 6). If you don't believe me ask Lurch. I'm sure he had a few laughs at our meeting in Maine.

I have been pushing very hard to have all age restrictions on cars entered in ProRally lifted and I hope that will happen soon. In addition, I am against seed restrictions in ProRally. If you have any concerns and you think I can help drop me a note or see me at an event. (I won't be at LSPR because I have a training deployment to do. It's the first one I will miss in a while.) I am also hard over on reducing costs in the Open class. Believe it or not, so are Subaru and Mitsubishi. Figuring out a way to do it is not as easy as it sounds.


I hope this helped. I read SS all the time so I should be able to answer any questions you may have.



See you,

Greg
 

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1973 WRC POR
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2,421 Posts
>The point has come where I think the lack of information
>about what is going on in the sport is starting to, or
>already has, hurt rally in general. So I am going to do my
>best to inform everyone of what I see going on, so as to
>possibly help reduce the negative feelings and anxiety that
>seem to run amok out there.

Greg:

Fantastic post.

Probably the best post that I have ever seen on SpecialStage.com.

Amazing what communication of information can achieve.

It was interesting to read that you follow the forum all the time, but this is your first post. Please continue to post, as I am a firm believer that it is important for the important people in rallying to be on this forum and contributing in such a positive manner.

Doug Woods
 

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Well said. As Chief of Timing & Scoring for life at Sno*Drift, I've pushed for a long time for a standardized scoring program. Looks like we'll finally get it. The new timing equipment should put an end to ties, if we just use the .1 second it already records. Without the help of Rally America, neither of these would be possible.

While I'm at it, I should thank Kurt for his years of hard work. He's brought rally, kicking & screaming, into the 21st Century.
 

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your other left, you idiot
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WOW !!!

Major Greg Pachman for president, or czar, or anything he wants to do.

Thank you for sharing.

Keep up the good work.

press on,
 

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Loose nut behind the wheel
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Greg,

Thank you very much for your post. Efforts such as this post go a long way to foster an environment of effective and positive communication.

As for the points you make in your post, all I can say is WOW. I am looking forward to seeing the implementation of what appears to be very promising changes.

Thanks,
Mark Utecht
 

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Marketing through Motorsports
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Thank You

http://www.calslam.com/forums/html/emoticons/clap.gif <-- This is a round of applause for Major Greg. What a refreshingly open post!

It's taken three years since Steve's call for "open communication" but I'm glad to see it happen. Thank you VERY much for writing such a detailed response.

Like you, I'll miss LSPR, but I hope we can chat in the future.

You truly have served "Above and Beyond" the call of rally duty.

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

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ClubRally Answers

Greg,

I am particularly grateful for your ClubRAlly comments. The notion that "what's good for ProRally is good for ClubRally" may have been true under the old amateur ProRally system, but that is no longer the case with the new high dollar / high visibility ProRally Series. Pro and Club now have very divergent goals.

At the same time, ClubRally will be helped enormously if the age limitations can be removed from the ProRally rules. It will go a long way in restoring the ClubRally ladder of opportunity.

Thank you for your candid and concise report.

Best regards,
Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"


(edit: title, structure)
 

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don't cut
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This rocks! Finally, something I can take to my potential sponsors and say, "See what we are doing. See the promotion going on. See the players involved. This thing is for real." This is going to help the privateer, A LOT. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone involved!


Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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A hero among us!

This is an absolutely perfect example of the type of information the community will thrive on.

- What is known is stated
- Who to follow-up with is outlined
- Despite not having all the detials, there was enough information to give a good picture and the details that are not known are outlined
- The post is timely
- There is a clear definition of the perspective of the "job" or "responsibility" vs. the personal opinion.


Outstanding! Fantastic! Three Cheers! Can I buy you a beverage?

Congratulations you have set the new standard for Communication among us!

Best Regards,
Mike
 
G

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Although people are appreciative of this information
from a front-running team, and I likewise am encouraged....

This is the type of communication that should have been,
should be, and should continue to be forthcoming from
SCCA rally. For the past few years SCCA rally has been
secretive and misleading with its communications.

I shall remain skeptical until a similar level of
communication becomes commonplace from SCCA rally.
 
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