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· Registered
142 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
According to Sue Robinson, SCCA, Topeka, all ClubRally events (other than those that are part of a ProRally) are cancelled until further notice due to safety concerns. Jim Kloosterman has been assigned to work on the problem I'm told.

· Registered
960 Posts
>According to Sue Robinson, SCCA, Topeka, all ClubRally
>events (other than those that are part of a ProRally) are
>cancelled until further notice due to safety concerns. Jim
>Kloosterman has been assigned to work on the problem I'm

Like I said Monday. The lawyers are involved. Spectating any event is going to be very different in the future.

· Marketing through Motorsports
1,401 Posts
Re: Letters to the BoD

FWIW, here's the letter I wrote to the Board of Directors and Steve Johnson last Monday afternoon just before their big conference call.

Dear Area Directors:

I learned recently that, as a result of the tragic
accident last weekend at Ski Sawmill, there are
rumors of a move afoot to kill off the SCCA's
ClubRally program.

It's kinda hard to be writing on such short notice,
with grieving for the lost souls by all of us just
barely begun and the unfolding of the event still
unclear, but since the BoD has to react quickly to the
tragedy, we as SCCA members first, and rallyists
second, must also be proactive in offering support and

Therefore I urge the SCCA BoD to continue its support
for the ClubRally programs and to express that support
in the strongest possible terms.

Having said that, it's clear that there are issues
that need to be addressed to further improve safety at
all rallies, Club and Pro both. I only ask that the
BoD consider ways to implement improvements rather
than throw out the program.

So, a little bit of backup documentation.

First off, I've heard arguments that the ClubRally
guys are starting off without experience in
high-performance cars like Subaru WRX's and Mitsubishi
Evolutions. (In Road Racing it's like a novice
starting off in a GT1 car.)

According to the Star-Gazette, the driver was Peter
M driving a WRX. The SCCA.ORG web site lists
Peter as a Seed 3 driver, meaning that he's got quite
a bit of experience. Indeed, he tied for second
overall at the 2002 Sawmill rally and finished 15th
overall at 2002 STPR. Back in 1999 he finished 19th
overall at the Maine ProRally -- racing a Production
car! (Production is considered the "slowest" of the
five rally classes.)

Clearly Peter is an experienced driver, so the
argument that the accident was caused by rookies in
overpowered equipment doesn't hold water.

Secondly, ClubRally is no riskier than ProRally. If
anything, the reverse is true. ProRallies attract
vastly greater number of spectators, photographers,
and SCCA officials. ProRallies generally use "Stage
Notes" instead of route books, meaning that the cars
are generally going much faster. ProRally competitors
are generally more experienced, and thus "dance closer
to the edge."

Thirdly, from a purely pragmatic and business
standpoint (particularly hard to consider at the
moment as Saturday's events are just barely sinking
in), the ClubRally program is the feeder series for
ProRally. Additionally, I've been told the
demographics of our club show that ClubRally is
growing faster than other sectors, and with younger
new members, counteracting in a small (but growing)
measure the "graying" of the SCCA.

Lastly, the SCCA is not the only sanctioning body
around that is interested in rally. Our club has
already driven Cherokee Trails over to our competition
(USAC) and, though I've encouraged the Ramada Express
organizers for years to make that event an SCCA event,
they're now sanctioned by USAC as well. If we throw
out our ClubRally program, I could see it an easy leap
for the ProRally organizers to "jump ship" as well.

There's no question that the insurance issue will once
again have a profound impact on our sport, regardless
of sanctioning body and level of competition. I ask
only that we work together to do all we can so that
SCCA and ClubRally can continue to grow.


John Dillon
ClubRally Steward, retired
Road Racing Worker

· Registered
672 Posts
Nothing like a drastic (and gross) over-reaction.

My sincerest sympathies go out to those involved in the tragic events at Sawmill last weekend.

Having said that, cessation of all rally programs universally is NOT the answer.

Matt Manspeaker
Seattle, WA USA
89 323GTX - OPEN
97 Escort Cosworth - WIDE OPEN

· Registered
238 Posts
My bet is that the inusurance company wants the SCCA to reaccess its risk profiles related to ClubRally. Whenever large losses are paid out by an insurance carrier they want to reevaluate the risks to determine the best processes to reduce them. Many large companies have large risk management departments who spend all of their time reviewing and assessing risk. Not sure if the SCCA is there yet but if they are not doing it the insurance carrier is. There's also a chance the insurance carrier canceled all coverage for ClubRally events until they go through this review. After 9/11 all airlines terrorism risk coverage was canceled and they couldn't legally fly without it. The government had to step in to resolve that issue.

Ultimately lawyers are in charge here and there isn't anything we can do about it. Expect to pay more for entry fees as they raise the insurance rates.:(


· Registered
960 Posts
RE: Re: Letters to the BoD

I don't see them killing the program entirely, just taking a step back to re-assess safety and making sure that the lawyers/insurers are happy.

The days of spectators being really close to the action are over. Their safety has to come first. It will take time to determine exactly how to accomplish this.

I see the problem with new drivers in a 300+ hp car being secondary to this. Spectators have been getting braver and braver, and a slow production car is still fast enough to be a problem even though quite a few don't seem to think so.

· Faster !!!!
776 Posts
RE: Re: Letters to the BoD

geeeze, I wish I'd known that I could give input
to the SCCA BOD on this subject BEFORE they made the
decision to suspend all ClubRallys.

Anyway, I'm sending a letter NOW.

· Lost....We're not lost
444 Posts
RE: Re: Letters to the BoD

>FWIW, here's the letter I wrote to the Board of Directors and Steve >Johnson last Monday afternoon just before their big conference call.

I applaude your letter John, well said. I do hope there is a positive outcome for those of us who participate in the Club events.

Co-Driver #295

· Registered
291 Posts
RE: Re: Letters to the BoD

>>FWIW, here's the letter I wrote to the Board of Directors and Steve >Johnson last Monday afternoon just before their big conference call.
>I applaude your letter John, well said. I do hope there is a
>positive outcome for those of us who participate in the Club
>Co-Driver #295

I agree with you on this. I am deeply saddened by the recent events and hope that we can grow in a positive way from it all...


· Registered
737 Posts
>Would they, could they use this tragedy as an excuse to
>suspend all performance rally programs, and ultimately rid
>themselves of what might be peceived as a
>"difficult-to-manage,`cost-prohibitive" insurance risk?
>Would they then try to sell off Pro Rally?

While we're into wild speculation, I wonder what Rally America is up to after hearing this.


· Registered
971 Posts
WHO cancelled ClubRallies? ( Don't guess)

WHO cancelled the ClubRallies. WHO has new liability concerns? WHO is calling for the knee jerk reactions here and by WHAT authority? Sue Robinson didn't do this by herself.

Don't guess about it. It makes a difference in finding a quick resolution to something that maybe didn't NEED to happen.

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"

· Registered
790 Posts
RE: WHO cancelled ClubRallies? ( Don't guess)

>Folks, Several observations:

1. Guessing what other sanctioning bodies are going to do in light of this tragedy is silly. They too will have to reassess because all organizations are affected by the loss experiences of all. Unless they want to try an event without insurance, they are also likely to lay low and "reassess"--the insurance actuaries also control-not only the insurance company lawyers;

2. The SCCA Board is definitely club race oriented, but I do not think you will see Steve Johnson campaigning against Performance Rally in the vein as what occured some 10 years ago as a result of a competitor death at STPR. Johnson recognizes that rally is very important to the youth market; and

3. A novice SCCA club racer can race any legal car he wishes, including a GT-1 car.

· Registered
295 Posts
Action Not Unexpected

Under the circumstances, a suspension and review is not overreacting. Let us not forget that one minute Martin and Peter were enjoying the excitement of rallying, and the next minute they were gone.

Doing whatever it takes to prevent that from ever happening again is worth any transient inconvenience to rallying.

G. Beckerman

· Registered
313 Posts
RE: Action Not Unexpected

>Doing whatever it takes to prevent that from ever happening
>again is worth any transient inconvenience to rallying.

what if the inconvenience is not just transient? The ONLY way to ensure that no spectator is ever injured or killed again is one of the following:
1) eliminate the ability to spectate the sport, or
2) eliminate the sport to spectate.

neither option is really positive for the state of US rallying.

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!!!

· Registered
48 Posts
RE: Action Not Unexpected

>Doing whatever it takes to prevent that from ever happening
>again is worth any transient inconvenience to rallying.

No, but also recall that for beginning rallyists who were looking forward to competing this year, particularly in regions with Pro-only events with no associated ClubRally events (ie, NEDiv), their investments have just been thrown out the window "until future notice."

That's more than a simple inconvenience.

The tragedy is unfortunate, but I would be inclined to believe that both of them would expect us to move on with our sport, and to suspend the events is doing their memory a disservice. To any of those who knew them personally, if you disagree with my generalization, please correct me.


· Registered
459 Posts
RE: Action Not Unexpected

i'm not gonna get dragged into a debate..

but IMO.. this is not the way to go about it.
the need to investigate, find resolutions/solutions
-definately needed. and understandable

but dont kill the sport -
and dont "pick" on the Club Guys.
Pro rallies are mastered by the same organizers...
the same workers....
the same rules/regs... as the Club Rallies...

this doesnt make any sense.
and doesnt seem the rational way to handle the situation.

sad... pissed off... confused...
all at the same time.
http://www.subiegal.com/SGRacing/Team Schedule/subiegalwave.gif

· Registered
1,036 Posts
This is the note I sent to the Sno*Drift Organizing Committee,
I plan to send something similar to the appointees of the club.

The accident that happened at Ski Sawmill last weekend was a significant tragedy. This is the second significant accident for ClubRally events this year. At 100 Acre Wood, while driving back to town after the event finished a competitor fell asleep at the wheel crossed the center line and had a head-on with a civilian -- all are now OK, but spent some time in the hospital. At Ski Sawmill a car left the road after a crest and went into the woods killing two spectators. (Ski Sawmill was also the most recent competitor death, a co-driver was killed two years ago - Corinne and I were at that event.)

I do not take these incidents lightly. I think all of the above were preventable to a degree. Each had a set of circumstances that could be anticipated, each also had a set of circumstances that are completely unpredictable. The reality of motorsports and all sports is that accidents will continue to happen. These accidents will involve both the participants and spectators, this is true of Football, Soccer, Hockey, Nascar, CART, and Formula 1; accidents happen at concerts, walking down the street and in the home. Accidents happen.

In this time of sadness, reflection, and evaluation it would be appropriate for the SCCA leadership to take strong and swift action to the improvement of the series. It is not appropriate to suspend, disband, or disassociate with the membership.

The SCCA unfortunately singled out the ClubRally Series. ClubRallies associated with National Rallies have not been suspended (yet). The extent or duration of the series suspension is not known. I however feel that if there is a problem with Rally -- it is a problem with all SCCA Performance Rally. I do not think the SCCA has acted in the best interest of the membership.

If you would like to express an opinion please write to Steve Johnson, the Board of Directors, and the ProRally Board.

Depending on the path these events take I would not be interested in supporting a series without ClubRally. Should the suspension of ClubRally last with any duration I will work towards finding another sanctioning body in which to participate as a competitor and an organizer.

Below are a few posts from specialstage.com:

· Registered
512 Posts
RE: Action Not Unexpected

I have to agree with Jamie. There is little diference between club and pro rallies. In fact, just about the only thing I can think of is manufacturer involvment. The same people organize and work them...

for what it's worth, I think the right thing to do is to suspend all spectators until an investigation is complete and necessary (if any)corective action is taken. I know nothing of this weekends incident, so I can't speculate as to what those actions might be.

spectators dying in motorsports is not a new thing and is not isolated to Rally. I can remember at least 3 seperate sprint car accidents that resulted in spectator fatalities, one that I heard of this last month (husband and wife who's son was previously killed driving a sprint car)?

I have written a letter to the SCCA BOD.
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