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· Registered
1,036 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know many people are dissatisfied with the secrecy of the PRB, I'd like to assemble a laundry list for the Conspiracy Theorists.

This would include penalty items, rules making items, double secret probation and the like. Pretty much anything you know or think the PRB is responsible for and you don't feel you have an adequate understanding of their intentions or purpose. (Yes this would include the WW protest committee issues or what ever the WW committe was called.)

(Hey we need a little more controversy
:) before 2002 ends.)

My hope is to point out that Competitors, Organizers, and Fans cannot learn to be better competitors, organizers and fans if they do not know what is right, what is wrong, or even what is the right way to make the wrong actions right within the rules. This is not intended to be an attack on the PRB (although I am sure it will become one); it is intended to let the PRB know that there is (might be) dissatisfaction with the amount of communication and explaination that the rally community recieves.

Much like the supreme court I think we need opinions and disenting opinions to understand the context of decision, ideas and rules. Being that this is a group of dedicated volunteers I do not expect a supreme court level of explaination, but it would be nice to understand the context of new rules and imposed/retracted penalties. (Not all issues are directly the responsibility of the PRB, but they make the rules so 'an isssue' might not be their immediate responsibility, but all rally issues are their responsibility.)

Please Identify yourself as competitor, crew, organizer, worker, rabid fan or just rabid -- it helps to understand the context of an issue based on the role of the person citing the issue.

Multiple responses with the same issues identified is encouraged.

I am sure this will be fun


Clubrally #580 PGT
not foaming at the mouth (today)

· Registered
277 Posts
Hey, leave Mike alone. He hasn't even lived in Michigan
for a while! Besides, we have a rally to resurect down here.

Please add: Lack of accident information and conclusions.
(aka safety data)

I know its most likely for liability reasons, but with
most other motorsport organizations sharing and publishing
safety and crash data, we seem to be working in the dark
and I dislike it.

Granted we have an excellent safety record for the number
of crashes and DNFs we seem to have at every event in the
last few years.

New rules for things seem to bear out the conspiracy theory
every year. Why should this one be any different?
At least course notes killed off most of the maps controversy.

Pro Codriver
ClubRally #569

-just rabid }>

· Loose nut behind the wheel
1,099 Posts
One issue I have is perceived dual standard about what is acceptable based upon who you are. What a factory team vs what a well funded and appearing team vs what a team in a beat up old car can get away with. I say get away with because we all know what some of the factory teams have done with no REAL penalties this season. Speeding, illegal service etc. and when the independant teams have been found doing the same thing, they have been penalized.

Another issue is the two minute start window. I can tell you that I did not once get a two minute window this season even though I have run high enough to deserve it according to the rules.

Mark Utecht

Edit, It has been pointed out to me that the two minute window issue is an event operations issue and doesn't belong here as it is not a PRB secrecy issue. Also, the penalties associated with infractions are an event ops issue but the fact that an inquiry was held, a decision was made, and the club members were not informed as of yet makes that issue a PRB secrecy issue.

· Marketing through Motorsports
1,401 Posts
RE: Dissatisfaction with PRB Secrecy? (LONG)

Boom, instant scope creep -- you asked about PRB secrecy, but I'm reacting to a bigger picture.

The toughest part for me has been defending the SCCA and the actions of its leaders for the last 5 years. I've been an SCCA advocate for a long time, based no doubt on my years as a road race worker and member of the regional Board of Governors. I've been willing to stand up and say "Let's give Kurt a chance--let's not worry about brand names and visual ID packages, but see what kind of new, beneficial sponsors we can get now. Let's work within the program to make it better. Let's all work through the proper channels."

Example: From it's inception I offered to help Ray and Roger do whatever was needed to get an SCCA sanction for the Ramada Express International Rally, my favorite event of the year.

Example: I've asked questions of the California Rally Series about bringing the CRS classes (which are the regional classes for our SoPac regions) closer in line with the ClubRally classes.

Example: From my first Town Hall meeting I've offered to help share the knowledge (minutes from the meetings), help convert the rule book to PDF (nope, I didn't do it--it took another coupla years), requested that Rally be separated from Solo even if initially only in appearance.

Example: I've spent plenty of my money promoting our club and our sport, money that might have been better spent on household appliances or our own team.

Example: I've written letters to the PRB, the SCCA Board, the Director of Marketing, the Rally Director, and the SCCA President offering input and asking direct questions, and offering support.

In some cases I've written for myself, but in most cases I've written on behalf of my membership. Sub-example: unannounced and unjustified, the rotary factor was changed from 1.8 to 2.3 a few years back--but only for Production classes. Not only was it a nice slap at Mazda who was just getting into rallying, it had no rationale behind it. One guy simply told me "Rotaries don't belong in Production... if your guys don't want to race with us, they can go somewhere else." Fortunately the factor reverted to 1.8 the following year, almost as a footnote.

As the front man for the SoPac division it's been: [ul]
[li]hard to explain why it took nine months to pay out the 2000 CRNC tow fund;
[li]hard to ask our local division for trophy money in 2000 when the national office failed to deliver;
[li]hard to explain why virtual trophies were awarded in 2001 because those same promises were broken again;
[li]hard to explain why the rules are arbitrarily changed without announcement, with minimal member input, and with disregard for the club membership;
[li]hard to explain why one ProRally is dropped from the calendar without due process, or why two others decided that dealing with Denver wasn't worth the hassle;
[li]hard to justify rules that are inconsistently enforced (or, in the case of the five-event rule, completely ignored);
[li]hard to explain to the membership why we need to "contract" with an outside group to handle our internal affairs.

Dang it, Mike, you got me started.....

I've defended certain people individually, saying "let's give it a chance, let's see if we can make it work." I've defended the SCCA collectively, saying "Things have to move slowly in Denver--they represent everyone, not just SoPac, not just Rally, not just the membership."

Well, I've had it. Let someone else rage against the monolith. Let someone else justify the secret handshakes, the hidden agendae, the dark collusion that casts long shadows over the faces of the club competitors. I understand why Ramada Express and SCCA couldn't come to terms; I understand the value of the CRS as an entity outside the SCCA; I have a pretty good guess why my offers of help have been ignored or turned away; I appreciate the need for an outside group to step in and try to clean up some of our mess.

Look, I appreciate the efforts of many people who've stepped forward for our sport. (Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.) I consider many of these people buddies, good pals even, people you'd share a beer with, or lend a hand to. The ClubRally Stewards are a great bunch of folks. I like the safety stewards, the series stewards, and the people who are putting in hard work as members of the PRB, as organizers, and as workers. Even though I've had strong disagreements with Kurt and have lost confidence in his leadership, I still refuse to insult him personally. He does what he feels is best for the sport; while in my opinion I think most of us don't share his vision, I don't question his conviction or character. But struggling against the machine, even a machine that is supposed to be us, well, it can wear on you, wear you down.

Oh, I know the Codrivers Code says you get back in the car after every DNF. There are probably those who are breathing a sigh of relief to think that I might quietly sink back into the woodwork, but they might be premature.

If those people want us to keep quiet, they should know this: Nothing silences people like giving them what they want. I wish that things were working smoothly for all the members, not just the high dollar teams; I wish that all the problems could be solved with membership input and communication. A fellow can dream, dream of well-founded silence, of a series that grows without alienating its base. Somehow, even though I'd really like to let someone else fight the battles for a while, I suspect something else will get the membership all riled up, including me, and I might have to craft another response to try and invoke some reason in our sport.

This rant sounds a bit bleak.... but all is not lost. A change of venue can be good for the soul, so I hope that the move to Topeka will revitalize our club. I've worked with many good people in Denver, people like Julie Douglas, Sean Conlan, Brenda Winters, Steve Johnson, Debbie Robinson, and more. Though we've lost some of them already, and will lose more in the move, we'll also be picking up new, enthusiastic people. Having Sue on board will be wonderful.

In the meantime, I'm lucky there are organizers out there giving us all a place to play. I'm lucky to be racing with drivers who play safe, have a good time, and give me a chance to improve my codriving skills.

Most importantly, I'm lucky to know people like you, and you, and you.... people like Leon Styles, Murray Thomas, Lauchlin O'Sullivan, Bruce and Beryl-Ann, the Gibeaults, Leslie Suddard, Lee Sorenson, Tony Birbilis, Kendall and John, Mad Mike and Crazy Charlie, Ed Jacobs and Andy Shupack, J.B. and Al and Heidi, the Georges Sr and Jr, Ray and Donna Hocker, a whole pot full of Tabors, the Nelson group, and on and on and on. And I'm lucky that so many of you, my rally buddies, can still be buds even when we disagree on issues.

Yours in the sport....


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

· Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
3,015 Posts
Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

Good work John, took a lot of work to write all that.
Here's a few I can think of right now...
We need a good reason for the 20 year rule, not the rusty shell crap that Doug was told to throw at us.
We need a good reason for the 5 event rule.
We need a good reason for the 2 minute window.
(by good reason, that means the painful truth if necessary, just tell us but don't hide it or BS us.)
That brings us to why the lack of Pro (meaning purses) in Pro Rally.
I asked Kurt this at last year's PRI and he replied, if you can't afford it, race somewhere else. That was all he'd say. He gave no explanation like, we're broke or the BoD won't give us a budget or someone stole all the money.
Why do we have Hawk or Fram at the bottom of the "protected space."
We don't know. Apparently they didn't give much. As far as I know, there was no announcement that "Hawk brakes has helped pay for something or other, thank you Hawk Brakes."
My point being, if Hawk can't get us behind them for helping out a little, why should they give more next year? The SCCA, in their secrecy or inaction or embarrasment, is shooting themselves in the foot. Nurturing sponsors and making them feel good is what we all do to keep racing, the SCCA never learned this I guess.
This all the more surprising because we have a guy paid for in SCCA headquarters that loves to issue press releases.

· Registered
683 Posts
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

I'm a Canadian who competes only in Canadian events. For that reason more than any other, I haven't commented - it's none of my business. I've been lurking and reading all this stuff - about all these problems you competitors are having with the SCCA - with great interest.

As a competitor, I am quite happy with the ways things are organized up here. Things aren't perfect, but by-and-large we all get along. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but our acting President posts to this forum. While not entirely democratic (I don't think I'd want it to be), we have a rules process driven by the membership. Our sanctioning body is a rally sanctioning body. Our executive members are rally people (mostly ex-competitors/organizers). I suspect that if you ask some of your people (off the top of my head, Randy Zimmer, Brian Scott, George Thompson, Ted Mendham, Lesley Suddard, Jeff Secor, Bruce Perry - who else? - John Buffum) they would say good things about their experiences under the regime we have running up here. I actually sometimes worry that all the bickering and dis-satisfaction may spread north.

Anyway, my question is:

Given that this sport FLOATS on grassroots involvement, have you people thought of just taking your ball and playing somewhere else? Kurt doesn't rally. You do. I apologize if this sounds like an over-simplification - but why not completely abandon the SCCA (and Trans-Am, "Pro" Solo, Spec Miata, road racing and whatever else they're into) and form a RALLY-ONLY sanctioning body?

Robin (sticking my nose in - but I haven't heard this come up yet)

· Faster Mabricator
3,652 Posts
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

>I suspect that if you ask some
>of your people they would say
>good things about their experiences under the regime we have
>running up here.

Shhhh Robin. We don't want to ruin the good thing we have in Canada with too many SCCA types coming north.

>but why not
>completely abandon the SCCA (and Trans-Am, "Pro" Solo, Spec
>Miata, road racing and whatever else they're into) and form
>a RALLY-ONLY sanctioning body?

That is exactly what needs to happen. So many times I've been stonewalled trying to organize an event because of SCCA regional politics or previous actions by the other group such as a venue pulling the plug on a planned event because the solo group insulted them.

Furthermore, our regional budgets that assist in organizing Club and RallyX events are managed by roadracers who do not always want to let us have our portion of the money although pay memberships. Last season I tried to get the division's ClubRally award fund from our division and the division president said I should get the $ from the regions that organized rallies. I argued all regions in the division had ClubRally participants who paid memberships. I got no money from the roadracer controlled division who had a massive budget surplus.

Rally is the US would be better off with a group dedicated to rally-and rally-only and without the 'too BIG for itself" SCCA sanctioning events.

· Registered
1,036 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

One Voice:

There are reasons to stay. The Large Membership is very helpful, the infrastucture is in place, and the insurance is reasonable. In addition, the lawyers are comforting.

There are a few events now run under USAC, Laughlin has had some good success but continues to ride the rollercoaster both in participation and orginization (just what I hear -- never been there). Cherokee Trails will be a USAC event this year in the CNAR (new name?) championship. CT is a great venue for a rally and I expect them to be successful.

People have a lot of History with the SCCA, and people have abandoned ship before: NARRA etc. So there is some reluctance to change. In addition one membership fee gets you access to many forms of racing in one year, some people take advantage of this others only rally. (People in general don't adapt to change well -- a big part of the current dissatisfaction is do solely to change (progress? growth?)-- who moved my cheese?).

I think the genral concensus among organizers and competitors is that we see value in the Large Club, but at the same time we get lost in the shuffle. We would like to make Rally work within the context of the SCCA, but it is a tough challenge. With additional changes ahead of us we are working for improvements, but as this thread will illustrate we have a long way to go in our basic practices and implementation.

In Short: the issue (abandoning the SCCA) has been discussed, will continue to be discussed, and should someone put together a solid, well thought out detailed plan, the marraige with the SCCA has been on rocky ground for many years.

It is a good point, Thanks!

· Registered
1,036 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy


Is the Chatanooga Region too far away for you to deal with? -- They would probably support Rally, talk to John and Kendall.

This is not to usurp your point -- Detroit Region pissed off a bunch of people after Sno*Drift was revived over budget issues, and now we are probably the event with the largest budget and the single event with the most potential for growth. But people do what they are interested in -- Soloist Solo, Road Racers Race, and the leadership forgets they have to champion all aspects of the club.

There are definately conflicts of interest in the SCCA.


· Faster Mabricator
3,652 Posts
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

>There are reasons to stay. The Large Membership is very
>helpful, the infrastucture is in place, and the insurance is

My ClubRally Steward informed all the organizers in the Division to expect the insurance to increase next year (alot). Expect the same for ProRally too. Bottomline is with no series sponsors expect entry fees to dramatically increase.

See #2 http://www.rallyracingnews.com/nepro/nedivnewsletter10-02.html

Obviously the ClubRally stewards have been warned but general membership has not.

· Registered
2,120 Posts
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

>Obviously the ClubRally stewards have been warned but
>general membership has not.

First, that's one way that's supposed to inform the general membership. If it didn't work, that's our fault.

Second, the insurance increase was brought up in detail at the 2002 National Convention. It was written up in the Convention report in SportsCar, and your region/division representatives were there to pass it on - weren't they? Of course you can go, too...

CenDiv ClubRally Steward

· Faster Mabricator
3,652 Posts
RE: Dissatisfaction with Secrecy

>First, that's one way that's supposed to inform the general
>membership. If it didn't work, that's our fault.

I want to see figures. Exactly what does the insurance company charge and why and how do they explain the increase? 9/11 is not a valid justification in my opinion. Just when was the last terrorist attack on a rally? Maybe it is time to find another carrier.

>Second, the insurance increase was brought up in detail at
>the 2002 National Convention. your region/division
>representatives were there to pass it on - weren't they? Of
>course you can go, too...

I went to my Division's Mini-Convention this past weekend after being asked by my region to present a performance rally seminar. The ClubRally steward was not there. Of course, he could/should have been.
PRB member Bill Bradshaw was there. He asked what my plans were for next year. I had to reply to compete in Canada were competitors feel wanted and then wondered why I was continuing to bother to promote the sport for SCCA were the unwashed members are unwelcome, overcharged and excluded.

· 3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
4,247 Posts

>I want to see figures. Exactly what does the insurance
>company charge and why and how do they explain the increase?
>9/11 is not a valid justification in my opinion. Just when
>was the last terrorist attack on a rally? Maybe it is time
>to find another carrier.

This posturing is completely beside the point since the SCCA does not require an organizer to buy insurance from the SCCA. If one can meet the coverage requirements stipulated in the sanction agreement and beat the SCCA's price to cover performance rally events then there is nothing keeping that from happening. If competitor entry fees go up next year then you have the exact same two options you've had since the dawn of stateside stage rallying - enter or don't.

>I went to my Division's Mini-Convention this past weekend
>after being asked by my region to present a performance
>rally seminar. The ClubRally steward was not there. Of
>course, he could/should have been.

Says who? I'm a ClubRally Steward and I never signed a contract stating I would attend the MiDiv convention, or any other for that matter. I presented a ClubRally/RallyCross seminar at the 2001 MiDiv convention and a RallySprint seminar at this year's national convention BECAUSE I WANTED TO - not because I had to nor because I was paid to do so. My paycheck for serving as a ClubRally Steward is every bit as nonexistent if I involve myself at every opportunity or do absolutely nothing. If some volunteer is not living up to your expectations of what they should be doing then by all means offer to replace them and show us all how to meet all the un-communicated desires of your constituency.

Halley ...

· Big Jump 800
729 Posts
Here's a suggestion:

There's a vacancy on the PRB: if you CARE apply for it!

About a year ago Mad Mike told me that a better use of my bitter dissatisfaction just might be to apply for the opening on the PRB... ok; that isn't what he said, but that's how I felt!

I did. I see a number of you posting on SpecialStage that have a lot of energy and good ideas.

I'll personally teach you the secret handshake...

J.B. Niday

· Registered
142 Posts
RE: Here's a suggestion:

Don't be too quick to advocate ditching SCCA just because they do other forms of motorsport - not just rally. I have been a Road Racer since 1965, and still love it. But I organize and work ClubRallys, and serve as RE of a Region trying hard to support rally. The Chattanooga Region's Road Racers, Autocrossers and Road Rally people have all been 100% behind our efforts in Performance Rally. It can be the same way in most other regions if the effort is made.
When our region autocrosses, our rally people are there to help. Our Solo II people put on Rallycross events. We road race this weekend at the American Road Race of Champions and our Road Rally, Performance Rally and Solo people will be there working corners and crewing for our three cars in the Enduro.
The Chattanooga Region mission statement is "Having fun: with cars; with Car People". That gets us all involved. All SCCA isn't Rally people, but we are all Car People.

· Big Jump 800
729 Posts
Doc's term

Settle down... Doc's been intending to step down from the PRB after at the end of the 2002 season for some time.

I've been told that the vacancy has been posted in FasTrack for the past several months... I haven't noticed it, but I've been told it's there.

anyway; Doc's due to step back and relax! He worked his first rally back when Ben Hur was still winning.

J.B. Niday
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