Special Stage Forums banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few facts which may be of interest... (Opinions are at the end.)

1. I asked a lawyer (who is not a rallyist) to research if there were any pending legal actions against SCCA related to rally accidents. There are; and the dollar amounts are very significant. (The licenses associated with the legal search services used to find these actions do not allow me to republish the results publicly, but you can ask your own attorney to do the same, or to use the free legal research tools that may be in place at your local public library, community center, etc. to find out the specifics if you like.)

2. The Wellsboro PA Gazette newspaper quotes John Buffum indicating that there is a legal action pending against SCCA as a result of the spectator deaths at the Sawmill Club Rally. The full story is here: http://www.stargazettenews.com/local/Thlocal11.html. The story goes on to quote John further: "There is a proposal on the SCCA table from Doug Havir and Rally America," he said. "They are going to work with SCCA and essentially take over. I'm going down to (SCCA headquarters in Topeka, Kan.) Thursday and Friday to hammer out the small points, like who's going to do the licensing? And what rules are we going to use?"

3. SCCA may not have insurance sufficient to cover the full amount of these claims, if these legal actions against SCCA prevail. Why? Because SCCA has self-insured to an extent as a way to lower their insurance premium costs. On the Wisenberg Insurance web site, SCCA is quoted as follows: "We saved a lot of money because of Wisenberg?and their assistance with a lot of our really unusual risk management problems has been invaluable. It's unusual to have an insurance agency tell you not to buy insurance and to self-insure, but that's what they did." You can see this quote by going to http://www.wisenberg.com and clicking on the "Our Clients Speak" menu link.

4. Others have questioned Pete Lyon's role at SCCA. Here's what I could find out: Peter B. Lyon, JD is the Director of Risk Management and Legal Affairs for Wisenberg Insurance, according to the Wisenberg web site. Mr. Lyon is also listed as holding the position of "Risk Manager/Legal Cousel" on the SCCA web site. Mr. Lyon is also listed as a "primary member of Risk Analysts team" on the Wisenberg web site. Risk Analysts is described on the Wisenberg web site as a Wisenberg subsidiary offering fee based insurance consulting and analytics services. I have been unable to determine whether both SCCA and the Wisenberg entities are directly compensating Mr. Lyon, and if so, whether such an arrangement is usual and customary in the commercial insurance profession.

Now for the opinions...

I have been involved in rallying both here in North America and overseas as a worker, top-ten competitor, organizer, spectator, crew member, driving instructor and tech inspector for nearly thirty years.

During that time I have witnessed tremendous advances in the performance levels of rally cars. For example, look at the stage times on stage 1 (the Stony Fork creek crossing) at STPR, a stage that has been consistently run for a number of years. Whole minutes have been taken off of a stage that is only 6 miles long.

During this same time, our investment in competitor training has not kept pace with the increased performance levels of rally cars. If anything it has declined. PRO events used to be a stepping stone for competitors from the so-called "brisk" TSD rallies of the '70s and '80s, so at least most competitors new to PRO rallying had some rallying experience already under their belts. No longer.

It is therefore inconceivable to me that we will be able to obtain event insurance at reasonable cost unless and until we make significant changes to stage rallying as it now exists. Furthermore, rallying has become much more expensive for the competitor, and I believe we should work hard to lower the competitors' cost to go rallying.

If it were up to me, I would make the following changes:

1. Eliminate speed factors; return to a seeding system where lower-seeded drivers can only compete in 2WD, Production or Group F class vehicles until they complete 1,000 stage miles.

2. Reduce the number of classes to Group N, Production GT, Production and Group F. Have a three-year grandfathering of all existing cars that have a logbook and have been entered in a rally in 2004 or 2003. These grandfathered cars would run in their own, single, class, if they didn't fit anywhere else, but this class would not earn Championship points. That's right, eliminate Open class. I love it, but it's time...

3. Create an East Coast and a West Coast series, similar to NASCAR's junior-level series and to what Canada is doing. Make it cost-effective for a competitor to win a series championship.

4. Make it clear that tech inspectors are there to enforce class rules compliance, as well as safety items. Consider having a mid-rally tech spot check at an unannounced regrouping control.

5. Work with CARS to create something approaching a unified rule book, so that rally cars can readily run in both Canada and the U.S. seamlessly.

6. Work with (not behind, in spite of, or against) the insurance carrier to develop a fresh safety plan that reduces event risk and our premiums. Accept that enhanced spectator control, ambulance provisioning, radio communication etc. are now on equal footing with having a good route book and are simply a reflection of the times in which we now find ourselves. As a competitor, I want an ambulance at every stage; I want a cohesive radio net where everyone will know where I am at all times.

7. Cap stage speeds. Competitors exceeding the max allowed stage speed are scored as if they drove at the maximum stage speed; no better. Slow stages down with hay bale chicanes (and autocross-like time penalties for moving a hay bale), taking the long way around triangle intersections, etc. Eliminate stages with an average speed that cannot be reduced to, say, 60 miles per hour max.

8. Enforce a tire allowance of four tires plus one for each 25 miles of event stages. Tires would be painted/etched at tech, and inspected at every start control. If the event has 100 stage miles, you get eight tires, no more.

9. Minimize the number of different service area locations, even if this means increasing the ratio of transit to stage miles. Keep service times short to keep wealthy competitors from changing whole suspensions/diffs, etc. as a routine maintenance item. Let's go back to building bulletproof, highly reliable, 1970s-Safari-style prepped rally cars instead of the high-performance, but relatively fragile thoroughbreds we often see these days.

10. Worry more about lowering our costs, having fun and making rally safer than finding a series sponsor. If we can't afford a "PRO" series right now, then let's have a great Clubman's series until the new regime(s) sort things out over the next year or two and we are ready to market ourselves properly.

Interesting days, friends... I hope we make the most of this terrific, albeit unsettling, opportunity with which we have been presented.

With best regards to all,
Mark

__________________________________________________
Another Message From... L. Mark Stone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
>7. Cap stage speeds. Competitors exceeding the max allowed
>stage speed are scored as if they drove at the maximum stage
>speed; no better. Slow stages down with hay bale chicanes
>(and autocross-like time penalties for moving a hay bale),
>taking the long way around triangle intersections, etc.
>Eliminate stages with an average speed that cannot be
>reduced to, say, 60 miles per hour max.


Many good ideas presented here. Some I agree with; some I don't. I won't muddy this great post with much comment.

Number 7 is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT safety item that must be implemented, should have been implemented in the past, and that without will kill rally in the U.S.

I don't know if it is possible, but I would like to see average max speeds reduced to 50.

If you guys don't reduce the speeds (by some means) you will regret it in lives lost and the final death of rally in the United States.

Jens Larsen
Flying Kiwi Racing
 
G

·
YA HOO ! LMS, (L Mark Stone) U got it fairly close to correct ! As most of you know I am hated by most high ups in a governing body that has since been pressured by its own doing or un-doings to pass the torch to RA.

Which by the way should not be pushed under the ole bus until and much more importantly "if" they slip on the curbing.
The only thing I noticed in your statements of correction to our sport here in america,is>:
I really think its time for the entrants, current,& future organizers and some officials on the upper levels to be made aware of totally how much medical
is on site. Folks, I have proven this in some event cases and it would shock you. And the miss use of the "Good samaritan clause",is rampant. Before we as organizers and entrants continue on to better this sport, the truth of what the LEGAL capabilities of each titled medical worker,I.E.(first responder,EMT and para-medic),must be known and understood,by all. Just ask any paramedic how much a first responder can really do for you in the state I am in, (it varies from state to state). And also we all need to know the legal rights of service we can recieve from any one in the ambulance at each event. It should also be made note of the possible responce times entailed by meeting only the minium insurance requirements.
I worked a year and a half on a rally and quit one month before it came to pass because I understood the level of medical required for my peace of mind. I total believe in sending in to a stage the most medical there is,not just the minuium to get the insurane in force for a rally. This I realize is a very sore spot now,but if we are to go foreward serious issues like this need to be brought up and corrected at some events. Yes, it will bring up the costs some,depending on how the local organizer developes his or her rappore with the governing medical control authority and local licensed county emergency medical people.
I was able on the rally I worked on to get a dedicated fully equipted transportable ambulance with para=medic on board for a very low fee .
Also we were runnng a max of 3 "hot stages" at once and I wanted and could have got 3 approved para-medics at the start of each stage for the day for $200 each. I also had jaws of life in a 4X4 rescue unit that was ready to be there, for a cash donation of $50 to their "beer" fund or what ever they chose to use it for.
In short we must raise our understanding and level of safety and slow down the long straights. We must do a higher level of tech and what ever the insurance companies want to insure continued coverage and safer events. To say nothing of what ever decision you all make reguarding needed changes to the spectator areas.
Now is the time to pressure RA and to a lesser extent NASA, because they already have a successful cheaper, series, into what
we need and are pushed in
to wanting,and needing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,146 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,027 Posts
The world has truely changed.

I agree with Jens Larsen in regard to Average speeds: something in the under 65 mph avg range.

(Thanks for the very positive posts!)


Opinion: better drivers shine on slower roads, faster cars shine on faster roads.

Slower roads also typicaly reduce time gaps, making the competition closer. Slower roads require neat driving to be competitive, small mistakes add up and compound quickly. Faster roads allow time to be 'made-up' despite slower performance in the technical areas.


Can't believe I am hitting the send button.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
I agree with all of your points.

And I will cast my vote for you in the November elections. :)

BTW quote from the article:

"According to a news release Tuesday, the nationwide motorsports program's sanctioning body -- the Sports Car Club of America -- will ends its ProRally and ClubRally programs on Jan. 1, citing unacceptable risk of death and injury to spectators and participants."

Nice PR work SCCA.
 

·
400 flat to crest
Joined
·
5,777 Posts
Final Point 10. Right on

10. Worry more about lowering our costs, having fun and making rally safer than finding a series sponsor. If we can't afford a "PRO" series right now, then let's have a great Clubman's series until the new regime(s) sort things out over the next year or two and we are ready to market ourselves

For years some of us have been saying
[http://www.clubi.ie/longballgame/img42.gif]

"We're not worthy"

Meaning of course that the national Series is a joke, the distances too great and the rewards too non-exsistant and so it proves nothing, except that some people are willing to waste a lot of money to stroke their swollen egos.

So maybe that's the best point.
Regroup, re-think what we are trying to show or do and then get

[http://c.adorablebunnies.com/T/99ee/3.4419426032571/ARCHIVE/2004-Jan-WEEK2/Back to the Future.jpg]

Back to the Futre!

Ooops wrong text :(


John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!
Vive Le Groupe F!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
789 Posts
The principal reason for a club's insurance is the "cost of defense"; secondary is the payment of judgments and settlements.

The wildest case I ever read in this area involved an airplane race fatality. Three planes collided at the finish pylon and one of the pilots crashed and died. His estate actually tried to argue that because the race had technically ended at the finish pylon (and the decedent's plane crashed after it) that the release had also expired and everyone was now liable.

The Court ruled "no way", but you can imagine the costs of the defense. That is also why it is the number of claims that is more of a concern to insurers sometimes rather than the severity of injuries in specific accidents. Each claim requires involved (and costly)investigation, analysis and defense.

The differences in the laws of the 50 states is also a complicating factor.
 

·
lock yer diff!
Joined
·
75 Posts
You bad boy!

Thanks, JV,

We needed that!

"doc" knew how to build a car that could handle any chicane & still get back to the future!

bp
portland

>"We're not worthy"
>
>Meaning of course that the national Series is a joke, the
>distances too great and the rewards too non-exsistant and so
>it proves nothing, except that some people are willing to
>waste a lot of money to stroke their swollen egos.
>
>So maybe that's the best point.
>Regroup, re-think what we are trying to show or do and then
>get

SWALLOW HERE

>Back to the Futre!
>
>John Vanlandingham
>Seattle, WA. 98168
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
>I would say the SCCA is likely to prevail in any case where
>the harmed did sign the waver but it still take money to
>defend.
>
>DKB

I'm sure the 2 spectators killed at Sawmill 2003 most likely did not sign waivers (FWIW).

BTW, good post L Mark. And I agree with all of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
678 Posts
Bravo! You have an excellent vision for what needs to be done Mr. Stone!

I hope Doug Havir picks you to be his ideas man/right hand man. Or at least considers what you have proposed very carefully. Would you consider reposting this on the rally america forum?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
>Would you consider reposting this on the rally
>america forum?

Good idea; done. Thanks for the suggestion Mr. Bennett.

Best regards,
Mark

__________________________________________________
Another Message From... L. Mark Stone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
>Mr Stone, Could you list the name of the suits and the
>locations? That makes searching much easier.

Hi Derek,

We know from Buffum's quote that one of the actions concerns the spectator deaths at the Sawmill Club Rally.

But as I mentioned in the original post, the legal search service's license terms do not allow me to republish the material in a public venue. The actions were not hard to find however, and many public libraries have a subscription to these same legal research services, so you should be able to find the actions fairly easily. I did not try Google or the other search services, BTW. You might have some luck there as well.

Best regards,
Mark

__________________________________________________
Another Message From... L. Mark Stone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
I brought up some (many?) of the items you mention to the PRB since being appointed CRSM back in February. It seems that what was considered unreasonable in the past is worthy of discussion now.

We can't charge up the flux capacitor (go back in time), but what if we could have proposed, enacted these changes in 2001?

Therein lies the problem with democracy in motorsports, there's no way the majority of competitors would have voted for restrictors, limitations/ elimination of open class etc in 2001.

If we do manage to go forward from here, how are we going to handle this next time risks get out of hand? Will we try to be preemptive, (always unpopular) or wait for the next tragedy to force our hand?
 

·
400 flat to crest
Joined
·
5,777 Posts
Mike we do it with incentives.
Play on the dependable egotism of racers.
Nominate (call) GroupF "The class for Drivers Championship points"
and all other class to be run as MFG or whatever.
If a person wants to be crowned "National Champion" then he better be in the class, the one where its clear that driving is what is bringing the results.
This is not out of self-interest, I have a turbo 4x4 car.


John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!
Vive Le Groupe F!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
>Nominate (call) GroupF "The class for Drivers Championship
>points"

...Do you think that would happen if you put it to a vote of current rally licence holders in the U.S.?

That policy would have to be dictated.

Why all this support for democracy?

I thought I had you pegged as a commie:)
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top