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Marketing through Motorsports
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This is a letter I just sent to Sue Robinson of the SCCA requesting that PPIHC be dropped from the 2005 ProRally calendar. She may already be travelling but I know she'll pass it along to the PRB as soon as possible.

Hi, Sue,

I suspect you're already on your way to PP, where I look forward to visiting with you and Doug again.

As a club competitor trying hard to be successful at the national level, I respectfully request that Pikes Peak NOT be part of the 2005 ProRally championship.

The event is an incredible challenge and it's a thrill to be part of the PPIHC history, but it's NOT a ProRally. The mileages are too short, the timing isn't rally-style (maybe this year will be different), recconaissance is allowed, and there aren't even supp regs or route books, all of which sound like a RallySprint according to the rule book.

Most importantly, until such time we have a separate manufacturers class, the costs to run PPIHC are prohibitive for the club members, even national contenders like ourselves.

For these reasons I urge the SCCA to drop Pikes Peak from the 2005 points-paying ProRally calendar.

Sincerely,

John Dillon
Codriver, past organizer, former steward, etc etc etc

P.S. When the manufacturers return, I hope that they'll compete for their own championship outside of the traditional national structure. Assuming this is the case, it would be okay if they included PPIHC--for their championship only--on the SCCA schedule.
[hr]

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

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i dont know if agree with any points except the cost point

but the costs are easy to control with the following in the (non-existent) supp regs:

The number of tires able to be used by a competitor are limited to 8. All such tires must be submitted for marking at scrutineering. Use of any tires other than the 8 designated tires, for any reason, is grouds for exclusion.

and

the ProRally will consist of xx stages taking place (in a compressed format) - how bout a run down for example

and

the entry fee for ProRally competitors will be xxx (something similar to other entry fees)

those two should adress the cost issues. because aside from those things, I'm not sure its really more expensive than a regular event.

If you're going to make a general cost argument, there are a lot of things that can be done that aren't PPHIC specific, and in fact, you could have a lower cost championship with PPiHC as a great marquee event in it (given that it was done 'right').

The reason i am specifically against the concept of dropping it, is because, contrary to the argument, doing pikes, is going to be not more expensive (and possibly cheper) for me than any other event of the season, BECAUSE it is popular. Not the other way around. We need marquee events to make it cheaper. But the marquee events themselves cant end up costing us huge. That is the point to be made, otherwise, the benefits of having a marquee dont translate through to competitors.

-Pat
 

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> to be not more expensive (and possibly
> cheper) for me than any other event of
> the season, BECAUSE it is popular. Not
> the other way around. We need marquee
> events to make it cheaper.

Pat, you lost me in that bit there. Curious, though & would like to understand.

Are you saying that marquee events are cheaper because you (i.e. You) pick up ad hoc sponsor money? That somehow, the bigger the event, the cheaper it gets because your sponsors cough up more, or more willingly?

This would make sense to me, but only for the big dogs: success creates a feedback loop, and rallying (counter-intuitively) becomes, in some ways, cheaper the faster you go?

Best - Isaac
 

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I think that's precisely what Pat is saying. And if it is, I agree with him. My 2005 season hinges largely on the presence of PPIHC in the national calendar. If it is not, I will run the event as PPIHC.

And in response to John...no, it isn't quite a rally. But it is an event that has a built in following and history and worldwide recognition.

It also has a lot of spectators and only one path to get to the spectator areas...through a toll gate. That provides the opportunity to make it a prototype event that would more closely follow the business model of EVERY MOTORSPORT in the world sans rally and charge admission...dollars to support the organizers and eventually lower the entry fees, yadda, etc.
 

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I have to agree with Pat. Anytime you talk to a potential sponsor and mention Pikes Peak their ears perk up a bit more. Along with RIM it is the most marketable event in our series.

I guess it really depends what you are trying to get out of the sport.

just a personal opinion.

-g
 

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don't cut
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>
>the ProRally will consist of xx stages taking place (in a
>compressed format) - how bout a run down for example
>
>>-Pat

I believe running back down was proposed in the past by the SCCA, and the organizers had a hissy fit at the notion. They basically thought we were nuts. Someone also told me that Michelle Mouton wanted to run back down in order to prove she had the biggest balls on the hill.

Dennis Martin
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In the mid-80's I went to Pikes Peak to cover it for a magazine; however my real motive was to meet Ari Vatanen, who was driving the Peugoet 405. While several of us press types were hanging around him lobbing questions one person (not me) asked about if he would fancy running down the hill as well. His answer, while the exact quote escapes me was akin to 'I do not believe in suicide'.

John Elkin
"Don't go where the road don't go."- Ringo Starr
 

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your other left, you idiot
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hills

Racing uphill separates the men from the boys.

Racing downhill separates the men from the stupid.


press on,
 

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Racign down hill or racing up at night would be an excellent addition.


One thing to remember is that I would wager PPIHC is one of the 3 most locally promoted and nationally/internationally followed events on the schedule. Come into the springs early, its one of the 4 largest cities and 3 largest metropolitan areas in colorado (stupid census counts denver as the Denver/aurora metro area, the springs is the next largest metro area though). There will be banners, signs, and plugs all over the more recreational parts of the city (just take a swing downtown!). There are also tons of other events going on in conjunction with speed week as well. There is a soap box derby and Falken is bringing its drift series to PP durring the lunch break to just name two.

PPIHC is a great way to get exposure to sponsors that might not look at you with all that much seriousness. Don't forget that PPIHC is drawing a lot more target demographic fans, and has history that rivals the Indy 500 and the wide spread prestige no other rally in the US seems to have. Last year out of the about 200 people I talked to, atleast 2/3 were under 35, and a little under half this was their first time at a race like that and they just loved it and eagerly listened to me tell them about SCCA ProRally, Club Rally, Colorado Hill Climb Events, and rallycross (oh yeah about 20 of them were in the Press Corps from places that have an ocean in the way of getting here, a couple of the irish and british guys were shooting all of the SCCA guys like mad and really wanted to do stories on the UK drivers and the locals as well, theres a feather in your cap, international press fame!). PPIHC is drawing a lot of 18-35 types, we had an estimated 900-1000 people at 16 mile each of the last two years, and thats with last year having one of the more dissapointing entry lists in recent memory.

I'm going to talk with Susan and Phil (of PPIHC) after the event about getting more help managing the SCCA stuff, someone that will have all the information YOU want, someone that will maintain a proper entry list, and someone that can take the heat off of them in teh question department. We'll see what happens.




Also I'd encourage all of you to swing by Stig Blomquist if you get a chance, he is of course and WRC champ but that RS200 is just amazing.
 

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RE: hills

I'd love to run down the hill.

Running up the hill you have guys who've been there so often they could run the mountain blindfolded.

Running down, you'd see where road adaptation and car control are at.

It's just another road. Sure a special road, but it's still a road, a car and a driver.

Brian
 

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RE: hills

Running down hills: Maybe some of the 350 hp guys are afraid that the 150 hp guys might beat them with gravity on their side. :)
 

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RE: hills

Chances are that a 150 HP car may beat the 350 HP car as long as neither took one of those pesky 4000' instant shortcuts.
 

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RE: hills

Running down the mountain would be a piece of cake for anyone who's developed their brakes to actually work well in that environment. This just takes a fair bit of engineering time and then another chunk of testing in a representative environment. I have access to brake and full chassis dynos so I'm ready.

Its too bad if the failure mode for those of you who find yourself with insufficient brakes means the best choice you have is to find a safe way to crash into the uphill side of the mountain! (not so easy with the ditch)

Its good this type of failure is usually preceeded by fade, unless of course you happen to boil the fluid, torch a line, disintegrate a phenolic piston or have bonded linings decide to unbond in the middle of a long high speed-to- hairpin stop. Too bad.

None of this will happen if you test properly ahead of time -- and we all live close enough to a 14000 to 9000 ft mountain drop where we can test our cars at speed. So, no problem for some of us, extreme danger for the rest of you.

The only other challenge is avoiding driver stupidity along the lines of counting on a clean braking zone into the corner when in fact some of those pesky marbles crop up. OOPS! (Where's the uphill side so I can hit it?)

Lets go!

As for Michelle, she wasn't professing to have balls, she was just very confident of her team's knowledge. Those Group B cars were engineered for and tested in this environment. I've visited the test site in the Alps (Passeo Stilvio) where they use a 9 mile section that drops 4600 feet through 46 hairpins and they do it in 13 - 14 minutes. That's why Michelle was ready to run the downhill race -- she knew the parts needed to do it successfully were already in the warehouse.


:)
 

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RE: hills

Pat is 100% correct, when we were trying to put together a last minute sponsor package everyone we talked to were a lot more intreested because they enjoyed having their name attached with PPIHC. Frankly when you pitch Lake Superior Pro Rally they just look at you like you are crazy. PPIHC needs to stay, I like the idea of using a set number of tires.
 

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RE: hills

I'm late to the post, and unfortunately not able to make PPIHC this year.

I have to say that anytime I describe the racing we do, most folks ask right away, "Do you do Pike's Peak!?"

The benefit to any team partner/sponsor is obvious for Pike's Peak. It's an internationally known event with great PR. Depending on the partner, it's worth their season's investment in the team just to have you at PPIHC alone from a PR standpoint.

Cheers! John
 

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RE: hills

> the ProRally will consist of xx stages taking place (in a compressed format) - how bout a run down for example

Didn't Michelle Mouton once say something about doing Pike's Peak downhill? :)
 

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Are you sure?

>For these reasons I urge the SCCA to drop Pikes Peak from
>the 2005 points-paying ProRally calendar.
>
>Sincerely,
>
>John Dillon
>Codriver, past organizer, former steward, etc etc etc

John....still want to drop PP? }>

Andrew Sutherland
UniversalRally.com
 

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Discussion Starter #19
RE: Are you sure?

>John....still want to drop PP? }>

Believe it or not, yes.

It was a great joy to win PP, especially with it being our first overall National victory and double-especially because the hill climb trophy is named for Roger and Mark.

For me, the victory means a lot because we really had to work for it.

The car arrived in Colorado Springs with lots of work still to be done and of course the competition was fierce. As one of the founding Widgets said, "A trophy means nothing unless you have to beat somebody." I'll tell you that the Richards, all the Hyundais, and even the Group 5 and Group N cars really made it clear we'd have to fight to win, and fight we did. Leon drove with absolute commitment in every corner, and I'm danged proud of his performance.

I think people SHOULD race at Pikes Peak. It's a scary thrill unlike any other and an experience all racers should have.

This doesn't change though my opinion that PP should be removed from the ProRally points-paying calendar (except for manufacturer teams). The cost is not just the entry fee--it's almost a week away from home with all the lost wages and travel expenses that the absent time implies.

On the other hand, if PP is to remain on the calendar, it should be more "rally-like" in terms of schedule and organization. We should employ P-Sport to generate stage notes for us so we can travel Thursday, race Friday and Saturday, and go home Sunday. We should have supp regs well in advance of the event, especially when they impact our flight arrangements. We should have a timetable that doesn't change dramatically in the driver's meeting. We should employ a timing system that allows for us to double-check the posted scores.

I've been at the Peak twice now, so I'm a relative newbie, but I encourage everyone to race there. Hey, I encourage people to race in the Corona Rally de Mexico too, but I don't think it should be part of our championship either.

As for the promotional opportunities, I've heard from some rally friends that PP helps them secure more sponsorship. I haven't seen that yet, but we're always optimistic about new sponsors.

While ours is not the lowest-bucks team out there, we're still just a couple of clubbies at heart (it shows in our car number!), and we're still watching our pennies and vacation days. That's why I wrote my letter to the PRB.

Your mileage *will* vary.

Rally on!

[hr]

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