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In an attempt to reduce our insurance costs and the number of serious crashes I believe that inexperienced drivers should not be allowed to drive 4wd Turbo cars.
Some of the worst crashes involve inexperienced drivers with high horsepower 4wd monster cars.

With that fact in mind, if a driver wants to compete in a 4wd Turbo car they should be required to complete a few rallies in a 2wd non turbo car and graduate from a rally school in a 4wd turbo car.

Because of their speed most crashes in a 4wd turbo car will likely result serious damage.
This will cost the competitor lots of money and could cost the whole sport money in the form of increased insurance rates.

This is something that I have felt strongly about ever since a competitor was killed in a 4wd turbo car while racing against a new driver in my old rabbit. The guy in my old rabbit was beating the guy in the 4wd turbo car.

I could continue to make my argument but why wait. Let the name calling begin.

Steve Gingras
 

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a side effect of a plan like this that i forsee would be a very healthy used rallycar market for good "entry-level" 2wd cars.

that sound like a plus to me.


reflection on this caused me to add:

where would AWD N/A cars fit?

on one hand the spec subie that randy and i were talking about could be good for beginners wanting an AWD experience.

on the other hand allowing unrestricted access to AWD N/A cars would allow a rookie to get their paws on something like the "bluck" that jim cox built and im pretty sure that is also something that you feel should be kept out of the new rallyists grubby little mits. i know vehicles like the "bluck" are a rarity but we have to think of as many possibilities as we can.

the same arguments can be made for 2WD turbo/big motor cars as well.
 

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Who gets to decide on the definition of 'inexperienced'

I had zero experience in rally cars when I showed up for my first event in a GTX. However, I had 10 years of racing motorcycles at the national level (including a national championship) and considerable experience in single-seaters.

Its not the car that gets you into trouble, its the attitude. I *knew* that I wasn't going to win my first event, so I set the goal of finishing. We finished both days and actually made the podium on day 2. Not bad for 'inexperienced' but it was helped a bit by attrition.

So I'd say evaluate previous racing experience in other formats on a case-by-case basis so as not to penalize (yes, requiring someone to buy a car that they want in addition to a 'beginner car' to me is a penalty) folks with *some* competitive motorsports experience.

As far as brand new, fresh from the XBOX drivers go....I agree completely

Matt
 

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Agree entirely with Matt.
I came to rally with 17 years moto-cross including 2 seasons International competition,
the guy a minute ahead at my first event, Dave Dunn, had 13 years off road racing.
Larry Roessler in his first event was winning stages (with three differnt tires on the car a non-optimum Eclispe), but he had over 20 years on off road bikes.
Just most recently, Travis Pastrami, straight to the (admittedly rather low) top.


Not to pick on anybody but there does seem to be a stack of guys in the Midwest who drive virtually stock VWs a season or 2 of mainly mechanical DNFs , then buy turbo 4wd cars, should they have to go back and actually drive a car that has some yank in 2wd form, after all what does supposedly flogging a stock VW with maybe 90 bhp and no gearing or brakes or Yank teach you?




John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

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

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steve never said new to rally drivers, yet experienced in other forms of motorsport, should be restricted. he was only talking about inexperienced ones.

to me that means that people like the two of you (john and matt) and the people you mention would possibly be exempt from the restrictions.
 

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>In an attempt to reduce our insurance costs and the number
>of serious crashes I believe that inexperienced drivers
>should not be allowed to drive 4wd Turbo cars.


I'm curious to know ***exactly*** (not speculation) what factors influence the costs of rally insurance such as:

1. Driving suits

2. 4WD turbo cars

3. Displacement

4. Driver experience

5. Cages

6. Fire systems

7. Organizer backgrounds

8. Event histories

9. Event locations

10. Numbers of deaths per year, organization, event, law suits, something else???

Etc, etc, etc, etc....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree that there should be some a way for driver with other forms of motorsports to get a waiver or maybe just need to complete the rally school portion. Which is probably a good idea anyways.

To answer a different point. If your car prep is so poor that you regularly DNF in a 2wd non-turbo car your going to regularly DNF with a 4wd turbo car and possibly have big off because of your lack of prep.

To answer Jens question. In one of the press releases that I read it was stated that one of the reasons for dropping Prorally was the number of deaths per competitor.

You Guys don?t get it ? I am not trying to limit the fun factor.
I am talking about saving the lives of our friends and the sport that we love.
 

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i think that there should be a more extensive rally school at rallies.

we have a practice stage.

why not a training stage too?

or

have 2 "school/clinic" rallies a year per region. short 2-3 stage rallies w/at least a 5 mile stage. these could be for rookies and veterans alike. everyone can learn something. if you are new to rally and want to rally here you have to go to one of these things.

one in the spring and one in the middle of the season. basically one every 6 months.
 

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I believe insurance cost also includes payouts from incidents that do not result in a fatality. I'm talking medical care and property damage here. So you have to look at the number of big offs that require medical attention, destroy mailboxes or result in one or more fatalities.

As to the tiered license idea, I love it. (I think I recently suggested something similar.) Start people out in 2WD, move them to a PGT class and then to an Open class. It allows you to charge difference fees for each of these competitions (to account for higher insurance, road wear and tear, etc.) and forces people to learn good driving skills first and foremost. Far too many drivers out there mask their terrible skills with horsepower anyway. It would be good for some people to start with the fundementals.

The biggest issue with implementing this is what you do with existing competitors. A seed 8 who just bought an Evo isn't going to be particularly happy if you force them to buy another car to complete. So you have to figure out how to handle the competitor relations part of this.
 

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>Larry Roessler in his first event was winning stages (with
>three differnt tires on the car a non-optimum Eclispe), but
>he had over 20 years on off road bikes.
>Just most recently, Travis Pastrami, straight to the
>(admittedly rather low) top.
>John Vanlandingham
>Seattle, WA. 98168
>
The only difference I see here is both Larry and Travis had extensive training and time in awd rally cars. It wasn't like they just jumped in an awd car and went for it. It absolutly made it difference having thier respective backgrounds, but they were both smart enough not to jump into open class cars and go out and compete.(travis started in a GN and Larry in a PGT) I think it is a mental frame of mind. Larry did not come out to win his first event he just wanted to see what it was all about and finish. I know that when I tested with Larry he was very reserved about driving in the snow and started the testing day very reserved. Once he had a good feal for the car and the conditions his expierence in other forms of motorsports started shinning through. I truely believe that had he not tested in the car prior to the event it would have taken him longer to get his stage times up to the top. By the end of the event Larry's driving level exceeded what the PGT car could accomplish.
 

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Yeah, I would agree with Steve on this. I bet Kathy Freund would as well. When I started I was one of those pig headed idiots who thought I knew how to drive but didn't really. Even though my eclipse was stock hp, it was still too much, and it almost killed Kathy. I still remember that tree, burying the throttle and praying, and then looking at that lake, only too realize it was on the wrong side of the horizon. Scares the ##### out of me.

I'd say they need to FINISH at least 3 rallies in 2wd and reach a minimum seed (5 or 6?). I'd put the seed thing in so that someone doesn't just cruise through the events at a little above bogey and not learn anything. Or do an accredited rally school like Team Oniell or Higgins, and get a sign off from the instructor. That way if somebody whines about it they don't HAVE to buy a 2wd car before racing their awd rocket.

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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This has already been proposed, written, modified, approved, but with other big news lately, it was put on the back burner. The policy also has the support of rally america.

Yes, there will be certain allowances for those experienced in other forms of motorsport.

You should see an official notice on this soon, with the specifics of the policy.

Mike Hurst
Club Rally Series Manager
 

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I agree that it would be a good idea to keep beginers out of "monster" turbo AWD cars.

I started rallying very recently(2002) in a AWD turbo car, and have loved it. Saftey is a primary concern of me and the driver, and we have done much to keep the car safe through the physical attributes of the car, and by controlling ourselves on stage.

People should have the option of starting in whatever car they would like to, however they should be educated and informed as to the dangers. Starting in a turbo AWD "may" be a disadvantage to the driver as it possibly makes the learning curve for driving flatter. (that is becoming a better driver may be a slower process). It does not neccesarily imply that the driver is more likely to crash, die get hurt etc.

The biggest part of the equation is the driver/co-driver. We need to all take responsibility for our actions on and off stage, and accept that there is danger in the sport we all enjoy. If a driver is pushing too hard, and going to fast they are more likely to crash or injure themselves or others.

At Maine Forest Rally I saw more damage, and rolls occur with G2 cars. Many golfs were on their sides or roofs or in the woods....while injury did not occur these drivers were clearly pushing harder or taking more chances or having "bad luck" than everyone else.

I feel safe in the car that I co-drive in a "turbo AWD monster", because the driver controls himself and drives relatively conservatively/responsibly on stage. We both acknowldge the inherent dangers in rallying, and respect our abilities and try to anticipate changing road conditions, and possible dangers that can appear on stages.

As a side note my brother has a G2 golf and I feel safe driving with him as well, as I trust his judgement and driving skill. however a good freind of mine just finished building a G2 golf adn has had several "offs" at highspeed just driving paved roads around his house. I would not feel safe getting in a car with him in a rally or on the street. He seems to push too hard and drive above his head for his current skill set. (he has many years experience racing motorcycles professionally at the world level, and can do amazing things with them!!)

I guess I started rambling, but my point is the car is not the part of the equation that causes the risk, it is the drivers skill and ability to moderate his speed, and adapt to changing conditions.

I would rather see stricter training required than limiting people to what car they can start driving in.

Also we should stop calling all turbo AWD cars "monsters" many turbo all wheel cars have less horsepower than many P and G2 cars. Our Celica has about 165 HP where as a freinds golf(potentially G2 NA 2.0 16v) is dynoing close to 200 at the wheels, and other Production class cars have over 200 stock HP.

Teach drivers about dangers, don't limit their choice of car.

One effective way of convincing drivers of dangers may be similar to drivers ed videos or Chainsawing instruction techniques. I recently went through USFS chainsaw course and they showed photographs adn videos of injuries and deaths that had been caused by operator errors, and the like. These had a lasting effect as I think about many of them everytime I fire up a saw to clear trails/rivers....

Just my opinions hope it adds to a positive discussion,

Jeremy Wimpey
 

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A few comments:

If we introduce subjectivity into the equation (JVL has umpty years in competition, I'll let him waive THIS part of his experience) the hue and cry over "favoritism" and "buying his way in" will begin again. The more objective we can be, the better.

Schools are a great idea, but - with notable exceptions - there have not been enough entrants to enable an organizer to put one on without losing his shirt. Of course, if you REQUIRE schools, they'd have to exist...chicken and egg syndrome. Something to investigate would be lower insurance rates for a school, to keep the organizer financial risk down. We also don't want to stretch our organizers any thinner than they already are.

I wouldn't suggest a more involved school on an actual rally weekend. The workers AND the new competitors already have a lot on their plates...let alone the instructors, who would doubtless be competing, too.

Bruce
 

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>have 2 "school/clinic" rallies a year per region. short 2-3
>stage rallies w/at least a 5 mile stage. these could be for
>rookies and veterans alike. everyone can learn something.
>if you are new to rally and want to rally here you have to
>go to one of these things.


Good idea. You could pair students with more seasoned drivers, dare I say instructors, that would help coach the student on the pitfalls to avoid on stage. A comprehensive post-run debriefing on what was good and what would get you hurt....ect,ect

Incorporate some sort of signoff to eliminate the people that have displayed driving skills below what would be expected to compete in a safe manner.

To help expose the students to as much knowledge as they can get, you could switch instructors and students around midway through.

Students that complete the school/training would receive a card clearing them to be stage worthy. The card could be the first step in a multi-step stage liscense.

Tear it up by all means!

Bob Wall

ps. Is this the same as the Ski Sawmill deal? I did not attend so I have no idea if the layout is the same.
 

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I would require a minimum of 4 rally crosses if not to get used to going sideways under control, but to get a good taste of the culture of rally. To talk rally with and meet people "in the big leagues". (The 15 minutes I spent next to Dave G. @ a rallycross @ Mt. Snow last year gave me 3-4 things organizationaly and attitude wise that I have used since.)

A side bar to this is what training should a codriver get? As notes become more common what preperations should be made to teach their use? How do you teach a driver to listen to notes? (Codivers when used correctly can make the driver safer, hence reduce insurance risk, right??)

I know I was scared sh*tless the first stage we had them and it took 3-4 stages to get a feel for it. Being organized, using the materials you have and keeping the driver focused and calm cannot be learned from an XBOX or watching the WRC. How do you teach and certify it for a codriver license? Won't that also help reduce costs?

Bernie
 

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I think that the last poster caught a couple of good points but maybe should have elaborated on them a bit.

The issues with Insurance are not about bent cars or claims for indemnity of racing cars... it's about liability of the SCCA and Events for "allowing this to happen". "THIS" can be anything, but one example is how the surviving family of a Navvie is suing the SCCA for "allowing such an incompitant driver to compete in the first place".

The fact that there is NO STANDARD by which we let someone DRIVE a car in the first place is why the SCCA will most likely LOOSE this battle. Waiver be hanged, they let any ol' Yahoo in the car without questioning his experience or requiring any proof of ability or training.

Taking away 4WD cars doesn't make it any safer. Taking away the ability for any yahoo to jump in ANY car and run recklessly through the woods DOES.

Point of view - I am the Oregon Region Recovery Steward (Sweep) for all events held here. Oregon Trail Pro Rally and Mt. Hood Club Rally, which is running this next weekend, has it's share of cars that end up in the ditch or worse.

After pulling cars out of the Woods for over 5 years, I can say with total conviction that it is NOT the 4WD that dominates the repair shops of the post-Rally efforts.

I've pulled G2, G5, Open and Production with no apparent domination. If I were to pick a class that I've had to deal with more than any other, it would have to be G2 or G5. The rear wheel drive cars are alway there with their ass in the ditch but can't get out and the FWD cars tend to be nose in.

Of the more serious incedents, roll overs and totalling of the competitors cars, again, I have seen a pretty even playing field of cars endo'd in the ditch or along the side of a tree.

I have a great picture of Carl Jardevall wnadering around his pretty well done Volvo G5 car after he stuffed it at OTPR a couple years ago.

How about Doug Shepard taking the entire rear corner off his car at OTPR last year?

Yes, there have been 4WD cars that have taken som hits too.

But... the overwhelming majority, if not ALL, the 4WD cars that we've had the displeasure of filling out an incident report for have been PRO drivers. Most Open and Group N cars seem to be Pro runners although there is a smattering of PGT runners in there as well that are not.

But, by and large the greatest average of recoveries on Stage of ill-placed Rally Cars are 2WD in some sort and fashion.

How should I weigh this experience and statistic with the idea that taking 4WD cars away from some 3rd party's determination of a Rookie? How can I look at the reality that I will still continue to pull "Rookies" or those that make Rookie Mistakes out of the woods, only this time in an extra car they had to pay MORE for to compete... eventually... in the car they started out with in the FIRST place.

How can I justify that?

The truth is that the CAR doesn't break the Driver, the Driver does. Any one of us can try to drive ANY car beyond our abilities. And THAT is how accidents happen.

So unless you want to shoulder BOTH the cost of the "loaner" G2 or G5 Rally car and cover the likely costs of repairs, I suggest that we leave the choice of vehicle to the pocket books of the teams.

The BETTER choice is to require, as does Road Racing, certification and lisencing in order to DRIVE a Rally AT ALL. A one hour Novice Instructional meeting about what is required to drive a GO CART at a FUN FAIR. It should not be the basis of a competitive lisence.

1 - REQUIRE a Driver to have a Valid Driver's Lisence to go to a Rally School. Fundamentals should include car control and experience in MANY different configurations of cars... 2WD and 4WD. It should also INCLUDE a course on PACE NOTES and Route Books. I think it;s important for a Driver to see the notes as the Navvie would to help increase better and clear communications.

2 - After successfully completing the Fundamental Rally School, a perspective Driver must then take a course in the specific configuration of car they intend to race. A G2 course, of a G5 course or... to address the concern at hand... an AWD/4WD course. After successfully completing this course, they would be given a PROVISIONAL (Insert class here) LISENCE. With that certification and license, you are ONLY able to drive that class of car.

3 - The Provisional License puts that driver into a different RISK GROUP that is insured at a different rate than vested drivers. Therefore, they pay more for their Insurance during their provisional period, then after they are granted a full Unrestricted (insert class here) License.

4 - The Provisional Period is 5 Races. They must COMPLETE, read NO DNFs, 5 successive races with no significant incidents. I'm not talking about a flat or a minor ditch off. Once they have done this, they are then awarded their unrestricted (insert class here) license.

5 - Compeitors can hold multiple class licenses. However, they must go through the SAME process for EACH class license. Regardless of their "experience" level. No one is judging their ability except to the standards of the School and their performance during their Provisonal period.

BENEFITS --

~ Lower overall Insurance Costs due to the correctly identified risk and compartmentalized costs. The Insurer doesn't have to invent or "guestimate" the skill level and spread the higher rates throughout the entire club, as puported with the SCCA demise.

~ Increased Revenues for the Club. The provision of Sanctioned Schools and events increases not only the physical profitability of the Club but the marketability with current and future Schools and Venues that can work directly with the Club to also boost their own exposure.

~ Improved Competitor involvement due to Provisional requirements. The motivation here is to both get their unrestricted license AND to lower their costs by "gradutating" out of the Provisional Insurance bracket.

~ SAFER events. Drivers will have to weigh their persuit of their unrestricted license against the persuit of a racing title. They will driver cleaner and safer (read - gain safe experience), in order to gain their status and reduce their costs. Then take that experience, safety and confidence with them to the persuit of an eventual title.

~ Improved Sponsor and Advertiser relationships. Cheaper and safer means more teams and a better overall image. More teams mean more spectators and more exposure. More expsoure means bigger and better Sponsors and Advertisers. Which all translates into increased revenues, better venues, better coverage and more incentives to teams and their sponsors. In a word, exposure.

~ Employing this standardization not only avoids the 3rd party, arbitrary rankings of individual drivers but more closely alligns us with other Rally endeavors such as NASA events and, perhaps more importantly, CARS or Canadian Rally events. A Can-Am Series would easily be accomplished with this kind of joint-standard involvment and resolution.

DEFICITS --

~ Drivers will have to pay for Schooling and that's an expense. One that, I believe, is worth it and they will too.

~ Increased costs during the Provisional Period. True, but it's only temporary and offers a good motivation to drive safely and get their Unrestricted Class License.

~ Increased costs to obtain additional Licenses. Again, which will be offset with the reduced Insurance costs Individually as their Unrestricted License is granted AND as the Club as, overall, Drivers move to Unresricted Licenses.

~ Many Regions do not have enough events for a local only Driver to gain his Unrestricted License in a timely manner. He may have to travel to get his 5 races in during a given year. Or, it may be incombent to the local Region to provide more events. Either way, it increases exposure and event participation and that, eventually, will reduce overall costs as well. No, Rally Cross doesn't count. But I don't see whay a CARS or NASA Rally couldn't.

~ Current SCCA License holders... Basically, if you are not a top seeded team and/or ranked as a Pro Driver with documented experience and safety, you'll need to go through the motions just as everyone else. This will hurt some egos and cost some time/resources but again... it takes away the guesswork of the Insurer which, in the not-so-long term... LOWERS COSTS.

So...

-Limiting risk controls Insurance.
-Insurance affects costs, Marekting brings exposure.
-Costs and Marketing affect participation.
-Participation affects Spectators, Sponsors, Promoters and Advertisers.
-Spectatorsm Sponsors, Promoters and Advertisers bring Revenues and Venues.

Again, with some serious marketing to get the word out, I think this is the VERY BEST CHANCE of survival that Rally America has with Rally in the US.

Just my $14.75 cents worth... .02 cents just wasn't enough.

Scott "DKOV" Kovalik
ORG Recovery Steward
ORG Rally Cross Director
---------------------------
Ignore my spelling, not the content :)
 

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This is an excellent thread and many valid points have been brought up. As an Organizer, I have also voiced my concerns about various stages of 'training' before newbies get into actual rallies. I agree that we need to do something, with co-operation from the organizing side and from the competitors side. An agreement has to be reached somewhere. Having said that, no-one has brought up the following points:- Who will be ultimately responsible for deciding who is going to be the "teacher/instructors" for the instructional classes? What qualifications do they need? Will it be the insurance companies? Thoughts anyone?





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I like Steve's idea, and while this can get so complicated with possibilities to make it not work. There's something there worth mentioning.

One way to limit the horse power available to "inexperience" drivers would be to install a 28mm restrictor in their turbo inlets, and keep it there until they have finished and X amount of rallies.

4WD is a great class, but it is also one of the biggest reasons SCCA had trouble insuring the sport.

Tony Chavez
 

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Tony, you could be right. Sometimes it's easy to miss the simple solutions to complex problems.


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