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Makes it seem like it is because the event was blind/no recce was the cause.

Philip J. Boer
grinner323(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
 

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Well......the Americans are dumb to them...
Obviously.
They just don't understand.
Had they recce'd....they would've been going A LOT faster, and had they gone off....they would've been farther in the treeline, and dead.
So.....
 
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It's a distillation of a complex report/inquisition by a reporter.

I don't think a person can really draw many conclusions from it, nor should they try.

The one interesting point is made about the reports by "American Authorities" - I wonder who those are?

Also interesting to see that the matter was followed up on in a serious manner in the UK.
 

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American Authorities in this case are the Washington County Sherrif department and the Oregon State Police. I guess extensive crime scene recreation and investigation was done, from what I've been told by those in the know.

Personally, I didn't like it that they protrayed American organizers as turning a blind eye to safety. Not to belittle their memory, but Mark and Roger were professionals, at the top of their game. No one thought that simple driver error (which is what it all boils down to) could be the main factor in their deaths.

Very interesting, though, that the coroner called for American organizers to let teams do a recce pre-rally to see the roads...

Anyway. Interesting. Didn't know a Sergeant from the Avon and Somerset police was here investigating.

KT
 

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You're right, that was off-the-cuff on my part.
It still hurts though, and I don't like personal attacks.
I know he wasn't directing it at ME, but I LOVE rallying, especially here in the states.
That and the stab at the Organizers. Didn't like that, either....
 

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I know that this issue is really close to a lot of people, but the article seems quite balanced and fair in my opinion. I also don't think it actually points a finger at any people or committees at all, but rather at what has been standard practice in the USA and Canada for many years - blind rallying.
While I don't necessarily buy it - there is an argument that Jemba notes, if used as pace notes, can be more dangerous than a pace note event.
There seems to be a lot of speculation, confusion and mistrust of pacenoting in these parts. With our first regional event with pace notes done and in the bag ? I can tell you that the format was a HUGE success and significantly safer.
Nobody is pointing fingers in this ? it is the job of the inquest to help everyone figure out how to stop the same accident from happening again. Would Recce have prevented this accident ? from everything I have heard on this (yah ? tons of rumour) I think it could well have.
 

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> "He said the fact that a spectator was close to a dangerous bend could also have distracted the drivers."

???????????

First anything has been said about this.

I don't buy the sunlight through the trees argument, or even the pedestrian argument. Mark Lovell had driven Group B cars, and I can't imagine him lifting or altering course or being distracted by a spectator.

> with only a computer assessment of how to manoeuvre along the winding route.

Jemba ?
 

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I remember a photographer (?) mentioning on this board that he was there and had pictures of the entire thing?

Am I remembering this correctly?
 

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I agree with Kristen...

It seems like the article is trying to blame the accident on something. If he had went off with pace notes, they would have tried to blame it on the fact that only two passes at slow speeds provided the driver with a false confidence and not a feel at the road at speed. If it was a routebook rally, they would have blamed it on the deceptiveness on having to read the road. While pace notes maybe could have saved a life this time, I truely believe they would have ended another. You can't just say one system is better than the other without understanding it...

If Mr. Lovell had lived through the accident, I doubt he would have blamed it on the stage notes, or the character of the roads, although they may have made it tougher. It's just hard to accept that the best, with 20 years of experience, with the best car could just misjudge a corner, go off the road, hit a tree, and die. It seems like they don't want to accept that it's really *that* easy.

Thanks,
Alex
 

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Mä meen vittu sinne!
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I personally hate blind rallying. I've only done one SCCA event and thus have only experience with a route book and can tell you that I feel it is extremely dangerous. Here in Colorado we have it pretty good in that there is a local organization that runs 5-6 hill climb events throughout the year and they have recently added a rallycar class. Full reccon is allowed on the course and I can tell you from my experience with it that not only is it safer, but it is also alot of fun as well. Anyone who thinks that computer produced notes are safer or that blind rallying is safer is wrong in my opinion. Though it could be argued that I don't know what the hell I am talking about. Could it have saved Mark and Roger? Maybe. Is it worth wondering about?
 

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I observed Prodrive practicing the Wednesday before the event. Mark was very businesslike and dedicated to getting optimum car setup. It was a frustrating day for him and the team. The car wasn't broken, but Mark was never happy with the setup. There weren't any fireworks or raised voices or anything, but Mark flogged his car up and down that 3/4 mile stretch of road all day, going well into Ramana's practice time. Finally, the tranny locked up. The team changed it and Mark went out again. The team worked like fiends on that car. It was very clear to me that Mark was committed to winning the rally. He and the team didn't seem panicked or wigged about it, but it was clear that Oregon Trail was the crucial event of their season.

The nature of no-recce rally requires a bigger safety margin inside the competitor's head. Abroad, the driver and codriver get a personal picture of the road before they drive it. I believe recce allows a crew to match their level of committment to that picture in their head. Without recce, the picture has to be imaginary. Perhaps it's a special danger with experienced recce-rallyists, that they have to imagine a road that doesn't exist, while the experienced blind-rallyist has no expectation of what the road will look like.

At any rate, if recce-rally allows greater control over committment, it also means that if you are good at it, it allows pretty close to maximum committment, just so long as you don't go over the edge, as is the case in any dangerous sport. Pushing very hard in the first mile of the first stage of the first day may seem like a rookie mistake, but from what I can tell, it's a very popular tactic in the WRC. Put the pressure on early and hope it's one of your competitors that makes the mistake, not you.

US no-recce rally doesn't support maximum committment. It is a testament to Mark's experience and dedication to the sport that he gave that kind of committment at our events.

Regional rallies shouldn't necessarily have that level of motivation. Regional rally doesn't need recce, though it's a good venue to experiment with it. It's more about having fun. Committment is important, but comes out more in car prep and chivalrous tradition rather than being all about that last tenth-of-a-second per mile.

Our National rallies are kind-of in-between. The step of having recce is something that may or may not fly, but we should start thinking about it if we want to see the level of committment that a team like Prodrive brought.

If we are going to support the top-level of committment so we can start exporting drivers and maybe get a round of the WRC, we'll have to suck it up and support recce. If not, fine, but we'll have to understand that our top events will always be in-between, and some of us are going to get caught out in the gray area.

andy
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Viva la ProleRalliat!
 

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It is totally inconclusive whether recce would improve safety or result in more big crashes. Nobody knows. There are plenty of opinions on the subject, and there are lots of "blind" rallies around the world. A lot of people don't seem to realize that the US is not very unique in that regard.
I believe the Rally of Great Britain (RAC rally) was blind a few years back when drivers were dying at pace note events like Corsica.
Dave
Car # 207
 

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P.S. A look at the competitor fatality statistics from the past 10 or 20 or 30 years of blind rallying in the US reveals that it has been quite safe relative to other forms of racing.
 

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What source are you looking at? I'm curious. I'd like to look at it. It could be useful in putting together an event proposal I'm working on.

andy
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It's probably hard to get your hands on the actual numbers - double secret stuff and all that. I'm just going on what I've heard. Anybody care to provide more detail?
Dave
 

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I believe organizer-provided Stagenotes combined with the opportunity to recce the stages and mark the notes to your liking is optimum (a la Rally New York). I think there's enough time on a Friday before an event to register, tech, and go drive the stages once. While I had no problem with 'blind' stagenotes at last year's fall Sandblast, there were two or three 6-'degree' turns in the notes at Rally New York that were 3 or 4-degree turns AT BEST. I would have easily gone off had I not adjusted them in recce (I'd be interested to know if any RNY competitors agree with me). It's not even so much that the notes are 'right' or 'wrong,' but that it's so important that the notes be suited to the particular driver if they're going to be so detailed.

I think organizer-provided stagenotes without recce are a recipe for disaster, especially if a team is going to commit to them 110%, which is what it sounds like the situation was with Mark and Roger. Out of the four options presented, Mark could most definitely deal with the sun, the loose gravel, and the errant spectator on the corner. It was the un-recced stagenotes that were still a fairly new element that he had to deal with in his career. Of course, ultimately, the only thing that causes a car to crash is the driver. In the end, this was an unfortunate accident, plain and simple.

From what I understand, it was also the first corner of the rally, and how many times have you heard of even the greatest drivers making their biggest, if not final, mistakes in the 'first corner' of an event (I force myself never to commit to the first two or three corners of every stage I drive for this very reason).

I would say if a rally is going to be 'blind,' use only tulip-note route books because you simply can't commit to that crap. Here's one vote against blind organizer-provided stagenotes.

Rob
www.hrm-usa.com
 

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As a driver I understand that the responcibility of my safty is mine and mine alone, I need to make the right choices of how to deal with the external varibles; be that notes, reace, or route book. None of these are safer or less safe than the other - it is how I use them that make them safe or not safe, this is the case for everyone like it or not.

Beyond the type of route book used, as a driver it is my responcibility to anticipate other possible hazards such as cows, people, mecanical issues etc. If I hit a rock on the exit of a turn I dam well better test the brakes prior to getting to the next turn.

I belive the report using the type of rally as a factor is missleading and harmful as it is sending a message that the responsibility for the safty of the crew lies at least partly out side of the car, that is just flat wrong and that aditude will lead to more sad incidents.

Derek
 
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