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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after two events for the USRC and 3 events (nearly 4) for Rally America we are nearing the mid season and I think with all the change in the sport it is now time for a mid-seasonish report card. A word of caution I wold hope that this thread is constructive not destructive we can all engage in a pissing match or try to offer constructive pointers I would favor the latter. Organizers and Sanctioning bodies you may take some lumps in this thread (assuming anyone else chimes in) try and just read it and think before you respond, there will be posts that are just here to bait you so read and think before you get defensive.

Now here is my report, (I have only been to Rim this year so I cannot comment on CHerokee trails at all, Sno Drift, and I have a few things about oregon but we did not run there. I was at Rim so that is probably the event I can comment on the most effectively.

USRC you have done a very good job putting out press releases and letting us know where you are headed and the Motorsport Mundial thing was very nice. THe broadcasts are good though ramada could have done with some helicopter shots it was one of the better US rally programs I have seen in the last say 4 years. I like the fact that you promote Recce since I like it and I think you do try and put on a good show, the second day's super special at Rim was a huge improvement over the previous years and I think that shows more initiative. I personally feel that the events in the USRC (Cherokee, Ramada, Rim, and Rally NY) are too spaced in time and distance, you should work with your organizers to try and schedule the East coast events together and the west coast together with rising fuel prices it is too expensive to tow across the country a minimum four times a year for a 4 event championship. I am also dissapointed by the lack of new events and I think that is one thing that you folks need to develop. Super stock is a great idea and I think that RA will have to follow your lead on that one or loose competitors.

Rim: As the crown jewel of rally in the US (purely from the fact that it is really the only rally in the US that is very close to a huge population center I guess I am continually dissapointed. Maybe it is me but since 2002 it feels like Rim as steadily lost appeal to people in this area. I realize that bad weather, and other factors have conspired against the organizers I am continually dissapointed by turn out to an event that is so close to LA. In 2002 the thing was packed there were people on every spectator stage and it was a very fun atmosphere, now I realize that Sawhmill did change the spectator stuff but you still had a large turn out (even more so when you consider the horrible weather of 2003) the people still came. Now I realize that this was not your fault but it happened so I will mention it the towing of people in 2003 left a horrible taste in the mouth of a lot of people and I am afraid some of those people will never come back others can come back. This brings me to the shift to the fairgrounds in 2004 (I feel this was a huge improvement from Pelon vista or the lot behind the Holiday Inn, new location better spectacle but the confusion over charging an entry fee and teh lack of directions to the buses for the spectator stage (a good idea that way spectators could not be towed) but it didn't work there was not enough infrastructure but an improvement of 2003 but still fewer spectators than 2002. This brings me to my 2005 review, while I understand that the weather basically ruined everything you had planned I cannot understand why you did not take steps earlier to find alternate roads, for months I have know that the fire season followed by heavy rain was going to wreak havoc on the rally and it did. Your entry fee was not cheap and you did not deliver enough stage miles or enough different stage miles and I think more than anything else this is the most important thing you will have to address in the next year you need more roads and adding super specials is hardly a substitute. Canceling spectator stages is pretty much the worst thing an event can do because it leaves people frustrated and confused and I htink it hurts the overally marketability of the rally. I do think that registration went better this year especially the location of tech which was convenient and I liked the ease of going and getting information on our drivers so we knew who we would have to retrieve and the like. There is a lot of stuf to be done folks but I see you working.

Rally America came in with a bang and lots of potential which is why I was so excited about it but I have been excited about some things and somewhat confused by others. First of all Rally America you hit the ground running and took over an enormous task so on that note alone I give you a lot of praise and thanks. Rally America was able to find a television package that shows forward thinking and I think as a whole will be better than the Speed broadcasts so once again a thumbs up. The addition of stage miles to Pikes Peak also is a huge bonus ( we will hold judgemnt on this till after the event). Now I am very dissapointed by the fact that no deal could be reached with RIm I do not profess to know all the details but I do know that without RIm there is a huge hole that Rally America now has to fill. For west coast people there is now a whole lot of Nasa events and really one big RA event and a few club events which is bad for business. Being based in the west RA seems like a championship that is almost exclusively based east of the Mississippi (Yeah yeah colorado but for people on the west coast Colorado is the midwest). With nobody else to turn to Nasa is gaining a huge foot hold here on the west coast and that is a bit sad. I have been dissapointed by the the lack of development as far as the RA website goes (I thought that this was the type of thing that you guys brought M360 in for) and while the TV package was different and has potential to be better it was a deal that should have been done way before Sno Drift because people trying to put programs together at the beginning of the year got killed because of this. Hopefully you guys put together a multi year deal so we will not be staring at a repeat of this every year. RA has been able to get Stig to come and race this year which I feel is a good thing but I was hoping that with him coming here we would have had more international teams show up which hasn't been the case so far. We will see what the year will bring us.

RA C+
USRC C
 

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Jeff-
I like that you care enough to write all that & share. But...

You need to organize it better dude! List it out by bullets or numbers or sumptin next time. You have good points but the way it runs together is kinda hard to digest & retain.

A- for content
D for format

:7

JC
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www.gnimotorsports.com
 

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USRC's promotional prowess, marketing success, and ability to churn out new rallies in new locations at an alarming rate

added to...

RA's highly experienced organizer line up, well established events, excellent event organization, and financial backing

equals...

THE ULTIMATE SANCTIONING BODY!

I agree with Jeff, seperately you guys are both in the C range, but for different reasons. Combine your strenghts to cancel out each other's weaknesses, and together you'll earn an A.

Since both organizations claim to have the greater good of rally in their best interests, perhaps it's time for them to put their money where the mouth is. Check your egos at the door and do what's really good for the sport. (Hint: Two sanctioning bodies is most definatly NOT good for the sport. Start from there.)

Dennis Martin
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Jeff,

While the opinions of competitors are always helpful and welcomed. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and judge efforts and labor of others. I think that is why you so seldom see fellow organizers offering up critiques on the efforts of their peers.

Each event faces its own set of unique challenges and advantages. It is far too easy to make a flippant remark like, "I cannot understand why you did not take steps earlier to find alternate roads". It boggles my mind that I have to explain that with over 30 years of experience organizing events in this area, we know what roads are available. It's insulting for you to imply that every option was not explored and efforts were not made to find alternative roads. There was only one alternative - cancel the rally. After 22 years of overcoming challenges at the Rim, we chose to try and put on the best event possible under the circumstances. We made it very clear from start that the event was going to be very different this year. (See Competitor Bulletin #2 posted 5 weeks prior the event http://www.rimoftheworldrally.com/CompBulletin_2.htm) There were no illusions and no misconceptions. Complaining about the winter storm damage now seems pointless.

You went on to say, "Canceling spectator stages is pretty much the worst thing an event can do because it leaves people frustrated and confused...". This statement is overly simplistic and misleading. The "event" did not cancel the stage. This stage was flooded by heavy rains Thursday night after the recce and use of the stage road was revoked by the State Park Administrator on Friday afternoon. What else could we do? Setting up and planning this stage for spectator was a huge undertaking that required over 50 volunteers and law enforcement people. I can assure you there was no one more disappointed than I. Your evaluation gives these efforts scant consideration.

I do not presume to evaluate the success of Rally America except to say that from a fellow organizer's perspective they are doing an outstanding job picking up the pieces after the SCCA abandoned ProRally. They started from scratch in late October of last year, just as we did with the USRC. How can we grade these efforts? What else to we have to judge against? The SCCA is gone! Jeff, were it not been for others picking up the yoke, you're customers and friends would be out spending money on bass boats instead of rally cars.

As for the comparative advantages and disadvantages of having two sanctioning bodies, I think we all agree that in perfect world there would be only one. But, humans are political animals. Would we be better off with only one political party that everyone was required to join? In the current state of our sport in the U.S. it is important that more than one voice and opinion is heard. I respect that both groups are doing the best they can within their limitations.

The beauty of the situation is that competitors get to vote with their entry fees and and organizers with their events. Where there only one group to evaluate, I bet you'd of been even less generous on the grades you've handed out.

Ray Hocker
Co-Chairman Subaru Rim of the World Rally
NASA Rally Sport, Western States Director
 

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Ray Hocker = Tony George (sans $$$)

Doug Havir = Kevin Kalkhoven

- meanwhile, rallying suffers...
 

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Did I just hear a mouse fart?

I didn't get to where I am today if it wasn't for rallying - BROKE!!!!
 

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>You went on to say, "Canceling spectator stages is pretty much
>the worst thing an event can do because it leaves people
>frustrated and confused...". This statement is overly
>simplistic and misleading. The "event" did not cancel the
>stage. This stage was flooded by heavy rains Thursday night
>after the recce and use of the stage road was revoked by the
>State Park Administrator on Friday afternoon. What else could
>we do? Setting up and planning this stage for spectator was a
>huge undertaking that required over 50 volunteers and law
>enforcement people. I can assure you there was no one more
>disappointed than I. Your evaluation gives these efforts scant
>consideration.

I wasn't there. I don't know the terrain at all. I don't know the limitations at all. But I do know that if I was organizing a rally that close to a large metropolitian area like LA. I would certainly do my utmost to have several spectator locations. Then if 1 had to be cancelled it wouldn't have been an all or nothing for spectators. Just my humble $.02

I also don't think Rays comparision of rallying to political parties is valid. Politics and politicians are large and many and all over the country. Rallying (at this stage of the game anyway) is way too small to have to attempt to work with these 2 organinations when there could be 1. I run rallies whenever they can fit into the schedule of myself and my co-driver/crew. Last year I ran 4 events, 2 CARS, 1 SCCA, 1 NASA. This year I'll probably run 3 NASA, 2 RA and 1 CARS because that's what fits in the schedule. It sure would be nice to be able to accumulate points in 1 series for 5 of those events with 1 license, 1 set of rules, 1 set of fees. I understand RAs lack of agressiveness this year in trying to get together with NASA (they had enough on their plate just in the transition) but I sure hope things don't stay exactly the same for the next several years.
 

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I've finished rallies under each sanctioning body this year and it appears that RA and NASA are each at least worthy of a 'B' grade. Actually, within the context that both are relatively new sanctioning bodies and that they rely primarily on volunteers, each of them probably deserves an A.

People get concerned about having 2 sanctioning bodies competing with each other, but competition usually is good for the consumer. It is generally only bad in high fixed cost industries, in which companies are "forced" to sell products below true cost in order to stay in business (temporarily). For a good example of postponing the invevitable, check out the airline industry - a high fixed cost business with price as almost the only differentiating factor.

For sanctioning bodies, rallying is not a high fixed cost business. Most of the costs are variable, so there are very few economies of scale. A sanctioning body doesn't need to do massive business volume in order to succeed. If one ends up having insurance problems, I think we will be glad there was more than one. We are fortunate that things have turned out pretty well for 2005!

P.S. Smaller brakes should be allowed in PGT. Oh, and recce sucks!
 

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I think that both parties have done a great job. I have done almost equal numbers of both RA and NASA events and I've had a good time. I only have a few concerns that have been talked about here and on the RA site and with people on both sides.

I would like to see NASA and RA have some sort of easily accessed and frequently updated online data base where our speed rankings, speed factors and seeds can be easily accessed. Or perhaps have someone volunteer to maintain a third party database for both organizations. Myself and some of my other beginner friends have had trouble making sure that our RA and NASA coefficients/speed info get transfered to the appropriate organization in time for a competition. It would also be helpful to know how to get this information to the appropriate official of each party and who that official is. I sort of figured this out earlier, but I have still had problems and I've had people email me about it (? I don't kow why they'd ask me, what do I know, I'm just a noob) so I assume this is still a bit of a problem.

My other problem with both organizations is that my service times tend to get cut short. I know I'm usually at the end of the line, but my baby needs love, too!

Live fast, drive faster!
http://www.rallyestar.com
Help get my car off the jack stands and out to Rally NY!
http://rallyestar.com/merch.html
 

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RE: Shorter service

Are your service times 'cut short' meaning you get less time than the front-runners sometimes get or 'cut short' meaning you get less time than the minimum alloted time for that service?

- Nathalie
 

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RE: Shorter service

At some of her earlier events when Lisa was running at the back of the pack the organizers would cut her service time down to try to catch her and other slower cars up with the rest of the pack, she got less service time than the front runners,
Now she is driving much better/faster I hope that never happens again
Leon
 

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RE: Shorter service

As long as they didn't eat into her minimum, it should all be cool ... but like you said, hopefully it won't be a problem any more.

You two answering each other's posts... must be love! :*

- N
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
John I thought about it but there is a method to my madness, did you ever notice that you need to listen more closely to people that speak softly? Nothing else to add?
 

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Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate the positive intent of your critique.

I'm not happy with my grade, I'll be working to improve it!

J.B. Niday
 

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>Jeff-
>I like that you care enough to write all that & share. But...
>
>
>You need to organize it better dude! List it out by bullets or
>numbers or sumptin next time. You have good points but the way
>it runs together is kinda hard to digest & retain.

He's right man.
 

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[I wasn't there. I don't know the terrain at all. I don't know the limitations at all. But I do know that if I was organizing a rally that close to a large metropolitian area like LA. I would certainly do my utmost to have several spectator locations. Then if 1 had to be cancelled it wouldn't have been an all or nothing for spectators. Just my humble $.02]


FIRST OFF, THE FORESTRY SERVICE TOLD THE ORGANIZERS THAT NO ROADS WERE TO BE USED THIS YEAR, PAULA GIBEAULT JUMPED THROUGH HOOPS TO GET THE ONE'S WE USED. THERE ARE ALSO LIMITED LOCATIONS TO SPECTATE DUE TO ACCESSABILITY FOR THE PUBLIC AND ALL OF THOSE LOCATIONS WERE INACCESSABLE DUE TO THE ROADS BEING WASHED AWAY. LITERALLY! THE ONLY OPTIONS FOR SPECTATING WERE UNFORTUNATELY THE STAGE THAT GOT CANCELLED AND THE FAIRGROUNDS. I AM THE ONLY LOCAL TEAM FOR THIS EVENT AND HAVE BEEN HERE FOR A LONG TIME, I APPLAUD THE EFFORTS OF THE RIM ORGANIZERS AND THE VOLUNTEERS WHO WENT AND REPAIRED THE ROADS SO WE COULD COMPETE. AND SINCE YOU WEREN'T THERE, YOU DIDN'T SEE THAT WE HAD MORE MEDIA COVERAGE BEFORE AND DEFINITELY AFTER THE EVENT THAN I HAVE EVER SEEN BEFORE. I SAW AT LEAST 4 TV STATIONS AND COUNTLESS NEWSPAPERS. THEY EVEN MADE A POINT TO INSURE THAT NON-PRO TEAMS GOT SOME COVERAGE. HATS OFF TO EVERYONE THAT WORKED RIM, YOU ALL GET AN A+ IN MY BOOK
NICK
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ray I understand what you were up against this year but at the end of the day results are results and facts are facts. I am not trying ot pick on RIm I may have some choice htings to say about STPR after next week who knows but I am just reading you the news. Consider this the competitor evaluation form I did not fill out in 2003.

1. Fact is that Rim has had fewer spectators (or at least that is the way it has appeared to me) for several years. Weather and other factors may have been contributing factors but I am just putting forth what I hear from my friens, family, customers, and people on the subaru and mitsu boards. Every year those folks get really excited to go to Rim which is pretty much the only rally that many of these people will ever see and the responses so far have not been good whether it be your fault or factors beyond your control it is related to your event so it is perceived as your fault by your customers (and since you are now charging fees for spectators that is what they are).
2. Rim organizers made a decision two years ago to start charging spectators and this has changed the dynamic, when people just show up and you guys are a bunch of volunteers they cut you slack but the minute you are charging people (I am not sure how much it was this year but the year before it was over 20 dollars which is more than a movie theater) to watch an event you will face more scrutiny from everyone. They are now your customers and if I ponied up over 20 bucks I would expect to do more than watch a super special (it was much improved this year) and stand around in a parking lot (Admittedly there was a lot more activities this year including an auto cross and other stuff). The minute you charge people just expect more and people were dissapointed this year and last because they felt they did not get their money's worth because they did not see Rally. While everything else was cool to them they consistently wrote that they liked everything else but they wished they had seen more rally and many said that they would never be back and that is a problem because the worst type of bad publicity is word of mouth. People are getting turned off to rally and that affects us all.
3. Ray the roads have not changed for a dogs age but you have consistently faced the same challenges with the roads because that is the nature of the area. I am not saying that you totally throw away the roads or that the roads are too rough or anything like that it but cutting rally routes down is never very popular. And why no Super SPecial at the end this year kind of anti-climactic for all involved, I have always liked the last stage being the super special. The line of "we know what roads are available" sounds a little strange, there is a ton of land out there and much of it is OHV hell there are tons of roads out near El Mirage for example. I think that sometimes organizers forget that we are your customers and we can always take our business elsewhere.
4. Ray I agree with you that freedom of choice is a good thing when it comes to sanctioning bodies because at this stage it is good for organizers and sanctioning bodies to compete for entry fees. This is a great opurtunity for enterprising organizers like Ray to stand out with superior events with better marketing, great roads, and superior competitor services. We will have to wait and see if this is the case because if everything stays the same as far as events and how they are run and instead we just have two sanctioning bodies I think that wil be very sad and as a whole wis not good for Rally in the long run.

A wise man once said to me that in business nobody cares what you had to go through they only care about the final product. That is the case with both of these sanctioning bodies people in the rally community may understand and accept the circumstances and growing pains. People in the business world do not care they are interested in the bottom line and so far the bottom line has been a C grade across the board a weighted GPA means nothing.
 

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Yes, actually I agree. People tend to not want to listen to me sometimes cuz I voice my opinions loudly too often. :D

Unfortuantely, I have little to add to this discussion, other than suggest your format be more concise for us GenX attention deficit types.

We have only run S*D this year & it would be rather unfair for me to critique RA on only that event, as it was while they were really scrambling to catch the pieces. The only real issue I saw was registration, but I believe that is ironed out already. The event ran great, but those organizers have been doing this awhile & I kinda expected a smooth event.

I may be able to contriubte more after running again. If things work out, we may be back for MFR or OFPR, but will definately be running LSPoR. I expect LSPoR to be great again, due to stellar organizers & the fact that RA will have had all year to streamline.

Guess I can afford to be patient & wait it out cuz I have to til money works out for us anyway.

JC
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>As for the comparative advantages and disadvantages of having
>two sanctioning bodies, I think we all agree that in perfect
>world there would be only one. But, humans are political
>animals. Would we be better off with only one political party
>that everyone was required to join? In the current state of
>our sport in the U.S. it is important that more than one voice
>and opinion is heard. I respect that both groups are doing the
>best they can within their limitations.
>
>The beauty of the situation is that competitors get to vote
>with their entry fees and and organizers with their events.
>Where there only one group to evaluate, I bet you'd of been
>even less generous on the grades you've handed out.
>
>Ray Hocker
>Co-Chairman Subaru Rim of the World Rally
>NASA Rally Sport, Western States Director

With all due respect Ray, this is a load of crap. Competition is great if you have true competition, but amongst rally sanctioning bodies in the US, you don't. The reality is that the competitors WON'T vote with their entry fees. Except for the dozen or so teams that can afford to run a true national effort, the majority of teams run what is close to them. If it's a NASA event, they run it, and if it's and RA event, then they run that. If you don't believe me, take a walk through the service area at RIM and look at all the teams taping over temporarily (or not even bothering) RA stickers. There is no loyalty, nobody going "I'd run X event if was NASA, but I'm staying home cuz it's RA". If you really want competition, and to see who the competitors will vote for, put on competing rallies during the same weekend, in the same area. For example, why not run Rally New York on the same weekend as STPR? (for the answer, scroll to the bottom)

It is painfully obvious that neither sanction body is competing for competitors, but they are really competing for organizers. In this game it's the organizers that hold all the cards (and deservedly so). So the competitor's decision as to what sanctioning body to go with is really being made by the organizers of the rallies they run. Did I run RIM because it was a NASA event? Hell no, I ran a NASA event cuz that's what RIM chose. My only decision was whether or not to run RIM (good decision by the way, fun rally). So in this competition for organizers, what are you really offering them as far as choices? Both have insurance packages, scoring systems, a TV package, etc... Judging by entry fees vs. stage miles I have to believe that most are about the same costs since there isn't much variation. So what? What makes an organizer go one way or another? Oh I'm sure there are some little things, spectating rules or recce, but that stuff can be negotiated. What earth shattering differences are there between the sanctioning bodies that will make or break an organizer's event? Face it, this isn't an apple and oranges decision for these guys. It's more like a courtland apple vs. macintosh apple decision.

So please explain to me the benefits of two sanctioning bodies AS IT RELATES TO OUR SITUATION (not politics, not other industries). Cuz I don't see many. Please explain to me how two sanctioning bodies, working independantly of each other, are going to grow the sport. Cuz I don't see that either. I do see a sport in perpetual stagnation. I do see the aftermath of the CART/IRL split, and how it decimated open wheel racing in the US. I do see potential sponsors staying away because of the uncertainty and lack of direction. In short, I see a hell of lot of negatives to the two sanctioning body system.

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845

Ps. The answer as to why you don't run STPR and Rally NY at the same time? Because you'd split the competitors and the workers, leaving both rallies undersubscribed and both understaffed. Pretty dumb idea, eh? Well, we've done the same thing with our national series.

PPs. Ray, I don't mean to pick on just you. It takes two to tango, so JB replace your name with Ray's and reread the above.
 
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