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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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Folks! Let's take a breath here. We're all over the map on this one by intimating folks have no balls because they're tree-huggers, from some geographic part of the country other than Colorado or not real rallyists. Come on - that demeanor just don't cut it. Jeesh, we're all family here (group hug!), let's get constructive and try to understand a few of the reasons why Cog's SS3/SS7 cannot again be run in the configuration it was this year and then help (not blame) the organizing committee and officials so they can find the stage configuration compromise that makes the most people happy in the future and, at the same time, reduce the risk of suffering another 'Life Flightable' accident.

Put me on record stating that the stage did NOT scare me, for if it had my right foot would not have stayed flat on the floor after shifting to fifth gear in one of the two cars on that stage benefitting from unrestricted-turbo horsepower. Car 86 would have easily snuck into the top ten on SS3 had I not shown the chicane TOO much respect, lost time safely passing Mark Tabor (have I mentioned how much I think speed rankings SUCK) or avoided pooching the square right past the silos where I narrowly avoided falling into the ditch (no better place on that stage to display "stoopid driver tricks"). While I was not scared I certainly had time to pray that there were no tire, steering or suspension anomolies that would have ushered us out of those ruts and onto the plateau like JATO-launched, metallic sage brush.

The things that need kept in mind about stages like SS3 need to include lowest common denomitor considerations. It's possibile a Seed 8, total newbie COULD have been tackling that stage in the very same car I drove. I shudder to imagine what would have happened had a PS/2-playing, WRC-watching rookie with right foot pinned to the floor had overcorrected just once at those speeds. It's all well and good to judge the suitability of a stage from the very front of the pack, but we have to keep in mind every car/driver combo we let loose on a stage if we want to see whole cars loaded on their trailers after the event.

I have more ideas but want to hear more of what ya'all think. But PLEASE - let's positively discuss how we can work together so that supremely qualified rally drivers like Doug Shepherd can see something out of the ordinary in a stage without stacking the deck against the newbie with too much horsepower and too little experience.

Thanks again to everyone who made Cog happen - it was a sterling event to be sure!!! GREAT job!!!

Halley ...
ProRally #86
http://www.realautosport.com

(EDIT to start the counter.)
 

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eating dust taking photos
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Here here Mike!


Too much negativity surrounding everything on specialstage these days, all the positive people put out there gets burried under a heap of negativity.


Too many people would rather complain about something then make realistic and functioal suggestions for change. People would rather re do things in their image instead of making things work.


The organizers want your feed back, but they don't need all 37 competitors saying ss3/7 was too straight and stop right there...
 

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I can attest that the comments made from some of the "newbies" from the other post might seem to be just spouting off by rookies, but that is far from the case. Aaron is quite an accomplished driver starting in rallycross, lots of track miles, hundreds of miles of hill climbs this year alone (which in Colorado is ran like a mini-WRC with recce, etc) and then to stage rallies. When he ran into electrcal and overheating issues on stage he gaciously let divers by on stage and at ATC so he would not slow anyone down. He knows more about the sport in general than anyone I know and has nothing but the best intentions for the sport (even over his own personal intentions). I have raced both COG ('03) and 100 Acre woods ('01, '02)(we were 3rd car onscene for JB's tree hugging in '01)...that is as far back East as I have raced. As an actual comparison to a sence of preceived "danger" I can tell you 100 Acre scared the poop out of me. BIG trees, high speeds, roads as slick as greased whale poop, etc. The stages at COG are open and fast, but that has challenges also. Cars need to be prepped differently for different events. We all drive as fast as we can, dare, feel comfortable with. No matter how "punk", new, or "harcore" a driver is none of us want a shunt at any speed. So the faster rallies do not have more potential danger than the slower ones. I am racking my brain to think of a rookie that has had a "life flightable" off from being over-exuberent. Ask Scott Fuller about COG or anyone else that has had a serious off and I bet a coomon theme is too fast foe the conditions. We are not "Pros" here in the US. We need to drive what we can "see". Simple as that. Putting a chicane in the middle of the landing strip makes that section more interesting, puttin 140 unique turns in a 12 mile road is gettin' real interesting.

Personally I would like the speeds to be lower due to road selection. I think lots-o-turns shows off more driver/co-driver skill...I also drive a G2 and turns are the great equalizer. I don't really think we (US rallyist) should be able to attain higher speeds that WRC level cars, but we can and do on all time. I do not think we need to do anything about the speeds unless it becomes a hurdle with insurance or something. I do feel we might need more training or seat time before jumping into a 300hp all wheel drive car. But that has more benefits than the obvious...more group 2 competition at the Pro level (snooze-o-rama), possibly more cars avail for sale at cheaper prices (starter cars), etc. I think our "club" really needs to take a look at the entire program. Rally is changing and instead of the usuall knee-jerk reaction we should get pro-active. Seeding, new racer programs, rules (as always) are some of the things that need to be addressed. I think the SCCA might have some competition on the horizon and I hope they can address the issues and stay competitive.

Bottom line...let the drivers choose the the best speed to drive.
 

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Hi there,

General comment (not Cog specific) :

While the terrain on the side of the stage does make a significant difference in the event of an incident, it is also a basic physical fact that a car has an amount of kinetic energy proportional to velocity squared ....

whenever possible, I would like to limit the number of times, and period of time, that I am required to drive at speeds over 100 mph in order to be competitive (or limit my speed and risk losing time as a result) ....

whether this takes the form of road selection, (replaceable) hay bales with time penalties for hitting them, or breaking up a stage into two stages in the middle of a very long straight doesn't make much difference to me.

HTH.


=============================================================================

Web site : www.SoCalRally.com
Sponsors : www.VwSpecialties.com www.Parts4VWs.com

Rally - I don't need no stinkin' epi pen to get my adrenalin rush !!
 

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First off. let me state that from an outsider not having been there, I have mixed feelings (see sections later in this post). An off causing a car to roll and bounce several times at 100+ mph could be very bad. But from looking at Lorne Trezise pictures of 6 different stages, I can see that there's definitely few trees or boulders to hit.

> I am racking my brain to think of a rookie that
>has had a "life flightable" off from being over-exuberent.

Sawmill, 2000. Actually not life flightable, but death.

> I do not think we need to do
>anything about the speeds unless it becomes a hurdle with
>insurance or something.

We can't afford to wait until it becomes a hurdle with insurance!
 

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>
> > I am racking my brain to think of a rookie that
>>has had a "life flightable" off from being over-exuberent.
>
>Sawmill, 2000. Actually not life flightable, but death.
>
STPR 1992, fatality
100AW 2002, life flight
Ojibwe 2004, life flight.


> I do not think we need to do
>anything about the speeds unless it becomes a hurdle with
>insurance or something.

Checked entry fees lately? The hurdles are already up. This is a problem the sport is facing RIGHT NOW!

I fear we are going to suffer because we did not take actions sooner, because at the time they would have been incredibly unpopular.
 

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the reason I didn't like the ONLY 'fast' stage (ss 3/7 - same road) has nothing to do with safety

it has to do with fun to drive, essence of being a rally driver, that the road only shows who has the fastest car (all other things being equal, whicht they never are), and running at 6500+ rpm in a car tuned to run below 5

In that order. Basically, running at top end in top gear and leaving it pegged and going around slight corners didn't in my opinion require any skill aside from balls. But no big deal, geez ! I am sure just as much someone else won't like another stage.
 

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True...one person's trash is another person's treasure.....

I was not there. I think I can get a decent feel for the stage from the posts offered. I still see MFR and STPR and 100 Ac Wood as more dangerous overall.

STPR and all the rallies run in that area (Sawmill, HIS, Tiadaghton) have always been full of 'gotcha' corners and tricks for the unwary. This has mostly been a problem for the less experienced, and we have had 3 fatal accidents in that area (if you include the tragic spectator fatalities).

I would see this particular COG stage as more dangerous for a poorly maintained car (regardless of driver experience); old steering parts with hidden cracks, well-used tires, rims beat to heck, etc. The danger for the less experienced driver on that stage sounds like it would be in the reactions if one were to have any trouble at the high speeds; an over-reaction at those speeds can be a disaster.

I think the only solutions are the ones offered: chicanes, and breaking up the stage. I can't see how there are a plethora of roads anywhere, whereby the organizers could pick other roads for that event. I have to leave that up to them.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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>>
>> > I am racking my brain to think of a rookie that
>>>has had a "life flightable" off from being over-exuberent.
>>
>>Sawmill, 2000. Actually not life flightable, but death.
>>
>STPR 1992, fatality
>100AW 2002, life flight
>Ojibwe 2004, life flight.

STPR 1992...12 years ago...I dont know details.

JB's wreck at 100 Acre... he was not a rookie. I saw the tracks..."freinds don't let freinds early apex". Repeat last phrase 100 times.

Sorry dont know the details of Ojibwe either.

But the answer is not slowing the drivers, but teaching them to drive right and respect speed. That is the answer...a feeder series or class to "Pro" rally...Super 1600-ish. Hey I got it lets call it Group 2. Yeah...everyone has to finish at least 1 "Pro" rally in G2 to move on. With the poor showing of G2 at the Pro events this solution would only boost entries. Heck I bet with 5 1st timers entering the organizers might even offer a discout for a 1 time G2 entrant. We could even require 5 club level finishes before entering a Pro event. Now that is an answer...not tossing some hay bails in the road. AGAIN...I hate the freeway stages as much as the next guy...but we still have to address the ISSUE here.

>
>> I do not think we need to do
>>anything about the speeds unless it becomes a hurdle with
>>insurance or something.
>
>Checked entry fees lately? The hurdles are already up. This
>is a problem the sport is facing RIGHT NOW!

Is the really due to handfull of wrecks? I bet based on participation levels our per entrant insurance expense at the end of day is really pretty low compared to say MX or whatever. I think the insurance companies are squeezing everyone (might have something to with SUV's or 9/11 or just increasing costs). Might be lack of education about our sport to insurance companies. I really don't know. But a legitimate feeder series with cheaper left over cars for us to buy and possible increase in "Pro" entries can't hurt out event fixed costs.
 

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>
>STPR 1992...12 years ago...I dont know details.
New driver, fast 4wd turbo car
>
>JB's wreck at 100 Acre... he was not a rookie.

He wasn't? How many rallies had he competed in before 100aw? 3?

>
>Sorry dont know the details of Ojibwe either.
New driver, fast 4wd turbo car.

If you don't think there's a real problem here, You need to stand back and open your eyes to whats happened here in the past couple of years.


>>Is the really due to handfull of wrecks?


If you define a handfull as a half dozen, resulting in 5 fatalities, several life-flights, YES REALLY!


Your idea of having new drivers compete in slower cars is a good one, It's something I'm pushing for now, and should have been required years ago.
 

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>If you don't think there's a real problem here, You need to
>stand back and open your eyes to whats happened here in the
>past couple of years.
>
>
>>>Is the really due to handfull of wrecks?
>
>
>If you define a handfull as a half dozen, resulting in 5
>fatalities, several life-flights, YES REALLY!
>
>
>Your idea of having new drivers compete in slower cars is a
>good one, It's something I'm pushing for now, and should
>have been required years ago.

We probably have the worst safety record of any grassroots motorsport in the US, Just a guess. Even worse are our looming spectator problems.

Personally I think that some really tough love is in order and I am looking to the PRB to provide this. I wish that the SCCA top brass was ahead of the problem and forthcoming with their findings. Leadership is needed here. If you don't understand this take a look at the withering entries. I see zero value in the national series to competitors like myself. I would be excited if LSPR had 50 entries this year but I think it will be more like 35.

I think that next year we will see events canceled since they can't get their entries and that will only drive prices up more. We need to wake up and see the writing on the wall. Insurance is up due to safety issues, this drives up entry fees, this lowers entries, the money has to come from somewhere.

I think there are solutions. However, I don't see SCCA as part of that solution. I have completely lost confidence in the organization.
 
G

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>>Your idea of having new drivers compete in slower cars is a
>>good one, It's something I'm pushing for now, and should
>>have been required years ago.
>
>We probably have the worst safety record of any grassroots
>motorsport in the US, Just a guess. Even worse are our
>looming spectator problems.


What do you base this idea, that our safety record is terrible, on?

I'm also unsure of the "looming" spectator problems- in fact, it seems like the spectator issue sort of went away this season and the organizers found ways to generally deal with folks, although this may be my perception.


>Personally I think that some really tough love is in order
>and I am looking to the PRB to provide this. I wish that
>the SCCA top brass was ahead of the problem and forthcoming
>with their findings. Leadership is needed here. If you
>don't understand this take a look at the withering entries.
>I see zero value in the national series to competitors like
>myself. I would be excited if LSPR had 50 entries this year
>but I think it will be more like 35.



>I think that next year we will see events canceled since
>they can't get their entries and that will only drive prices
>up more. We need to wake up and see the writing on the
>wall. Insurance is up due to safety issues, this drives up
>entry fees, this lowers entries, the money has to come from
>somewhere.


Insurance is up for several reasons, and yes, the recent losses are part of it. If you discount the overall effect of the economy and the other challenges the insurance industry faces, I think you are missing the big picture, though.

>I think there are solutions. However, I don't see SCCA as
>part of that solution. I have completely lost confidence in
>the organization.


I find it difficult to place blame solely on the SCCA.

Insurance costs on everything in the US have increased dramatically since 2001. Both 9/11 and the flat stock market are very significant factors.

When "they" make attempts to slow down cars using turbo restrictors, I don't hear many folks praising the move. I realize that particular issue is pretty loaded, but NASCAR went to restrictor plates in an attempt to slow down the cars (after several deaths) so there is some precedence here.

When they moved to control spectators more aggressively, there was resistance.

Required safety belts to conform to SFI standards, which should reduce risk exposure,again, decried as screwing the competitors.

In fact, every move to decrease risk to competitors, spectators, and reduce liability exposure seems to be met with cries of "you are screwing the little guy" and "this is going to kill rally".

If the future depends on the ability to get affordable insurance, something's got to give- but hopefully we can do it smartly.


My worry is that "we" are hell bent on Chicken Little behavior at this point, which will only execerbate the problems. If competitors stay home because they think there are some kind of huge impending problems, it will become self-fullfilling.

We have the most open lines of communication with the PRB and SCCA in general that we've had in several years. That's the strongest asset we have right now to improve things.

We need to STAY POSITIVE. Rally is still the same great sport it's always been. We are still the same great people we've always been. The world has changed a lot recently and we need to find how to fit our sport, safely and affordably, back into the big picture. If we splinter, become discouraged, and cannibilize each other, we will fail. We NEED to STAY POSITIVE.




Matt
 

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was 80mph post, now?

>I'm also unsure of the "looming" spectator problems- in
>fact, it seems like the spectator issue sort of went away
>this season and the organizers found ways to generally deal
>with folks, although this may be my perception.


What Jake may be referring to is the looming consequences of past problems.


>
>We need to STAY POSITIVE.

Yes, but we also need to stop being naive, be realistic and deal with the problems we face, instead of pretending they don't exist or blaming it on insurance companies or 9/11.
 

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Cows in the road...

Another variable that would have made things pretty interesting is that on Stage 3 we had to sign a paper saying that we were notified that there were cattle seen at a certain point on the stage.

Conrad said that point was where were were going at extremely high speed on fairly straight road that had a number of crests just high enough that you could miss seeing a cow on the other side. Can you imagine 100+mph into a 2000lb animal - lotsa steak...

Fortunately the cattle had moved out of the area and we didn't see anything.
 

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RE: Cows in the road...

Hey guys, I?m gonna pipe in here and give you my perspective as a wanna-be rallist.

As a driver with no rally experience (one rallyX, and some back woods antics), high speed driving in the woods is VERY intimidating (basic survival instinct I think), I have no trouble holding down the loud pedal while turning and spraying in the first few gears, but once the trees really start whizzing by I seem to suffer from some mysterious weak ankle syndrome. I?ve spent a lot of time in the woods at speed behind the bars of a motorcycle and snowmobile and have never had an issue pushing as hard as I can see, always knowing that just around the corner someone could be coming the other way. I?d like to think that on a closed stage with good notes I could really let it hang out, but I fear that kind of confidence will only come with lots of seat time. I guess the point is that if/when I start in rally, I?m going to feel a lot better about a technical stage I had to work through than a freeway where I feel like a chicken for lifting. Regardless of how competitive I might be, feeling like I "went for it" is going to do a better job of bringing me back for the next event.

As to how speed relates to insurance, cost and the growth of the sport, the number one thing keeping me out of rally is the cost of the events, I could scrape together a low budget car and have lots of fun going slow in the back (for a while), but with the cost of running a seasons events being more than the car, its not gonna happen anytime soon. If slower stages brings/keeps the cost down I?m all for it.

And as others have said, driving within conditions and abilities included, a mistake at higher speed has exponentially more energy to dissipate.

Sorry for the ramble, I hope it?s of use to someone.
Gary
 

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RE: Cows in the road...

Bob, you might remember from STPR 2003 when Laughlin O'Sullivan smacked a deer going maybe 75 on shakedown with his (formerly) pretty factory Evo. The front of that car looked as if a bomb had gone off on it...which in a way, I guess is exactly what happened. The hood was vacuum-formed over the mechanicals underneath, and the inside of the car was filled with indescribable deer goosh.

Best way to control speeds is to keep rally crews pointed down real rally roads--twisty, slippy, lots of crests and terrain changes. The obstacles--trees, rocks, dropoffs, rolled Neons, large wandering ungulates, etc--are what keeps the crews focused on the craziness and risk of what they're doing. Call it safety enforced in a Darwinian sort of way.


Dave G
Co-Pilote and Chief Wildlife Spotter
Last Ditch Racing


"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 

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RE: Cows in the road...

>Bob, you might remember from STPR 2003 when Laughlin
>O'Sullivan smacked a deer going maybe 75 on shakedown with
>his (formerly) pretty factory Evo.

1. 94 mph. And it was stage 6.
2. Have you seen the in-car? Mmmm.

> indescribable deer goosh.

Would you like me to start describing? No, no you wouldn't.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 
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