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And this is all I was looking for with regard to communication from the SCCA.

Now let's get on with solving the problems.

1) Who is defining the concerns?
2) What are the concerns?
3) What actions need to be implimented to get ClubRally Unsuspended?


Other questions:
1) Why have ClubRallies been differentiated from National Rallies?
2) What actions is STPR taking to prevent a similar problem (same road character, I would suspect same Safety Plan, many more spectators...
3) How about the rest of the National Series?

I am still on the page that does not distinguish between Performance Rallies, and I do not think suspending ClubRallies is an answer to the issues at hand.

Mike
 

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>And this is all I was looking for with regard to
>communication from the SCCA.
>
>Now let's get on with solving the problems.
>
>1) Who is defining the concerns?
>2) What are the concerns?
>3) What actions need to be implimented to get ClubRally
>Unsuspended?
>
>
>Other questions:
>1) Why have ClubRallies been differentiated from National
>Rallies?
>2) What actions is STPR taking to prevent a similar problem
>(same road character, I would suspect same Safety Plan, many
>more spectators...
>3) How about the rest of the National Series?
>
>I am still on the page that does not distinguish between
>Performance Rallies, and I do not think suspending
>ClubRallies is an answer to the issues at hand.
Oh come on Mike, isn't the answer obvious!!!!!!!!!

despite the de facto acknowledgement that there is no essential difference that the "integrated seeding" represents, the major OBVIOUS ferchristsakes difference is the Stickers!!!! MAN!!

Just look at the dooor!!!! and then look at the words typed on the licence.
"Pro" is still safe.
Obviously.

They are so safe that their safeness mojo efffuses the whole settings of the events the beeeeeeeeeg boyz are at with a special aura of "safety" suffucient to make the normally unsafe guys who have those detested "Club" stickers on their door an acceptable risk, but only as long as the "pro" guys are around.

There I hope I have help clarify things for you.
>
>Mike

I think the only people who will suffer loss of events are in Washington, Oregon, and California.

When one reflects for a momnent that all the fatalities recently have been in the NE, maybe their events should be put on hold and examined while the west and mid-west continues as they have been.

And aburdity aside explain to me where the transmorgification occurs when a club guy is too risky to compete simply pays some more bucks for an additional licence and a shit load more entry and THE SAME GUY, in the SAME car, and the SAME SKILLS SET is now a safe guy and can drive down THE SAME ROADS?







John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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I also don't understand the Pro/Club dichotomy with regards to safety. It isn't as though safety on both kinds of events hasn't been an issue. Ever since the Brockway Mtn. stage ran airborne past an large wad of unmanaged, clueless spectators a couple years ago folks have been talking about spectator safety. The organizers keep it in mind, but organizing events every year on top of paying careers and families turns it into an episodic re-invention of the wheel. Change has been very slow and has not had sustained, focused, universal effort across the country.

I suppose it could be argued that National events have more exposure which in theory leads to more oversight and more spectator control, but it still relies heavily on unknown variables, and an attitude of "gee, what are we prepared to do about spectators this year".

The issue of spectators is a new thing for SCCA stage rally and the club needs credible, active guidance. The folks paid to run the series have done little or nothing concrete about it.

Some ideas for discussion:
[ul][li]standards for routebooks without switching over entirely to machine generated "stage notes"[/li]
[li]define spectator no-go zones a little better, such as:
[ul][li]anywhere the cars are at high speed, especially after crests or near lumpy bits of road or on the exits of fast corners[/li][/ul][/li]
[li]eliminate "pro" rally marketing managers in favor of one or two full-time paid "clerks of the course" (we have plenty of folks that could move right into that role) that have the equipment, time, experience, and mandate to check out roads and write the route books prior to all events.[/li]
[li]contract with a PR agency or create an office of one or two paid marketing grunts to do the actual marketing and merchandising for the events, freeing up volunteers and creating an actual revenue stream[/li]
[li]hire rentacops or pay overtime to county law enforcement to have events policed[/li]
[li]run super-specials with the National events to draw spectators away from the stages[/li]
[li]large, reusable signs posted at access points that detail, with pictures, the risks involved, the casualties experienced worldwide in the last 20 years, no go zones, etc.[/li]
[li]raise national entry fees to $1200 or more across the board to pay for the needed changes[/li][/ul]
In general, I don't have the feeling that the paid managment in Topeka has the drive or ability to address the needs of the sport. If our events are plentiful, tight, and controlled operations, we'll have plenty of competitors and exposure without having to send folks on "WRC junkets" or grovel for sponsors. Our BoD does as good a job as a group of "unprofessional" volunteers can be expected to. If the dead weight in Kansas refuses to give the organizers the guidance and assistance to get the job done, I say we turn to USAC for sanctioning and folks like Rally America, the Gibeaults, or folks here in the NW for management. I know Doug and the rest will cringe at the idea of turning on the SCCA, but the National office has had decades to form a management structure to work with the membership to run rally. All we've seen is slow incremental change and missed opportunities while folks like Nick Craw and Kurt run after the Sponsorship grail.

We gotta have a credible operation before we can have the National manufacturer series that Kurt is trying to cram down our throats. Canceling club rallies is just going to cut the heart out of the program. The national office needs to put real work into the sport, not create toothless volunteer boards and feel-good press releases. These things aren't adequate to prevent or react to real crises.

andy
 

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Wow, that was, as most always, a boat load of BS. It shows how out of touch SCCA really is with rallies as a whole.
I say this because if SCCA was in touch with rallies they would need 5 plus months to know what goes on.
Scratch club rally for the year and try again next year. I guess it gives one the chance to save some money for a better effort.
Of course that is if the events can come off next year. The land owners and local's may decide after some time off that they perfer no rallies, in which case we're in trouble. Oh and that feeder system for "PRO" or the increased number events we keep hearing about, how's that working out?
 

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>Some ideas for discussion:
>[ul][li]standards for routebooks[/li]
>[li]define spectator no-go zones[/li]
>[li]full-time paid "clerks of the course" (to) check out roads
>and write the route books prior to all events.[/li]
>[li]contract with a PR agency (freeing up) volunteers and
>creating an actual revenue stream[/li]
>[li]hire rentacops or pay overtime to county law enforcement
>to have events policed[/li]
>[li]run super-specials with the National events to draw
>spectators away from the stages[/li]
>[li]large, reusable signs posted at access points that
>detail, with pictures, the risks involved, the casualties
>experienced worldwide in the last 20 years, no go zones,
>etc.[/li]
>[li]raise national entry fees to $1200 or more across the
>board to pay for the needed changes[/li][/ul]

I agree with most all of those points. Anything that can be done to standardize documents and procedures is good. Paid clerks to approve courses is also good. The presence of law enforcement should be a requirement for sanction. Spectator stages (super specials) should be required at any event expected to pull large numbers of civilians. Reusable signs could be part of the sanction package.

I think, though, the National guys would balk at paying entry fees earmarked for Divisional usage. The problem of paying full time employees, travel and expenses, law officers, "approved" signage, etc. would necessarily add to the expense of all events, not just National events.

Your ideas are a good start to the discussion. How much can be done NOW? Routebooks could certainly be standardized. Topeka should look into buying or producing the software necessary. Requiring law enforcement could also be done now. (Send him downstage with the course opening car to add teeth to the "MOVE NOW!" instructions to errant "observers". ;-) Spectator stages for larger events shouldn't be a problem but smaller venues might have some difficulty with that one. It might not even be necessary for events that haven't pulled many spectators in the past. I'd like to see paid clerks too. I wonder how much it would cost and how to pay for them?
 

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IMHO, do you realize that many of the suggestions being made in this thread apply more to National events. And it is Club events that are being shut down/appear to them to have the problem }>
 

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Hey JV,

You're forgetting a lot of standalone events on the right coast/midwest:

Sandhills
Headwaters
Cadillac
Black River
Rally NY
Maine Winter

Mark B.
 

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RE: An Observation on the routebooks

>Some ideas for discussion:
>standards for routebooks without switching over
>entirely to machine generated "stage notes"

I see a lot of emphasis being put on the routebooks in this case, or advocation of switching exclusively to stage notes. I want to make sure folks understand that in the latest incident, this may not have been of much use. The section of road in question is narrow, has lots of little kinks left and right, and some dips/bumps, but not 'yumps' where one obviously expects to get airborne, or would normally note on routebook or stage notes. With the stage run north to south, it follows a VERY fast,wide section of road, followed by a gradual narrowing of the road and gradual increase of downhill grade. When run south to north, this section is gradually uphill, so that problem is lessened for cars with low to mid HP; you have a hard time generating enough speed. This section is very deceptive, and anyone who ever takes the time to ask me about it gets a warning to gradually slow down his/her speed as one gets into this section on that particular stage. The first time I ran this stage, I noticed it and slowed down.

In the new stage notes format, this would probably show up as "kinks", with maybe a note on being "ruf next 200". As the makers of the stage notes take pains to point out, IT IS UP TO THE DRIVER to make judgements on how to adjust his/her approach a particular curve or road section to account for uphill or downhill grades, or even changing grade or camber. So, in this case, I do not believe that stage notes per se would have changed the fact that this car took the section just a bit too fast for the road grade/surface. We still have 'offs' with stage notes.

The problem lies with sepctator positions and control. Let's focus on that. I can only advocate stage notes for club, and the extra fees involved, if the profits go to pay higher insurnance premiums.

In regards to routebooks, I can only say that maybe we need to have a better idea in the heads of those who write them to account for the higher speed cars that are now more common, and the more 'agressive' spirit of driving these days. We should also have a consistent means to register feedback on stagenotes and routebooks in particular. There HAVE been some comments from competitors generated about the lack of instructions of any kind in the Sawmill routebook for some sections of road, including the one in question. I did not see this year's route book, but can only guess that these comments did not generate any new instructions.

One point in defense of routebooks: They DO force folks to learn to read the roads better, and to form a cautionary mindset. I personally think they have that great value, so would like to retain them.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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Contribute or zip it!

Ah yes, I see we've all generally jumped on the bitch, whine and complain bandwagon... Well, folks, the longer you keep that crap up, the longer its gonna be before club rallies can run on their own again.

Now let's start putting some ideas together!

Here are a few to start:

1) Change the judgements being used to select roads. Based on what has happened over the years at Sawmill, I would have to say that those roads are too fast. Sometimes an organizer is just going to have to admit that a road is too fast to be safe... Sure it might be wide open and rolling, and the likelihood of someone going off is low, but when it does happen it will be ugly.

2) Lead cars must understand their part in spectator safety. If a lead car crew sees something that has potential for trouble, they should stop, sort it out, and not continue down the road until it is sorted out. There are a lot of things that shouldn't cause a delay in stages, but I'm ok with getting spectators safe with a few minutes delay being the price.

3) Find more worker resources. There were several threads earlier in the year about how much attention our rally cars got at car shows. Take a worker sign up sheet to the car show, sell the "best seat in the house" aspect of being a marshall. Call or write to all those people who signed up, make sure they come out! Understand the workers needs. Some workers actually want to be out there all night long, let them! Others don't, don't make them.

4) Publish an accurate, easy to follow spectator guide that leads them to the spectator area at the right time. If they get there too early, they are more likely to get bored and wander off... This doesn't have to be major expense. Headwaters' was an 11x17, book-folded, double-sided item and a sufficient number of copies was under $50. BTW, this is an excellent use of sponsor money as the guide can have the sponsor's advertising in it.

5) Bannering. We've seen limited use of the candy stripe "No Spectators Here" banner. Let's increase the use of that in appropriate areas.

6) Starts and finishes. The first and last quarter mile of a stage are particularly vulnerable as that is about as far as someone walking in from the start or finish is likely to go. Sure there are a lot of workers at each end of a stage, but they are busy doing some thing else. Marshalls should be assigned at the ends of of stages to keep track of spectators, or deflect them altogether. They should be armed with copies of the aforementioned Spectator Guide.

My Triple Dog Dare to you is to come up with just one more idea each, or expand on one of the above.

JBLewis
 

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RE: An Observation on the routebooks

>
>The problem lies with sepctator positions and control. Let's

Ding Ding Ding! Give that man a giant stuffed animal!!!

>focus on that. I can only advocate stage notes for club, and
>the extra fees involved, if the profits go to pay higher
>insurnance premiums.
>
>In regards to routebooks, I can only say that maybe we need
>to have a better idea in the heads of those who write them
>to account for the higher speed cars that are now more
>common, and the more 'agressive' spirit of driving these
>days. We should also have a consistent means to register
>feedback on stagenotes and routebooks in particular. There
>HAVE been some comments from competitors generated about the
>lack of instructions of any kind in the Sawmill routebook
>for some sections of road, including the one in question. I
>did not see this year's route book, but can only guess that
>these comments did not generate any new instructions.

If there have been complaints in the past about the lack of instructions, and nothing changed, then shame on the route book authors!

>
>One point in defense of routebooks: They DO force folks to
>learn to read the roads better, and to form a cautionary
>mindset. I personally think they have that great value, so
>would like to retain them.

You can lead a horse to college, but you can't make it think!
 

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RE: An Observation on the routebooks

Interesting discussion about creating safer events by switching ClubRallies from routebooks to stagenotes. I see your point. However, to be a devil's advocate, I'm wondering if going the other direction might actually be safer. My thought is;

-At any event without solid spectator control (ClubRallies?) take away any information that allow drivers to drive faster than they can see (turn the routebooks into navigation-only tools, no tulips, just "lefts and rights" at the various intersections). Force us to drive by sight. It seems to me that many of us use routebooks and stage notes to drive faster than we can see. This has built-in risk. If you want to win today, you have to trust the book, at least a little bit. Sooner or later, you'll guess wrong, or have a mis-communication with your co-driver, or,... These simplifed books would make events, safer, cheaper, and require less time to organise.

The type of route book would also produce an automatic and real speed difference between Club and Pro competitors/events that some people want to exist.

This could serve as the "bone" that we throw to the risk folks who want to see a tangible safety improvement after Sawmill.

I know this idea will go over like the proverbial "fart in church" with those raised on rallying, but I've raced dirt bikes off road for almost 20 years, and those races are plenty fun and fast without special hints that tell you exactly how fast to approach the upcoming terrain. Serious accident are EXTREMELY rare in off-road motorcycle racing, and we are much closer to the trees, on more difficult terrain, with virtually no safety gear.

Light me up! : )

Jim Cox
#558



>>Some ideas for discussion:
>>standards for routebooks without switching over
>>entirely to machine generated "stage notes"
>
>I see a lot of emphasis being put on the routebooks in this
>case, or advocation of switching exclusively to stage notes.
>I want to make sure folks understand that in the latest
>incident, this may not have been of much use. The section of
>road in question is narrow, has lots of little kinks left
>and right, and some dips/bumps, but not 'yumps' where one
>obviously expects to get airborne, or would normally note on
>routebook or stage notes. With the stage run north to south,
>it follows a VERY fast,wide section of road, followed by a
>gradual narrowing of the road and gradual increase of
>downhill grade. When run south to north, this section is
>gradually uphill, so that problem is lessened for cars with
>low to mid HP; you have a hard time generating enough speed.
>This section is very deceptive, and anyone who ever takes
>the time to ask me about it gets a warning to gradually slow
>down his/her speed as one gets into this section on that
>particular stage. The first time I ran this stage, I noticed
>it and slowed down.
>
>In the new stage notes format, this would probably show up
>as "kinks", with maybe a note on being "ruf next 200". As
>the makers of the stage notes take pains to point out, IT IS
>UP TO THE DRIVER to make judgements on how to adjust his/her
>approach a particular curve or road section to account for
>uphill or downhill grades, or even changing grade or camber.
>So, in this case, I do not believe that stage notes per se
>would have changed the fact that this car took the section
>just a bit too fast for the road grade/surface. We still
>have 'offs' with stage notes.
>
>The problem lies with sepctator positions and control. Let's
>focus on that. I can only advocate stage notes for club, and
>the extra fees involved, if the profits go to pay higher
>insurnance premiums.
>
>In regards to routebooks, I can only say that maybe we need
>to have a better idea in the heads of those who write them
>to account for the higher speed cars that are now more
>common, and the more 'agressive' spirit of driving these
>days. We should also have a consistent means to register
>feedback on stagenotes and routebooks in particular. There
>HAVE been some comments from competitors generated about the
>lack of instructions of any kind in the Sawmill routebook
>for some sections of road, including the one in question. I
>did not see this year's route book, but can only guess that
>these comments did not generate any new instructions.
>
>One point in defense of routebooks: They DO force folks to
>learn to read the roads better, and to form a cautionary
>mindset. I personally think they have that great value, so
>would like to retain them.
>
>Regards,
>Mark B.
 

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RE: Contribute or zip it!

Hopefully I'm contributing ;) To Mark Bowers, I was there and ran the event. This is a unique stage. It is fast. It only had 4 tulips (same as other years). I don't know that it really needed more than 4 unless you were going to full stage notes. Might have been nice to have a comment near the end (going north to south) stating tight, twisty, rough to finish. And of course a similar one at the start going south to north. But like you said, going south to north is uphill. To JB, you have a very good point about emphazing spectator control in the first 1/2 mile or so of the beginning and end of each stage. That is where this occurred. That area will always be populated with spectators. And those will be the spectators that will leave after the first 10 cars or so.
 

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RE: Contribute or zip it!

This is the one conclusion I have come to regarding increased spectator control:

Absolutley no walking in from starts or finishes.

I did it when I has only knee high, and I have lived many years, but maybe I was just lucky.

We need big signs, an extra marshal, and a stack of spectator guides at the end of each stage.

This one set of actions could go a long way to spectator control.

(Whine: and a much better step than the suspension of clubrally.)

JCox: your going old school and I like it, I also like a good route book, and I also like stage notes. Guess I just like to drive :)

Mike
 

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RE: An Observation on the routebooks

How can you control a possible accident??

I don?t think any instruction is going to allow you to do this. Be merely limiting the possibility, have you really addressed the issue??

You run the ragged edge if it?s at a 15mph section or a 90mph section. You cannot predict where a car might have an off whether its an "in car" issue, lack of instruction or mechanical failure.

The only possible control you have here is how close the spectator can get to this off. Its the law of physics, no matter how unpredictable the off is, they will only be able to travel so far and through so many barriers.

Up here in the North West we have the luxury of having several natural barriers, lets use them to our advantage!!

Yes, we as competitors do assume certain risk's, including the possibility of injury of our cars, the landscape or ourselves. I don?t think any of us are willing to include other people in that equation!!

Another thing, what is different about the guidelines that are followed in regards to spectator control between Club and Pro rally?

If it were being narrowed down because the only issues have been at Club events, wouldn't you be able to narrow it down even further then that?

Wouldn't you be able to allow organizers that have a squeaky clean record to continue to put on events??

Steven Perret
Car# 226
Driftin4 Racing

I STILL FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE CANCELED CHRISTMAS
x(
 

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RE: Contribute or zip it!

I'm a bit stunned. I go away a couple days and come back to find club rally canceled.

THE ROADS ARE TOO FAST !!!

Having been in one serious accident, (60 mph snap roll into the bush), I sure don't want to go off any faster. On forest track I start getting afraid at 80mph. With the proliferation of 250-300hsp cars those straights are just so long. Accidents will always happen, but speed makes them deadly.

OK I vented a bit.

Constructively this might be a business opportunity. How about setting up a protected bleacher at spectator points. Bus them in and charge admission. An announcer, hot dogs, soda pop, pampers. Make this their event for the weekend. Maybe hit 2 or 3 different spots for a fee.
The problem is breaking even.
Maybe it could be subsidised by a sponser.


And once again...THE ROADS ARE TOO FAST!!


Dick Fuhrman
How do I get my club license now?
 

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RE: An Observation on the routebooks

>I STILL FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE CANCELED CHRISTMAS

Seen any shuttle lift offs lately? Damn NASA and their stupid self centered agenda. Send those shuttles to the sky so CNN can have something to show on headline news.
 

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RE: An Observation on the routebooks

>
>Another thing, what is different about the guidelines that
>are followed in regards to spectator control between Club
>and Pro rally?

I have been told by a ClubRally organizer that spectating is not offically allowed at clubrallies, so I imagine that some CR organizers might not put as much effort into this aspect of event planning, and some safety officals might not inquire as to how spectators are being handled. Seems like a recipie for disaster. If you allow spectators, you must make plans to handle them and have marshalls present, including law enforcement.

>
>If it were being narrowed down because the only issues have
>been at Club events, wouldn't you be able to narrow it down
>even further then that?

Here's a thought, Maybe there have been more incidents at clubrallies because there are more clubrallies... What's the incident/event ratio for club and pro over the last 10 years? (for argument, incident= required professional medical attention, EMT/paramedic/hospital visit etc...)


>Wouldn't you be able to allow organizers that have a squeaky
>clean record to continue to put on events??

Maybe, but I think that might be a little light. People are already saying that this(safety) has been an issue for quite some time at most rallies. Unfortunately we let it go this far before reassesing the standards. I think it's pretty easy to see that changes need to be made; I think most people involved in the sport can see what most of those changes are. The conservative, yet reasonable, approach would be to FORBID spectating at ALL rallies until new guidelines are established. Then, hold all rallies to these new standards. I think This action would affect the ProRallies more than the ClubRallies, and you can bet a resolution would emerge in a reasonable amount of time.

>Steven Perret
>Car# 226
>Driftin4 Racing
 

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RE: Contribute or zip it!

>
>Absolutley no walking in from starts or finishes.
>


A little bit of a problem, since in most cases here in the US, the starts and finishes are the only way into a stage. So the only way to prevent that is for organizers to cut paths through the woods into the stages. It would have to be good paths, not through six inches of mud and water and prickle bush ( had to do that on more than one occasion), of course that provides more work and a new set of liabilities (somebody breaks a leg).
Additonally, you can't expect people to stay until the stage is cold, especially when the weather turns bad and the fact that a good portion of spectators go to see the open class/factory battle and want to move on to another stage to see more.

It is impossible to make spectators 100% safe! Anything could happen anywhere, by any skill level driver (Carlos Sainz hit spectators last year), putting people in a "pen" will help "control" people, but if something does go wrong, more people will get hurt and there will be more liability since they were told by officials to stand there. Now it becomes the officials fault for putting them there.

Marshals all need to have whistles to warn that a car is approaching. While I have seen/heard whistles at some US events, it has not been at all events. Because most events in the US are in the woods, it is difficult to hear the cars coming until the last second, often too late. Give whistles to photographers, VIP's, spectators as well. In my opinion, the whistle is the most important thing that could be done to increase spectator safety

Tape off the unsafe areas- the dreaded candy cane tape, it works!

More course opening vehicles. The FIA events I have been to have had four or five course openers, usually 1 or 2 safety cars go through slowly putting the spectators into place threatening cancellation long before the 000, 00, 0 cars come through.

Personally, and I realize this may aggravate people, I don't think open class/group N cars should be allowed in Club rally, or in at least someones first season of club rally, if it is truly to be an entry level event, drivers should cut their teeth on underpowered cars. It is like that in other parts of the world. an added benefit would be that there would be an abundance of inexpensive entry level cars for new people to step into as others step up

Get rid of the all day- late into the night schedules, I have been up for 24 hours straight for several years in a row at STPR, This is extremely dangerous! The level of fatigue for everyone involved in the rally is out of hand, especially with people coming from all over the world and dealing with time changes


Now maybe I have missed something here, but when I read the SCCA statement it says "Temporary Suspension of ClubRally Operations" and "An evaluation of all SCCA Performance Rally operational standards by the Performance Rally
Board is being performed. ClubRally operations are expected to resume as soon as possible
following completion of that evaluation and implementation of appropriate recommendations.

We recognize that this is an inconvenience to our organizers and members, but is an essential
action at this time to ensure the overall long-term health of the sport."
which I read as Club could possibly be reinstated in a couple of weeks (maybe I am being optimistic or ignorant:9 ) I really can't believe the SCCA would do this to screw people, they have there reasons and to take a step back and evaluate the issue seems like an appropriate thing to do. Now we may know or think we know that there is not much difference between driver ability/organization between Pro and Club, but insurance companies don't and don't care who they screw as long as it is not themselves. And remember that recent fatalities have been in club rallies ( I believe there was one just a few weeks ago as well), is it a surprise that club rallying got targeted?
At the moment there is too much investment in Pro Rally (Manufacturers, Airforce, TV package, etc.) to cancel that, so it makes sense to me that they did not.
It seems to me that people are having the same kind of knee jerk reaction they are claiming the SCCA is having, we do not have all the facts, it is premature to be making accusations.
 
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