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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With many details (entry fees, etc.) still not known for the US rally scene many US competitors, including myself, consequently do not have a plan to rally in the states yet and are exploring options in Canada as well as the US. So far the Canadian product has proven very worthwhile to our team.

It is safe to say that rally is at a crossroads in both countries. The announcement regarding Subaru's shift in focus for 2005 in Canada comes roughly a year or so after they were the last manufacturer to depart the SCCA program. I hope that CARS has been paying attention to what has happened in the states. Rally has become too expensive to a critical mass of competitors that make up a large portion of revenue for each event. Our entry fees continue to climb higher and higher.

Professionalism or no professionalism, I firmly believe that the club level teams make up the backbone of any rally program. This is the most important issue. They are the foundation and to have rally anywhere we need as many of these teams as possible to be able to race some sort of sustainable program. In the US we saw Kurt Spitzner change a lot of things. Some say he helped but he was litteraly no more than an oportunist. Look at where we are now. A top down approach doesn't work.

A strong house must first have a strong foundation. The bricks are made of grassroots rally teams. The mortar is the ability of organizers to feel that their hard work is worthwhile. If you have these two things the rest will follow.

It would be nice if North America could grow what would become a WRC event someday but if that is to happen the house of rally must have a strong foundation. Without that we have nothing. We can't hang the fancy light fixtures until the house is nearly done. I think recce is silly at this point unless another option is made available for competitors who don't have the vacation days or time to make their own notes. A handful of teams will have better info that the rest of the field because they have more resources. That won't help to grow the foundation. There are a lot of options in this area.

In the meantime let's try and focus on ways to make it easier to rally. The barriers are mostly financial. I don't want to get in the middle of an argument that I know nothing about but that huge towfund and the train were awesome developments. We have never had help like that in the states. The PR package is also great. And I don't know anything about RDG or CARS or ACP or Terry Epp. I just know that if we had those things in the states we would have a brighter future. Those things help make the foundation stronger.

The environment for rally to grow in Canada is great. Capitalize on the opportunities.
 

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>
>It would be nice if North America could grow what would
>become a WRC event


Funny, I thought Mexico was part of North America!

:+
 

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>I think recce is silly at
>this point unless another option is made available for
>competitors who don't have the vacation days or time to make
>their own notes. A handful of teams will have better info
>that the rest of the field because they have more resources.
> That won't help to grow the foundation. There are a lot of
>options in this area.

1. Roadbooks only (with clever cos using maps)
2. Jemba notes
3. Recce

Have I forgotten any? Does anyone have any other suggestions. From prior discussions, I think the vast majority of competitors prefer 2 or 3, with the majority of those competitors going for 2, since they prefer to pay $150 than take an extra day off work.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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As a newcomer to the sport, I probably lack the insight, experience, past knowledge, etc. to make sound statements. But I think Jake and others have hit on a very strong point, and one that is being felt in many sports at this time. That bottom strong development must be made to achieve results and the professionalism we all seek. Let me diverge for a second... In Alpine Ski Racing (in Canada) we have recently made a huge shift in funding and emphasis away from the top kids, and towards the entry level. This has done three major things, First it has insured that more kids who enter the program, stay in it for longer, as the better organization and devotion to the entry level causes them to have "more fun" rather then just spending the day skiing around with some adult they don't know. Secondly and for the development of the sport, it means the entry-level field is far more equipped skills wise to move on, and therefore we are seeing stronger kids later on (better FUNdamentals). Thirdly, the support system that runs the races and the programs (the parents) is well organized, and finely tuned... The volunteers who are working can relate to the little kids who are just out having fun, sometimes far better then to the kids who are on their way to the World Cup...

How does this relate to Rally? In opposite order of above...

Volunteers, these dedicated folks who stand out in the rain to let us competitors play for a day... My feeling is that those who see us (Jeff and I in the bright orange bomb.) get a good chuckle, we're out having fun and joking around... we don't get panicky, and I'm sure we are hardly intimidating... easy to talk to etc. A good Fun atmosphere in any sport is what keeps people playing, the real serious are there, but with out the fun... might as well be at work.

Development of Athletes/Drivers, great competition is what builds sport and those that participate, by laying a good ground work for those in the entry level, we will see their skills increase, and therefore out of the group competing we will see the rise of the stars... (Dare I say more ACP's Olsens, Ericksons, etc.)

Finally with more people competing at the bottom end... cost will go down, it just makes sense that the more entries you can get, the less the event will cost... the entries from 10 cars that cost $70G, $10G to run, versus 50 cars that cost $10G, and $500 to run, means more money in the pockets of the organizers for things like road repairs, ins, police involvement etc.

How do we achieve this in rally? I don't know, not enough time in the sport to say, but in considering running a national event next year, man I would have to put down a lot of money, time and effort for it, I would rather drive to Bancroft, Dorset what ever, and play for a half day, with 20-30 other cars then spend 4 days getting ready for one day of racing... with huge tents and helicopters etc. I'm not saying that those are bad, in fact they are NEEDED, to fuel the general public, it was going to spectate at Pines that got me involved, but for every 4 extra cars/teams you could bring in to the sport, and keep there because the cost was low enough, the competition was there, and fun factor was there... you would, I'm sure bring out another life member, who could make great podium finishes, and have some extra cars running around to help defray cost etc. This means with more cars in the sport? more people are spending money, more people are seeing sponsors names (buy your boats from Gordon Bay Marine, and say you saw our rally car! Hire me as you next Arborist!) And the return for the sponsors will go up.

Win Win Win situation

I could ramble on but that?s enough for now.


Matt
Justy rallying along
 

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>>
>>It would be nice if North America could grow what would
>>become a WRC event
>
>
>Funny, I thought Mexico was part of North America!
>
>:+

Once the american dollar is on par with the peso a WRC event might be affordable :)
 

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CRC competitors, organizers and sanctioning bodies, please note:

It's important for recce to remain available but OPTIONAL, with Jemba notes for those who can't swing the extra time off.

This seems the best solution--those that want to learn (and benefit from) the intricacies of recce get what they need, those that can't manage the extra time commitment still get consistent notes so they benefit as well. Granted, recce teams still gain an advantage, but that's what you gain from added dedication. Both options are important for fostering the growth of the sport, because they improve ALL the teams' ability and safety out on stage.

How many times do we have to read on these boards the same old refrain, "spending $150 for consistent notes is a lot cheaper than fixing banged-up rally cars." before Jemba becomes the norm??!!

Cheers,

Dave G
Jemba & Recce Fan
lastditchracing.net

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

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
>>I think recce is silly at
>>this point unless another option is made available for
>>competitors who don't have the vacation days or time to make
>>their own notes. A handful of teams will have better info
>>that the rest of the field because they have more resources.
>> That won't help to grow the foundation. There are a lot of
>>options in this area.
>
>1. Roadbooks only (with clever cos using maps)
>2. Jemba notes
>3. Recce
>
>Have I forgotten any? Does anyone have any other
>suggestions. From prior discussions, I think the vast
>majority of competitors prefer 2 or 3, with the majority of
>those competitors going for 2, since they prefer to pay $150
>than take an extra day off work.

That's what I was thinking.

The point is to keep the playing field as level as possible to give many competitors a chance for success. The option of recce or Jemba notes would go a long way to satisfy the needs of top drivers and the little guy.
 

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>1. Roadbooks only (with clever cos using maps)
>2. Jemba notes
>3. Recce
>
>Have I forgotten any? Does anyone have any other
>suggestions. From prior discussions, I think the vast
>majority of competitors prefer 2 or 3, with the majority of
>those competitors going for 2, since they prefer to pay $150
>than take an extra day off work.

Christian:

The organizers of the Tall Pines are very experienced and are continually working to improve the event from year to year.

I have observed that they are also quite receptive to constructive suggestions for changes in the event.

I know that they read this forum. However, the best way to provide your input to them is by direct communication.

I am sure that positive suggestions from someone of your credentials would be seriously considered.

Doug Woods
 

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Local sponsorship?

It'd be nifty if there were a mechanism for a business local to a rally could get their name on a car for an event...

National companies aren't particularly interested in sponsoring low-budget, beginner, or uncompetative teams. Companies near where the ralliers live get little benefit, as the car never races locally.

A matchmaking program between local restaurants, hotels, retailers, garages, speed-shops, etc. and the road-tripping ralliers would let them get advertising to many local&travelling spectators, and would allow low-budget teams to do more events.

Could go something along the lines of a "sponsorship opportunities" website where people could go, see a list of the registered teams, with a photo, bios, and recent rallies/results.

-jeff
 

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>It's important for recce to remain available but OPTIONAL,
>with Jemba notes for those who can't swing the extra time
>off.
>Granted, recce teams still gain an advantage, but that's what you
>gain from added dedication. Both options are important for >fostering the growth of the sport, because they improve ALL the
>teams' ability and safety out on stage.

>How many times do we have to read on these boards the same
>old refrain, "spending $150 for consistent notes is a lot
>cheaper than fixing banged-up rally cars." before Jemba
>becomes the norm??!!

Dave, an interesting observation.
We had more cars go off at Rocky, on Jemba notes, than we had at any other event in the West (all recce)... The number of offs at Tall Pines that were attributed to the organiser notes (not Jemba) was HUGE.
Ultimately, I don't think Jemba notes are any where near as safe as doing recce.
Jemba is also expensive. The reality is that Jemba notes at a national event would cost $250cad if 30 teams bought them. if recce were an option, 95% of the local teams would do it. That leaves maybe 10 teams looking at Jemba notes?

Quite frankly, spending the money on recce is a lot cheaper than fixing banged up cars.

One thing that is important to remember is a point that Pat Richard made in talking about Recce. The events will likely have to change in order to support Recce.
 

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Better competition at the bottom end dose a lot of things including Talent and Marketing Farming the more people you have involved the more competitive it is and the more likely their is to be talent and you will be able to see it. Also, the more likely you are to have someone show up that has not only the skills as a driver but also the ability to get sponsors.

Back to the recce jemba notes issue...
I think you are going to find they are mutually exclusive and we have been over this previously in the other side. From what I understand it costs a flat rate to get Jemba to do notes the $150 assumes that 40 or so teams buy them so if half the field dose recce and the other half dose Jemba you do the math. Its that or the organizers take the hit for providing them. So one or the other but one thing is painfully clear the current system has to go
 

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>Christian:
>
>The organizers of the Tall Pines are very experienced and
>are continually working to improve the event from year to
>year.

Hi Doug,

My comments in this thread weren't directed at the Tall Pines organizers, but were just my thoughts on the possible ways of providing route instruction generally.

That said, I have sent Keith a note with congratulations to him and the organizing committee on the job they did on Rally of the Tall Pines 2004 and a few suggestions for 2005.

Best,
- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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RE: Local sponsorship?

Thoughtful subject going in lots of directions. Tow Fund was Subaru money, channeled in this way because (I believe) RDG as former competitors saw the value in this kind of distribution. Train was innovated by CARS two years earlier and was terrific, although the administration of it drove me almost to madness on at least one occasion. But there is potential for it to continue.

On notes: I've run organizer notes, Jemba, Richard Penrose BRC notes, made my own, and relied on routebook in Canada, the US, Sweden, the UK, and France. I now consider routebook too dangerous and will never use it again. Recce is terrific for top teams or teams committed to learning how to make notes, but the expense can be terrific (we used to arrive at Charlevoix on the MONDAY). Richard is a god and I trust his notes. Other preparers are courting trouble.

Jemba is terrific. I can go a few seconds faster on a given stage if I make my own notes, and I think because I'm fascinated with notes I can get an extra advantage over teams who haven't worked on them so much, but with Jemba I can show up cold the night before and drive at 95% with total confidence in what I'm hearing. I think that's pretty terrific and Arne, Pete, Dave etc. should be proud.

Keith - I think the proportional crash analysis between Rocky and your other western events is flawed. Different competitors pushing at a different level for different stakes. Bad notes are worse than Jemba. Very good notes are very slightly better than Jemba, but I'm willing to venture that less than 20% of teams can currently make notes better than Jemba, even for their own use. You have to drive at 60kmh and think at 150kmh is the real trick.

Of course the only way that people will get good at making notes is by making them, but I can tell you that seeing how Jemba makes them is very, very instructive. Until I started using the Penrose notes in the UK I was pulling concepts out of my wazoo.

To return to the original post - yes this is serious and yes it should be about the grassroots - absolutely. We all started there.

http://musketeerracing.com/photos/2002/misc/lada3.jpg

ACP
Flirting with the laws of physics.
 

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> My feeling is that
>those who see us (Jeff and I in the bright orange bomb.) get
>a good chuckle, we're out having fun and joking around... we
>don't get panicky, and I'm sure we are hardly
>intimidating... easy to talk to etc. A good Fun atmosphere
>in any sport is what keeps people playing, the real serious
>are there, but with out the fun... might as well be at work.
>
>Matt
>Justy rallying along

Matt, I agree with what you say, and besides that, you guys ROCK MAN! You guys are always smiling, having a blast, and you show the total press on regardless spirit that I saw at GCFR. As a volunteer, it gives me a lot of pleasure to see you out there playing in a P1.

Craig
http://www3.sympatico.ca/kchamm/rally1.html
 

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>
>Professionalism or no professionalism, I firmly believe that
>the club level teams make up the backbone of any rally
>program. This is the most important issue. They are the
>foundation and to have rally anywhere we need as many of
>these teams as possible to be able to race some sort of
>sustainable program.

Question for ya. What specifically needs to be done to encourage the "backbone"?

Reduce Costs? A tire is a tire, they all cost money. Insurance will never go down. Organizers are already eeking every last efficiency out of events to keep entry fees down. Nobody in this sport actually turns a profit on anything.

Give the competitors money. Where does the money come from? Who gets it, and how much?

I keep hearing "we need to help the little guy" (BTW, based on income, I am definatly a little guy), but I don't ever see any real world viable suggestions as to how to do so. There is no "fluff" at rallies that the little guys are subsidizing. There is no where else to cut (at least significant cuts). So that means we need outside cash to offset. Outside cash comes from sponsorship. Sponsorship comes from promotion. Successful promotion needs professionalism and excitement. You don't have to be a "big guy" to be professional and exciting, a little guy can do it.

So maybe the solution is help the little guy become more professional and exciting? Low cost regional driving schools to increase driving ability. Group buys on uniforms and promotional items (posters, hats, etc..) Seminars on how to write press releases, talk to TV cameras, etc... Regional agreements with body shops, painters,and vinyl shops. A simple and low cost car spec that would encourage teams to spend money on events and not the "next hot part".

People are fond of pointing out that the top down approach didn't work. But I can counter that the bottom up approach hasn't worked either (we tried if for years before KS in the states). Currently costs are rising at a faster rate than the "bottom up" growth rate, swallowing the base, which is not allowing a critical mass to form. If we want to stay with the bottom up theory, then we need to accelerate that growth. Ideas, solutions, not complaints, that's what we need. I threw mine out, let's here everyone else's.

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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Dennis

Good points, How... this is a difficult question to answer. Pardon the grammar in the following, in a hurry, trying to get it said, and get to work...

Personally, I love P1, do what ever we can to keep these low powered, production classes open... and promote them, as organizers, scrutineers, Senior rallists... This entry level is not only cheaper, it promotes good driving to be fast, and the low weight means we can correct mistakes, and perhaps save the car...I don't want to say that everyone entering into performance rally has to "drive a small car first" but it could certainly be stressed as the recommended way to get going.

It's not just sbout money, sure that is a big concern, but more beginner support for ensuring we don't make silly (costly) mistakes... ACP's little articles about driving tech were great reading... Promote places like this site... the Car Construction Forum etc. at Events where prospective competitors are lurking (guys like me 5-6 years ago...)

Area sponsorship, would be perhaps a good way to bring in revenue for the event, Provide a list of competitors to local Chamber of Commerce, give them the oppertunity to place sponsor stickers on competitors car for the event... I'd do that for sure, even if it was small change, portion going to event portion to competitor... I'm not sure of total event cost, but even if spaces were small, and like $40-100 per event, I'm sure somewhat significant event revenues could be brought in in places like Bancroft, St.Agathe etc. And 20 bucks in my pocket is lunch/beer (Gas for the season in the Justy!) money I'd be happy to see. I'm sure within the rally community there are enough Graphics people we could even provide the "sticker" haven been sent a electronic logo, whatever though to the organizer by the "local sponsor" that would reduce the effort on their part... (my company doesn't run around with a load of stickers, but I'd pay to get one on a car at an event... hey wait I already did... stupid self sponsorship...)

We are going to start looking for "real" sponorship for next year... But I haven't got the foggiest idea how, I'm be asking around, kind of sheepishly, not sure where to go, what sort of businesses tend to participate etc... a good guide put together buy folks who have secured sponsorship would be BANG ON!

I'll think more about notes... but I am presently of the Pay to play thought, and generally the cost of purchasing notes (sub $200) is far more attractive then doing our own, extra time off, recce vehical etc...

Just some more ramblings... I'm sure they've been stated before, just trying to sort out some stuff in my own little mind!
 

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I think one point may be that not everyone wants to 'move up'. Maybe there are competitors that can afford to race on the weekend and enjoy doing so.
I personally don't care to put out a press release after an event or if I get on TV. If i go to a rally I'm there for the challenge of the event, the competition, not the glory or money. There is none, there are a few people in North America who can do this. Think outside of our world.

Thanks
 

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>
>Question for ya. What specifically needs to be done to
>encourage the "backbone"?

>Successful promotion needs
>professionalism and excitement. ***You don't have to be a "big
>guy" to be professional and exciting***
, a little guy can do
>it.

TV For TV's Sake (or: putting it on TV doesn't make it professional)

It's always struck me as strange that we had Subaru, essentially paying for the TV coverage - but was the series worth covering? Some complained that it was a Subaru commercial. So Subaru benefited; people like ACP, the Losiers, the Sprongls, Thomson et al benefited from the exposure - but again, did that make it worth watching? (I'm asking) I remember looking at some TSN figures a couple yrs ago and determining that, for significant periods of time during the broadcast, one certain competitor was enjoying the lions share of the coverage. This is great for him - but what does it do for Canadian Rallying?

What *is* Worth Televising?

IMO: Cut-throat, high-number, evenly-matched, desperate, lean and mean, trading seconds per stage *COMPETITION*. Four big budget guys competing at the front is boring for anyone but us rally geeks. Boring. And the kind mentions of the lower-tier classes, some running one or two cars, was - well...boring. (I was pretty stoked to see myself go puttering by in a P3 car, so were some family members & friends I hadn't heard from in 15 years - but was anybody else? - and can you believe how slow a P car looks on TV?)

In looking at the whole - do a half dozen people at the front (if that) provide any trickle-down? (I'll say here that I read something about CanJam helping LDR do some tuning at Pines - that's encouraging, but not really what I mean) Or do we have two distinct groups of competitors - those who do and those who don't - really. To answer that question (and I know this is a controversial topic) have a look at RSQ. IMHO a brave and utterly brilliant move. Two classes. Good support. Lots of at-your-throat competition. Ground-based. Backbone. Growing.

Robin (wishes he could read French a little better)
 

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>I think one point may be that not everyone wants to 'move
>up'. Maybe there are competitors that can afford to race on
>the weekend and enjoy doing so.

If you can afford the rising costs, fine. But the idea of "returning to the hobby mentality" won't work because it never really left. It still is a hobby, one that is only going to get more expensive. My point was that if you want to see more revenue flowing in to offset those expenses, it may be necessary to "move up" your level of competition and professionalism.

The guys who show up at the local circle track every thursday night for a few laps and beer and more professional looking than many rally teams that are on national TV!

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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Rising costs are kind of normal with inflation, but in Canada we still don't have the huge entrance fees like at some of the US events.
I also know a couple of circle racers... and it's kind of like compairing apples to oranges, sure they're both round but...
**Edit for spelling
 
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