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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So does Pat have any rally plans this year? I'm assuming he can't get any funding (which sucks) or is just saving up for next year or something? I see funding fell through for Rally Mexico and he needs to sell a car, but is there more to the story?
As a huge fan of Pat's, its sad to see he hasn't raced anything this year :(
 

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Sprongl Junction

Pat will be servicing for Alfredo Di Dominicis this weekend at the 100 Acre Wood rally in Missouri. "Dedo" has rented Pat's 2005 winning car for this one event because his regular EVO is not ready. Pat and Dedo are friends from the 2003 PWRC season.

Pat has arrived at Sprongl Junction where he can either make money running other drivers or lose money by winning himself.

I agree that Pat is still The Man and can't wait to see him back behind the wheel.
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

Caution!! The following is only MY opinion.
It is a sad state, but Pat is having the same problem that is plagueing the majority of rally competitors in North America - LACK OF SPONSORSHIP! Pat has proven that he is talented enough to conquer NA and is in a great position (talent wise) to defend his Rally America championship plus dominate the CRC. But, aside from a few guys (Pastrana/Block), most teams run either partially or fully on their own dime.
Pat and Nat are a great team that should be kickin' a$$ this year with a factory team in the PCWRC. But without having a famous name or a big blank cheque from a huge sponsor, they are dead in the water. It is amazing that NASCAR is brimming with odd sponsors (Tide, Viagra, blah blah blah) while a top notch rally team has to drain their own wallet to compete. In today's world, "Talent can get you there, but only money will keep you there".
It would be awesome to have a series with names like the Richards, Sprongls, Blomquist, Buffum, L'Estage, Thomson, Choiniere, Perusse, McGeer, Scheible, Burke, Pastrana, etc (**these are just a few names I thought of) all competing with a similar budget. I know that this would never happen, but just imagine... :)
Good Luck with the hunt Pat!!
A
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

>It is amazing that NASCAR is brimming
>with odd sponsors (Tide, Viagra, blah blah blah) while a top
>notch rally team has to drain their own wallet to compete. In
>today's world,

Why is this amazing? NASCAR has effectively guaranteed airtime on a major US national network in prime viewing hours every week or two and an audience of millions. It has a well developed marketing machine and all sorts of extra promotional opportunities and airtime that make it very attractive to potential sponsors. Rally has what?

Also consider that the very top (WRC) rally teams struggle for sponsorship, so what can you expect for lower level teams in a marginal market?

If I was in charge of advertising for a major company, I doubt if I could put together a compelling case to sponsor a North American rally team.

Adrian
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

it's a catch 22 really, How can you get sponsors aith out going out there and racing, but on the otherhand you cant race without sponsors, Pesonaly i'm looking at gaining some minor sponsors for 2007 that may turn out to help more i 2008 for nationals, Look at the nascar sponsors and why not see if they'd be intrested in ralllying, all you need to say is that we're the up an coming nascar (i know,i puched myself in the junk after saying that) With Mainstream sponsors than rallying in North America can get the airtime needed. any way thats my two cents.
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

>it's a catch 22 really,

No, I don't think it is, and I'm not sure why so many people think it is........

>How can you get sponsors aith out
>going out there and racing,

By building a rally community from the base up, like a pyramid. The club guys at the bottom is what supports the whole thing - for each "club guy" you can probably count on them pulling 20-50 people into the rally "scene". Enough club guys and eventually you have an interest/spectator base to market to. THat in turn supports the guys at the sharp end.

>but on the otherhand you cant race
>without sponsors,

Sure you can. You just can't drive a shiny new Mitsubarishi, you have to be inventive, and build stuff yourself.

LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD where there is a thriving rally scene

Telling a sponsor "rally is the next NASCAR" is a flat out lie, IMO, not something I'd do. They will wise up pretty quickly, that's certinaly not a sustainable rally plan.

Skye

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F4 Rallysport - http://www.rallyrace.net/
Rally Anarchy Rallyist BBS - http://www.rallyanarchy.com/
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

>>How can you get sponsors aith out
>>going out there and racing,
>
>By building a rally community from the base up, like a
>pyramid. The club guys at the bottom is what supports the
>whole thing - for each "club guy" you can probably count on
>them pulling 20-50 people into the rally "scene". Enough club
>guys and eventually you have an interest/spectator base to
>market to. THat in turn supports the guys at the sharp end.

Unfortunately, in a lot of markets, the local sponsors you need for that plan have an alternative, lower-cost, venue with more exposure (spectators, local press coverage, events) - local oval racing. Which one is it going to be easier to sell to a sponsor - six events over the course of the year, spread out in time and geographical location (e.g. Ontario regional championship), or six months of racing once a week with a captive audience of 1500+ and all events local (local oval track)?

>>but on the otherhand you cant race
>>without sponsors,
>
>Sure you can. You just can't drive a shiny new Mitsubarishi,
>you have to be inventive, and build stuff yourself.

You can't race sustainably without sponsors. Yes, you can run a couple of events a year, but you can't run a championship every year indefinitely.

>LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD where there is a thriving
>rally scene

And a lot of those competitors have sponsors. Plus most of the European rally scene (aka. "the rest of the world" to some posters) has a significant advantage in geography (mainly distances - between competitors and events) and acceptance (road use near to the competitor base). You can work on the second one, but the first is a rather more difficult one to resolve. Both of these reduce costs to everyone involved.

Adrian
 

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Our championships are in the wrong places

>Plus most of the
>European rally scene (aka. "the rest of the world" to some
>posters) has a significant advantage in geography (mainly
>distances - between competitors and events)
>
>Adrian


This statement leads me to something I've been wondering lately and that is: why do our various championships need to be defined by such large geography? And the corollary: why do they tend to be constrained by borders?

There are exceptions: Cascade Cup, WSRC, CARS-Western Regional Championship. These seem to be predicated on the idea that rallyists and events are concentrated in various areas, or in the case of the Western Regional Championship, that events and competitors spread thin over an area which exceeds borders need to coalesce in order to provide meaningful competition.

Consider the CARS championship: events in Ontario/Quebec ..and... events in BC/Alberta - two solitudes separated by the prairie and a hell of a lot of travel between them. The westerners seem to have it right on a regional basis (mostly by necessity): eschewing separate B.C. and Alberta championships - now what if they tried cooperating with rallyists/rallies in the U.S. north-west?

The Ontario championship, as thin for events as it is, has already moved into Quebec with the kind acceptance of OPRC listing by the organizers of Perce Neige, Baie and Defi. Now what if we added Maine Forest, Maine Winter etc.

Taken to it's ultimate model:
- we scrap Club vs. National,
- we scrap CARS vs. R.A. vs. NASA (they can still sanction rallies in their jurisdictions, but why can't we define the championships?)
- We look at geographic rallyist population density together with event locations and
- we create clustered "regional" championships all on a common rule set. i.e. Ontario+Quebec+NE U.S. etc.

You run in your home championship for points, you can include an out-of-championship rally for points in your own. And at the end of the season, the top 'x' points leaders in each class in each championship get invited to a big Olympics-like multi-day rally extravaganza that travels from host event to host event each year (one year it's a slippery snow rally at Perce Neige, the next it's Rim of the World gravel waterbar car breaker, the next it's Maine Summer etc.)

I know - this sounds like the Club Rally Championship - except with bigger and better-defined regions that are 'outside the box' border-wise, a much bigger annually-varying overall championship invitational event and no bigger championship looming over it.

The question is: what is more sustainable, affordable and likely to attract higher rates of subscription: a) national rally championships requiring intra-continental travel, or b) clustered championships, defined by current (and evolving) event/competitor locations, leading to a continental run-off rally? I'm asking...

Robin
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

>You can't race sustainably without sponsors. Yes, you can run
>a couple of events a year, but you can't run a championship
>every year indefinitely.

Let me quote something from Ford Motorsport's "How to prepare a car for rallying", Chapter 1

"What about sponsorship? Basically the message is: forget it! You are about to enter rallying as a hobby, it's supposed to be fun. Do you seriously expect someone else to pay for your sport?"

Couldn't have said it better myself.

You can absolutely run a REGIONAL championship every year, I know lots of people in the northwest who do.

Your argument has no bearing whatsoever on the point I was trying to make, in that club participation is the base of the pyramid that creates something to market to. Whether or not that club participation is local or national makes no difference.

If you're a top driver looking for big sponsorship, all the sponsors care about is how many eyes are on their advertising, not if all the cars compete at every event. Nearly all sponsors at that level will be selling something whereever there is an event.

I absolutely guarantee if there were 100+ cars at every event, even if 90% of those cars only ran one event, Pat could find a sponsor with no trouble.

Skye

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Rally Anarchy Rallyist BBS - http://www.rallyanarchy.com/
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

>I absolutely guarantee if there were 100+ cars at every event,
>even if 90% of those cars only ran one event, Pat could find a
>sponsor with no trouble.

While participation levels would be an indicator of general interest in the sport ... Selling your sponsorship package based on the exposure you'll get at events is the first and biggest mistake people make.

What marketing companies are looking for is a return on investment, exposure that is valued greater than what they give you in sponsorship dollars.

I wrote a pitch that showed a conservative potential for about $800,000 of valued exposure for a $200,000 build and run program. But the company wasn't using motorsports in their promotional plans.(It did get as far as the marketing company though)

The biggest problem is that teams generally can't get the PR machine working for a number of reasons. Even with a good efort, it can be tough to get the PR you want.
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

>
>>You can't race sustainably without sponsors. Yes, you can
>run
>>a couple of events a year, but you can't run a championship
>>every year indefinitely.
>
>Let me quote something from Ford Motorsport's "How to prepare
>a car for rallying", Chapter 1
>
>"What about sponsorship? Basically the message is: forget it!
> You are about to enter rallying as a hobby, it's supposed to
>be fun. Do you seriously expect someone else to pay for your
>sport?"
>
>Couldn't have said it better myself.
>
>You can absolutely run a REGIONAL championship every year, I
>know lots of people in the northwest who do.
>
>

yep, this ol' house needs more bricks. i'm talking foundation here, the type that SUPPORT the house. guess I could go on forever as I have before about healthy events and such.
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

<<<< I absolutely guarantee if there were 100+ cars at every event, even if 90% of those cars only ran one event, Pat could find a sponsor with no trouble. >>>>

Hot damn! Where did you buy your crystal ball Skye?


Can't see me in your mirrors?
I must be in front of you!
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

EDIT: some clarifications/spelling based on a few emails i received

I was away when this thread started. Where was I ? I was running Dedo at 100AW, doing driver training for 2 different drivers, and building another customer car...

Where am I ? I am right here, in BC, as always. Why are we not running events ? We have invested hundreds of thousands (when I say "we", I mean collectively meaning my sponsors and myself every dime I have ever had to spend), in trying to promote the growth of the sport, my own driving career, and the public awareness of the sport, and at the same time hoping that the anticipated growth would provide some return on that investment, and I continue to do so. Despite our achievements within the confines of the sport in North America, including successes in Europe, we are not able to find enough corporate support at this moment in time to schedule any drives at this point. But others are finding it, be it through personal connections/finances or true corporate sponsors, so of course I have hope.

Because I have thrown everything into the sport, I am now in a position where I can stay in the sport through running customer cars, building customer cars, and doing driver training, or face a complete and total pull out from the sport, which would be a huge personal disappointment, something I am not willing to do. So that is where I am at, call it "Sprongl junction", or "Buffum crossroads", or whatever you want, but I am happy being still involved doing what I love and dedicating all my time to the sport. Of course it would be nice to have more funding for drives, however, due to many reasons, that is not the case, and unfortunately that leaves us in our current position. I do anticipate being back, but I can only be in a car if the drive is sustainable from a financial point of view - and the definition of that sustainability is driven exclusively by the ability of a potential corporate investor or other interested entities (be it individuals, groups, associations, etc.) to see value in participation.

While others may derive devilish pleasure at the (in their terms) "foolish notion" of sustainable drives, the fact is that I have been running sustainably since 2002 (my last major investment was running the Pegeot Cup and the first of the WRC events).

That responsibility of sustainability lies with all of us, not "them", not "CARS", not "RA", not "NASA". But each stakeholder and participant in this sport definitely has an impact on that sustainability, and unfortunately there are many out there that seem to equate financial sustainability with the loss of some sort of "hard core fun factor", which I vehemently disagree with. Sustainable runs across all lines, be it the sub-$5000 a year participant or the $200k a year participant. Never mind the fact that we have an odd mentality when it comes to financial support within the sport.

Lets work together to make it sustainable, with a larger pool of funding sources (clubs, assocations, governing bodies, corporate sponsors, etc.), then we can see myself, Sprongl, Antoine, Sylvain, Tom McGeer, Nichols etc. all battling it out with Choinere, Mitchell, O'Sullivan, Lagemann, Buffum, Burke, Millen, etc. The reality is we have many people competing for very few (if any) real sources of funding for participating. We need to grow this funding base, otherwise we just fight with each other for the same dollars from the same sources and we can continue the cycle of a few years in, then a long time out. A rally where any of 6+ guys can LEGITIMATELY win (not just because they or the rally press release says so) makes a much better show for the speccies, photogs, mags and tv, if for any other reason, because they guys have to go flat out all the time. For me (and anyone that knows me) - I *live* to have a nice big fight to the end in the car - that is what I love the most, and the best, because you have to put it all out there. But these days, even last year, that was only happening when mechanical issues got in the way. Participation, action, etc. breeds exposure. But I am not able to participate on my own any more.

Its not really a catch-22, because we all started (everyone) started out on their own funds. Its more a matter of allowing that to actually turn into something, which apparently is quite difficult, even if your audited media exposures are the best of the field, and you've won national championships (13 times using matt's math).

I feel that 6.5 years continuous is actually pretty good all things considered. Only a handful have kept it going non-stop for longer (NON STOP with a full and complete double national schedule 15+ rallies a year every year). This is the longest time since 1999 that I have not driven in a rally !

We are always working hard to get back in there, hopefully you can see us at another event this year. Not a day goes by that I do not agonize over this myself !

-Pat
www.rocketrally.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
RE: Sprongl Junction

Awesome to see a reply from you Pat, I have seen from other threads and various rally tidbits that you are very active in the sport, just not racing in it right now. Thanks for taking the time for a thoughtful reply. If I am in BC sometime i will be sure to drop by your shop. :)
 

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RE: Sprongl Junction

Great post, Pat. I hope that your endeavors outside of the car are rewarding...even if not as personally rewarding as driving...and winning.
 
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