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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We seem to be at a middle-ground: beyond the grassroots level, but not quite up to professional standards. The bottom line now is: Where do the you want rallying to head next? Club or Corporate? Do you "Keep It Real" or do you "Sell Out?" It is naturally assumed by many outside of the ClubRally community that the ultimate goal for rallying in the U.S. is to become a major venue with the likes of FIA's WRC. But is this what the current majority of us really want the sport become? Do we want to risk destroying our close-knit group by bringing in corporate sponsorship to sustain the growing popularity of rallying in the U.S.? Or do we want to strive to the heights of WRC competition and accept the challenges as well as the benefits that are accompanied by such success?

How much sacrifice is the American rally community willing to make in order for the sport to grow and attain the level of popularity that is achieved in Europe? I do not want to imply that only Club- or ProRally can exist at once, but if professional rallying in the U.S. is to become a worldwide force, our limited resources will have to be diverted from the club levels, or dedicated organizers will have to materialize until stable ground is built for any professional series.


*Please see my poll on this subject and vote*
 

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The America's do not need to be FIA in their national programs in order to host a WRC event. In fact if there was no rallying here it would still be possible to have a WRC event. If having a WRC event is the vision then go ahead and get on with it.
The other issue here is that other countries that have good national programs run those programs to suit their needs. In addition the mileage needed to cover most european national events is not large, 500 miles are less where as we are 3000 plus more in equivelance to a "European championship series".
It is rediculous for the USA to model our series after FIA or base it on FIA legal cars which if not group N cars are WRC cars which the later are spec cars not unlike the dreded NASCAR, spec size this spec size that, not based on real cars but rather silhouets.
Is Pro vs Club a sell out? Well lets look: in open we have three manufacturers, Hyundai, Subaru, Mitsubishi-each team having 1 or 2 cars, this gives us a total of 5. Then of course we have several "privaters". If we shift to 2WD we have, Dodge, Mazada, Mitsubishi, 1 car each for a grand total of 3. If we add up or numbers we have 8 cars, not all are running the entire series, plus privaters we'll say another 8 giving us 16 cars in total. Now one has to ask the questions, has the sport grown? Are 8 manufacturer aided cars worthy of supporting their own series? Does 8 cars indicate a professional series? Several trips across the Nation of 3000 miles one way, needs club events to help fill out fields.
Now lets look at club; Large mix of cars and classes, O, P PGT, G2, G5, all generally well attended, 35 plus cars at club events, towing mileages around 500 miles if one stays with in division/region, makes room for "Pro" when they come to town to run in a club event now called a "Pro Rally".
I know many of you will say " in the east the Pro events are full and no club only guys can enter", however you must remember that if your not running 5 events your really a club guy, I would further that and say if your not running the "Pro series" your a club guy who travels.
I guess my comment would be "at this point I don't see where 16 cars can support their own series, they are merely attending exsisting events in which they have choosen to call a professional series". "What we currently have in the USA is divisional/regional series that are or should be thought of as an equal to most european national events, and a national series more along the lines of the European championship with a limtied number of designated events."
The focus in my opinion should be placed on the club events, to build the series at this level and continue to allow the "Pro" events to choose which club events fit their agenda and try to fit the "pro" in. What I see happening is that the USA is trying to build a pyramid from the top down, there is nothing to hold the roof up. Strengthen the foundation and you'll soon have a shining new roof for all to see!
Of course this is as always IMHO :+ ;)
 

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I would think that a more realistic goal for ProRally would be to make it a series on a par with other national series's, not WRC. The spectator/corporate interest simply isn't here in this country and culture.

I agree that it seems like the higher ups are trying to build the series from the top down. Remember who we are, the "Sports Car !CLUB! of America." The original intent of this organization was to provide enthusiasts a place to play with their toys. If we want a real National Rally Series, then go ahead and separate it like we did with the Trans Am road racing series, it is its own department, separate from the Club (ammature) regional and national road racing series. IMHO we would be better off looking to what the road racers in the SCCA have done to make a viable club level series instead of trying to mimic WRC or national series in other countries. The circumstances simply arent the same in this country so we can't use thier solutions.

When is Spitzner and the rest of them going to realize that neglecting the Club level of Rallying is like cutting off our feet? Why do we have to have such lofty aspirations? Why can't we work on putting together a series were the most people have an opportunity to compete? When you shut out all the little people, pretty soon they go home, then we can watch our membership numbers drop, and pretty soon rally in this country will be right back where it was many years ago, struggling to put 15 cars in a field.

If the SCCA wants a Professional National Series all well and good. But I'm a Club guy, and have very little interest in going "Pro" as it were, (and I'd be willing to bet that there are LOTS of others like me) and I would like to see a Series that I can run in. Making sure that we have a Viable Club level Series is also good for smaller race shops, and rally accessory manufacturesm, because there are only so many teams who can be on the top nationaly. As the owner of a small shop, this is something that makes a lot of sense. True the Club guys don't have a whole lot of money to spend, but it there are a bunch of them out there... I think you get the picture. As I said, I think the closest model to what we have, is the SCCA club/national road racing series. They face many of the same problems we do, with the exeption of road use. However they do have to deal with locals wanting to shut down the race tracks... So PR in the local community is a factory for what they do as well.

I'm far more interested in actually competing, and being able to have lots of others to compete against, than being able to see exotic factory machines. Club competitors are the back bone of this club, and we shouldn't forget that. Anyway, thats just my $0.02, sorry if I've annoyed anyone.


Nick Polimeni
'71 Volvo 142E (daily driver/RallyCross)
Editor, Blue Mountain Region, SCCA
www.bmr-scca.org
 

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Pete Morris (building "Son of CoROLL"). Nick, you and the rest of the guys who support Club rally make a lot of sense and I'm behind you 100%. Money has become the main factor in rallying in the US. Those that have it, get the publicity, while those who don't, we don't need you! However, having come from Europe, rallying there happens every damn weekend. Look at Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, Belgium (Made for rallying, just like Wales). Holland. That is at the Club level. That does NOT include Rally of Wales, RAC, Circuit of Ireland, Munster Rally etc. We really are WAY behind when it comes to organising events. As an Organiser, I have gone where no one else has gone before here in SoCal. I have opened the door for tarmac events. If I can get the people that count behind me, we will have a plethora of events next year. They will be Co.1 and Co.3 events. Time permitting, CO.2 events too. All I need now is for someone like Trevor or Ben or whoever, to come up with a list of NoCal and SoCal rallies, so that people can decide whether they want to travel south or north for new events. 8-10 hours driving for new events is nothing. Keep up the great work. Let's get something going where those east of us want to come and play at greatly reduced costs.
 

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>IMHO we would be better off looking to what the
>road racers in the SCCA have done to make a viable club
>level series instead of trying to mimic WRC or national
>series in other countries.

Just for those who do not understand ClubRacing and ProRacing in SCCA:

ClubRacing has divisional and national events. The divisional events are for cars that don't necessarialy qualify for national races. These are cars such as Spec Miata and Spec RX-7 plus of course the Improved Touring cars. The national series is for a more limited set of cars (still over 30 different classes). The national series culminates with a national championship at the Runoffs each year. ProRacing consists of several different series including TransAm and World Challange.

In divisional racing you do not travel out of division. In national racing, you also do not need to travel out of division except for the Runoffs. In professional racing you must travel cross country. The costs are correspondingly higher with each step up except that each series can take all the money you have to spend. For example, a good IT car can cost $30K. Remember, this is a divisional only race car.

Richard
 

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>When is Spitzner and the rest of them going to realize that
>neglecting the Club level of Rallying is like cutting off
>our feet? Why do we have to have such lofty aspirations?
>Why can't we work on putting together a series were the most
>people have an opportunity to compete?

Not a flame, just a question: How have Kurt and the PRB been neglecting ClubRally? We have more Club events now than a few years ago, and several more in the planning stages. We had a fairly meaningful ClubRally National Championship event for the first time ever this year. What could they do better? From personal experience, I know that the ClubRally Manager spends most of her time working on Club stuff and promoting and assisting new events.

Help me out here...what more would you like to see done?

Bruce
 

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I think maybe the fact that here in the northeast, we don't have many club events to start out with and now we've lost 2, a major percentage, with the loss at STPR and Maine. The club rally manager has no control over that obviously but it's still happening. And why? You answer the question for me (you being whomever). I know what my answer is.
 

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>I think maybe the fact that here in the northeast, we don't
>have many club events to start out with and now we've lost
>2, a major percentage, with the loss at STPR and Maine. The
>club rally manager has no control over that obviously but
>it's still happening. And why? You answer the question for
>me (you being whomever). I know what my answer is.

Well, the people in control of the ClubRallies at STPR and Maine are the organizers of those events...and there's not much SCCA, Kurt, the PRB or anybody else can do to influence organizer decisions in this area (I know - I are one.) A couple of new events have sprung up recently in NEDiv, and at last count, I think you're at least close to the count of events you had before. There's at least one other event in the planning stages, too...although I don't think it's public knowledge as yet.

And the reason you have enough cars to guarantee viability for new events is because MANY more people are becoming involved in rallying...which is due to TV exposure - commercials as well as shows - which is due to sponsor involvement...

You can argue both ways...

Bruce
 

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RE: TV Exposure

Bruce, your idea of what is growing rally, tv exposure is correct in my estimation, but would you agree that it is not SCCA tv coverage? I see it as WRC tv coverage and Subaru commercials, which appeal to the import crowd. They then go out and find out where it exists here in the US. SCCA tv money put up by the Manufacturers is a total waste right now. They should have put it into contingencies. Insurance companies are realizing that the potential of big losses are increasing as the speed and technology of rally grows, so of course they are going to increase fees to continue to make money. I think the idea of limiting US rally to Grp 2 is just a matter of time and litigation. It would help solve a lot of problems looming on the US rally horizon like speed, roads, insurance, safety, and cost of entering competition.
Roger
 

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Well, one major thing that I would like to see done is having a package developed for potential organizers that consists of more than a few sheets explaining that we are fully ensured. What I would like to see in this package in information that would be more helpfull when trying to gain road use permission. Things like hard numbers on the financial impact that we bring to an area. Like, an event that draws 40 cars and a conservative (I think) estimate that each team will spend around $400 locally, brings in $16,000 to the local economy that wasn't there before. Thats the kind of thing that the local governments would like to hear, money being the great lubricant that it is... Other info I'd like to have access to is "who to approach, and how to approach them", as well as haveing info/feedback from other communities that host ClubRallys.

My comment about the national office neglecting ClubRally is just the veiw from the bottom as well as what I've been hearing from talking to others in my area. From what I've been able to observe, all or at least most of the effort/resorces are going into creating a viable proffessional Rally series (which I still think is questionable given the mentality in this country) and not what the SCCA is supposed to be here for, and that is to be a member participation club.

I would be interested in organizing a ClubRally in my area (this is West Virginia, you KNOW we have the roads for it!) but I find the task rather daughnting. I'd be a lot more inclined to move forward if I had something available to me like the package I mentioned above, or something even more comprehensive.


Nick Polimeni
'71 Volvo 142E (daily driver/RallyCross)
Editor, Blue Mountain Region, SCCA
www.bmr-scca.org
 

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RE: TV Exposure

>Bruce, your idea of what is growing rally, tv exposure is
>correct in my estimation, but would you agree that it is not
>SCCA tv coverage? I see it as WRC tv coverage and Subaru
>commercials, which appeal to the import crowd. They then go
>out and find out where it exists here in the US.

My experience has been that people become fans of the WRC events, then see the SCCA coverage and say, "WOW! They're doing this in the US, too! How do I get a piece of that action?" Otherwise, they don't even know US rally exists. I had a call the other day from someone - a WRC fan - who almost accidentally tuned in on the Sno*Drift coverage. Atlanta, MI is a place he knows well...he was amazed...and his new rally car is expected to appear at LSPR this year.

Bruce
 

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>Well, one major thing that I would like to see done is
>having a package developed for potential organizers that
>consists of more than a few sheets explaining that we are
>fully ensured. What I would like to see in this package in
>information that would be more helpfull when trying to gain
>road use permission. Things like hard numbers on the
>financial impact that we bring to an area. Like, an event
>that draws 40 cars and a conservative (I think) estimate
>that each team will spend around $400 locally, brings in
>$16,000 to the local economy that wasn't there before.
>Thats the kind of thing that the local governments would
>like to hear, money being the great lubricant that it is...
>Other info I'd like to have access to is "who to approach,
>and how to approach them", as well as haveing info/feedback
>from other communities that host ClubRallys.
>

This is, in fact, in the works. It's a Power Point presentation that has been used successfully already. You'll hear about it here when it's available.

>My comment about the national office neglecting ClubRally is
>just the veiw from the bottom as well as what I've been
>hearing from talking to others in my area. From what I've
>been able to observe, all or at least most of the
>effort/resorces are going into creating a viable
>proffessional Rally series (which I still think is
>questionable given the mentality in this country) and not
>what the SCCA is supposed to be here for, and that is to be
>a member participation club.
>

What you're missing is that ClubRally is not directed by the National Office. It's run by the ClubRally Manager, a member of the (volunteer) Performance Rally Board, and administered by the "field staff" - ClubRally Stewards and their appointees. These are the folks to help you get a rally started.


>I would be interested in organizing a ClubRally in my area
>(this is West Virginia, you KNOW we have the roads for it!)
>but I find the task rather daughnting. I'd be a lot more
>inclined to move forward if I had something available to me
>like the package I mentioned above, or something even more
>comprehensive.
>
>

First, check to see which Division you're in. I think at least one Region in WV is in CenDiv - the rest are in SEDiv - I think. Contact your ClubRally Steward...he or she will know what sorts of things are available if they don't have it already.

Another thing that's available (from me) is a presentation entitled "Organizing 101 - Putting on your first ClubRally." It's been presented in various places and it's just what it sounds like it might be. It - along with the Rules for Organizers - is a place to start.

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Marketability

Originally I posted this topic inspired by the rambling (albeit logical) thoughts of a friend who is involved with a potential major sponsor of future rallying. She pointed out the potential for marketing the sport into a profitable venture. Right now there is little effort to establish a true professional series, just a lot of finger-pointing about 'lack of support' whether it's organizational or spectator support. I see the biggest stumbling block here is recognizing the difference between 'spectator' rallies and our club style, competitor-oriented rallies.

Currently, nobody seems inclined to take the steps of organizing a truly spectator oriented series. At this point, how can it be assumed that there is not enough potential support for nationwide, marketable rallies in the U.S. Where has this been proven? The interest for high-tech rally machinery has never been higher in this country due to the exposure from other media to more youth oriented markets. Nobody in recent times has taken the effort to truly market a U.S. rally as a mainstream motorsport.

Spectators want to see the glitz, glamour and drama of a Pro series; this cannot be done without manufacturers' support. Subaru of America set forth an unprecedented amount of support at Rim this year: an owner's hospitality tent, media support, and of course Petter! Does the fact that they didn't get a car on the podium matter? No. Spectators will remember the overall experience. I will always support Clubrally, but isn't it about time the Americas had a more spectator oriented series? I know I'm ready...

Anyway, thank you for enduring my marketing-visionary babbling; keep the comments coming! :)
 

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ProRally v. ClubRally

while i dont i have the experience to comment on the political issues, i can give the perspective of the spectator. last year i attended Wild West and was quite bored out of my mind at times. thinking that this was "Pro" rally, it was the best that our country could offer, so i didnt bother watching the club guys. man was i wrong. i was over in the seattle area for other reasons on the weekend of Dryad, so what the hell, i went and watched it. and how impressive it was, these club guys looked like they were actually trying to win, not just make it from start to finish without a scratch on their beloved suburu. cars actually slid sideways on corners and crashed into trees at times. THIS is what rally is all about. the field was a mix of manufactureres too, unlike the prorally. suburu after suburu going by gets very monotonous after a few hours.
has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?
 

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RE: Marketability

>venture. Right now there is little effort to establish a
>true professional series, just a lot of finger-pointing
>about 'lack of support' whether it's organizational or
>spectator support. I see the biggest stumbling block here is
>recognizing the difference between 'spectator' rallies and
>our club style, competitor-oriented rallies.

Part of the question is whether we, as participants (competitors, organizers, workers...), really want a true professional series...

That aside, the major difference between a 'spectator' rally and
a club style, competitor-oriented rally is manpower, and lots of it. I think its fair to say that most rallies really don't have the manpower they want (volunteer workers) to run the event, let alone deal with significant numbers of spectators.

>Currently, nobody seems inclined to take the steps of
>organizing a truly spectator oriented series.

With an organizer's hat (actually, a member of a safety committee), I'd prefer it if there are only a manageable number of spectators (like none ;-)), and they go exactly where we wanted them to go on the schedule that we lay out for them. Of course, as a competitor, I'd like to see lots of spectators, who all buy my sponsors' products, wear their logos, show up in all the video, but who all stay in nice safe places and don't walk on the stage road while the stage is hot. Both of these scenarios are pipe dreams, so we have to find some balance between them.

>No. Spectators will
>remember the overall experience. I will always support
>Clubrally, but isn't it about time the Americas had a more
>spectator oriented series? I know I'm ready...

Are you ready to find hundreds more workers to be spectator marshals? Are you ready for pay-to-spectate rallies? As a competitor, are you ready to have your rally experience compromised to accommodate spectators?

My concern is that the series be sustainable when the current manufacturers decide that they have met their marketing (or other) goals, take their toys, and go home. This means having an affordable series that caters to the majority of the competitors and isn't tied to the presence or absence of 'professional' manufacturer entries. We have to remember that this sport is a hobby for the vast majority of competitors.

The historical reality is that series that tie themselves too closely to manufacturer involvement tend to have significant problems either when the rules are modified to support those manufacturers (or are meddled with to support someone's vision of a manufacturers' series) or when the manufacturer support dries up.

I'll get off my soapbox now...
Adrian
 

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>Just for those who do not understand ClubRacing and
>ProRacing in SCCA:
>
>ClubRacing has divisional and national events. The
>divisional events are for cars that don't necessarialy
>qualify for national races. These are cars such as Spec
>Miata and Spec RX-7 plus of course the Improved Touring
>cars. The national series is for a more limited set of cars
>(still over 30 different classes). The national series
>culminates with a national championship at the Runoffs each
>year. ProRacing consists of several different series
>including TransAm and World Challange.
>
>In divisional racing you do not travel out of division. In
>national racing, you also do not need to travel out of
>division except for the Runoffs. In professional racing you
>must travel cross country. The costs are correspondingly
>higher with each step up except that each series can take
>all the money you have to spend. For example, a good IT car
>can cost $30K. Remember, this is a divisional only race car.
>
>Richard

Thank you Richard. That is a nice, concise description of why we are pushing for a 'third tier' in rallying. This would have ProRally, National ClubRally, and Divisional ClubRally, with very similar levels of travel (although probably to adjoining divisions at the National Clubrally level). IMO, the only real difference would be the lack of a run-offs at National ClubRally level, because I believe that a national rally championship should be decided on a number of different events that encompass the geographical and climatic diversity of the sport.

Adrian
 

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>
>This is, in fact, in the works. It's a Power Point
>presentation that has been used successfully already.
>You'll hear about it here when it's available.
>

Oh goody! :) Can't wait to see it.


>
>What you're missing is that ClubRally is not directed by the
>National Office. It's run by the ClubRally Manager, a
>member of the (volunteer) Performance Rally Board, and
>administered by the "field staff" - ClubRally Stewards and
>their appointees. These are the folks to help you get a
>rally started.
>

I didn't even realize we had a ClubRally Manager, which saying something, because in the past 4 years I've been around this I've never heard of such a person. I do read the PRB minutes, tho not as often as I really should. Anything we can do to increase the visibility of these ppl?

>
>First, check to see which Division you're in. I think at
>least one Region in WV is in CenDiv - the rest are in SEDiv
>- I think. Contact your ClubRally Steward...he or she will
>know what sorts of things are available if they don't have
>it already.

Actually, I'm NEDiv. Right on the western border of DC Region. And the region I belong to is based in Reading PA.

>Another thing that's available (from me) is a presentation
>entitled "Organizing 101 - Putting on your first ClubRally."
> It's been presented in various places and it's just what it
>sounds like it might be.

I'd be interested in having a look at that too. Scatter brain that I am, I'd need somthing like that to help me out.

-N
 

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RE: ProRally v. ClubRally

>suburu after
>suburu going by gets very monotonous after a few hours.

But it isn't just subaru after subaru! Its Subaru-EVO-Subaru-EVO-Subaru and so on... :+ LOL At least thats what we have here in the northeast.

>has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?

I've noticed that too. Me, I'd like to see some privateer import a WRC Peugeot or Skoda... Heck, I'd settle for a Focus. Just for some variety.

-N
 

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RE: ProRally v. ClubRally

Take my opinion for whats its worth...I'm a marketing guy> 'Marketing Coordinator' for Vermont SportsCar actually.

I am a young guy,(23) and I am into the whole snow/skate/surf scene and I consider myself 'in the know' for what will become popular/cool etc... I know rallying is going to hit it big, it IS going to
attract huge amounts of young fans who are into other 'extreme oriented' sports. As well as thousands of other fans who are looking for an alternative to the current motorsports out there.

The best selling video games (Gran Turismo, Colin Mcrae Rally) are driving/rallying games. We are talking millions upon millions of rally games sold here in the US. Kids/young adults who buy these games love rallying. But these kids dont know that 'real rallying' even exists. I have even heard that many kids think that Sony invented rallying! But now the media exposure is catching up and kids are seeing rallying for the first time and they are getting hooked on it. That equates to millions of die-hard fans waiting to be exposed to the sport.

So what does this mean? It means that competitors in a national championship (ProRally)and national event organizers will be able to get sponsorship money. Regional Club-level events will also become popular enough to create the opportunity for event organizers and club guys to get sponsored.
We are not talking big bucks here but enough to make life alot easier.
More workers etc...

But right now not many people involved in the sport have the right 'marketing mindset'. The SCCA, event organizers and competitors need to learn how to market what they have. The SCCA should provide media and marketing kits, organizers need to use these kits along with their own proposals and then go approach the right people (local companies/communities etc). Yeah, some people may not want all this commercial/marketing stuff, but the end result is pretty good: More rallying, more fans, more competition, more fun, and more $.

But right now we are in the middle of it all. Things are getting expensive, fan interest is starting to take off and event organizers are just starting to realize all of this. I believe the SCCA will get their act together, I think they are just a step behind and stuck in their old ways. So send some nice long letters to the SCCA, voice your opinion, give feedback, whatever. The fact that we are all concerned is the first (and most important) step.

But remember that using rallying as a marketing tool, as way for companies and brands to connect with consumers, is the key to our success. Rallying costs money and wouldn't you rather have a sponsor pay the bills? Just because rallying may get popular doesn't mean that the club guys will be pushed out. Instead it means that they have the opportunity to make their hobby less expensive.

Feel free to send me your thoughts/opinions/ideas/wishes etc...
[email protected]
www.vtcar.com
 
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Rally Value in Local Dollars

>Well, one major thing that I would like to see done is
>having a package developed for potential organizers that
>consists of more than a few sheets explaining that we are
>fully ensured. What I would like to see in this package in
>information that would be more helpfull when trying to gain
>road use permission. Things like hard numbers on the
>financial impact that we bring to an area. Like, an event
>that draws 40 cars and a conservative (I think) estimate
>that each team will spend around $400 locally, brings in
>$16,000 to the local economy that wasn't there before.
>Thats the kind of thing that the local governments would
>like to hear, money being the great lubricant that it is...

Interesting.... we thought this was going to happen two years ago....

Quoting from http://www.widgetracing.com/clubrally/rimth_2k.htm

Kurt Spitzner will look at economic statements and organizer road costs from the surveys he has taken and pull together some basics. He pointed out that our economic (not environmental) impact is 1.5 - 2 million dollars per event brought to local neighborhoods. These numbers are very conservative, based on actual figures reported by competitors and multiplied by the factors given to Kurt by the local Chambers of Commerce or Better Business Bureaus. These multipliers are based on the premise that every dollar spent in a community recirculates through the community several times.

Knowing how small our national staff was, I subsequently volunteered to help collect these and store them in a database for analysis. Nothing ever came of it, however, nor do we even collect these forms any more.

---------------------------------------
John Dillon John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 
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