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I was visiting the Canada section of the forums and watched a nicely composed video from Tallpines. All i can say is intense. I seriously think that Rallying in the states needs a makeover. Im not really sure what happens behinds the scenes with promoting and insuring, but it needs to be re-looked. The crowds there are insane and full of energy, the crowds here from what ive seen in the states are lame most of the time. Im just speaking my mind, dont want to offend anyone.
What are your thoughts about this subject, with rallying in states vs. Canada?
 

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Well I was out at Baie Des Chalure and there was a huge spectator area, maybe 3000 people, but I think they were there for the party more than to actually see the cars.

It reminded me of my Grateful Dead days, there was so much pot smoke in the air I was having flashbacks and there was beer vending going on too

Maybe we just need to get US fans wasted:p
 

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I know that some guys will make fun of this idea, and make crass comparisons to NASCAR, but, um, it's really not a bad idea.
At the last spectator area I was at, there was no smoking allowed at all, even though it was raining, and the alcohol was discretely poured deep in the bowels of the service van of a competitor who had DNF'd the previous day. That was 2 years ago, and I haven't seen fit to spectate a rally since then.
 

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>Well I was out at Baie Des Chalure and there was a huge
>spectator area, maybe 3000 people, but I think they were
>there for the party more than to actually see the cars.
>
>It reminded me of my Grateful Dead days, there was so much
>pot smoke in the air I was having flashbacks and there was
>beer vending going on too

Morgan:

A few observations.

Yes, in Canada, the spectators do tend to have more fun out in the woods, but based on my spectating over the past three years, I have not seen anything that was out of hand.

While spectating in one of the "specator enclosures" at Maine, I found myself standing beside one of the organizers of the Defi. We had some interesting discussions about how the spectator facilities were laid out at Maine versus Defi. At Maine, far too many of us were stacked on top of each other in a very small area (in fact, you walked past us at this location and got to take photos about 200 yards down the road, where we all could have spectated safely and in more comfort). However, we all stayed where we should have, as we understood the reasons for the restrictions. The same restrictions exist at Defi, but the organizers are all rallyists, and they understand that if you choose and prepare your spectator locations properly, the spectators will be happy. In additions to selecting great locations, they send out teams of people before the rally to cut the undergrowth and to remove bush that will interfere with sight lines.

At Defi, the Friday night short stages are all run twice, in reverse order. So, no reason for the spectators to leave early, as the fast cars are at the end. Also, the build-up in excitment as the top ten cars run the stage is incredible (might also be assisted by those substances which you talked about).

I also had the opportunity to marshal a corner on Concord Pond stage at Maine. This stage was not a spectator location, so in theory, there should not have been any spectators allowed on it. But based on my observations driving through the stage after it was over, there were probably more spectators on this stage than on all of the other stages in the rally combined. Most of them were locals. No spectator pens, no specator tape, etc. at my corner (which was a great corner). About 50 local spectators who were very well behaved and were very co-operative in listening to my requests and positioning themselves correctly. Were these people excited? You bet, especially after Pat Richard went through as first car on the road!

In summary, from what I have seen and heard, we do a better job of catering for spectators in Canada. I know that the spectators respond positively to this. If anyone wants to see for themselves, come to Defi or Tall Pines this year.

Doug Woods
 

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Great post, Doug. Thanks -- and I think you're onto something about running spectator/super-special stages in reverse order. Makes a lot of sense.

-Isaac
 

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Doug

I completely agree, Canadian rallies do offer much better spectating. Rocky Mountain was amazing, in one day you could see 7 stages! Pacific Forest is like that too, though neither of those events had many more spectators than I have seen in the US (Though I was told the threat of rain kept Rocky's numbers down and Pacific was a new event). It really seems that most of the huge spectator turnout only happens in Quebec, but is that really a surprise, their culture is much more European?
In all fairness, Maine is probably the worst rally in the US series to spectate. Not only because of the spectator issues you mentioned (one speccie area was after the finish line for crying out loud!!!), but because there is little access to the stages and roads are very fast with not many exciting corners that are within any kind of access point. The corner where you saw me at was as about as exciting as it gets. I agree, spectators probably could have safely been allowed where I was down the road from you. even with my credentials, I did not get any better viewing than you did- I tried on one stage, I had to give up after walking a mile and a half and I was still on mostly a straightaway!)
For example Rim of the world has great spectator areas, unfortunately they have taken to charging what is, IMO, way too much money . Oregon Trail has some great places too


My comment was not meant to put down Baie, I was just pointing out that the spectators, who were mostly young, seemed like the party was the big reason they were there and the cars were a bonus. It did not take an expert to smell it;-)
 
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