The answer is not as cut and dry as many people are making it. TO answer the question the answer is yes and no. Yes if we want the sport to grow and become commercially viable. No if we are happy with the current rate of entry fees and the prospect of racing out of our own pockets. If you have any ambitions of racing on another persons dime then you need spectators and you need television. IF you have fun iwth your friends out in the woods and are happy wit hthat then you do not need spectators. While the legal climate of the states does affect the issue of spectators I can remember just a few years ago when snowboarding was the scourge of the ski slopes, resorts closed their lifts to snowboarders and people used the arguement that the insurance risk was way too high. Same thing with public skateboard parks but both seem to be alive and flourishing a few years on. While waivers are not fool proof they do deflect liability as would posted signs that warn of spectators. In europe I see the marshalls using whistles to signal a cars arrival, this seems like a very simple thing that I have never seen replicated at a rally in the US that would also serve as a warning to spectators. Perhaps air horns would work better. I need spectators because with the costs involved my rally business cannot survive without paying customers, and most customers need some supplementation to go rallying.
>Smaller C1 and C2 events at one time actually banned spectators.
On the road-racing side of the house, there was a time (and maybe still is) when our club races were specifically listed as "non-spectator" events in order to cut the insurance down by approximately half. People who showed up to watch had to be club members or guests, though naturally we welcomed all the guests we could get. We couldn't announce the events or sell tickets.
I always thought it would be great to put an ad in the paper saying "The California Sports Car Club, a region of the SCCA, will hold a membership meeting on xxx. Racing will be conducted," but I was advised that we couldn't do even that much.
In Solo I (Hillclimbing), we've had several non spectator events also for insurance purposes.
I'd have to disagree about spectators though. If we tried to hold STPR without spectators, I don't think we'd be welcomed back. They bring alot of $ into the community. Sure crews and workers do also. But I think the spectators add a huge portion on top of that.
I'd have no problems with non spectators at the club/regional level though. Make them all "workers" signing a waiver. The biggest part of that problem would be landowners along the route that you don't even know are there until the stage is run.
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