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Discussion Starter #1
It's been nearly a week since I saw the tragic news from the Sawmill event and I've avoided posting anything here because I felt like I needed to give the issue a little time and thought.

My first attempt at a semi-reasonable suggestion for immediate prevention of the same sort of incident is to require the following at ProRallies and all ClubRallies:
1) Routebook instructions and associated number signs must identify each spot on the course where it is deemed likely that rally cars will be fully airborne at speeds over 60 miles per hour.
2) Place a safety marshall with a radio at each of these locations to ensure that no spectators are located anywhere near the "landing zone."

The fact is that sometimes highly experienced pro-level rally drivers (as was the case at Sawmill ClubRally) wipe-out when cars fly throught the air at high speeds. This also happened in Canada within the past 12 months, but fortunately no spectators were hurt there. For the sake of my friends in the rally community, I want this specific safety issue to be resolved within a couple weeks as opposed to months. I was not personally planning to compete in Dryad/Shitepoke, and my entry for STPR was sent prior to this incident, so my plans aren't affected by the ClubRallies being suspended. Despite having no immediate self interest in a quick resolution, it seems to me that it ought to be possible. I know that steps can be taken to ensure that this won't happen at Dryad/Shitepoke. These events already have great safety records and an extra ounce of prevention can be take so they can go ahead as planned.

Finally, I am sorry for the family members and friends of those that lost their lives, and I feel very compassionate toward the driver and others that were involved in what must be an extremely difficult situation to be in.
Dave
 

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Hi Dave,
You've made a great suggestion to resolve the original problem.

Unfortunately there's a new problem may not be as easy to solve. The west coast ClubRally season has now been toasted by that cruise missle of a suspension announcement. Now we have an open ended charge to the volunteers on the PRB to evaluate ALL of the Performance Rally operational standards and implement some number of appropriate recommendations before we can even run a closed course rally sprint.

I don't believe the members of the PRB voted for this suspension, so I'm not convinced that they can lift it with their recommendations. (Boy do I wish Ralph Kosmides would prove me wrong on that one!) Come on Ralph, does the PRB have the authority to act on ideas like Dave's? Can you lift the suspension while the sport still breathes?

Edited to add: Now that I've read Mr Campbell's comments several times it seems clear that the PRB does not have any authority to lift the suspension for any or all ClubRally events. The PRB has just been given the responsibility to provide someone with a list of safety recommendations. I'm not sure if the BoD or the insurance carrier has the final say on the suspensions, but then I've never been real sure about how anything at the SCCA works.

The clock is running. It's just a matter of time before news of the ClubRally suspension gets out to landowners and results in ProRally cancellations.

Jim Culp
prorallypix.com
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay, I can't be the only one that has an idea of what procedures could be put into place to help prevent this from happening again. I'm interested in hearing additional ideas so please post them here.

Now don't put any of that nonsense about limiting engine size to 2 liters because I think a little front-wheel-drive under 2-liter car ran over two people and killed them at the Donegal rally last June. Let's try to be realistic.
Dave
 

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Just some quick thoughts before catching a nap. Accidents will continue to happen. Insurance coverage as I understand it is all about statistics - at this point, there are no really good statistics about rally in the US so perhaps this is part of the problem: Without good data on the the # of spectators, competitors, events, etc. insurance carriers are simply taking best guesses as to what the appropriate insurance levels should be.
Perhaps some sort of program to help get the carriers information to understand events would be a good "bone" for them. Heck, it might even provide a baseline for the whole marketing thing that seems to be the desired outcome of all this.

Safety suggestions:
1. Multiple cars to clear the stages.
2. No spectators allowed to walk in, organizers run "shuttles". Think of it as a free hayride, more of an adventure for them.
3. Head counts of known spectators shuttled in, they sign waivers, get wristbands. Nice neon, glow in the dark ones.
4. Standardized safety pamphlets to be handed out to all spectators, produced by SCCA office (help me for saying that). Includes legal info, possibly put some sort of "In Memory Of" info on the cover with information explaining how spectators have been killed at rallies. It might get their attention.
5. Teams spotting spectators out of position report this to the finish control. Hopefully they can make a note of the position. Spare "runner" vehicles at the start of the stage will then be sent in to do another sweep of the stage while the other cars are halted. While this creates a delay and may be cause for more regrouping controls, it would allow for an on the fly reassessment of the situation.
6. Designate certain rally cars as "radio cars", space them out over the field, give them radios in car. While there is no way they would hear the radio while running hot, if they had to stop to deal with a dangerous situation they might be able to contact midcourse radio workers who could halt additional cars from coming. Terrain could be a big issue on this, but at Rim I was able to contact start with an FRS radio 1.8 miles in (that big logjam on the hill). Tons of potential issues, but better communication in any form should be able to add to the safety of the events.
7. Maybe add breakpoints in the stage to shuttle out spectators after the first 30 cars (or any n value)? Run a sweep vehicle to show traffic on hold, get out the people that want out, let the hard core spectators stick it out. (problems: probably not enough vehicles, risk of spectator shuttle on a hot stage, etc. I would not be in favor of this, but perhaps the idea can be tweaked)


That's it for now.

Rob
 

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> 1. Multiple cars to clear the stages.

One of them should be a "spectator placement" car that ensures spectators are in safe locations. It should have plenty of time to get through the stage.

> 2. No spectators allowed to walk in, organizers run "shuttles". Think of it as a free hayride, more of an adventure for them.

That will never work. The organizers have no jurisdiction to prevent people from walking through a national or state forest, which is where some events are run.

> 3. Head counts of known spectators shuttled in, they sign waivers, get wristbands. Nice neon, glow in the dark ones.

Won't work, see point 2.

> 4. Standardized safety pamphlets to be handed out to all spectators, produced by SCCA office (help me for saying that). Includes legal info, possibly put some sort of "In Memory Of" info on the cover with information explaining how spectators have been killed at rallies. It might get their attention.

Agreed but I think also large signs like the WRC and CARS events use will get people's attention.

On the other hand, the people killed at Sawmill were drivers - I doubt a pamphlet would have told them anything they didn't already know.

> 5. Teams spotting spectators out of position report this to the finish control. Hopefully they can make a note of the position.

This is a good idea.

Glenn
 

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If people had to pay, wouldn't this increase the "Sneak in factor".


Steven Perret
Car# 226
Driftin4 Racing
[email protected]

If you want to maim the fastest growing motor-sport in the SCCA, continue to crucify the entry level.
 

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The event I would like to run on Sat 26 Jul 03, is a closed gate event. Access can only be gained via the top and bottom gates, no access roads lead to the roads I want to use. Law enforcement can and will be used if necessary, be stationed at the top and bottom of the roads I want to use. Therefore, why am I being penalised for running a tarmac rally over which I and the co-organisers have virtually total access control? The reason I chose these roads was because of my previous point. If, we decide to allow spectators, they will be so closely supervised by my staff, they would have to request permission to sneeze! Just kidding. We have turn outs where they can safely watch under supervision and not be in the line of fire, so to speak from the majority of "accidents". I welcome any Safety Steward to run the roads with me to prove my point.Time is running out.
 

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Sounds a lot like Solo 1 to me. Rally cars can run in a Solo 1 event, and you might get some entries from your local Porsche Club and other "track day" racers.

Jim Culp
prorallypix.com
 
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