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I just received a note, and permission from the organizers to share, stating that the Rim of the World Rally for 2003 will be a pair of club rallies without a pro component.

Edited to include the text of the letter.



Why Return Rim of the World to the ClubRally-only Level?

Background:

For the past few years RIM (like all ProRally events) has experienced significant growth in all areas. Despite the stress associated with this growth, RIM this year was a huge success. We had an 80-car field, which was 13 more cars than last year and 28 more than two years ago. Subaru of America made RIM a special ?owners event? and brought over WRC Subaru Team driver Petter Solberg as a VIP guest. This attracted nearly 700 Subaru owners from all over the West Coast. In preparation for this attention we doubled the number of spectator areas and tripled the number of spectator marshals - a good thing. Subaru, Hyundai and Mitsubishi set up displays with tents, giveaways, and cars to show. They wooed the crowd as well as the large number of ?heavy hitters? from the press that came to the event. Other automotive related vendors also were attracted, and participated.

Given the success of this year?s RIM, why are we not continuing to offer it to the ProRally Series? The following are the key reasons for this decision:

Performance Rally Department Attitude:
We have finally run out of patience with the Performance Rally Department?s lack of support for ProRally organizers. The only ?support? from SCCA, aside from excellent insurance coverage, is association with a championship series and its sponsors. There is no financial support, no real understanding of what is involved in putting on a big rally, and especially, no understanding of what motivates rally volunteers. In fact, the ProRally organizer will encounter roadblocks to growth.

Rather than developing a team effort to build the series, the Performance Rally Department exhibits an attitude of condescension and territoriality. Traditionally, SCCA has felt that it ?owns? each event and all the rights associated with it, as it might in a racing series - and a rally is lucky to be included. SCCA seems to feel that the rally organizer is analogous to the track owner, or perhaps to a race promoter. This is simply not a good analogy. Usually the U.S. Forest Service or some other agency owns the roads. The rally organizer secures the use of the roads and the other permits required, organizes the volunteer staff, and executes the event. When all is said and done it is the rally organizer that is financially responsible (and financially liable) for the event ? whether it is a simple committee, such as at Rim, or an SCCA region. The organizers do not generally make money on their rallies but are treated by SCCA as if they do, with the increasing expectations for performance that you might expect with a professional series.

In fact, the organizers face hurdles if they wish to become truly professional ? and a few of them do. In the sanction agreement SCCA claims all media rights and requires organizers to obtain SCCA approval before lining up sponsors. The series sponsors are seen as more important than the event?s sponsors, which was the justification given for taking down our local sponsor?s ?paid for? banners and replacing them with the Series sponsors? banners at RIM 2001. ProRally organizers are strongly encouraged to stick to ?local? sponsors and local media coverage and are not given any support in making their events marketable.

The ProRally organizers have been trying, since our meeting together in August, to have meaningful negotiations with SCCA concerning the sanction agreement, and have made only limited progress. There have been phone conferences with Kurt and a meeting with both Kurt and Steve Johnson at the convention. Kurt has insisted on negotiating with each organizer individually, using delay tactics to force the organizer to accept a less than desirable agreement. The sanction agreements for both Cherokee Trails and RIM were not signed until the week of their respective events. This is not negotiating in good faith.

We feel this is an unacceptable situation. The organizer of a ProRally should not have to fight with the sanctioning body over basic event ownership issues.

Financial and Organizational Viability:

RIM has achieved its current level of ?professional appearance? by various bootstrapping and shoestring approaches. Many products and services are donated at half price or less, because we put on the event as a non-profit operation. Volunteers are used for numerous tasks that require significant manual labor. In fact, volunteers do almost everything including the publicity brochure, the official program, the press releases and website, clearing and repairing the roads, staffing the event, building and tearing down the spectator stage and performing many other operations that lead to a successful and professional looking rally.

The problem with this approach is that it becomes more and more difficult to maintain as the event grows. All volunteers have a limited amount of time that they are willing to give to the event, especially in the months before the actual rally when the critical planning and coordination between team leaders takes place. This produces the need for a very large number of team leaders to do all the pre-event work. We had nearly 300 volunteers this year, including 44 key people or team leaders. Sustaining a volunteer organization of this size is a difficult task. This is compounded when growth is involved. Growth increases the demands on the 44 key people causing some to quit because the time commitment has exceeded what they are willing to give. Combining growth-induced staff turnover with normal attrition can produce an unstable organization. All in all, this is not a sustainable approach for a big event.

Why is RIM organized in this shoestring manner? The answer is simple. Sponsors do not place enough value on ProRally to pay what it would cost to organize the event in a sustainable fashion. If the rally had a budget that allowed it to build a stable structure and hire out many of the tasks required, continued growth in the promotional areas of the event (for example, spectator stages and spectator-friendly service areas) would be feasible. However, with the current financial constraints, we feel attempting to keep up with the growth in the sport will lead to failure.

Pro Only or Club Only:

One area where growth has a defined limit is in the number of competitors. RIM is limited to 80 cars by the Angeles National Forest. We were right at that limit this year, starting 80 cars on Friday night. If an organizer has to limit entries, the new ProRally Rules require the rally to accept the entries of the cars in the higher seeds first. This will in fact eliminate cars from the ClubRally field, while having little impact on the ProRally field. For these reasons it won?t be long before most combined ProRally/ClubRally events will have to choose between being a ProRally-only event or returning to being a ClubRally. Two events (STPR and Maine Forest) have already chosen to be ProRally-only events. Given that the growth in entries continues (and interest in our local rally schools indicates that it will), RIM will need to make this decision in 2003 or certainly by 2004.

Faced with this decision, and considering the first two reasons, we have chosen to return to being a ClubRally-only pair of events, beginning in 2003.

/s/ Mike and Paula Gibeault, June 6, 2002
 

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RE: Rim 2003

Did Rim fall victim to the same fate as Prescott? What a shame if that's the case. If it's not smooth roads, then it's not good enough for the manufacturers and thus the SCCA, or what? Is this an SCCA decision or organizer decision...more info please.

CP
Desert Storm Rally
A2 Jetta #305
 

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RE: Rim 2003

umm...interesting.

i spoke with Paula at STPR and she didn't mention anything like this. Anyone know why?
 

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RE: Rim 2003

Will the message be heard? I doubt it.


I have not fully processed my thoughts yet but I can speak as one organizer (only one of many, only one of our events committee). We are stretched thin and the lack of good will, good spirit, and good support does not provide the needed enthusiasm to sustain the level of volunteers needed to continue the development seen in the sport in the last two years.

Folks there is a lot of SCCA bashing, some of it is legitimate, and given the current realities, this is an admirable decision.

One additional thought: the most promotable event in the series has opted out, the one attended best by the Manufacturers, a showcase -- that should say a lot.

Yours in the sport,
Mike
 

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RE: Rim 2003

The reason why Paula did not want to mention this at STPR is because she did not want to put the Rim effect on STPR. I think that is very admirable of her. Yes, some of us.... Pat and I were somewhat upset that Pro Rally was going away on Rim at first, but do understand what SCCA has done to some organizers....."but we are going to make the bast dam and the largest club rally in the nation for 2003" as per Mike and Paula told us in a report to the other key committee members. So Pat and I will support their decision and will be staying to help them out to make this club rally the best one in the USA. So we urge you to support their decision and believe me it was not a decision that was made over night. They thought this through very carefully and for a long time pondering what to do. So again.... I urge you to give them your support on making Rim a club rally event again. Thank you.

Denise McMahon
Rim Of The World Rally
 

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Thanks for posting that letter. I, and I'm sure everyone else, was really interested in why this happened. It sure did seem like this year's event was just the beginning of bigger and better things. I understand why the Gibeaults decided to take this course of action, but of course it's disappointing that we won't be seeing ProRally cars on the west coast any longer.

I'm sure this idea has been tossed around quite a bit, but just in desperation I'll mention it anyway: What about the possibility of Rim being split up into a ProRally and ClubRally, run as separate events? They could be organized by separarate groups of people, as well... there are a lot of people saying they want to organize and event, and a Rim of the World ClubRally seems like it would be a great thing to be in charge of. Well... their decision seems pretty final.

Also wanted to add that SCCA is foolish not to realize that they're making a huge mistake not supporting rally. Although it's probably one of their smaller series', rallying is the future of auto racing in the US... The percentage of young people (like myself) interested in rallying is much greater than those interested in road racing-- Trans-Am, or otherwise. Just hope they can get their act together.. any chance that Rim will be back in 2004? Or, pray for the WRC to realize what a great rally it is, and take advantage of it!
 

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No, not unless SCCA change their tactics of supporting rallys and give the CREDIT to the organizers and workers for their efforts.
Oh yes, that was Pat and I first choice that the WRC gives us support or maybe somebody else but we have kept that to ourselves.

Well I have a connection to SKY SPORTS... the producer wants to air Rim on British TV, but I think that will not happen now; since SCCA owns the rights to airing the Pro Rally series (which that is understandable). So many over there were interested on seeing American rallys on TV. I mean they wanted to air the program right away! Well we will see.. Michael Jones from the UK will keep me posted if the producer was successful on getting the tape for them to air.

Denise McMahon
Co=Organizer
Rim Of The World Rally
www.rimoftheworldrally.com
 

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Er, this is going to be a really dumb question, but I'm going to ask because I would like to learn more.

The question/thought:
What would it take to "jump ship" on the SCCA and join some sort of World rally association? Is this something that can be done or is even worth trying? The only "money" at stake at this point consists of SCCA memberships and event costs, right?

Please note that I don't understand the nuances of the ProRally/SCCA relationship, but it seems to be a bit abusive, so getting out seems like an option.

Rob
 

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I am in no way defending the SCCA, but I want to point out that the The SCCA pays Replica Productions (although with money from the manufacturers, that is why they get the most coverage)and brokered the deal with speedchannel. So it is understandable that they would own the rights to the show. The FIA and Dave Richards own the rights to any TV footage, even if it is your own personal in car video. So you would have the same issues either way, except that Richards is much more savy than the SCCA
 

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Another of the Rim Organizers here...

The other options that have come up in this thread so far
have been discussed. You will notice that Mike and Paula
did not indicate they wanted to ditch SCCA. They state the
opposite, that they want to stay within SCCA, but not as a
ProRally event. Other options were available, and they did
not choose them. The CNAR layer is really not appropriate as
it is not a self supporting series in itself, and does not offer
insurance to organizers.

Splitting the thing into two Pro / Club still means all the
head aches of putting on a Pro event. You just handed an
overworked team 2X the work, so that one wont fly either.

We very well may make the 80 car limit next year without the
Pro Circus coming to town. We will have plenty of fast west
coast cars to put on a show, and I suspect the spectators will
not be lacking either.

Paul Timmerman
Chief of Spectator Areas - Rim of the World, Club Rally
 

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The thing that some people miss is that the SCCA is TAKING all rights to an event they don't own/support/pay for/help/organize/volunteer. They are demanding things from organizers that is not fair to all the effort involved. I can understand them wanting to air their show, but a Pro event CANNOT put on their own show unless it is just local, and then it is limited to 10% of the event.
 

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Bravo!!

Hey Mike, Paula and the Rim organizing crew.......I applaud your efforts at bringing YOUR event back to the competitors. Am I safe to assume that you may be able to offer your pair of Club Rallys at an entry fee of perhaps something under $1000.00 without the Dog and Pony show? We here on the West coast have enough good drivers to make our own show.
Perhaps we on the West Coast can have our own 'West Coast' amateur championship. I am looking forward to attending your Club Rallys next year. Regards, JohnLane.
 

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After Ski Sawmill this year

which was hugely successful with 60 entries, I was thinking, "why would any new organizer want to hold a ProRally anymore?"

You can have a positive event, with the small rally feel and friendly comraderie of a ClubRally, without having to put up with 30-person manufacturer entourages. And with plenty of entries you still have a comfortable breakeven for the event.

The SCCA should stick to what it does (reasonably) well: managing membership and licensure, managing the event rules, providing insurance and being a CLUB for rally enthusiasts.
 

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wow... shocked! bit of a suprise reading this...

But the explanation makes sense.
I hope I have the funding, time, energy and can justify the trip to Rim next year... Pro or Club event... it was a hell of a ride this year!!!
And I can appreciate all of the hard work that goes into an event of this size and stature. What a nightmare it must be at times!!

Paula/Mike and other organizers, volunteers - I would love to come down and support you regardless of the status of the rally. You guys just do "your thing" and do what's best for you, and your region. Hope to see you next year, if not sooner!

Best Regards -
Jamie
www.subiegalracing.com
www.subiegal.com
 
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