Well spoken, Pat.
Let me pipe in with my two cents worth. Rim 2004 offers more quality rally viewing than ever before.
Last year Rim provided two spectator locations Friday night. Neither provided quality viewing or easy access and both took place in the dark. This year, we replaced these locations with an exciting daylight running of the super special stage with grandstands seating! On Saturday, we have the same number of spectator locations in the forest as last year. Plus, we added three additional chances to watch the rally teams go at it side-by-side on the super special stage.
Beyond the costs for shuttle buses to transport our guests from safe parking to the viewing locations, we are also faced with stringent new requirements for spectator safety. This means additional safety marshals, EMTs, additional communications, portable restrooms, uniformed law enforcement, and parking marshals. It all cost money... lots of money.
I agree with Pat and I would love to preserve one of the last bastions of free motor sport entertainment. Altruism aside, there are only two ways to pay for the new safety requirements. One is to pass the increased costs to the competitors and the other is to ask spectators to cover the cost of their entertainment and recreation. For this reason, we are charging a fee for all spectator locations at Rim this year.
Everyone at Rim is committed to providing a quality, and safe spectating opportunity for rally enthusiasts. We are also working hard to reach out to those that have not yet experienced our sport by giving them a chance to see it in a familiar and perhaps ?less threatening?, accessible, and comfortable venue.
For the cost of admission to a local county fair ($10-$15), spectators, friends, and sponsors will be able to enjoy a full day entertainment and one of the most exciting motor sports on the planet. Hopefully rally fans will enjoy the show and rally teams will benefit from the increased value this can bring to their sponsors and supporters.
Chairman, Rim of the World Rally