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Why We Are Returning Rim To A ProRally For 2003

Background:

After this year?s RIM we chose to return RIM to being a ClubRally for 2003. There were three major reasons for that decision, which we outlined in a letter to the ProRally community.

1) We had run out of patience with the Performance Rally Department?s lack of support for ProRally organizers and lack of recognition of the organizers? ownership of their events. After months of negotiating it appeared that SCCA was not willing to alter its position on these issues.

2) RIM had achieved its level of ?professional appearance? by various bootstrapping and shoestring approaches. While these methods yielded good results, they came at a cost to our volunteer workforce. We could see that when normal staff attrition was combined with growth-induced staff turnover, we were creating an unstable organization. This was not a sustainable approach for the long term.

3) Third, with 80 cars starting for 2002 and an 80 car limit from the Forest Service, we could see having to turn away the lower seeded drivers (mostly Club level teams) if there was any growth in entries. This seemed like an undesirable situation for RIM, which has always tried to encourage Club level competition.

So, What Happened?

After our announcement we were flooded with emails and phone calls from the rally community supporting our decision. Most were sad to hear the news but understood the issues and appreciated our support for the ClubRally program.
We also heard fom both Jeff Walters (Subaru) and Toni Honsowetz (Hyundai), who asked us what it would take to get RIM back on the calendar, and expressed their desire to help if possible. After careful consideration we decided that four things would need to change before we would return to ProRally status. Briefly these items were:

1) We wanted a sanction agreement that acknowledged that, while SCCA owns the rights to the Championship, the organizer owns all the rights to his event (some of which are then granted to SCCA for their TV show and other key promotional efforts).

2) We wanted a documented decision process that includes the event organizers for those issues that relate to the events.

3) We wanted an entry acceptance process that is generally based on the timeliness of the entry instead of the seed of the driver, while being fair to the Pro, Club and manufacturer entries.

4) We would no longer do projects at RIM that are an unreasonable drain on volunteer labor. If such projects were to be planned, they would be done with professional labor where appropriate and be paid for by sponsors of the project. In actuality this was not a condition of returning to being a ProRally, but more a reality of how we were going to restructure RIM as either a sustainable ClubRally or ProRally.

We then sent a letter to the SCCA detailing items 1,2 and 3 as conditions for returning RIM to the ProRally calendar, along with a sanction agreement that would meet our needs, and a proposal for an entry acceptance process.

So What?s Changed?

Actually a lot has changed:
1) SCCA has accepted a sanction agreement that meets our needs.

2) The PRB has agreed to grant us the exception to the Performance Rally Rules that will be needed for RIM to base our entry acceptance on postmark instead of seed. In conjunction with this, the PRB and RIM have worked out a compromise of accepting 40 Club-Only cars and 40 ProRally cars (see details in a document posted separately).

3) And last, but certainly not least, Doug Havir has formed an investor group (Rally America, Inc) that will be contracting with SCCA to manage the operations of the ProRally series. Doug?s group consists of current PRB members Beryl Ann Burton and J.B. Niday as well as Bruce Weinman (organizer), and rallyists Johnny Parker and Kristie Anderson. This group has a number of excellent projects planned to improve the quality of the series, primarily by assisting the event organizers. As such, including the event organizers in the decision process is high on their list. The first example of this was a face-to-face meeting of this group and all of the ProRally organizers that took place (at Doug?s expense) on September 28. After a full day of discussing Rally America?s desires, intentions and proposals for strengthening the series, all of the organizers expressed support for their plans. After that meeting Rally America jumped in with both feet and played a critical role in negotiating the sanction agreement between RIM and the PRD. In fact, without Beryl Ann Burton?s eleventh hour help we might never have gotten to where we are today.

So Where Are We?

On October 20, the PRD and we both signed the new sanction agreement placing RIM back on the ProRally calendar for 2003, on May 2-3. Some projects for 2003 will be dropped or rethought to make better use of our volunteers. The most visible will be the elimination of the Spectator Stage at the Holiday Inn and the Charity Rallysprint that uses the same course (unless of course a sponsor is found who is willing to fund the rather substantial cost of doing it right). We will be meeting with the RIM committee members and our sponsors over the next two months to form our plans. By January we will have more to report, but every indication is that with Rally America?s efforts, and the continuing excellent backing from Subaru and our other sponsors, RIM will be bigger and better than ever.

Thank you for your support,

Mike & Paula Gibeault
 

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Wow...congratulations to everyone involved for sorting that out! Shows you what an open mind and constructive problem solving can accomplish. I'm planning to be at RIM to shoot photos...my first SCCA event! It ties in nicely with some other work I have down there.
 

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> Some projects for 2003 will be dropped or
>rethought to make better use of our volunteers. The most
>visible will be the elimination of the Spectator Stage at
>the Holiday Inn and the Charity Rallysprint that uses the
>same course (unless of course a sponsor is found who is
>willing to fund the rather substantial cost of doing it
>right).

Bummer.

I hope you can find a sponsor for the Spectator stage.

I believe that highly VISIBLE spectator stages are important for community awareness/acceptance, and for getting and maintaining roads for performance rallies.

As always, thanks for your tireless efforts Paula! (and Mike!)

Pe
Paul Eklund
Primitive Racing
 

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Though I will probably never be able to participate in Rim and this decision does not affect me directly...

It is really refreshing to see all (enough for me at least) the details in this situation layed out in an easy to understand format. One would be hard pressed to dig up any conspiracy on this subject.
Thanks to all involved for the clarity.

-Dave LaFavor
#532
 

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Nobody ate crow. Everybody wins.

Congratulations:

This statement by Mike & Paula Gilbeault recounts an extremely PROFESSIONAL resolution to deal-breaking organizational problems.

Difficult and aggravating issues were addressed straight-on with great courage and dignity. They were mature and open enough to stand their ground and still work with others to achieve a satisfactorily negotiated resolution and reconciliation.

Nobody ate crow. Everybody wins.

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"
 

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Great work, and thanks to everyone involved for getting this rally back to Pro status. There could not be better news to spectators or workers in Southern California.
 
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