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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that many of us have used Stage Notes and many of us like Stage Notes, if they were not available how upset would you be?

The Stage Notes had two purposes:
1) Consistent Information from event to event
2) Equalize the competition

Notes have succeeded at #1.

Not thinking about competition with the manufacturers, do the top independent teams need notes to stay on equal footing or could you do just as well with a GOOD route book (and save $150.00)?

Curious,
Mike
 

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While we're at it, is there an accounting of the financials for notes in the year 2003? Total cost to produce vs income from notes purchased.
 

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Bruce,

I think we've all accepted and operated under the understanding that the price of stage notes was established at the beginning of the season as a "best guess" utilizing anticipated expenses and revenues. I echo Don's query. Now with a year of experience it should be pretty easy for National to provide a report on the costs incurred and the revenues received. Publication of that report will go a long way towards making the case if higher stage note fees are required for the producers to get compensated fairly.

Communication is job one.

Kent Gardam "oh wait, that was chicks are job one!"
 

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[re: Notes] if they were not available how upset would
>you be?

I wouldn't be upset. I would, however, stop rallying in the US.

>do
>the top independent teams need notes to stay on equal
>footing or could you do just as well with a GOOD route book
>(and save $150.00)?

Assuming two equal drivers and two equal cars, one using a road book only (driving blind) and one using stage notes, the driver running notes would win by a significant margin, probably 3-4 seconds per kilometer faster or more.

Anyone who has driven on notes and says otherwise is either lying, phenomenally bad at interpreting notes, or employing a useless co-driver.

However, it seems your question implies -- if we all just ran road books, would be still be equivalently fast in relation to one another as we are now, and would the fun/expense improve? My opinions are 1) yes and 2) no.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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I know they have the numbers, and I know that notes is one of many things that are being investigated for 2004. I obviously don't know what they cost to produce last year, but I seriously doubt there was a profit...thus my question. I think this is a good thread to add information to any decisions that need to be made about notes.

And come on, Christian, tell us what you really think...

Bruce
 

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As I understand it, for 2003 P-Sport is paid a fixed fee for each event, which includes generating the notes, but not printing and binding the physical books.

SCCA then prints, binds, ships and sells the books, and reaps a profit or loss per event based on how many books are sold.

My best guess is that SCCA has to sell about 45-50 books to cover the fee from P-Sport. And probably another 10-15 books have to be sold to cover the printing/binding/shipping costs for the physical books.

So, SCCA probably breaks even when they sell 55-65 books.

I would guess that a sustained period of time selling fewer than 50 books per event would lead to SCCA curtailing the stage note program.

I don't have any data on how many books were sold, per event, in 2003.

Not the official accounting you wanted,
- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
>Assuming two equal drivers and two equal cars, one using a
>road book only (driving blind) and one using stage notes,
>the driver running notes would win by a significant margin,
>probably 3-4 seconds per kilometer faster or more.

Not the issue -- everyone either has the option to use them or no one does. People generally like stage notes and we all know we drive faster with them.

>However, it seems your question implies -- if we all just
>ran road books, would be still be equivalently fast in
>relation to one another as we are now, and would the
>fun/expense improve? My opinions are 1) yes and 2) no.

Just to be clear:
-- your opinion is we would be equally fast to each other with everyone using route books
-- and your fun/expense ratio would not improve without notes. Meaning notes are important enough to you that the cost $150 (or more)is acceptable (important).

You added you would quit rallying if Notes were not offered. (Have you done a few rallies without Stage Notes?)

Does anyone else feel so strong about Notes that they would quit rallying if they were not offered?

(We had a few people swear up and down the would rally in the US if we started using notes and I don't believe any of them actually got in a car.)

Thanks Christian,
Mike
 

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I agree completely with Christian's reply. If an event doesn't have notes and/or recce I'm not even considering running that event.
With the speed of TODAY'S WRCars/Open class/group N cars it's just unsafe. I had the opportunity to sit in an Open class car, same driver (Nelson), same tyres, in 2001 without notes and 2002 with notes (Ramada Express). The ride was much safer and FASTER on the second occasion. The style was completely different.
We should think about going forward with rally in N. America, not backwards.
Best Regards,

Alex Gelsomino
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Stage note benefits are simply not debatable. No notes in US rallies, no US rallies for our squad, period. US organizers dropping notes makes about as much safety sense as banning helmets on stage!

Stage note costs are another issue. On one hand, $150 for notes is just one more (pretty small) bill in the pile for each rally...every bit as vital as having the right tires, basic spares, etc. You wanna play, ya gotta pay.

On the other, if organizers don't want to keep doing notes 'cause they're losing money on their production, then adjustments need to be made. If it needs to cost more to do Jemba notes, then we need to just bite it and pay up.,..or find a way to make Jemba surveys less expensive by making trained survey crews and gear more readily available.

...just my $150 worth.


Dave G
LDR Co-Pilote and Recce Fan

"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 

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I have always favored notes because they make my team faster. I never wanted equal competition. I wanted to win, and I believed that if all teams had notes, MY team would still have an advantage. Cost is not an issue. Notes at $150 to $200 are a bargain.

The issue of safety vis-a-vis notes is a red herring. If all notes did was make you safer, no one would pay for them. To call them "Safety Notes", as some countries' ACNs do, is to justify them by way of political correctness. Notes are good because they result in improved stage times. Period.
 

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>Just to be clear:
>-- your opinion is we would be equally fast to each other
>with everyone using route books

Yes, basically. If your biggest rival and you are neck and neck on notes, you're likely to be neck and neck running blind. There are, of course, exceptions -- people who are having a tough time interpreting notes, people who are exceptionally good at notes, local boys who have memorized the roads.

But basically, if everyone went from notes to no notes, I wouldn't expect to see any fundamental shifts in the finishing order. Except the local boys would win more (just like prior to notes)!

>-- and your fun/expense ratio would not improve without
>notes. Meaning notes are important enough to you that the
>cost $150 (or more)is acceptable (important).

Vital. To be fair, I haven't generally paid for my notes, but I have certainly paid my fair share of travel expenses over the years. I would not pay any of my own money to run blind rallies ever again.

In short, I'm sometimes willing to discuss costs with drivers for noted and recced rallies. If you wanted me to run blind, I'd expect to have my expenses covered and to be compensated a daily rate. Blind rallies are just zero fun for the co-driver. I'd rather crew, work a stage, or stay at home.

I think that many co-drivers would agree.

>You added you would quit rallying if Notes were not offered.
> (Have you done a few rallies without Stage Notes?)

I ran the full US series 1998, 1999, and 2001, with the exception of Sno*Drift, each year. And some club events. Maybe 20 blind rallies total.

- Christian "ain't ballast" Edstrom

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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>I have always favored notes because they make my team
>faster. I never wanted equal competition. I wanted to win,
>and I believed that if all teams had notes, MY team would
>still have an advantage. Cost is not an issue. Notes at $150
>to $200 are a bargain.
>
>The issue of safety vis-a-vis notes is a red herring. If all
>notes did was make you safer, no one would pay for them. To
>call them "Safety Notes", as some countries' ACNs do, is to
>justify them by way of political correctness. Notes are good
>because they result in improved stage times. Period.

I think the term "safety notes" smacks of Lawyers and Insurance underwriters so the note generator (or in the American example, everyone related to the note generator (8 generations, think 7th cousins) and everyone who has had any kind of conversation with the note generator in the last 100 years or anyone who might have wanted to talk to him) doesn't get sued if a team has an accident.
 

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I love stage notes, but I'd still run blind if that was the only option. And if we repeat stages (like Prescott '02) I'd make my own danged notes on the first pass so we could go even faster on the second pass. In any case I have to trust the driver before I'd get in the car with them.

I think people should run the first couple of rallies blind so they can learn to read the road (or, in the other seat, learn to read a road book) but after that, give 'em a chance to learn skills that translate to the next level up the ladder.

They're worth the cost.

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
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>Not thinking about competition with the manufacturers, do
>the top independent teams need notes to stay on equal
>footing or could you do just as well with a GOOD route book
>(and save $150.00)?

Mike,

Top Teams should not have a disproportionate say in this matter, so I'm horning in here. As Christian points out, it probably takes 55 to 65 Team purchases per rally for SCCA to break even on cost. If "notes" users aren't paying their own way, then they're receiving a subsidized benefit.(grrr!)

When the facts are known, I would like to see a vote among license holders with ProRally and ClubRally counted separately. (Obviously, my preference is for blind rallies with good route books and saving the money ...especially for ClubRally)

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"
 

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>Top Teams should not have a disproportionate say in this
>matter

Teehee, Alex! We're "Top Teams!" Cool.

> so I'm horning in here. As Christian points out, it
>probably takes 55 to 65 Team purchases per rally for SCCA to
>break even on cost. If "notes" users aren't paying their own
>way, then they're receiving a subsidized benefit.(grrr!)

Given SCCA's long-standing attitude toward subsidizing anything rally-related, I think we can be assured that if the program does not pay for itself, it will be canned in short order. Sanction fees are NOT used to pay for notemaking, and I agree that they shouldn't be. The use fee for notes must pay 100% of the costs of producing the notes.

>(Obviously, my preference is for blind rallies
>with good route books and saving the money ...especially for
>ClubRally)

Well, there we disagree. Well, except maybe ClubRally. I don't run ClubRally on a regular basis, so I wouldn't presume to tell ClubRally competitors which is better for them. I think ClubRally organizers and competitors can sort that out on their own. Even if all stand-alone ClubRallies were non-note events, ClubRally competitors could still learn notes on combined Pro/Club events.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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Wouldn't mandating use of stage notes for all ProRallies help the organizers as then they would only have to make transit route books. The organizers should actually be able to MAKE money, not LOSE it. Wouldn't this help?

I have run on notes, I dont want to go back. It is way more fun. And that's what it's all about, right? I dont think any of us are getting rich off this...

If it meant that we must travel further, spend more & compete only in ProRally companion Club events in order to use notes, that's what we'll do. ALthough I'd still support our local Club rally(Cadillac).

It's worth the dough.

:)

JC
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>Wouldn't mandating use of stage notes for all ProRallies
>help the organizers as then they would only have to make
>transit route books. The organizers should actually be able
>to MAKE money, not LOSE it. Wouldn't this help?

The organizers still have to make road books for the stage note crew to follow, but they could be simpler.

If you look at a WRC road book, they show only junctions on stages. They contain the same level of detail as our road books on transits. This might cut organizer effort slightly, at least.

Historically, SCCA mandates haven't been popular, but it does raise an interesting question!

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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>Given SCCA's long-standing attitude toward subsidizing
>anything rally-related, I think we can be assured that if
>the program does not pay for itself, it will be canned in
>short order. Sanction fees are NOT used to pay for
>notemaking, and I agree that they shouldn't be. The use fee
>for notes must pay 100% of the costs of producing the notes.

Christian,

Actually, I'm more concerned about the ClubRally Program subsidizing the cost of "notes" for ProRally out of misplaced desire. There is no end to the debate over the liability or benifit to a ClubRally competitor using notes.

But there is no question that it raises the cost of ClubRally participation and that's bad for the ClubRally Program. Some ClubRally competitors are hooked on them now. Maybe some of them should run ProRally instead since they don't seam to mind the increased cost. But overall, the increased cost is bad for the entry level ClubRally PROGRAM.

Christian (with your PRB hat on) I hope the PRB sees this issue.

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"
 

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>If you look at a WRC road book, they show only junctions on
>stages. They contain the same level of detail as our road
>books on transits. This might cut organizer effort
>slightly, at least.

VERY slightly, and certainly it wouldn't cut costs enough for the organizers to supply notes WITHOUT CHARGING FOR THEM. And I don't think the ClubRally folks - and ProRally folks who can't afford notes - would sit still for that.

The notes program has been separately funded...that is, the amount taken in is intended to pay for the notes produced. As long as that policy is maintained, there shouldn't be any fear of ClubRally (or any other funding) subsidizing the notes for ProRally. This is why I asked the question about cost...the price of everything seems to go up every year, and there's no reason to suspect notes will be any different.

Bruce
 
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