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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
STOP THE MADNESS!

For many reasons we all know intuitively, the duplication of effort in putting on rallies in North America has to stop!
Rallies are suffering, organizers are suffering, entrants are suffering and the competition is worse than ever.
We?re following three or more web sites, comparing rules, buying licences and in the end, competition and the sport is compromised.
To see this in action, compare the entries for Oregon Trails and Rally New York.
Now imagine those entries merged.

CARS is in turmoil but with active member clubs, elections and committees in place, things will work out.
NASA Rally Sport and Rally America are just being run from the hip.
Individuals with personal visions and goals are leaving competitors and organizers to float around shopping for what they hope is the best for their situation.
The US and Canada in one big series may be too much to ask and the FIA may forbid it, but that would be the ideal situation.
?-
Face it guys, you?re battling for 200 (realistically) entrants over 3.5 million square miles - add Canada and that?s 300 entrants over seven million sq. mi.
?-
Everyone blames the other for lack of communication.
Please, just get over it and consolidate.
You?ll get more sleep and may get to have fun again.

---

Because I've decided this is an important topic, against all Internet rules, I'm posting this in four places; Special Stage, Rally America, NASA and Guide Auto.

Am I the only one ?
rz
 

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This may not be relevent to what Randy is saying. I watched the Ramada Express coverage last night for the 2004 event. I am in the US rally community and found myself confused about vehicle classes and series'. Between what was presented on the cars in the video and what is presented by the announcers in the audio.


Matt Smith
www.fireantracing.com
Viva NASA Rallysport
 

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www.christianedstrom.com
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Randy, I'm sure you're not the only one, but cross-posting to 5 different places is bound to stifle, not encourage, comment.

I'd follow up on the other boards and point the discussion here, since this is not a strict NASA or Rally America issue.

BTW, I'm not sure that I agree, but I'm not going to respond on 5 bulletin boards... :)

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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The fact that this had to posted 5 different places reinforces his point. That is the point. I hear you loud and clear Randy, 1 set of documents, 1 rule book, one sanctioning body (not the fia).

Brandon
 

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Sometimes too much choice is just that--too much.

The fragmentation of rally series in North America makes it harder than ever to a privateer team on a modest budget to find (and stick to) a series that makes sense. I'll use our ouwn group as an example. We are a small team from the far corner of the universe (Maine), largely self-funded, that runs two cars in 3 different series in two countries. Heck, my co-driver and I need 3 licenses apiece. This is clearly too much of a good thing.

CARS--we are running the full program, or at least 5 of 6 events. I'm codriving in our Open class '98 WRX. Fine, CARS is a whole series that stands on its own and has a nice cross-border component with the North Ameican Rally Cup. Except that now the NARC includes NASA events that we're unlikely to run with the WRX 'cause I'm doing NASA as a driver in second car...

NASA--I will be driving ESRC events in our '94 2.5 RS. NASA's P2 Open class for normally aspirated cars holds great appeal for home-built frankenstein but simple sturdy Subarus like our dear Tulip 1. Great, except that many ESRC events are in the Deep South where the time/distance commitments of traveling from Maine are simply outside my budget.

RA---We will run 1 or 2 national-level rallies with the WRX (our home event Maine Forest for one) , and a couple Northeastern club, um I mean regional, rallies with the RS. Here, the non-turbo car ends up against ground-pawing boost-monsters so the chance of scoring points is essentially zero...but at least we can gain satisfation from spanking as many turbo cars as possible.

What this means is that it's nigh-on impossible for a regional team to run a season's worth of events in one complete series. This situation is especially noticeable in the Northeast, where the available slate of events (and the available field of entants) is split between all 3 sanctioning bodies.

All this is a long-winded way of saying, "hellyes, I agree with rz!" Meanwhile, we just run as many rallies as we can scrape up the $$$ to attend.

Dave G
www.lastditchracing.net

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

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Nicely put Dave. And I'm not just agreeing because Dave keeps me out of the pucker brush on stage! ;-)

Many people ask us if we're running the US championship this year. The answer is no because of the cost of transport and distance.

Just calculating fuel costs to Calgary for the Rocky Mountain Rally and it's a bit North of $1,200 for the tow rig. Folks might counter that if we can afford to run Rocky, we can afford to travel to Oregon, Rim or Ramada etc. The reality is that Rocky is important to us because we CAN campaign the entire CARS championship for much less money and stress than any other series in North America(Plus we love Canadian Rallies and our fellow rallyists North of the border are fantastic!).

The above is both an endorsement of the CARS championship and a comment about how difficult it is to campaign in the US in any way that makes sense.

Not only is it difficult for us to make event decsisions on a team level, it's extremely difficult to educate our team partners about what each series is and what it means to them.

Give me a spec series, with car transport built into the cost of participating and I'll seriously consider it.

For now, I'm sticking with the only sure thing I've known in the past 5 years, the Canadian Rally Championship. Even with the recent upheavals there, it's still the only consistent in the sport.

With increasing demands on time, fuel costs mounting, fields dwindling, there are going to be more and more rallyists who think harder about where their disposable income goes.

Cheers! John
 

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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It was only four, not five.
And YES! that is exactly the point!
There aren't enough competitors to make it necessary to have so many choices, even in message boards.
I went to RA, NASA and GuideAuto and posted an edit as follows...

"edit:
because this is a big issue and should have some great comments and perhaps... solutions.
Please post replys at:
www.specialstage.com
Thanks"
 

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OK, so it's clear what the problem is...now how about some positive options to fix it?

Here in the Northeast, for most teams the biggest issue is lack of cohesive regional series to tackle. So here are some solutions:

#1: have NASA put on Northeast States Rally Series--Maine to Ohio/PA regions. The Northeast has the USA's largest concentration of rally teams, this idea should be a no-brainer

#2; Have RA put on a strong Northeast regional series a la WSRC, CRS, etc. Again, the Northeast offers a strong customer base for a series like this.

#3: Have RA and NASA team up to do #s 1 and 2 above...(snowball's chance?)

#4: Have somebody fund us $50k a season to keep things going the way they are so we can keep driving all over creation and running in 3 different series just to get some fun rallies done....


Dave G
www.lastditchracing.net


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

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straight at T
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>Right, and now we can go have 5 separate discussions about
>it. That'll also be helpful.
>
>But what the hell, let's get the discussion started - beyond
>Papal decree, what do you think the sanctioning bodies should
>do?

As a starting point, attempt to bring all the rulebooks in line. Make event operations, event definitions, timing systems, signage, car classes, and preparation/safety rules common.

With common class rules, this wouldn't preclude a series from having a specialist class, as long as it was a subset of one of the common classes.

Note that this would need a mechanism to prevent the rulebooks from diverging again.

Adrian
 

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eating dust taking photos
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First off, I do not disagree with you Randy, look back about 5 months to posts and you'll see I was advocating the same thing.

What would be ideal is:

A 6 event North America championship.

Pierce Niege
Cherokee
Baie
Pikes Peak
Rally New York/Rim
LSPR/Maine


All of the said events are also part of a regional or national series.

In the US there is NO REASON, especially with atleast one series having an acutal marketing firm under contract, to not be able to get the sports profile large enough to get some sponsorship $$$ or transportation sponsorship to transport vehicles and teams from rally to rally. Heck there were teams with transport sponsorship lets get some deal going for the championship now.



You have to have a legitimate regional championship, but I think we can agree in the US because of the size you need to have enough rallies in about 5 regions to make this happen. SO....

You need 5 regions, one north east, one south east, one midwest, one southwest and one northwest. Something needs to be done so there are 4-6 events for each of these regions, and oh yeah, people have to attend or work at events from two different regions before they can win a regional championship.


For a US national championship, 6 or 7 events with 5 counting for the championship.

You need to include Rim and PPIHC because of their profile (few if any rally events offer the access to the market or the exposure as these events and national championship teams need a high profile). You need atleast one snow rally and one tarmac rally, there are only two of those looking like they will currently happen so that makes 4 events, it would be good to have one more in the midwest, either LSPR or Ojibwe, and you need either Rally New York or Maine.

So the US championship should look something like this:
SnoDrift (or if someone comes up with a competiting snow rally deal with that then)
Rally Tenessee (is there another tarmac rally, heck, should we really consider rally tenessee a tarmac rally for that matter?)
Rim of the World
PPIHC
LSPR/Ojibwe
Rally New York/Maine

and maybe something like Wild West, Oregon, demottes roads in Mizzery, or cherokee as the 7th event. A tow fund or transport support is critical to this being a legit idea.



As for canada, why mess with it except bringing in more money to it?


<nomex and kevlar on>
 

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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Picking events to form a championship isn't the problem, it is the sanctioning and administration that is lacking.
When the rules have to be coordinated between three different entities, when TV and marketing is duplicated, insurance duplicated, points- keeping duplicated, forms, banners, timing, EVERYTHING done two and three times over. As far as I know, everyone gets along and isn't mad at anyone, so why not do yourselves and us a favor and pick up the phone DOUG and JOHN and start figuring out how to reduce your workload and make the sport work for you and us both. There will be a couple weeks worth of ideas and then a meeting of each group. I hope some discussion takes place before, during and after the 16th.
Look at the event, see where you needed something better and see if the other guys could fill that gap.
Bad things take no effort, good things usually do.
rz
 

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I agree and said so last October. I had hoped that with the SCCA dropping the ball, that at least RA and NASA could get together and form one group. But for whatever reason it didn't happen (would love to know more about the discussions concerning that, or lack thereof, between the 2 groups). So rather than have RA not pick up the ball, I felt it was best to not push the point too much. What can we the entrants do to encourage resolution of what Randy brought up? The whole licensing issue is getting very expensive ($200 extra at Cherokee for driver and co-driver to get a USAC license for example!) If I had know that ahead of time it would have impacted my decision.
 

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Imagine all the people...
<sung like Lennon>

Seriously, imagine the competition if all of us could focus on one series, be it national, or Continental.

Imagine the following:
Open class:
-Seamus
-Iorio
-Buffum(occassionally?)
-Drislane
-ONeil (maybe)
-Choinere (Maine at least)
-Jardeval
-O'sullivan
-Havir
-Lawless
-ACP
-Gilligan
-Cassidy
-Hintz
-Sprongle
-Eklund
-Plsek
-Styles
-Workum
-L'Estage
-Martin (c'mon Dennis, y'know you wanna put it back together)
-Zimmer

Group N:
-Travis
-Block
-Pat R
-Bottoms
-Bacon
-Otis D
-Henry K
-Wyeth G
-McElduff
-Utecht
-Mitchell
-Thomson
-Losier

PGT:
-Tanner
-Verdier
-Matthew Johnson
-Moberly
-Moro
-Pilon
-JC(haha)
-Langbien
-Thomas
-LaBrie

Group 5:
-Lurch
-Whiteman
-Shepard
-Davis
-Havas
-Havas 2
-Heredos
-and more...

Group 2:
-Olson
-Nichols
-Himes
-Cizmas
-Bailey
-Olsen
-L'Estage
-Bottles
-etc...

I think the point is made. There would be much more incentive for me personally to drive farther if the series were slimmed down & combined. Right now, I am looking at cost/mile/seat time first and formost. Next year, we will try for some sort of Championship. If we had 10 or 11 events total, it would give more visablity to faster teams & would be more marketable for certain.

However, that would be at the cost of some venues losing their rallies at a minimum every over year.

And, some of those venues do not have the capabilty to handle a 100 car field. Heck, some struggle with 50 car fields.

As a competitor on a miniscual budget, it would help us long term. But, less events means less organizer competition, so costs would undoubtadly rise, which would suck.

Wow. What a waste of a post by me, huh? I guess I have no clue how to fix this.
:)

JC
#595
www.gnimotorsports.com
 

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It's inevitable in this discussion that particulars being suggested will reflect personal opinions/circumstances/axes-to-grind including car classing, rally locations, events chosen to make up a given championship etc.

Before getting that far, and considering that most things happen with a first step, I agree with Adrian that nothing can be done until there is some commonality in the rule books (one rule book!!), licensing, timing, event mgt. etc..

Once this happens, the more in depth discussions become more fruitful simply because the outcomes actually become possible.

Robin
 

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I'm all for car safety regs closer together..they're really already pretty close.

I'm all for getting along and working together.

But Randy, are you sure we should return to keeping all of our eggs in one basket?
 
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To paraphrase Mark Twain, the news of US rallying's demise has been
highly exaggerated.

I have no intention to get into an Internet war over this. However:

1. I still remember National rallies under SCCA tutelage in not
so distant past with 13 or 17 entries.
2. It would be pretty hard to merge Oregon and Rally New York
entries due to the simple fact that the events are 3,000 miles apart.
It has been a well known fact, supported by historical data from
years of National Championships, that only a handful of competitors
has the wherewithal and inclination to travel cross country to
an event let alone several times during the season.
3. As for sanctioning bodies allegedly being run "from the hip", I can say
from my own experience with NASA Rally Sport that the level
of rule making, safety, organizing and promotion exceeds anything we
have ever seen under 35 years of SCCA tutelage. I would like to assume
that the same is true for Rally America.
4. I believe that US rallying has benefited from the latest
developments and will benefit even more in the future from
efforts by NASA Rally Sport and Rally America. While working
within the framework of NASA Rally Sport, I have had personal
contacts with people at Rally America and I am looking forward
to working with them and maintaining these contacts.
5. On the other hand, just yesterday I received a call from an
oldtimer who is waiting for one of the sanctioning bodies to go out of
business so he can join the remaining one. Such expectations are
premature and misguided. They are also not constructive.
6. I do not subscribe to the romantic view of a small rallying
"community" in the United States and North America that is not
large enough to support two sanctioning bodies and has to huddle
together just to survive and avoid "duplication". There is no "duplication"
and, moreover, huddling together is not going to create more
events, bring more competitors, spectators, sponsors or media
interest. We have suffered from this huddling together for too long.
We are suffering from the legacy of decades of "playing" in
the backwoods, just for fun, hidden from the public, from the media
and from potential sponsors. "You and the bears" remark was
exactly to the point.

Today, we have set out to change this: This is the time to go out and
publicize and promote our events properly, attract sponsors,
generate spectator and media interest and work together with
local governments and local civic and business organizations in a way
that has never been done before. At Rally New York, we have had
consistently over many years 50 to 65 entries. Just look at our calendar
of events at www.RallyNewYork.com. While some other countries have
many more licensed competitors, they also have an event every weekend
(Finland) and 10 to 15 different Championships (UK).

This is a huge continent with excellent potential for the sport of rallying.
If we succeed in promoting rallying in North America, this sport will
experience huge growth over the next decade.

Regards,

Ivan Orisek
 

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eating dust taking photos
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Conversations like these always seem to come easier when there is some additional sort of goal.

You don't come to the bargaining table to have a nice conversation, you come with a set goal in mind and hash out the details to make that goal a reality. I neglected to touch on the majority of those intermediary details that get us from where we are to where we might hope to end up.


Interestingly enough nobody has slammed my event selections so far!
 
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