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This was the intro message in an e-mail to the BoD and others. The detailed letter is below. If replying to this message, you may want to strip out all the unneeded quoted text.

Subject: Suspension of all Solo II Events

Dear SCCA Board of Directors,

When a tragic accident happened several years ago that took the lives of two people (one of whom was a "civilian"), the Solo II program was not suspended. When road racing accidents happen, we don't cancel our Regional road racing programs.

Immediate restoration of ClubRally activity is needed in order to prevent irreparable harm to ProRally, ClubRally, and the many SCCA regions and members affected by this suspension. In particular, the SCCA's next ClubRally, Dryad Quest/Shitepoke, will suffer serious financial and political harm if it's not allowed to run under an SCCA sanction.

You have the power to keep our rally program alive without suspending rally activities by implementing a suggestion described by Tom Campbell in his letter of 17 May 2003, by deploying ProRally oversight staff at upcoming ClubRally events.

Suspending the ClubRally program while we analyze the Sawmill situation is like shutting off the engines of a 747 while the pilot analyzes a landing gear problem. I urge you to keep the engines running while we work to further improve safety in the sport.

Attached is a letter explaining in greater detail how we can use Tom Campbell's idea to immediately restore ClubRally operations. Please give it careful consideration as time is of the essence if we wish to avert irreparable damage to the sport and the SCCA as a whole.

Sincerely,

John Dillon
Member #155874

cc: PRB, Cal Club RE, others

[hr]
Detailed letter attached to my e-mail message.

Dear SCCA Board of Directors,

Executive summary:

When a tragic accident happened several years ago that took the lives of two people (one of whom was a "civilian"), the Solo II program was not suspended. When road racing accidents happen, we don't cancel our Regional road racing programs. Immediate restoration of ClubRally activity is needed in order to prevent irreparable harm to ProRally, ClubRally, and the many SCCA regions and members affected by this suspension. In particular, the SCCA's next ClubRally, Dryad Quest/Shitepoke, will suffer serious financial and political harm if it's not allowed to run under an SCCA sanction.

You have the power to keep our rally program alive without suspending rally activities by implementing a suggestion described by Tom Campbell in his letter of 17 May 2003, by deploying ProRally oversight staff at upcoming ClubRally events.

Suspending the ClubRally program while we analyze the Sawmill situation is like shutting off the engines of a 747 while the pilot analyzes a landing gear problem. I urge you to keep the engines running while we work to further improve safety in the sport.

Details:

Several years ago a tragic accident occurred at a Solo II event that took the lives of two people. The SCCA did the right thing by 1) immediately helping the bereaved family members and the Solo II family as a whole; 2) launching an investigation into the accident and identifying ways to prevent such a tragedy in the future; and 3) continuing, without interruption, this facet of our club that provides entry level participation for many of our newest members. Fortunately for the SCCA, the Board at that time exercised restraint and did NOT suspend all Solo II events.

A week ago another tragic accident occurred at another SCCA entry level event, the Sawmill rally. Once again the SCCA did the right thing by helping the families and launching an investigation to identify ways to prevent such a tragedy in the future. Unfortunately, the Board has been given input suggesting that ClubRally events should be suspended until the results of those investigations are complete, even though ClubRallies and ProRallies are essentially identical.

Club and Pro rallies are made up of the same competitors, same workers, same organizers, same rules, same officials and in many cases the same roads. In short, there are only minor differences between Club and Pro events. Pro events have more spectators. Pro events have generally the same teams that compete in the Club events, but race at greater speeds (because of stage notes). The Pro events get television coverage. Manufacturers pay a big chunk of money to run the Pro events.

Solution:

Tom Campbell wrote, "It was decided that the ProRally events, including any concurrent ClubRallies, could continue because of a higher degree of national-level control and oversight." While the true definition and value of "oversight" is open to interpretation since it's the same group of people putting on both Club and Pro events, this provides you with an opportunity to allow the immediate resumption of ClubRallies while meeting the requirements you've placed on the PRB.

In short, immediately resume ClubRally activities by sending the same ProRally safety people to upcoming ClubRally events while everyone studies ways to further improve our sport. These potential travelers might include the Pro Rally Safety Steward, the Pro Rally Series Steward, and (maybe) the Pro Rally Technical Director. The other SCCA officials that routinely appear at "Pro" events don't normally contribute to safety, but they would certainly be welcome.

Conclusion:

You have the power to address the issues resulting from the sad events in Pennsylvania. You have the power to do it in a positive, visionary manner, by confronting it head on while allowing our rally programs, both Club and "Pro," to continue. Last September Steve Johnson wrote, "The SCCA is fully committed to the growth of ClubRally in the U.S." We all count on you to enable this growth, for the betterment of the sport and the SCCA. Suspending ClubRally now jeopardizes the future of all performance rally and the SCCA as a whole.

Please restore our ClubRally program immediately while we all work to further improve the safety of our sport.

Sincerely,

John Dillon
Member #
Former SCCA ClubRally Steward
Road Racing Worker

Appendix: The importance of rally, both Club and Pro, to the SCCA:

I urge you to re-assess the suspension of ClubRally activities. While I know there are those in the SCCA who would like to eliminate rally completely from our ranks, I think you all recognize the importance of our rally programs, both club and pro. Here's a short summary:

ClubRallies have a strong, positive organizational and financial impact on the individual SCCA regions and the club as a whole.

ClubRallies have a strong, positive financial impact in the communities where they're held. For example, Shelton, Washington will stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if Dryad's Quest/Shitepoke is canceled.

This significant financial impact helps place the SCCA in a positive light with the local community while at the same time increasing awareness of our club and its many benefits.

Eliminating ClubRallies jeopardizes the relationships between organizers and land owners.

Eliminating ClubRallies leaves the SCCA regions at risk, not only for financial losses due to cancellation fees and other binding promises, but also for loss of good will within the community. For example, if DQ/S is cancelled, the region may be left several thousand dollars in debt while the community stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Rallying itself is the fastest growing segment in the SCCA. Stopping ClubRallies will abort that growth and even drive the youth of our club away to competing organizations such as NASA, USAC, and others.

Singling out ClubRallies while leaving ProRallies in place makes no sense. There are some that would argue that ProRallies answer to a higher standard of "organizational excellence." However, you should realize that the workers, the competitors, the rules, and most importantly, the organizers are the same for both ClubRallies and ProRallies. The only significant differentiation between the two is the television package, manufacturer involvement, increased number of spectators at the "Pro" level, and higher speeds of cars thanks in part to Stage Notes.

Suspending or eliminating ClubRally, the feeder series for ProRally, puts at risk substantial financial support from present and future SCCA-wide sponsors.

Suspending ClubRally events will lead to the elimination of ProRally events.

The manufacturers have put a significant investment into our sport. If we cancel our ClubRally programs, we are taking away a big reason they're using our club for marketing, which in turn will cost us many thousands of dollars. How much are they putting into the sport now, $50,000, $100,000?

You have a huge pool of talent available to identify ways to make rallying even safer--simply ask the competitors. Many good suggestions have already been proposed informally.

None of us want to ever see a repeat of the accident at Sawmill last weekend. All of us are willing to work even harder to minimize the risks associated with all forms of motorsport, not just rallying. Meanwhile, we need to keep the program alive.

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

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John,

Personally, I could not write a better letter in any sort of timely fashon. What would be an appropreate way to send a "yea, what he said" letter to the SCCA BOD?

I dont really have anything to add to your letter, I just want to add another voice...
 

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This is good stuff. The pessimist/cynic in me says that it will make no difference, as admitting to having been hasty & incorrect has never been the SCCA way. The optimist says, "Maybe they'll let things calm down for a month or two, & then trot this out as their own idea". The latter is possible.

The unfortunate thing is that believing there will be immediate action is to lump oneself with Pollyanna & Julie Andrews.
 

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RE: My letter to SCCA

John,

I copied the first half of your letter and then added my own thoughts and sent to the SCCA, PRB et. al. yesterday.

I received a prompt reply which was personalized and encouraging.

Although I do not agree with all the various actions taken (or subsequently NOT taken), I know the PRB is listening and reacting and trying to do what is best.

Pe

Paul "primitive" Eklund
 

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>Sincerely,
>
>John Dillon
>Member #155874
>
>

Once again John, your eloquent words are fitting! I can only concur....

Thank you for writing a letter that many of us will plagiarize!

Teresa:)
 

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John,

A very eloquent and constructive letter. Particularly good comments about the effects on the local communities. Additionally, we had formed several new relationships for Dryad, which will be in jeopardy if it is canceled.

Unfortunately, I fear your proposed solution will not work to save Dryad. Both Dryad and STPR are scheduled on June 7th, so all the "Pro" safety folks will be on the other side of the country that weekend.

Rick
 
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