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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was posted in the Canada section, but it applies here....

From here:
http://www.specialstage.com/forum/cgi-bin/DCForumID4/696.html#14

>>>>
People are fond of pointing out that the top down approach didn't work. But I can counter that the bottom up approach hasn't worked either (we tried if for years before KS in the states).

Question for ya. What specifically needs to be done to encourage the "backbone"?
<<<<


Stage rally in the United States worked just fine for 25 years before Kurt Spitzner and his cheerleaders destroyed the whole thing and SCCA kicked stage rally out!!!

Since Spitzner and his cheerleaders went nuts the costs of rally increased exponentially due to the greed, lack of foresight, and complete disregard for anyone except the well financed (personally or by sponsorship). The costs of rally have hurt no one, except the "backbone".

This luncacy of more sponsors, more money, more speed, more rich guys HAS TO BE STOPPED, or stage rally will cease to exist in the United States for anyone except the very rich or those who want to play in a stadium.

If you want to race professionally with pretty stickers and pretty girls go play in NASCAR, F1, or something else.... anything but rally!

Boys and girls, this path will lead to the doom of stage rally in the U.S. and you will be responsible if you don't work to stop the lunacy NOW!
 

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Interesting points Jens.

Part of the problem is that there are two different schools of thought, that are very different, but they don't have to be.


The problem is that people want to see people be able to rally, but they can't agree on how to make that happen. A bottom up approach makes far more sense as a community but how do we do that?

Some people feel that it's to best build up from the bottom and that cheaper cars and cheaper classes (i.e. more exciting classes that are cheaper) hold the answers.
This is good and you'd be hard pressed to find people that, atleast on some level, don't agree with these thoughts

On the other side people don't see costs coming down from within. They see the solution as being facilitating competitors and the series finding outside sources of funding to help bring down costs.
Thinking objectively this makes a lot of sense, the problem is how? Historically we as the rally community have made far too many concessions and this has lead people to be very leary of this method.

So where does that leave us?

The answer might as well be sitting on our thumbs bickering but it doesn't have to.

Both solutions hold the key, not separately but together.

How do we save rallying then? At this point in time rallying is not likely to survive on its own, cheaper competition and subsidized expenses are very much inclusive solutions to this problem. We as a rally community need to find a way to produce a cheaper, more exciting, and professional product. Structuring classes that facilitate cars with a reasonable budget (cheap sounds so bad), like Group F or a onemake/spec series, provides a venue for more teams to become involved because of less finanfial commitment and more teams to be able to push harder at events providing more exciting driving. At the same time we as a community need to be more aware of our appearance too. I know its Spitzneresque but we need to make more of an effort to present a more professional appearance. Cars with mutliple colored (non paint scheme) body panels, rust, huge dents and other prominent cosmetic blemishes need to be addressed, if not for rules but for pride. I understand the cost implications of this, appearances don't have to be prestine but the current state of affairs is dissapointing in many cases.
Measures like Dennis mentioned would be great as well. More group buys and more efforts to cut other expenses certainly wouldn't hurt either.

This brings me to an other issue. The majority of rally teams, save a select few, do them selves a drstic disservice by under promoting themselves as well. Very few teams do anything to continue to try to gain themselves exposure or further build that sponsor relationship. Simple press releases would be huge, but so many teams don't feel they should have to do it, or worse, that they can't do it. Its not rocket science people, I promise.

So we now have cheaper classes (for now, this too with time will change), a bigger effort to maintain a respectable appearnce, and teams doing some self promotion, this leaves outside funding.

Before we go looking for sponsorship we as a community need to determine what type of product we want rally to be, then act accordingly. This means changes in classes, cars, appearances, the works. Once we find this product we need to actively seek out a company that can beneffit from being involved with our product, not just some company we can benefit from. At times we have over promised or over adapted and have in the end been left feeling neglected and used, or worse we see a sponsor/supporter go because we can't find a way to deliver their product.


Promotion and sponsorship are not evil, but they are not a catch all, end all solution either. Additionally we are not longer in a situation where we can sigfiniganty cut our costs on our own, we need to find ways to facilitate cheaper and tighter competition but this will not solve our problems. Sponsorship and the press/promotion can be excellent tools, we as a community need to harness these tools, and when combined with other internal measures like cheaper classes (I'm not sold on GF but its a huge step and if subscribed to could be incredible) and a higher level of driving ability (driver devellopment and education) we approach the complete solution.


It is not my intent in writing this to make readers believe I think they are wrong, or that I know more. I simply am presenting thoughts from an often over looked and untapped vantage point. Hopefully instead of being divided into two different camps we can find a way to come together and find a complete solution, one that utilizes all the tools available to us. I believe this is the road to longevitiy and virilitiy in the rally community. At somepoint we must stop being so critical and being working on solutions, we have gone from overwhelming optimism, to grave pesimism, it is now time to truly come together and work towards are future in a way we have never before attempted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
>Jens, did you see this?
>
>http://www.rally-america.com/news/RA_M360release11_9a.html


Now I have. And, this too....

http://www.m360.com/

They have a video tour of their production offices. Rally meets MTV. Rally America can do whatever they want with "ProRally"; that is their right. For all intents and purposes they now own it.

The only thing Rally America cannot control is the rally workers. That assumes some free booze and t-shirts aren't enough to blow worker's skirts up as it has been previously.

Workers unite. You are the only people left that can save rally from the corporate machine.
 

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That's right folks. If we can't have it exactly the way Jens wants it, then help him kill it.

Our sport is facing serious challenges. Meeting these challenges will require the best efforts of everyone: competitor, organizer, worker, and car builder. Together we will succeed. Thousands of rally fans are quietly working year round to make our sport succeed. There is no room, however, for anyone who would stand in the wings and take potshots at everyone and everything. Rally could use your help too, Jens. All you need to do is work a rally, help plan a rally, compete in a rally, or just come and see what we(those listed above) are doing.

Rally America and M360 are moving toward making rally in the US more inclusive and(hopefully) less expensive. They are staffed with bright people who have faced similar challenges and met them. To pronounce them "bad", knowing nothing about what they are doing may be expedient, but it is really only the uninformed opinion of someone who hasn't done his homework. I didn't use the word ignorant, Jens, because I know you are not.
 

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>This was posted in the Canada section, but it applies
>here....
>
>From here:
>http://www.specialstage.com/forum/cgi-bin/DCForumID4/696.html#14
>
>>>>>
>People are fond of pointing out that the top down approach
>didn't work. But I can counter that the bottom up approach
>hasn't worked either (we tried if for years before KS in the
>states).
>
>Question for ya. What specifically needs to be done to
>encourage the "backbone"?
><<<<
>
>
>Stage rally in the United States worked just fine for 25
>years before Kurt Spitzner and his cheerleaders destroyed
>the whole thing and SCCA kicked stage rally out!!!
>
>Since Spitzner and his cheerleaders went nuts the costs of
>rally increased exponentially due to the greed, lack of
>foresight, and complete disregard for anyone except the well
>financed (personally or by sponsorship). The costs of rally
>have hurt no one, except the "backbone".
>

Jens, like I said in the rest of my post over there, there is no "fluff". The organizers are running things as efficiently as possible. Heck, we don't even get free beer at the party anymore! If you don't believe me, than ask any organizer and they'll tell you. The point is that this is what it costs to rally in the US. It would have gotten here with or without KS. (The argument that KS is any way responsible for any of the recent rally accidents is ludicrous.)

COSTS WILL NOT GO DOWN. That's just a fact. Blame it on whatever you want (I choose greedy insurance companies), but the fact remains that we have a high fixed cost of operation. Would you rather the competitors shoulder the entire burden of those costs, or should we try and get someone else to pay for them? I, like most competitors, can't afford to pay them, so I'll support any effort to schlep that stuff off onto sponsors. That's why I'll support RA, M360 (my God, they might even profit, the horror), NASA, CARS, RDG, USAC, and anyone else who is trying to something positive for the sport of Rally in the NA.

BTW, one thing to keep in mind. RA is NOT using "our" money to do any of this. They are using they're money. Look at everything RA has done so far, and has anybody (other than DCH of course) given RA a dime? I swear some of would turn down a glass of water if you were dying in the desert for fear that it might be poisoned.

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
>That's right folks. If we can't have it exactly the way Jens
>wants it, then help him kill it.

Fer Chrissakes, Joe! I'm not trying to kill it! It (RA) is the only thing that can save U.S. rally at the moment.

What I am saying is: Workers are the only group that cannot be contolled. They should unite as a group IN THE EVENT rally starts going off in an unexpected direction.

The "good ol' days" are gone. I understand that. They will never return. However, I watched Kurt Spitzner and his crew with their delusions of grandeur run PRO RALLY into the ground. It made me angry then. Now it makes me angry and sad.

I read the letter that Niday sent out to organizers. For the most part I agree with it. That isn't to say I agree with everything. I'm no longer in the game, so what I want or don't want is not an issue.

It is important that RA be watched carefully. I am NOT suggesting RA is doing anything wrong. I am saying that they should be watched, because rally in the U.S. is hanging by a thread!!! All it might take to kill it permanently is one civilian death out in the forest. That could end it for everyone.

I wish Spitzner and his cheerleaders had not gone the direction they did, however that is water under the bridge. What happens next is up to the competitors, workers, and RA. I hope everyone learned lessons from the Spitzner era, and I hope RA succeeds.
 

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Hi Jens et al,

Well, here we go again! As always there is a bit of truth to all the posts so far......

1) Costs of cars has gone up due to the increase in numbers of high-performance AWD cars. We could push the ole Starion almost to the top 10 in '99 MFR; not much of a prayer of doing that now. There are a lot more high $$ cars now, in just 5 years time. No way that trend will be turned back. A big part of that is that we are competitors, and of the hardware is there someone will go for it to gain the advantage, and the escalation starts. In this case, as Pogo said: "We have met the enemy, and they are us." I don't see us truning bakc the clock and loweinf this expense item.
2) Cost of events have gone up by a relatively low margin by comparison to events 25 years ago. It cost $250-350 in the late 70's to enter events like Northern Lights, HIS, Sunriser, and 100 Acre Wood. I WOULD like to see event costs lower (hence part of my affinity for ESRC). But I am not holding my breath for that to happen. There may be some fluff going into organizer fianacial support for their own travel and subsistance costs, but I doubt that this can be removed, and may not even be fair to them anyway.
3) As for KS, he saw things in a marketing way, and proved himself to be fairly insensitive to the greater raly community. (He had displayed this tendency in past efforts so deserves some criticism for his alienation of a good number of folks.) IMO, he tried to push things towards a biz basis, in part to support his own organization's costs, which is a sensible biz position. He just made a lot of folks mad along the way, misunderstood the rally community as it existed, and underestimated the whole problem.
4) KS did not change the whole biz versus hooby thing in rallying. This was going on in a quiet way for a long time. Some shops like Libra, TAD, and VSC HAVE established themselves as viable biz concerns over the years (sorry, I am sure I have left out a good many deserving biz companies; my apologies; I am just citing examples). They did this by building a customer base and not by trying to push others out or change the overall dyanmic of the situation to the disadvantage of anyone. They just pushed forward with their own biz plan and made it work in the environment that existed.

Point 4 is the one that I will hold up to DM, Kevin, and others who want to get better and more sponsors. Guys, right now, the vast bulk of this enterprise in not supported by biz based teams. It is supported by the entries and spending of the hobby/sportman teams. I think it is a fallacy in thinking that if somehow we 'clean up' the cars, then there will be a magical effect on the allure to sponsors. Guys, in my opinion, if you cannot make a biz plan work in the existing environment, then the biz plan is doomed to not work anyway. Any biz plan has to be good enough to work in the existing marketplace, and you don't have the control over the other teams to make significant changes to the overall situation without taking a KS-esque approach, which may possibly alienate a bunch of folks, and we will start back down that contentious path that we just recently left.

I see this all this time in the wireless industry, when a vendor tries to somehow control things in the market that are in the control of multiple vendors and customers. If you are not one of the giants (like Lucent or Motorola), you don't even have a prayer. And even the giants usually fail! Single car rally teams in the US are not in the position to have any control over the situation, and even a consortium of top teams and middling teams would have a hard time; their postion in controlling the overall purse strings that run the show at this time would not allow it.

And, I can't think of any benefit to me and other hobby competitors to paint our cars better or in a different way, or pay for uniforms for our crews, or any of the spiffy stuff that is being discussed. Why should I spend my $$ to benefit anyone's sponsorship effort, as much as I like and value all of you as good rally folks?

The theme in the next-to-last paragraph leads me to where I think Jens' suspicions are raised: is there a conspiracy to somehow unite a group of top and middilng teams to exert control over the situation? Or is there a possiblity for a large sponsor to come in and tell us that we have to implement the 'vision thing', and paint our cars with polka-dots? My present personal opinion is no. But, that was my initial position when KS came into the picture; I was waiting and hopeful. I later decided that my interests were not being served, and I being 'anti-vision'.

IMO, the powers-that-be in NASA and RA have experienced the recnet 'wars' and they recognize the value of ALL the competitor and organizer communities. I will be in a 'trust, support, and hope' mode while we move into the next phase of US rallying. I will also not snipe at, or interfere with, those who want to run their rally efforts on a sponsored basis. I hope to have their respect in turn for wanting to run my effort purely in the manner that I decide.

FYI, I currently spend all day every day in the week and even on the weekends running and trying to grow a small biz, as weel as workign in that biz enough to keep 'meat in the freezer' and pay the bills. I am tired at the end of each week of biz decisions and issues, and just want to run my rally car, at my own expense, to have fun and do something else with my life besides working! Hence, my current total lack of desire to run my rallying on a biz basis. I hope this helps all to get persepctive on my position.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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Regarding safety issues, I think Dennis was implying that KS was not responsible in any way for what has happened. The fact is that in any organization, those in charge are responsible for consequences of their inaction.
I don't think there was anything significant done to improve spectator safety during that regime until it was too late (May 2003). There was inaction on safety while spending tons of energy trying to coddle the interests of a select few competitors. The focus was simply on something different than safety and liability control.
Those who complain about current efforts to limit future liability problems should remember that the path of inaction is not necessarily what's best for the sport.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
>The point is that this is what it costs to rally in the US.
>It would have gotten here with or without KS.

I do not agree. KS (***along with his supporters***) ran the thing into the ground.

>COSTS WILL NOT GO DOWN. That's just a fact.

I agree. It is too late now, but it was not too late 1998 to stop Spitzner. Everyone either cheered him on, or sat on their hands and did nothing to stop him/them.

>That's why I'll support RA, M360 (my God, they might even profit....

I have nothing against profit as long as it is not done on the backs of the "unwashed" AS IT WAS from 1999 through 2004. The people who lost were the "unwashed". The rich guys can still go rallying here or in Europe, Australia, etc. Some of the "unwashed" have been weeded out due to costs rising unnecessarily.

Spitzner's plan was (he told me on the phone in the spring of '99...I'm not making this up): To weed everyone out of PRO Rally except the factory and wealthy private teams. He was going to do this by pricing licensing into the multiple thousands of dollars (it was a secret and I was not to tell anyone). He didn't get that far, but he tried. In doing so he destroyed PRO Rally and SCCA dumped stage rally. I don't hold him responsible. Those who supported him are responsible. But... it is all water under the bridge now... except if history repeats itself.
 

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>
>And, I can't think of any benefit to me and other hobby
>competitors to paint our cars better or in a different way,
>or pay for uniforms for our crews, or any of the spiffy
>stuff that is being discussed. Why should I spend my $$ to
>benefit anyone's sponsorship effort, as much as I like and
>value all of you as good rally folks?

>Regards,
>Mark B.

All of this is completely hypothetical of course, but......:

What if making your team spiffier, along with everyone elses, resulted in RA (or NASA, or ???) obtaining series sponsorship that lowered YOUR (along with everyone elses) entry fee by $300 an event. Say you do four events, that's $1200, which can be put towards new paint, uniforms, etc... Now going back to my Canada post, what if furthermore we were able to recruit regional sponsors in the form body shops, paint shops, sticker shops, uniform people, that would lower or subsidize the cost to the competitors in that region. I'd tow my car to MN or MI for cheap body work or something like that.

I understand your point Mark. You just wanna go out and play. You can afford what you do, you're happy, why rock the boat? Why should you change or do more work for other's benefit? What I'm trying to show you is that perhaps you can benefit. There's no conspiracy here. No hidden agenda from the evoburu crowd. It's more like everyone working together for a common goal (holy crap, I'm a rally socialist!). I wouldn't suggest you invest in spiffing up your team if I didn't see a clear return (ie RA saying do this and you entry fee WILL go down x amount).


Dennis Martin
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920-432-4845
 

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Hi Jens! and good morning to all :),

>I will be in a 'trust,
>support, and hope' mode while we move into the next phase of
>US rallying. I will also not snipe at, or interfere with,
>those who want to run their rally efforts on a sponsored
>basis. I hope to have their respect in turn for wanting to
>run my effort purely in the manner that I decide.

I know I'm just a green horn about most of the issues here at SS, but much like MarkB, I have been self employed most of my life and know there are benefits and costs associated with running your own show.

It seems to me that by making it possible for each rally to make their own decision that RA does respect that you have the right to that choice. In that same light, there are many people that simply are not interested or do not yet have the skills to be self-employed, and for that reason I think it's great that both options are available.

It is in Rally's long term interest to grow and expand support for the sport. In my biz experience, you either grow and improve (to keep up with the competition) or you become an endagered species at risk for extinction.

I read the letter and I found it very encouraging that most of the important issues brought up on these forums were addressed in a very positive manner, keeping in mind the insurance issues.

Keeping history in mind as a source of what not to do is not a bad thing, as long as you can still look ahead ready to embrace a good thing. If we all share the desire to continue to see Rally alive and well, the best way to succeed is to work together moving forward.

So on that note, Rally on!


Femme ;)

The Lion and Gazelle
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows that it must outrun the fastest
lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows that it must out run the slowest
gazelle or it will starve.
It does not matter whether you are a lion or gazelle.
When the sun comes up you had better be running."
 

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>>The point is that this is what it costs to rally in the US.
>>It would have gotten here with or without KS.
>
>I do not agree. KS (***along with his supporters***) ran
>the thing into the ground.
>

For the sake of argument, fine, it's all KS' fault. Now what? We're here. Costs are high, and ain't going down. People wanna rally, and can't afford it. What do we do? What specific changes should be made to make rallying more affordable (note: not cheaper, more affordable, big difference)? Seriously, what is the right path? From where I'm standing what RA and others are doing looks like the best way, but I'm certainly open to a BETTER idea. Let's here them.


Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
>People wanna rally, and can't afford it. What do we do?
>What specific changes should be made to make rallying more
>affordable (note: not cheaper, more affordable, big
>difference)? Seriously, what is the right path? From where
>I'm standing what RA and others are doing looks like the
>best way, but I'm certainly open to a BETTER idea. Let's
>here them.

My original post has been misunderstood (perhaps I could have written it better).

I AM NOT SAYING RA IS DOING ANYTHING WRONG!!!
 

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I dont understand the problem here? If you want to play in the woods and not worry about sponsorship - stick with the clubrallies. If you want to run with sponsors ect - run the National Championship. Its just like baseball. You have the guys who want to get in the major leagues and the guys who only want to play for fun.
 

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>My original post has been misunderstood (perhaps I could
>have written it better).
>
>I AM NOT SAYING RA IS DOING ANYTHING WRONG!!!

Okay, then what was the point of your post? Cuz the title is "They are starting up again. Watch Out!" Well, the only people doing anything is RA, NASA, and CARS, so by defination those groups are "They". And the "watch out" part of the title seems to imply that the aforementioned "they" are doing something wrong.

Who else could be the infamous "they"?

Is it KS? Maybe he never left after all. Maybe this was all just a grand scheme hatched out for his amusement.

Is the EEOA (Evil Evoburo Owners of America)? Oops, wasn't supposed to mention that one! Now I'll get caned at the next meeting.

Am I "they"? If so, you don't have much to worry about. JB won't give me his new phone number, and I had to resort to blocking the stage with my upside down rally car to get a few minutes with DCH at LSPR.

Sorry, back to my point. If RA isn't doing anything wrong, than why are you so worried that you have to put sky is falling post on SS?

Dennis Martin
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920-432-4845
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
>If RA isn't doing anything wrong,
>than why are you so worried that you have to put sky is
>falling post on SS?

I didn't say they aren't doing anything wrong. I said I'm not saying they are doing anything wrong.

The point of the post is: be alert, be on guard, and be vigilant.

The sky is not falling. IT ALREADY FELL!
 
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